The last few seasons Iíve put together articles ranking CB production based on a simple formula I developed tracking their pass defensive skills.
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 looked at players least 20 pass deflections or 20 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 74 CBs.
Some interesting notes on the rankings. Rookie Jordan Poyer actually had the best stat line of ANY Cornerback in 2015. The Buc CB had 2 picks, 8 deflections, and only 7 catches allowed. But ultimately he didnít have enough playing time to qualify. This yearís number 1 CB is the same as last yearís: Dominique Cromartie. Cromartieís season was stellar, picking off 6 passes, deflecting 28 and allowing only 25. That he was able to repeat is outstanding, given the volatility of the CB position.
The NFC West is a tough place to complete passes, as Arizona and Seattle both had 2 or 3 CBs in the top 15. Seattle had Jeffrey Sanchez (#2), Tyrann Mathieu (#9) and Patrick Peterson (#15), while the Cardinals featured Antoine Cason (#10) and Greg Toler (#13).
Zach Bowman of Chicago came out of nowhere to lead the league in interceptions (11 picks) and finish 4th in CB Efficiency after 5 picks in his last 5 games. Indyís Desmond Trufant impressed with 7 picks, good for 6th overall; however, in looking more closely at his performance, he also gave up 55 catches and ended up 47th overall in CB Efficiency.
Also, I did a review of the most efficient CBs around the midway point, and the list has changed significantly since we last checked in. CB Terrell Thomas of the Bears was ranked 1st in the beginning of the season, but had a tough second half of the season, falling to 14th overall. Houstonís Nigel Malone was ranked 2nd, but tumbled to 33rd by the end of the season. However, DeAngelo Smith, Antoine Cason and Eric Victorino kept up their standard of play throughout the long season.
There were some high profile rookies taken at the position in 2015. Of the 9 CBs taken in the first round, only 7 qualified. Second pick overall Jamar Taylor ranked 66th. Coltsí Travis Murphy fared better at 45th. The next two CBs off the board, David Amerson (72nd) and Cobrani Rogers (71st) did not shine as expected. Miami CB Darius Slay, taken 1.14, finished the best of the rookies, ranked 17th, narrowly besting Braylon Bender taken at 1.23. Rookie CBs Brent Parrish (taken 1.27) and Johnathan Banks (taken 1.30) did not qualify. Jets CB DJ Hayden, the last CB taken in the first round managed to finish only 68th.
The worst CB who qualified? Interestingly, it was Joe Haden, the leagueís number two all-time in interceptions. Haden had only 1 pick, but also managed only 16 deflections to 59 catches allowed and a CB Efficiency of 3.278. Ironically, the second worst CB was Hadenís Browns teammate, Jacob Lawson (CB Efficiency: 3.000). No wonder the Browns went 6-10.
Hereís the top 10:
1. Dominique Cromartie, SD (QB Efficiency: .625)
2. Jeffrey Sanchez, SEA (.630)
3. Eric Victorino, BAL (.816)
4. Zackary Bowman, CHI (.827)
5. DeAngelo Smith, HOU (.840)
6. Claudio Ambellina, TB (.861)
7. Jimmy Smith, DET (.867)
8. Antonio Cromartie, ARI (.878)
9. Tyrann Mathieu, SEA (.955)
10. Antoine Cason, ARI (.957)