Critiquing the B/R NFL 1000 Project: Cornerbacks

Bloggers, media and sport fans used to heap scorn on Bleacher Report, mainly due to some questionable user-generated content that damaged the site’s reputation in its infancy. However, since their big money deal with Turner 18 months ago, they’ve added some talented and respected names as featured writers and a great deal of their content is now well worth checking out.

One of the featured writers they added to their roster was draft scouting guru and former TJB Podcast guest Matt Miller, who – along with several other film junkies – is spearheading the B/R NFL 1000 project, where they attempt to rank the NFL’s top 1,000 players. The project is now into its third year and they’ve just started releasing this year’s results. For more on how the project works go here.

In our eighth installment, we look at their rankings for cornerbacks. To look back at the previous updates go here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

In their top 100 cornerbacks list, Miller and his colleagues rank Dee Milliner 100th and Kyle Wilson 72nd. Antonio Cromartie was 97th, while Dimitri Patterson does not feature.

Here’s what they said about Wilson:

A little underrated as a corner, Kyle Wilson (5’10”, 190 lbs, four seasons) is the type of player who keeps everything in front of him and rarely allows receivers to get behind him. He is at his best when playing off coverage. He will get pushed around at the line of scrimmage when in press coverage. Wilson has good straight-line speed but isn’t extremely fluid in the hips, which causes him to be slow in and out of his breaks. Rex Ryan loves Wilson’s versatility and will line him up all over the field, including some plays at safety.

Read Bent’s thoughts after the jump.

Bent, TheJetsBlog.com

For once, I actually think these rankings are fair. Remember, the fact they ranked Milliner 100th, doesn’t mean the 99 guys ahead of him are better than he is, or will be better than him in 2014, it’s just a reflection of his 2013 performance. Despite an extremely impressive December, which earned him defensive rookie of the month honors, Milliner was so poor until the last few games that ranking him this low is justifiable.

Remember, these lists don’t take into account past performance or future potential. They even acknowledge this in their article where they say “If [this list was] based on upside, Milliner would be ranked much higher.” Milliner certainly struggled over the first 12 games, but we expected him to make a slow start. As I wrote when Milliner finally signed his rookie deal after missing the start of training camp, “Traditionally, defensive backs coached by Nick Saban at the college level have taken some time to adjust because NFL coaches employ slightly different techniques”. While it took him some time to adjust, Milliner led the NFL in passes defensed during the second half of the season and certainly showed enough that I’m confident he’ll have a good year in 2014. However, his early season struggles still need to be taken into account for the purposes of his rankings here.

I’ll have a special BGA on Milliner at some point after the draft.

Again, Cromartie’s low ranking seems fair. His coverage numbers were extremely poor, as he gave up a reception of 30 yard or more in seven different games, having done so in just four games in each of the previous two seasons. Once again, his ranking rightly doesn’t take into account past performance or predict how he’ll do in the future, so it remains to be seen if that was a temporary, injury-fueled blip, or the moment where his wheels fell off for good. Evidently that was a chance the Cardinals were more prepared to take than the Jets.

On the assumption that there are 64 starter-level players in the league, Wilson being at 72 pegs him as one of the better third corners in the NFL, which again seems warranted. It says a lot that whenever Milliner was benched, Darrin Walls replaced him rather than Wilson. In 2012, Wilson started opposite Cromartie in place of the injured Darrelle Revis, reverting to the slot (with Ellis Lankster outside) in nickel packages, but in 2013, they opted to keep him in the slot permanently.

It’s disappointing that Dimitri Patterson doesn’t appear on the list because it would have been interesting to weigh up his rankings and comments against some of the other corners the Jets could have pursued this offseason. The reason is obviously that he didn’t play enough snaps. However, much like Kenrick Ellis, the contributions he made even in those injury-limited opportunities were still much better than many of the players who are on the list. Patterson had PFF’s 18th best coverage grade and only five cornerbacks intercepted more passes than he did. I can understand why a guy like Vince Wilfork (who graded out negatively in 177 snaps) would be left out of these lists, but Patterson and Ellis were both productive enough in over 200 snaps to warrant inclusion. Darrin Walls might also have been an interesting study – he played 292 snaps.

To be fair, when you consider the scope of this project, it’s difficult to complain about them having to draw the line somewhere. After all, it’s not the NFL 1003 project, is it?

We’ll continue to keep an eye on this project over the offseason.




