Deep Dive: James Bradberry’s numbers from 2021 season don’t tell the full story
Ex-Giants cornerback James Bradberry agreed to a one-year contract with Philadelphia on Wednesday, giving the Eagles another top-tier defender alongside Darius Slay.
Since entering the league, Bradberry has been one of the most consistent cornerbacks in the game, only missing five contests across his six-year career. The 28-year-old is coming off a productive two-year stint in New York where he totaled 101 tackles, 35 passes defended, and 7 INTs.
This signing is a steal for the Eagles, who are paying Bradberry less than the dead cap hit New York is eating in 2021 for cutting him. Rival fanbases, however, seem to be under the preconceived notion that Bradberry is washed due to him allowing a career-most 848 yards and 8 TDs last season.
These numbers appear ugly on the surface — but don’t let them discourage you.
Giants’ defensive coordinator Patrick Graham implemented press-man coverage at times, which has never been a strength of Bradberry. He’s an outside zone corner who should be a seamless fit for Jonathan Gannon’s scheme behind a revamped front-seven.
To put into perspective, here are Bradberry’s numbers in man coverage compared to zone from the previous two seasons:
|Man Coverage||Zone Coverage|
|% of snaps played||23.7%||65.1%|
|Passer rating allowed||92.3||48.5|
|PFF Coverage Grade||66.1||81.5|
|Man Coverage||Zone Coverage|
|% of snaps played||22.5%||65.0%|
|Passer rating allowed||127.2||76.5|
|PFF Coverage Grade||40.1||79.1|
There was evident regression last season, partly due to a lingering Achilles injury, but Bradberry is considerably more effective in a zone-heavy system. According to PFF, the Giants were the league’s most aggressive team in terms of running man coverage without a safety net.
Once New York hired Wink Martindale and his Cover 0 defense, the decision to release Bradberry likely became that much easier.
That’s not to say the former Carolina Panther isn’t capable of playing man-to-man; the Giants just hung him out to dry without help over the top far too often.
Bradberry’s instincts have allowed him to challenge receivers and lead his team in pass breakups each year throughout his career.
Bradberry man coverage vs. Terry McLaurin spacing route
Bradberry man coverage vs. Kendrick Bourne drag route
The addition of Bradberry will allow Gannon to be more creative schematically in his two-deep zone, especially with Jordan Davis commanding attention up front. Slay and his new running mate should take pressure off Anthony Harris and presumed starter Marcus Epps on the back end.
Bradberry is one year removed from his Pro Bowl campaign where he was PFF’s 7th-highest ranked CB. Although he may not be a lockdown corner at this juncture, you’d be hard-pressed to find a superior CB2.
Pass-breakup leaders since 2016:— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) May 18, 2022
• Darius Slay: 84
• James Bradberry: 82
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