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Jason Hatcher, Brandon Carr 2013 Projections

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At NBC, I continued my projections with defensive tackle Jason Hatcher:

As a pass-rusher, Hatcher’s sack total dropped from 4.5 in 2011 to 4.0 in 2012. He did pressure the quarterback at a higher rate than ever before, but his total pressure were inflated due to more snaps to get after the quarterback. In reality, Hatcher’s pressure rate jumped just a little—from 5.2 percent to 6.4 percent. So on a per-play basis, Hatcher was about as good in 2011 as he was last season.

The key to projecting Hatcher in 2013 is predicting his snap count. We pretty much know what Hatcher will give the Cowboys, but we don’t know how Monte Kiffin will utilize him. My guess is that Hatcher will probably participate in around the same number of snaps as in 2012. The Cowboys didn’t upgrade the defensive tackle position and second-year man Tyrone Crawford is playing more defensive end. There just aren’t a lot of players to eat up snaps.

Hatcher will be playing a different position in Kiffin’s 4-3 defense, although I don’t think you’ll see it affect his efficiency much. However, we should probably expect Hatcher’s pressure and tackles rates to drop some in 2013. For one, he is coming off of a career season and likely to regress anyway. Second, Hatcher will be 31 years old when the season begins. He sure looked youthful in 2012, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s at an age when most defensive tackles are wearing down.

And I also projected Brandon Carr’s 2013 season:

One of my favorite stats to analyze cornerback play is yards per snap. Yards per snap measures the amount of receiving yards a cornerback gives up for each snap that he’s in coverage. It’s better than YPA as a predictive stat because it doesn’t penalize for poor coverage. If Carr has perfect coverage and doesn’t get targeted, his yards per snap is superior. He ranked 25th in the NFL in 2012 with 1.16 yards per snap allowed.

Carr was on the field for 1,043 snaps in 2012, and that number should remain pretty steady in 2013. A lot of Carr’s numbers could change quite a bit, however, since he’s going to be playing more zone coverage. Because of that, I think you’ll see Carr get targeted even more—say 90 times—and allow a higher completion percentage of around 63.3 percent. At that rate, he would give up 57 receptions.

Since the attempts thrown at Carr could be shorter than in 2012, however, Carr can still improve his efficiency. At 7.0 YPA, Carr would yield 630 yards on the year. If he plays just as many snaps in coverage as he did in 2012, he would allow 1.08 yards per snap. Such a number would probably rank Carr in the top 20 in the league this year.

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