While it provides a good indication, this chart isn’t the definitive answer to who are the best defensive backs. I have to make an educated guess at each play call, which becomes harder when it’s a zone look.
The below chart also doesn’t factor in pass breakups, inaccurate throws that count as a target, or have 100 per cent accurate responsibility on blown coverages.
I’ve recently separated targets into two categories. The first is responsible targets, which track defenders who are responsible for a player out of the backfield or in a player’s zone. Second is vicinity targets, which track defenders who are in the area of a throw and have or had a chance to make a play on the ball, often man coverage looks.
You can find individual players’ responsible and vicinity targets on the media section of my Twitter, @nik_kowalski. Below are my top 2019 CFL pass defenders after Labour Day.
Observations of the Top 20 CFL Pass Defenders
- The majority of boundary defenders are on pace to surrender well over 600 passing yards. Aaron Grymes is on pace for just over 200, all while his team is 1-9.
- If Loucheiz Purifoy didn’t handle kick return duties, he’d be awfully bored.
- The Eskimos are throwing Josh Johnson, a lockdown defender, on the field side while Anthony Orange and Money Hunter aren’t shining on the boundary side.
- Tre Roberson has the most misleading statistics on this chart. His 9.64 yard per catch against average is what to look at, and Roberson surely leads the CFL in pass breakups.
- Patrick Levels is having a solid year, but Rico Murray is the best SAM in the CFL’s East.
- Jumal Rolle’s had a better 2019 than Delvin Breaux at Hamilton’s boundary corner.
- If Bryan Burnham didn’t abuse Richard Leonard in Week 9, he’d be in the top five. Even with four touchdowns against, Leonard’s been a consistent playmaker.
- Ottawa’s made some questionable personnel decisions in their secondary, but starting rookie DeAndre Farris is one that’s paying off.
- It’s hard not to include linebackers Simoni Lawrence, Derrick Moncrief and Jamar Wall, who have all been excellent against the pass by limiting yards with timely tackles.
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