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Top Cornerback Short List - 4/11/13

  • Jd925
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 1,280
So here comes the NFL draft again. It's always an exciting time when teams get to carefully select the building blocks of their future. The draft has become even more important for teams now that the rookie salary cap is in place. Teams can lock young players for longer and cheaper so a lot of big-name veteran talent are having a much tougher time getting signed for big money as teams focus more on the draft. Just imagine Alfred Morris was the NFL's 2nd leading rusher and he signed a 4yr rookie contract! (I disagree with the rookie salary cap, because I think players need to get paid. I bet a lot of veterans who were in favor of a rookie salary cap aren't now, but that's a topic for another discussion.) Anyways the draft is always fascinating because there is always such a diverse group of opinions and perspectives for evaluating talent and so many factors involved in a draftee's success. I think the current bias of talent evaluators are that they focus too much on combine numbers and film. Although these are important factors for evaluating players, one factor that seems to be overlooked is just a player's raw production. I say give me the right statistics and info for a player and I don't need to watch film. With that in mind I plan to give my evaluation of players with production statistics as the core of my analysis. I started with the cornerback position.

Overall Ranking

1. Tyrann Mathieu 2.46
2. Jordan Poyer 2.21
3. Dee Milliner 2.09
4. Xavier Rhodes 2.04
5. Logan Ryan 2.01
6. Johnthan Banks 2.00
7. Darius Slay 1.98
8. Desmond Trufant 1.97
9. Jamar Taylor 1.81
10. Blidi Wreh-Wilson 1.80
11. David Amerson 1.79
12. Robert Alford 1.75

Just to give you an idea of how much of a playmaker Tyrann Mathieu the 'Honeybadger' was, in 26 games he amassed 4 ints, 16 passes defended, 2TD's, 11 Forced fumbles, 6sacks, 4QB hurries, 16 Tackles for Loss, and 93 Solo Tackles! In terms of measurables and combine numbers Mathieu is dead last. Poyer is second to last with pathetic numbers (30.5 inch vertical?!) and Logan Ryan & Johnthan Banks make up the bottom four. However they make up 4 of my top 6 in the overall ranking because they are the leaders of the active stat category. I couldn't have asked for such a stark contrast between measurables and production. Let's see how this plays out in the future!

Methodology: I started with a list from Great Blue North Draft Report & Walter Football and selected the top 10 players on each list. I added one player (Tyrann Mathieu) ranked below the top ten in all the lists because I knew Tyrann was very productive in '11 & '10. For cornerbacks, the most commonly available and simple statistics are passes defended and interceptions. Generally those who are active playmakers and have ball skills have higher PD's & Ints. Secondarily a cornerbacks ability to help in run support can be measured by forced fumbles, sacks, tackles for losses, solo tackles, assist tackles. I threw in blocked kicks/punts because although those are for special teams plays and are rare and helps measure a unique kind of athleticism. I then just combined the statistics based on a fantasy football style point system:

1 point - Passes defended
2 points - Interceptions
6 points - TDs
2 points - Forced fumbles
1 point - Sacks/Tackles for losses
.1 point - Solo Tackles
.05 point - Assist Tackles
2 points - Blocked kicks

I then made an adjustment based on competition. The best conference power rankings I found was from TeamRanking.com. I averaged the 2012/2011 seasons and adjusted the stats based on what conference a player competed in. The SEC as always was the top conference so no adjustments were made for those players in the SEC. The weakest DI conference received a -30% adjustment and the rest were in between 0% and -30%. (It was -50% for DII) Sometimes statistics can't be measured in active stats. Shutdown corners are hardly thrown to. Some corners are active at playing the ball, but also give up many touchdowns (ie. David Amerson) Therefore, I used the 2nd Round Stats website analysis on completion % against (the lower the better) for six cornerbacks and gave 0 - 3.75 points. (It would be nice to have TDs & first downs allowed, but those are too difficult to obtain.) I gave an average of 2 pts for those that did not have any statistics and made a few other adjustments based on info I knew about particular players. Lastly I used Draftmetrics to use historical correlations of measurables/combine numbers to measure draft pick success.

