Monday, March 28, 2011
Looking at unsung NFC South cornerbacks
By Pat Yasinskas
Atlanta’s Dunta Robinson makes the huge money, Tampa Bay’s Ronde Barber gets talked about as a potential Hall of Famer while teammate Aqib Talib is often mentioned as a rising star. New Orleans’ Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter are in the conversation when it comes to best cornerback tandems.
But the NFC South has far more to offer than just that when it comes to strong cornerback play. Let’s turn to Football Outsiders for a look at some unique statistics that put some NFC South cornerbacks in a very positive light.
Let’s start with Tampa Bay’s E.J. Biggers. He plays in the shadows of Talib and Barber. He’s also a seventh-round draft choice from 2009, who missed his entire rookie season with an injury. So you might as well say Biggers was a rookie in 2010.
Turns out he had a heck of a rookie season in at least one category: success rate. That’s the percentage of passes in which a cornerback is targeted that don’t manage to get 45 percent of the yards needed on first down, 60 percent of the needed yards on second down or 100 percent of the needed yards on third downs.
Biggers tied for No. 6 in the league with a 63 percent success rate. Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets is widely recognized as the best cornerback in the league. He led in this category with a 70 percent success rate, so Biggers is in excellent company.
Now, let’s look at another category: yards allowed per pass. Atlanta’s Brent Grimes tied for third, allowing five yards per pass while being targeted 111 times. Minnesota’s Antoine Winfield led the league in this category at 4.2 yards per pass. Barber, who still has yet to show any real signs of slowing down, tied for seventh in the league at 5.5 yards per pass.
Grimes also fared well when it came to yards allowed after the catch (YAC). Grimes tied for fourth in the league, allowing an average of just two yards after the catch. Carolina’s Captain Munnerlyn, who sometimes has been overshadowed by Chris Gamble and Richard Marshall was No. 3 at 1.9 yards after the catch.