51 comments
levi
levi

Hey Bent, I see you are doing a BGA on Milliner and I really like the idea of it also Geno would be great. I'd love to see how they progressed throughout the season. My only issue is why wait until after the draft? Im getting burned out on draft talk. But anyway this is a great idea and I look forward to it.

Steven Windeler
Steven Windeler

Milliner didn't just have a good last 4 games, he had a best in the league PFF rating of 8.1 for the last 4 games. It was enough to raise him about 40 spots on the rankings. Extrapolated it would be a 32.4 ranking for the year. For reference Revis led the league with an 18.2 overall rating.


Those who want to say it was the competition need to know he was covering some of the best WRs in the game, and Cro had a -3.8 rating the last 4 games. -12 overall.

maynard
maynard

So with Milner (100), Cro (97) and  Wilson (72) and a weak ass offense  with tons of turnovers keeping them on the field longer, we still win 8 games. Kinda blows the theory of spending $10 million plus on a Revis type of CB out of the water.


This year with reduced turnovers, better pass rush from Coples and Barnes and continued improvement of our young DL, I,m betting that with Milner (76), Wilson (65) and Patterson/Walls (85) we would have a huge improvement  without spending millions  on a Revis( who coincidently means opposing QB's will always be throwing at your weakest CB).  I,m starting to think that the mean scores of  DB's is more important than the Average scores of DB's where having an aberration of a player like Revis almost insures exploitation of your weakest member. Give me three solid good to average players at reasonable prices every time.  having a Revis for 412 Million a year never got any of his teams to the Superbowl.

dabronx
dabronx

Putting Wilson @ safety is an interesting idea. We'll see how the draft turns out. But with a very deep WR/CB draft, I hoping Izdick and his scouting team has their S!@# together.

Kirk Michael
Kirk Michael

Milliner was an injured hold out that missed a whole mini camp at one of the hardest positions in the rexs defense. He had to learn to get more physical and the last 4 games he impressed me. This G shizz being only good the last four games I didn't see that, I saw flashes of G throwing great passes and making plays with his feet thru out the season. When Holmes, Kerley, Cumby , and Winslow were hurt he stuggled for 5 games which is the bad people remember about him other then that I think he played like a normal rookie and he can tke the next step along with D.

Rex and Idzik built a very good core and Ill bet on the guys were not sure yet on.

WIlk stud best at his pos in league don't care about bleacher rep

Coples already a good play (got a raw deal with the injury last season)He just will have his break out sack season this yr n I believe he will

Rich stud 3 best at pos in league f the bleacher rep

Harrison stud

Ellis good athlete for size and good rotational player

Demario great athlete for position n great leader

Kerley top slot rec in game under rated

Decker big strong rec can do all diff shiz at the pos add odb open up even more for him.

Powell- I like powell a lot and he does a lot of things other players do not n he should he part of the core not goodson. Hes a consistent player that doesn't make mistakes.

Ivory- They were a good one two punch n with or with out c,johnson I can see he n powell along with a young 3rd down back.

Dee full summer under Rex and hell be legit.

G a guy to me who can develop into a very qb,can make all the throws, and can be a play maker with his feet.

Then we have our vets pro bowlers n vets he contribute a good amt.

Brick- wat can I say has been a pro bowler and is very good at what he does

Mangold- same

Harris- Had a come back season n look god again last season.

Landry- Great run stopper and tackler. n good for a young secondary.

Barnes- Barring anything wrong with his comeback n he gets back to being a beast like he was for 3 games he contributes a lot

Colon-Good leadership and very pass blocker n contributor for the time being,

We add ODB and with 12 picks trade up n get pos to get Amaro, that's a team g or vick we should be able to contend for a wildcard spot..If we get Johnson we get him if not get a cheap 3rd down back who can make the big play but him barely anything in comparison to c,johson.

Monty
Monty

Our corner situation is not good.If walls or lankster were "answers" I think Ryan would have played them more..hes smart. We dont have a #1 corner.

levi
levi

@Steven Windeler  Yes, Milliner seemed to put it all together at the end. I think it helped him a lot knowing Reed was behind him so he could take some chances. I hope he continues his upswing and continues to get turnovers. something this team seems to struggle at.

UncleJoesJetFarm
UncleJoesJetFarm

@maynard  The best teams are sound and balanced before they go over the top and spend on that one huge player to win it all. When a team has mass needs, just plugging in a couple of pricey Fas, just dig you in a hole. It is like having just the icing on a cake, but not the cake. 

