The last few seasons Iíve put together articles ranking CB production based on a simple formula I developed tracking their pass defensive skills. I last looked in at how the Corners were doing after Week 8. Now that the 2019 season is in the books, itís time to turn to this yearís outstanding Defensive Backs. This follow-up article tracks the most productive Corners through the entire season. As you will see, there are some new names on the list, and some hold overs from the previous mid season review. There are also some players in the final list of top corners that have appeared on the list in yearís past.
Every year I use the same formula. Iíve thought about tweaking the formula, but have decided to keep it as it is. Ultimately, there is going to be an arbitrary nature to the formula, so adjusting it one way or another wonít make it more accurate. Besides, this is the same formula Iíve used in seasons past, and itís good to get a sense of consistency from here to year. As always, 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. The elite Corners tend to have scores under 1.000. The higher the score, the less efficient a Corner is. Once you get to scores over 2.000, you likely have a Corner who isnít doing a very good job.
To qualify, I normally look at players with at least 20 pass deflections or 20 catches allowed. At the mid point of the season I look at if the 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 69 CBs, which is slightly fewer than in years past. Usually there are around 72 Corners that qualify. At the mid point of the season there were 72 players that had enough recorded deflections or catches allowed to qualify. Though not a sizeable difference, it is noteworthy in that there have never been fewer than 70 defensive backs to qualify.
Some interesting notes on the rankings. Last yearís highest ranked CB, Sam Price from Pittsburgh tumbles all the way to 52nd. Price is a study in contradictions as he managed a highly respectable 5 picks. But only deflected 14 passes and gave up 36 catches. The former third rounder had only 2 picks in his first 5 seasons, but has managed 12 in the last two seasons. He is productive at 31, but last seasonís top ranking appears to be an aberration. Alan Morris of the Panthers had 4 picks but didnít qualify for the list. If heíd had one more catch allowed heíd have been able to make the list of qualifiers but did not. Still, his production was considerable despite his limited playing time.
Only one player from last yearís Top 10 is back in the top this season, Richard Sherman who is 3rd this year after ranking 5th last season. That makes three straight years in a row for Sherman (who finished 9th in 2017)Öwhich also now thinks maybe I should create a list of previous Top 10 finishers. Seattle CB Patrick Robinson is 13th this year after making the Top 10 last year, and stud Corner DeMarcus Milliner, who tied for the league lead in picks finished 14th, finished 14th after making last yearís list.
Usually, at least one team puts two CBs in the Top 10. However, this is not the case this year. The closest comes from the Ravens, who are no strangers to placing Defensive Backs near the top of this list. This season their Corner Eric Victorino finishes second on the list (despite having only 2 interceptions, mostly on the strength of his 44 deflections) and Milliner mentioned above.
There were some high profile rookies taken at the position this year. Angel Rosario the first CB taken is ranked 45th overall, which isnít too shabby. Expect more from Rosario in coming years. Looking at his totals one can see that his deflection to catches allowed ratio wasnít that bad and as he matures he will improve. Buford McKay, the 5th pick overall did not have enough playing time to qualify. Commodore Bell, the 9th pick overall comes in at 62nd overall, easily the worst of the rookies. The next CB taken, Emerson Dupree was the star of the rookie class, tying for the league lead with 7 interceptions. DuPree finished 16th overall, and was hurt by allowing a lot of catches. Rookie Hunter Hill who went 11th in the draft actually had the highest efficiency of any rookie Corner, ranking 15th overall. Marcus Peters, the only other CB taken in the first did not qualify at the midway point, but finished strong, ranking 24th in the leauge.
The worst CB who qualified? That ďhonorĒ goes to Carolinaís Desmond Trufant. Trufant had a career year last year, leading the league in interceptions with 8 picks. This year? Zero picks and a dreadful 15 deflections against 36 catches allowed for a efficiency rating of 2.400. Very curious to see Trufant drop so drastically in a yearís time.
Hereís the top 10:
1. David Amerson, MIN (CB Efficiency Rating of .541)
2. Eric Victorino, BAL (.688)
3. Richard Sherman, SD (.805)
4. Darqueze Dennard, BUF (.844)
5. Camden Pietarila, DAL (.854)
6. Cory Spielman, TEN (.867)
7. Jimmy Smith, CHI (.897)
8. Claudio Ambellina, TB (.913)
9. Dre Kirkpatrick, JAX (.922)
10. Jamar Taylor, SF (.975)