New England Patriots: Just How Good Was Cornerback Kyle Arrington in 2011?

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New England Patriots: Just How Good Was Cornerback Kyle Arrington in 2011?
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If you asked an NFL fan what they thought of New England Patriots' cornerback Kyle Arrington, you'd likely get a variety of responses.

Some would say that he is a mediocre corner that lucked into his league-leading seven interceptions last season, while others would assert that he had a breakthrough season and was robbed of a Pro Bowl berth.

This begs the question: Just how good was Kyle Arrington in 2011?

While most of Arrington's interceptions were not a result of superior athleticism and ball skills; they were a result of being smart, understanding assignments and being aware of what was happening on the football field.

Maybe his seven interceptions weren't as impressive as Devin McCourty's seven interceptions in 2010, but they were still a fine display of football intelligence and helped Arrington earn an impressive 68.8 opponent passer rating (stat courtesy Pro Football Focus).

So we know that Arrington got a boatload of interceptions last year, but how was his overall coverage in 2011?

According to Pro Football Focus, in 2011 Arrington earned a 54.5 opponent catch percentage (the percentage of receptions completed into a players coverage.) To put this statistic into perspective, Miami Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis--who is widely considered one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL--had the same exact opponent catch percentage last season.

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What's even more impressive is that Arrington's 54.5 opponent catch percentage topped that of many great cornerbacks last season including Lardarius Webb (57.8%), Johnathan Joseph (57.9%) and Cortland Finnegan (63.4%), just to name a few.

While these stats should make any of his doubters think twice, Arrington was far from perfect in 2011.

Arrington was beat deep too often a season ago and allowed a total of 817 yards while in primary coverage. That is too many yards allowed to be considered a top cornerback in this league. The aforementioned Davis, for example, allowed only 496 yards in 2011 (stats courtesy Pro Football Focus).

Arrington is certainly not a great cornerback by today's standards, but if he can limit how often he gets beat deep, he will certainly be on his way.

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