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Friday, June 7, 2013
The sorry state of NFC East CB play

By Dan Graziano

You know we do that All-Division Team every week during the season, right? The toughest spots to fill every week in 2013 were the defensive back spots -- and not for the right reasons. It's one thing when you have too many qualified candidates for your spots, as we sometimes do at linebacker and wide receiver. It's another when you can't find two cornerbacks worthy of recognition, as was too often the case last year.

Football Outsiders offers us a little glimpse into why this was, as they have published their "Worst Cornerback Charting Stats of 2012." There are three lists here, and each has a strong NFC East presence.

On the list of the 10 worst 2012 cornerbacks in yards allowed per pass, we find former Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha at No. 2 (as in, only one worse) with 10.7 yards allowed. DeAngelo Hall, back with the Washington Redskins this year at a reduced salary, came in fifth at 10.0 yards allowed. And Corey Webster of the New York Giants, who also had his salary cut this offseason, came in seventh-worst at 9.7 yards allowed.

The second list charts the 10 worst cornerbacks in the league at a stat FO calls "Success Rate," and explains as "the percentage of passes that don't manage to get at least 45 percent of needed yards on first down, 60 percent of needed yards on second down, or 100 percent of needed yards on third down." The second-worst corner on that list is Aaron Ross, who was a Jaguar last year but was re-signed this offseason by his former team, the New York Giants. The Dallas Cowboys' Morris Claiborne ranks fourth-worst on this list, though FO offers him a pass because he was a rookie.

Finally, we come to the list of the NFL's 10 worst cornerbacks in yards allowed after the catch (YAC). Here we find Hall's Redskins teammate, Josh Wilson in the second-worst position, having allowed an average of 7.0 yards after the catch. Asomugha also shows up here in the No. 10 spot with 5.0 yards allowed after the catch.

Even with the very disappointing Asomugha off to the NFC West, it's clear the cornerback play in the NFC East needs to improve -- and not just because we need better choices for the weekly All-Division team, either.