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Green Zone League Articles

2021 GZL Most Productive Cornerbacks (So Far)
By Keith Van Wagner
Special to gzl-football.com

The last few seasons Ive 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 were around the mid-point of the season, that number is 10 pass deflections or 10 catches allowed. Ive tweaked this over the years, but I feel like this captures most, if not all, of those who should qualify. In total, I ranked 78 CBs, which is in line with the average number I look at, though slightly higher. Last year at the mid-point I ranked 77 CBs.

Some interesting notes on the rankings. Jeremy Briggs leads the way with an impressive rating of .421. But he barely qualifies as hes had only 11 deflections and 8 catches allowed. So hes a little hard to judge. It suggests my rating system is a little off when hes ranked higher than someone like Sylvester Spence who has 6 picks and 12 deflections and 13 catches allowed. Just looking at those numbers, Id rather have Spence. Still, the system is what it is and in no way infallible. Either way, both of those players are having amazing hears. Oscar Riveria is the highest ranked player (14th) who does not have an interception yet. Still, hes having a great season, just not as flashy as some of the others.

Last years highest ranked CB Camden Pietarlia is ranked 24th overall. Not bad still a number one Corner. But definitely a drop in production. Better than Commodore Bell, for example, who finished second overall last year but is 41st overall so far. In fact, none of last years final Top 10 make the list for the first half of the season.

Usually, at least one team puts two CBs in the Top 10. This year is no exception. St. Louis boasts both Briggs and Xavier Rhodes who comes in at number 9. The Bucs do have Ambellina at 6 and Bo Davis at 18th. Likewise, Dallas has Willis ranked 8th and Pietarila at 24th.

There were some high profile rookies taken at the position this year. Rollo Salsbury went first overall and has 3 picks so far. But his catches allowed leaves him ranked 51st overall. The other two Corners taken in the first, William Jackson and Eli Apple didnt qualify.

The worst CB who qualified? Miami CB Justin Gilbert. The former first rounder has zero picks, 1 deflection and 14 passes allowed.

Heres the top 10:

1. Jeremy Briggs, STL (.421 CB Efficiency)
2. Pete Nickerson, CLE (.429)
3. Nigel Malone, HOU (.533)
4. Sylvester Spence, OAK (.542)
5. Blaine Hasty, CIN (.655)
6. Claudio Ambellina, TB (.696)
7. Richard Sherman, SD (.708)
8. Walter Willis, DAL (.769)
9. Xavier Rhodes, STL (.774)
10. Patrick Peterson, NO (.810)
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