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Morris Claiborne, Orlando Scandrick 2013 Projections

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At NBC, I projected Morris Claiborne for the 2013 season:

In terms of yards-per-snap, Morris Claiborne actually ranked pretty highly in his rookie season, finishing in the top 36 in the league. He yielded 1.21 yards-per-snap—just below Carr’s 1.17 yards-per-snap. Claiborne was actually targeted just 69 times all year. That’s one of the primary reasons people believe his rookie campaign was worse than it was; he gave up a 69.6 percent completion rate, but he still allowed fewer receptions and yards than Carr.

There are all kinds of reasons to believe that Claiborne will improve in 2013. First, we tend to forget that this was the consensus top defensive player available in the 2012 NFL Draft. When we compare Claiborne to other second-year cornerbacks, it’s important to remember that he was graded ahead of all of them. Plus, Monte Kiffin’s scheme should benefit the cornerbacks, both of whom will play closer to the line and in more zones, giving them the ability to make plays.

Because of that, you’ll likely see superior bulk numbers from Claiborne this year. Barring injury, he should play in the neighborhood of 1,000 snaps. The cornerback will probably get targeted more often—we’ll say 75 times—because of Kiffin’s scheme. At a 66.7 percent completion rate allowed, Claiborne would give up 50 receptions.

I also did a projection for Orlando Scandrick:

This year, Scandrick will need to fend off rookie B.W. Webb. Webb is a talented player, but Scandrick should be able to retain third cornerback duties if he plays like he did in 2012. Last season was perhaps Scandrick’s best; in comparison, he allowed 1.36 yards per snap in 2011 and 1.32 yards per snap in 2010. Based on those numbers, we can effectively project Scandrick at around 1.20 yards per snap in 2013.

If Scandrick plays a full season, he’ll likely see around 400 coverage snaps, meaning he’d allow 480 receiving yards. Scandrick has historically been targeted on around 18 percent of his coverage snaps, which would equate to 72 targets in 2013. Scandrick allowed a completion on nearly 70 percent of passes his way in the two seasons prior to 2012. If we project a 65.3 percent completion rate, Scandrick would give up 47 completions on the 72 looks his way—6.67 yards per target.

Since 2010, Scandrick has made a tackle on 7.1 percent of his snaps. If that number remains steady in 2013, Scandrick should fall in the range of 43 tackles. Unfortunately, it will probably always be a challenge for Scandrick to haul in a lot of interceptions because, when he’s on the field, the Cowboys are usually in man coverage. With his back turned to the quarterback, it’s difficult for Scandrick to make plays on the ball.

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