The last few seasons Iíve put together articles ranking CB production based on a simple formula I developed tracking their pass defensive skills. This article tracks the most productive Corners through the mid-point of the season.
Here is what I used in my formula: Interceptions, deflections and catches allowed. I decided not to use tackles, sacks etc because, one, they aren't the CBs main duties, and two, they seem more the result of scheme and other players on the field (for example, a CB may have a lot of tackles, but it could be because the front seven are very bad).
To easily get the raw numbers below, I simply multiplied INTs x 2, added that number to the total deflections (reasoning an INT was twice as good as a deflection). Then I divided the total catches allowed by the INT/deflection number.
So for example, if someone has 5 INTs, 20 deflections and 30 catches allowed, I added 10 (5 INTs x 2) + 20 and divided 30 by 30, coming up with a score of 1.00. The lower the score the better.
To qualify, I normally look at players with at least 20 pass deflections or 20 catches allowed. Since weíre around the mid-point of the season, that number is 10 pass deflections or 10 catches allowed. Iíve tweaked this over the years, but I feel like this captures most, if not all, of those who should qualify. In total, I ranked 73 CBs, which is in line with the average number I look at towards the end of the year. Last year, for example, at the mid-point I ranked 80 CBs.
Some interesting notes on the rankings. Last yearís highest ranked CB Steven Yates is back, continuing his good work for Seattle, coming in 7th overall. As usual, at least one team has a pair of CBs in the Top 10. At the midway point, Pittsburgh features both Smith and Price holding down top spots. Seattle comes close, with Yates at 7th and Patrick Peterson at 13th.
The biggest surprise in the rankings comes in the form of 5í10Ē, 30 year old former 4th rounder Brandon Hogan, who is tied for first. Hogan has had a decent career, nabbing 4 picks in 2013 and 5 in 2016, but his career efficiency coming into the season was 1.680, which would place him at 51st place on this yearís list. Antonio Smith continues the nice start to his young career after being picked at the end of the 2nd round in 2015. Smith has not ever cracked the Top 10 before, but has been quite efficient so far, with a career efficiency of 1.092.
Another surprise is Pittsburghís Samuel Price. Price, a former late 3rd rounder has had very little playing time in his 6 year career. In fact, in his previous 5 seasons, Price qualified for ranking only once, and has averaged about 9 deflections a year. Coming into this season Price had 2 total interceptions. This season he has 4. Can he keep up the production throughout the rest of the season? Time will tell.
Of note also is that Ray Turner of Detroit didnít qualify but wouldíve been outstanding and ranked 7th. Turner has 3 picks on the season but had under 10 deflections and catches allowed. Look for Turner to make the top 10 if he can keep up his production. Last yearís number 2 CB, Greg Toler took a tumble and sits at 49th overall. Toler spent one year in Chicago before returning to Arizona and hasnít recaptured his Midway Magic. Just missing out on being in the Top 10: New Englandís Braylon Bender who is tied for the league lead with 5 picks. Bender has an .885 rating, good for 11th overall. Itís also interesting to note that 2015ís second pick overall Jamar Taylor still has yet to put everything together. Taylor has 1 pick on the season but also leads the league in catches allowed with 32. Then again, heís also 2nd in the league in pass deflections, so heís definitely got the skills.
Last yearís top pick overall Richard Sherman is finally making his presence felt. Last season Sherman had a subpar rating of 1.778 and didnít even manage an interception. This year, it seems as if things have clicked and Sherman not only has 2 picks, but an exceptional 17 deflections to only 13 catches allowed.
There were some high profile rookies taken at the position this year. The first pick overall this year has been very productive so far for the Colts. Trae Waynes has has 1 pick, 14 deflections and 19 catches allowed for a 1.188 efficiency, good for 25th overall in the league. Not too shabby. Chicagoís Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, taken 28th overall has also been a standout with a 1.250 rating, the 29th best in the league. The 15th pick overall, Kyle Fuller, did not qualify for the rankings. The only other first rounder, Micah Price, who was the 6th pick overall, has had a less than stellar start to his career. With 1 pick, 4 deflections and 24 catches allowed, Price is ranked 2nd to last with a 4.000 rating. The only other CB taken in the first 2 rounds to qualify is Oscar Riveria, who finished 54th in the rankings.
The worst CB who qualified? Jake Meadows of Oakland with a 4.333 efficiency rating. Meadows has allowed 13 catches and only deflected 3 with zero picks. Those numbers arenít great but heís had a decent season so far.
Hereís the top 10:
1T. Antonio Smith, PIT (CB Efficiency of .500)
1T. Brandon Hogan, NYG (.500)
3. Janoris Jenkins, DEN (.522)
4. Chimdi Chekwa, CAR (.529)
5. Marquis Robinson, KC (.545)
6. Richard Sherman, SD (.619)
7. Steven Yates, SEA (.727)
8. Nigel Malone, HOU (.773)
9. Samuel Price, PIT (.786)
10. Dee Wagner, GB (.870)