UncleJoesJetFarm
UncleJoesJetFarm

@maynard  Exactly, one player makes no difference no matter how good, if you have holes all over the place in other areas, it would just be a big waste of money.

Monty
Monty

@Disgruntled Jets Fan  make up your mind ... were we bad and do we need years of rebuilding  through the draft... or are we decent and should we look at trying to win the division.. Because if you want to win the division..idzik just spent the month blowing it.  You keep defending idzik you must think we sucked so you should just agree with this article No?

UncleJoesJetFarm
UncleJoesJetFarm

@Disgruntled Jets Fan  Dude, we had one of the worst point differentials in the league! We only won 2 games in a row on one occasion, and the games that we lost, we got destroyed!  We should have lost two more games due to those strange penalty calls right at the end of the game. We were wildly inconsistent, but overachieved.  When you get beat by well over 100 points in your losses, there is much to do. 

Bent
Bent moderator

@Disgruntled Jets Fan  It's not over yet.  Maybe they were reaaally high on Harris, Davis, Purdum, Malone and Folk.


Especially Purdum.

Kirk Michael
Kirk Michael

@Monty In rexs defense corners hard to pick up, dee played well the last 4 games and I bet with a full offseason hell be the real this season

bradysucks
bradysucks

If that's the case then we wasted a top 10 pick on Millner

Disgruntled Jets Fan
Disgruntled Jets Fan

@Monty @Disgruntled Jets Fan  Logic is elusive for you, isn't it?


"were we bad and do we need years of rebuilding  through the draft... or are we decent and should we look at trying to win the division."


This is called false dilemma. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma  This is not an either-or situation in reality.  I think we are decent, should continue to build through the draft, and always aim to win the division.    


"You keep defending idzik you must think we sucked"


I've criticized him too.  Regardless of my opinions of Idzik, none of them imply that I think the Jets "sucked."   There is no causal correlation between the two.


Bent
Bent moderator

@Monty @Disgruntled Jets Fan  


Sustainable success (starting now) is the goal, not "years of rebuilding through the draft".


However, extend your reach and waste money and you could end up with NO CHOICE but to undergo years of rebuilding through the draft.  Clearly that's not something you want, but ironically you are, in effect, rooting for them to land themselves in that situation.

Bent
Bent moderator

@jake100 @Disgruntled Jets Fan  That's meaningless.  The team wasn't equipped to come from behind, so a couple of games spiraled out of control. 


If the Jets went 8-8 and had won several blowouts and lost a load of close games, you wouldn't be focusing on that, you'd be saying "you are what your record says you are".


The Jets had a positive points differential in 2011 and all you talked about was their weaknesses.

Kirk Michael
Kirk Michael

@bradysucks how do u say waste wen he didn't get an offseason he didn't learn any of rexs defense while actually playing. playing is a 100th times better way to learn then film.

j3tsfan29
j3tsfan29

@_fense, In all fairness. CRo had the cbs out west training last offseason.

__fense
__fense

@Disgruntled Jets Fan @__fense @Hanknaples @Bent @jake100  I want to second this. The only time I ever heard about anyone but Sanchez organizing team activities himself was during the lockout. After that year, everyone stopped doing it but Sanchez, who I'm assuming isn't going to do it this year for the Eagles.

jmactheman
jmactheman

@Bent @jmactheman @Disgruntled Jets Fan @Hanknaples @Kirk Michael  


No. The only business that was given was one one of the other people who were there asked a question that was essentially "What the hell is wrong with Sanchez?" Lyons went into this big defense about how it's unfair to put it all on Mark, how maybe he should have had better receivers, and maybe there should have been better coordination. He went on for about 5 minutes, and probably would have still been going, except Klecko pretended to fall asleep and started snoring.


It was great.

jmactheman
jmactheman

@Disgruntled Jets Fan @jmactheman @Hanknaples @Kirk Michael  


If you go to the stadium, there's a thing where you can scan a loyalty card thing and win Jets themed prizes. It's mostly hats and T-shirts, but my brother won the grand prize, which was a tour of the Jets facility and a "practice" with Marty Lyons and Joe Klecko.

Bent
Bent moderator

@jmactheman @Kirk Michael  Brick looks great.  


Unfortunately, "not being fat" has limited relevance to any offensive lineman's performance projection.

Kirk Michael
Kirk Michael

@bradysucks hell get it n everyone will feel stupid wat is he 6'2' runs a 4.3 , hell get it n looked like he caught up to the speed of the game at the end of the season