My personal philosophy is that a team can never have enough cornerbacks. It is ironic then that this is the first year I’ve charted anything related to the secondary. However, given how many teams could use a good CB in this pass happy league, examining them is extremely important. For the first tier, I’ve chosen to analyze Dee Milliner, Johnthan Banks, and Xavier Rhodes. If you’re asking why I left out Jordan Poyer, it’s simply because CBs take a long time to chart and since I ran out of time, I’ll have him coming in a second tier. These stats are less clear and obvious than QB and WRs, so bear with me as I try to break them down as best I can.
As a note, unlike WRs where I note only when they are targeted, I’ve charted a variety of factors on each snap when it comes to CBs. Thus, I used a 4 game sample, which is normally smaller than I’d like. However, I’m still happy with the sample and think it gets a good representation of these corners.
Where Were They Targeted?
These are the locations in which the cornerbacks were targeted. That is, it includes all outcomes such as completions, pass interference, deflections, etc.
- All of the CBs were challenged in the 1-5 yard zone a plurality of the time. Nearly 50% of Banks’ targets came within a short distance of the LOS. Similarly Milliner’s 33% and Rhodes 43% are very high. This high percentage is likely due to shorter routes, including swing passes out of the backfield into their zones.
- Less of Milliner’s targets came in the shorter zones, instead 50% of his targets came in the intermediate zones of 6-20 yards.
- Xavier Rhodes was challenged deep most often with 19% of his total targets coming back 20 yards. This could either be indicative of the coverage FSU was playing or that quarterbacks often felt that Rhodes was vulnerable deep.
What Happened After They Were Targeted?
All of these are a function of total passes, not just targets. Thus 100 minus the percentage of No Throw would equal how often they were targeted. I’ve taken out interceptions, thus it won’t add to 100%,
- In total Milliner and Banks were targeted roughly 21% of the time, while Rhodes was only targeted on 14.5% of all passes. This is clearly a significant difference. This doesn’t necessarily mean Rhodes is the better corner. It could mean Florida State’s other CBs were bad enough to be targeted more. Still it’s worth checking out due to the drastic nature of the difference.
- Milliner deflected more balls than the others with 3.48% of all passes deflected (which works out to roughly 16% of all targets). We should note that Banks had more interceptions which isn’t reflected in this chart.
- Rhodes had a few pass interference penalties in my sample, which would actually count as worse than completions due to the distance given up on each PI call.
Where Did They Line Up?
Even though we know where they were targeted, what technique were they playing? While I didn’t try to decipher the playbooks to figure out the coverages, I at least noted where they were aligned pre-snap. As a note, the CBs had to get their hands on the WRs to count as press coverage. The yardage refers to how far they were from the line of scrimmage.
- Rhodes by far was the most “versatile” cornerback. He played press coverage nearly 21% of the time compared to only 13% for Milliner and 8% for Banks. The distribution over each zone is nearly equal for Rhodes.
- The majority of Milliner’s snaps were taken close to the line of scrimmage. Nearly 56% of his snaps were a 1-5 yard zone pre-snap look, while he played press- bail 22.6% of the time.
- Some have spoken of Banks’ physicality, while this doesn’t prove anything, around 85% of his snaps were started off the line of scrimmage between 1 and 10 yards. He almost never played press-bail at only 6% of the time.
Average Distance of Completions
This is simply the average distance in yards of a completion against each CB. Note that these are before yards after the catch.
- The average completions against both Milliner and Banks are around the 8 yard range with Milliner’s being slightly higher.
- Rhodes’ average distance is much lower at 5.7 yards. Whether that’s due to his play in the ACC or physicality, Rhodes did not give up deep passes on average.
I have a litany of other charts and data that I’m going to post below. I’m not even going to try to analyze them because you could be here for weeks reading them. Among them we have completions by down, first downs, targets by alignment, etc.
1st Downs Allowed (Before YAC):
Alignment by Side:
Targets By Alignment:
(Thus, what was their pre-snap alignment when they were targeted)
Completions By Down:
Percentage of Plays that each CB Blitzed: