Who's the best cornerback in the NFL?
Some fans think New York Jets star Darrelle Revis, while others say it's Oakland Raiders veteran Nnamdi Asomugha. It is an argument that simply cannot be won.
The Revis side will throw out his 64 career pass deflections, and how quarterbacks completed just 36.9 percent of their passes towards Revis last season.
Asomugha supporters will point out that only 28 passes came his way all of last season, so one can contend that he did his job better since no one is throwing at him.
So, is there a way to come up with a ranking system that would avoid as much bias and subjectivity as possible?
Stats with the least amount of subjectivity for cornerbacks are snaps, TA, Receptions Against, Catch Percentage, Interceptions, and Pass Deflections.
The challenge is to figure out a way to compare players that did not have equal opportunities. There is a yards per carry average for running backs that does just that, but for cornerbacks there is no such statistic.
My ranking is ultimately composed of three distinct parts.
Part 1: Playmaking (PM): A percentage composed of (PD+INT)/TA
This number provides a way to compare Player A, thrown at 100 times with 6 INT and 10 PD, to Player B, thrown at 50 times with 4 INT and 6 PD. Obviously the second player was better.
Weighted PM: (PM*TA%): This weights the PM based on the number of opportunities each player had to make a play.
Stat goals: Compensate for the number of opportunities the defense had and provide weight to what the player did when thrown at.
Part 2: Catch Percentage : (61%-Catch%)*TA%
Catch percentage weighted based upon a 61% average NFL QB completion percentage. Allowing 62% completions would be -1% and allowing 55% would be +6% over average.
Take this result and add weight depending on the TA% for each player.
Stat goals: Weight the typical catch percentage based upon thrown at and compare to the average completion percentage of an NFL quarterback to determine a rating over or under average catch percentage.
Part 3: Good Coverage : (Expressed as NT%)
In this case, how often was the player NOT thrown at on a passing play. Using snaps and TA to create a percentage.
This is the total percentage of passing play snaps where the player was not thrown at. Good coverage is assumed in this case.
Stat goals: This can't directly measure good coverage, because there are a variety of factors that could prevent a corner from being thrown at. What it does do, is provide a non-subjective measurement of the corners coverage ability within his defensive scheme and situation. You can't cheat this stat.
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