Total weightings:

55% Active Stats
20% Passive Stats
25% Measurables

Active Stat Leaders (55% Weighting)

1. Tyrann Mathieu 3.20
2. Johnthan Banks 2.32
3. Logan Ryan 2.24
4. Jordan Poyer 2.08
5. Dee Milliner 2.00
6. David Amerson 1.82
7. Blidi Wreh-Wilson 1.61
8. Darius Slay 1.57
9. Desmond Trufant 1.47
10. Robert Alford (Est. 1.35 due to DII conference)
11. Jamar Taylor 1.32
12. Xavier Rhodes 1.19

List of Awesome Resources

1. CFB Stats
http://www.cfbstats.com/

2. TeamRankings
http://www.teamrankings.com/college-football/ranking/overall-power-ranking-by-conf

3. Great Blue North Draft Report
http://www.gbnreport.com/

4. Walter Football
http://walterfootball.com/

Passive Stat Leaders (20% Weighting)

1. Jordan Poyer 3.74
2. Xavier Rhodes 3.37
3. Darius Slay 2.72
4. Desmond Trufant 2.55
5. Jamar Taylor 2.5 (Team Def Allowed Only 7 Passing TDs)
6. Dee Milliner 2.14
7. Johnthan Banks 1.76
8. David Amerson 1.0 (Allowed incredible amount of TDs)
9. Everyone else 2.0

List of Awesome Resources

Second Round Stats
http://secondroundstats.com/2013/02/18/cbs-1/

(Great resource on completion stats against six cornerbacks! These are the kind of stats we need to track! Unfortantely stats are limited to 4-game samples.)

Measurables (25% Weighting)

1. Xavier Rhodes 2.84
2. Desmond Trufant 2.59
3. Robert Alford 2.42
4. David Amerson 2.35
5. Jamar Taylor 2.32
6. Darius Slay 2.28
7. Dee Milliner 2.27
8. Blidi Wreh-Wilson 2.06
9. Logan Ryan 1.51
10. Johnthan Banks 1.50
11. Jordan Poyer 1.29
12. Tyrann Mathieu 1.22

Data Used:

Height 0-.5pts (68 - 74 inches)
Weight 0-.5pts (175 - 215)
40yd 0-1pt (4.27 - 4.67 secs)
Vertical 0-1pt (30 - 42 inches)
20yd shuttle 0-.5pt (3.67 - 4.67 secs)
Bench Press 0-.5pt (3 - 27 times)

List of Awesome Resources:

Draft Metrics (combine stat range for 3yr NFL starters)
http://www.draftmetrics.com/files/The%20Combine%20ChronicleCB.pdf

(A lot of great studies on combine stats correlation with starting in the NFL and other reports!)

The next position I plan to work on is Safety....

BTW I created a blog to organize my analysis:
http://moneyballer.blogspot.com/
What about Terry Hawthorne? how does he measure up against those guys
Like Ryan, Amerson, and Banks..
Have wanted Mathieu and this helps explain a little why.

Where is DJ Hayden? Interested to see his overall ranking.
Nice stats. It will be interesting to see how they would apply to Linemen and WRs.
Really like Poyer, think he really stood out at the senior bowl as well but is being somewhat overlooked due to average measurables.
I think production and measurables have to be equally weighted. Stats are heavily influenced by situations. Especially with CBs and other defensive players. Some of the best CBs have the lowest stats because QBs simply avoid throwing in their direction. Some average defensive backs have high tackle totals because their front 7 sucks. Some of the best DL have low stats because they are always being double teamed.

Also, you can't teach measurables. Can't teach speed/quickness. Strength and explosiveness can be developed, but takes a lot of time and effort and there are no guarantees.



With offensive players, I agree more with your weighting system. Defense is a bit different.
[ Edited by blm7754 on Apr 12, 2013 at 12:36 PM ]
Blidi Wreh-Wilson has the best name in the draft
  • buck
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  • Posts: 12,659
Originally posted by blm7754:
I think production and measurables have to be equally weighted. Stats are heavily influenced by situations. Especially with CBs and other defensive players. Some of the best CBs have the lowest stats because QBs simply avoid throwing in their direction. Some average defensive backs have high tackle totals because their front 7 sucks. Some of the best DL have low stats because they are always being double teamed.

Also, you can't teach measurables. Can't teach speed/quickness. Strength and explosiveness can be developed, but takes a lot of time and effort and there are no guarantees.



With offensive players, I agree more with your weighting system. Defense is a bit different.

Speed and quickness can be taught particularly if you are using any timed drills or events to measure speed or quickness.

Teaching speed and quickness, or it maybe better to say teaching draft prospects to improve their measurables is a big business.

Here is a list of the combine prep programs.

http://draftdaddy.com/features/speed.htm#SpeedRank
  • buck
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  • Posts: 12,659
Originally posted by Jd925:

1 point - Passes defended
2 points - Interceptions
6 points - TDs
2 points - Forced fumbles
1 point - Sacks/Tackles for losses
.1 point - Solo Tackles
.05 point - Assist Tackles
2 points - Blocked kicks

First, you did a lot work. Thank you.

I have not yet digested the whole post, but I want to look at the points given.

You give two points for each interception and forced fumble.

I do not think a forced fumble should have the weight as an interception.

By definition, an interception results in a change of possession; a forced fumble does not.

You give one point for tackles for loss, sacks, and tackles.

