NFL: Denver Broncos Have Top Cornerback Tandem in the League, According to PFF

Jon Heath@ IFebruary 9, 2013

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06:  Chris Harris #25 of the Denver Broncos celebrates after making an interception against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum on November 6, 2011 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After the Denver Broncos' secondary ultimately led to the team be knocked out of the playoffs, with cornerback Champ Bailey being beaten twice, overreactions abounded, as fans and critics wondered if Champ's ability is declining.

The reality is that Champ only allowed one touchdown in the regular season and made two poor plays in the playoffs before shutting down Baltimore Ravens receiver Torrey Smith in the second half of Denver's divisional playoff game.  Across from Bailey, second-year cornerback Chris Harris continued to make a name for himself, a season after being named to the 2011 Rookie All-Star team.

Paired up, Bailey and Harris allowed a combined 929 yards to receivers in 2012, the fewest total among any duo in the NFL last season, according to  

For some perspective, consider that four individual cornerbacks allowed more yardage than Denver's cornerback tandem last season.

Per PFF, Bailey gave up 0.82 yards per coverage (fourth-best in the NFL) and Harris allowed 0.91 (ninth-best).  Quarterbacks posted a dismal 66.5 passer rating when throwing against Harris, who was also the second-highest rated run defending cornerback.

Meanwhile, veteran Drayton Florence, who was cut by the Broncos before the regular season, allowed 1.63 yards per coverage last season, making him the 101st rated PFF corner in 2012.  Another Bronco who eventually lost his job to Harris, Tracy Porter, allowed 1.83 (113th) yards per coverage.

In hindsight, the Broncos definitely made the right decision in starting Bailey and Harris, the two best cornerbacks on the team.  Moving forward, the team has no reason to panic or tamper with their starting cornerback situation.