Analytics say Bradley Roby is a top five corner in 2017
By Andrew Wade
Bradley Roby had a breakout 2017 season, leading to Talib’s departure. Just how good was Roby and what does that mean for the No Fly Zone in 2018?
Ian Wharton spent countless hours reviewing every passing play and charting the results. This analysis is titled the Coverage Productivity project, which he compiled into his publication, the NFL Corner Handbook. The handbook is a 359-page publication covering all 32 teams that is available for purchase here.
This detailed research included pages of detailed coverage on our vaunted Denver Bronco No Fly Zone. The results begin painting a clearer picture for why Denver moved on from Aqib Talib. To put it bluntly, according to Wharton’s research, Roby is a top-flight cover corner.
The intent of this analysis is to reward corners for good positioning and technique while accounting for impactful variances that the corner cannot control. If the corner is beat on a route, but the quarterback misplaces the throw, the corner might still be able to make a play. The stat sheet might show an interception despite the cornerback actually being out of position.
Wharton’s analysis factors this in and doesn’t reward corners when they have been beat but make a “good” play. This is a similar concept to how PFF ultimately grades players, focusing less on end result, but the path to that result.
This scoring system is binary, broken down by coverage wins and coverage losses. In the example above, that is considered a loss. Conversely, if the wide receiver makes an Odell Beckham-type acrobatic catch, but the corner had great position, that is a win. These wins and losses are used to create a success rate.