Again by definition a sack or a tackle for a loss means that the play stopped the opponent for a loss; a tackle does not.

In fact, often a tackle by a corner back indicates that the opponent caught the ball--in other often it means the corner back got beat.
Clearly, that is not always the case, but it is something to consider.

But, I would definitely give more points for a sack and a tackle for a loss.

I have been trying figure out how to evaluate both Bacarri Rambo and Tyrann Mathieu, but I am finding it difficult.
Both have been suspended or lost games due to their off-the-field actions.
Those "lost" games are as important to a team as a tackle or a defended pass.

I am not sure, but it seems that there should be a penalty for each game lost.

As I said, I am still reading. Thanks for the effort.
  • Jd925
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  • Posts: 1,280
Originally posted by NTeply49:
What about Terry Hawthorne? how does he measure up against those guys
Near the top end in measurables and avg production in Big Ten (4th ranked conference based on Teamrankings)
I did a quick check, but I'd have to get back to you on the full analysis since I'm working the safeties now...
[ Edited by Jd925 on Apr 12, 2013 at 8:23 PM ]
  • Jd925
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  • Posts: 1,280
Originally posted by Ninefan56:
Nice stats. It will be interesting to see how they would apply to Linemen and WRs.
thx.
Will do those after Safety.
  • Jd925
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 1,280
Originally posted by 5280High:
Really like Poyer, think he really stood out at the senior bowl as well but is being somewhat overlooked due to average measurables.

Yeah. Will be very interesting. His vertical of 30.5" is bad and 40 time is low so he'll drop... but 10-15 corners usually go fast and probably in the first two rounds .......he's more of a zone cover corner, but has good ball instincts and anticipation. Corners fit in different schemes... Poyer didn't do much press. Xavier is probably the best press corner, Poyer in zone, Honeybadger as a nickel corner... (we could really used Honeybadger to neutralize Harvin in the slot)
  • Jd925
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 1,280
Originally posted by blm7754:
I think production and measurables have to be equally weighted. Stats are heavily influenced by situations. Especially with CBs and other defensive players. Some of the best CBs have the lowest stats because QBs simply avoid throwing in their direction. Some average defensive backs have high tackle totals because their front 7 sucks. Some of the best DL have low stats because they are always being double teamed.

Also, you can't teach measurables. Can't teach speed/quickness. Strength and explosiveness can be developed, but takes a lot of time and effort and there are no guarantees.



With offensive players, I agree more with your weighting system. Defense is a bit different.

I agree with much of your sentiment. Tackles are not a good indicator when you have either a strong or porous front... I'd eventually make stat adjustments on that based on tackle opportunities. The double teams are also a very important factor that should be counted. JJ Watt is a great example.... The adjustment for QB avoidance was made in the passive stats category and is encompassed in the completion % against..... Xavier was avoided so he had the 2nd best ranking there after Poyer. Anyways I think the bias is still too much towards measurables and so I wanted to make sure my emphasis was on production. Maybe I'll have to adjust it to 60/40 or 50/50, but I'm sticking with 75/25 for now... It's just odd that it turned out many of the players with the most production in the 10 ten list turned out to have the worst measurables, but it will be a good test to the theory about productive players and success...
  • Jd925
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  • Posts: 1,280
Originally posted by buck:
First, you did a lot work. Thank you.

I have not yet digested the whole post, but I want to look at the points given.

You give two points for each interception and forced fumble.

I do not think a forced fumble should have the weight as an interception.

By definition, an interception results in a change of possession; a forced fumble does not.

You give one point for tackles for loss, sacks, and tackles.

Again by definition a sack or a tackle for a loss means that the play stopped the opponent for a loss; a tackle does not.

In fact, often a tackle by a corner back indicates that the opponent caught the ball--in other often it means the corner back got beat.
Clearly, that is not always the case, but it is something to consider.

But, I would definitely give more points for a sack and a tackle for a loss.

I have been trying figure out how to evaluate both Bacarri Rambo and Tyrann Mathieu, but I am finding it difficult.
Both have been suspended or lost games due to their off-the-field actions.
Those "lost" games are as important to a team as a tackle or a defended pass.

I am not sure, but it seems that there should be a penalty for each game lost.

As I said, I am still reading. Thanks for the effort.
Thanks.. Yeah I might notch down FFs, but check this out:http://www.advancednflstats.com/2007/04/defensive-fumbles-forced.html

Tackles are 1/10th pt and assists are 1/20th for the reason you and someone else mentioned....

My list is purely based on stats & measurables. Character, football intelligence, work ethic & dedication, injury history are all very important .. these factors would typically be in the qualitative category, but as someone who focuses on stats I figure you can even quantify those qualitative measures.

I like Rambo from the numbers I've seen before and he's an SEC guy, but I am working on that now...

Thanks for your input!