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Perhaps you heard about Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks proclaiming to be the best cornerback in the NFL.
It’s certainly a subjective title and Sherman is not exactly an unbiased source.
But with the help of Pro Football Focus, we can examine some statistical data to form an opinion.
Of cornerbacks who played 60 percent of his team’s defensive snaps or more, Sherman ranked sixth in PFF’s grading system that takes into account pass coverage, run support, blitzes and penalties. (Sherman was called for nine penalties, tied for third-most among NFL cornerbacks.)
Darrelle Revis, Brent Grimes, Vontae Davis, Tyrann Mathieu and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie ranked 1 through 5 in PFF’s overall grading system.
But Sherman was No. 1 among NFL cornerbacks with an opponent passer rating of 47.3 when he was targeted in coverage. Sherman saw 58 passes thrown his way. The opposition caught just 30 passes for 421 yards with two touchdowns and eight interceptions against Sherman.
Tennessee’s Alterraun Verner was second with a 55.8 passer rating with 579 yards allowed on 39-of-79 passing with two touchdowns and five interceptions.
Opposing quarterbacks had an 81.4 rating when targeting Revis, who surrendered four touchdowns with two interceptions. Revis gave up only 400 passing yards in coverage.
Sherman ranks No. 1 in another important category for cornerbacks: Quarterbacks generally avoided him.
Sherman saw a league-low one pass for every 9.5 snaps he was in coverage thrown in his direction. And he surrendered a league-best one reception for every 18.3 snaps on pass plays in which he was coverage.
Meanwhile, Revis was targeted one out of 8.8 times he was in coverage and gave a completion one out of every 16.4 snaps in coverage.
Does that mean Sherman is the best cornerback in the league?