Is Nnamdi Asomugha a Diamond in the Rough, or Just Another Has-Been?

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Is Nnamdi Asomugha a Diamond in the Rough, or Just Another Has-Been?
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Nnamdi gets owned by Julio Jones here.

Nnamdi Asomugha is a has-been. He was the best corner in the league for years, but he's turned into just another run-of-the-mill player at the position. And all of his weaknesses have been exploited as they've been developing.

Asomugha is a four-time Pro Bowl player who deserves to likely end up in the Hall of Fame with how dominant he was from 2006-2010. He was easily the best cornerback in the league and showed that he was worth the ridiculous amounts of money that Oakland wanted to pay him.

Then he left and went to Philadelphia. After two years of misuse, the best cornerback since Deion Sanders has been released and is now looking for the third home of his professional career. He will likely sign with someone who will attempt to let him return to what made him great in Oakland, but it will be futile—at this point, he's another has-been.

 

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Nnamdi: The Oakland Years

Before we talk about how much he regressed, we have to talk about how good Nnamdi Asomugha really was in Oakland. Over the span of three years, he was targeted by quarterbacks a total of 87 times, according to Pro Football Focus (Subscription Required).

Even more, he led the NFL in a pair of coverage stats from 2008 to 2010. The first is coverage snaps per target. The second is coverage snaps per receptions. Both are Pro Football Focus signature stats, but they show his talent level.

Year Coverage Snaps/Target  Coverage Snaps/Reception 
2008  15.0 28.1
2009 14.9 19.9
2010 13.8 30.8

The second best player in each year was a full seven coverage snaps per target or had their coverage snaps per reception at the same level Nnamdi was having coverage snaps per target. Meaning, he was putting up numbers that were twice as good as the second best player in the league.

The film backs up how good he was. When a guy isn't getting targeted, it's normally because he's not lining up against a good receiver, or it's because the guy across the field from him is garbage. However, Nnamdi wasn't getting targeted because he was covering his targets like a blanket. 

He was also able to play the best coverage technique for his abilities. The Raiders ran primarily an off-man coverage scheme. This allowed Nnamdi to sit back and not have to worry about bump-and-run coverages. He could let the cushion dissipate and then smother his receiver.

This led to him allowing just one touchdown over the three-year span. He was so good in Oakland that he could have signed whatever contract he wanted. Unfortunately, he got his wish and went to a playoff team that misused him as a result of his great play.

 

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Nnamdi: The Philly Years

When looking at his Oakland years, he's definitely worth every penny of the massive contract he signed. However, his Philadelphia years are the exact opposite of what he was in Oakland. Where he allowed one touchdown in three years there, he allowed nine touchdowns in the two seasons in Philadelphia.

His time in Philadelphia showed a huge regression in almost every statistical metric. He allowed more touchdowns than ever in his career. He also got targeted twice as much by the time he left. He had regressed from the best corner in a decade to a talented corner who can't cover deep anymore.

In the coverage snaps per target and coverage snaps per receptions metric, he showed the biggest drop-off in 2012. Despite still being a top corner in both of these metrics, his regression is concerning as he was targeted even more as the season continued to wear on.

Year  Coverage Snaps/Target  Coverage Snaps/Reception 
2011 11.5 18.6
2012 7.7 11.5

His play was hurt by a combination of factors. The first of which is his speed completely declined to average levels and he couldn't cover the deep route. The second of which was a horrible scheme that relied on him playing zone and press-man coverage.

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Even in the match-up zones that resemble off-man, Nnamdi had issues. It's a shame that the best corner of this generation has declined.

But it was bound to happen sometime. Even Deion Sanders once fell off. 

Now, don't get me wrong. Nnamdi is still a talented corner. But he is no diamond in the rough in this year's free-agent class. He's a player who has been regressing considerably and will end up being overpaid and improperly used by his next team.

 

All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus's Premium Stats, ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All contract information is courtesy Spotrac and Rotoworld. All recruiting rankings come from 247Sports.com.

Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He also runs the NFL Draft Website ScarDraft.com and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.

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