Sig Stats: Tackling Efficiency, DBs

Following the linebacker lists we posted earlier, the defensive backfield gets a turn as Steve Palazzolo highlights the sure tacklers.

| 2 years ago
2014-Sig-Stats-tkleff-DB

Sig Stats: Tackling Efficiency, DBs


2014-Sig-Stats-tkleff-DBWe’re back with another look at the league’s most efficient tacklers from 2014, this time looking at the defensive backs. There’s probably no better way to stay on the field for a safety than simply being in the right position and making the sure tackle, something that often goes unnoticed and that might be a good thing for safeties. As for cornerbacks, everyone likes to talk about their man coverage ability, but tackling in space is a huge part of the job in the new, pass-happy NFL. Cornerbacks that wrap up and limit yards after the catch are essential as more teams get the ball into their playmakers’ hands in a variety of ways. Here’s a look at the best and worst tackling defensive backs from 2014.

Top Safeties

# Name Team Snaps Tackles Assists Missed Tackles Tackling  Efficiency
1  Danieal Manning HST 556 29 1 1 33.0
2  Dawan Landry NYJ 905 70 3 3 29.3
3  Robert Blanton MIN 896 84 4 4 27.0
4  Eric Weddle SD 962 82 4 4 23.8
5  Marcus Gilchrist SD 930 64 4 4 20.5
6  Reshad Jones MIA 733 79 5 5 18.0
7  Ryan Mundy CHI 915 82 8 8 14.0
8  Morgan Burnett GB 906 91 9 9 13.7
9  Kemal Ishmael ATL 773 77 8 8 13.4
10  George Wilson TEN 777 60 6 6 13.3

Making tackles is one easy way to ensure a positive PFF grade and many of the players at the top did just that. Danieal Manning finished at +3.0 with only one missed tackle while Dawan Landry flew under the radar with a strong season that saw him grade at +10.9 with only three misses. Eric Weddle had the highest grade among safeties at +18.9, so it’s no surprise to see his name near the top of this list.

Bottom Safeties

# Name Team Snaps Tackles Assists Missed Tackles Tackling Efficiency
53  J.J. Wilcox DAL 929 59 15 15 5.6
54  T.J. Ward DEN 955 67 18 18 5.5
55  Ryan Clark WAS 954 77 22 22 5.4
56  D.J. Swearinger HST 968 57 16 16 5.3
57  Josh Evans JAX 937 72 21 21 5.0
58  Rahim Moore DEN 1007 43 12 12 5.0
59  James Ihedigbo DET 773 55 17 17 4.9
60  Ron Parker KC 702 56 17 17 4.6
61  Dashon Goldson TB 755 61 20 20 4.5
62  Kenny Vaccaro NO 934 58 19 19 4.5
63  Calvin Pryor NYJ 649 40 15 15 4.4

Jets rookie Calvin Pryor overcame his tackling woes to still grade at +3.3 but that’s a lot of plays being left on the field. Kenny Vaccaro struggled in his sophomore campaign, leading to a late-season benching as he missed one of every 4.5 tackle attempts. Dashon Goldson usually ranks near the bottom in the tackling department and he finished third-worst while Ryan Clark led all safeties with 22 total misses.

Top Cornerbacks

# Name Team Snaps Tackles Assists Missed Tackles Tackling Efficiency
1  Jason McCourty TEN 1039 79 5 2 43.0
2  Vontae Davis IND 791 37 6 2 22.5
3  Joe Haden CLV 976 71 6 4 20.3
4  Xavier Rhodes MIN 975 48 4 3 18.3
5  A.J. Bouye HST 595 51 0 3 18.0
6  Corey Graham BUF 651 56 8 4 17.0
7  Perrish Cox SF 888 54 3 4 15.3
8  Johnathan Joseph HST 818 68 1 5 14.8
9  Tarell Brown OAK 893 49 3 4 14.0
10  Captain Munnerlyn MIN 1007 55 9 5 13.8

Both McCourty brothers are sure tacklers and Jason paved the way for cornerbacks with only two misses on 86 attempts. Not only did Vontae Davis rank second among cornerbacks at +21.8 overall but he ranked second in Tackling Efficiency as well with one miss every 22.5 attempts. Xavier Rhodes’ breakout season also included a strong tackling effort with only three misses on 55 attempts.

Bottom Cornerbacks

# Name Team Snaps Tackles Assists Missed Tackles Tackling Efficiency
62  Brent Grimes MIA 982 54 5 12 5.9
63  William Gay PIT 819 57 5 13 5.8
64  D. Rodgers-Cromartie NYG 713 36 2 8 5.8
64  Darrin Walls NYJ 720 40 4 10 5.4
66  Keenan Lewis NO 856 40 2 10 5.2
67  Greg Toler IND 923 54 2 14 5.0
68  Sam Shields GB 791 37 6 11 4.9
69  Brandon Carr DAL 953 47 10 15 4.8
70  Janoris Jenkins SL 803 55 4 16 4.7
71  Coty Sensabaugh TEN 695 42 1 12 4.6
72  Nickell Robey BUF 610 38 4 12 4.5
73  Johnthan Banks TB 875 43 6 15 4.3

After finishing fifth from the bottom a year ago, Johnthan Banks followed it up with one missed tackle every 4.3 opportunities to rank last. Nickell Robey had a promising rookie season but he struggled in Year 2, including tackling woes that saw him miss 12 on the year. Janoris Jenkins led the league with 16 missed tackles, a feat he’s now accomplished in two of his three years in the league as he tied for the lead with 18 in 2012.

 

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| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • Jaguars28

    We really need to upgrade Evans at free safety. Why did we let go of Reggie Nelson?

  • Chmike

    I’m surprised to see Mundy in the top 10.

    • Jordan

      Mundy actually played well all year, it was the FS and CB positions that hurt the Bears. I was sort of surprised Tim Jennings didn’t finish in the bottom group

  • Rudolph

    Both of Denver’s starting safties are in the bottom 10

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      yea, i wish the media would ask wade phillips how he plans on fixing them both (assuming rahim “the dream” is resigned)

  • MuaddibMcFly

    so… I think your query of the Safties table is bad. Unless Manning did only get 1 assists, rather than the 14 the NFL claims…

    • Ken

      PFF judges tackling better. The NFL(scorers) is VERY liberal with credit for tackles.

      • a57se

        Then how does Calvin “which way did he go” Pryor get a +3.3 grade???

        • Ken

          Huh? What does this have to do with anything? And as for his grade, I don’t see a problem with it based on his play.

    • Izach

      So safeties have exact same assists as missed tackles? Or is that chart off? Hard to believe that would like to kno the real numbers.

  • davathon

    Still disappointed that the Dolphins traded Vontae Davis. His tackling ability was one of the reasons they used a first round draft pick on him. He’s a complete player.

  • Mnstorm99

    I am still quite surprised at how much the Viking fans want to replace Blanton. Add another quality corner opposite Rhodes and I think they have a great secondary (with Smith at safety and Munnerlyn in the slot).