Back to the rookies next week, but how could I not break down James Bradberry after the Eagles recently signed him? This is a good one and I really enjoyed watching him. I watched film largely from this past season but also a little bit from 2020. Lets go...
- all 2021 season per PFF and comparing him to players with a minimum of 20% snaps played (129 players)
- 986 snaps out wide, 68 in the slot
- PFF grade of 62, ranks 65th
- 22.6 missed tackle %, ranks 126 (yikes)
- 65% targets caught, ranks 60th
- Allowed 12.2 yards per reception, ranks 84th (Trevon Diggs at 129th with 18.7!!)
- Allowed 262 YAC, ranks 101st
- Allowed 8 TDs last year, ranks joint last.
- 4 INTs, ranks 6th
- 13 PBU’s, ranks 5th
(I’m not sure I ever trust PFF’s coverage man/zone stuff fully but anyway here he go)
- Allowed 16.1 yards per reception, ranks 98th
- 68% targets caught, ranks 101st
- Passer rating of 127 when targeted, ranks 105th
- Allowed 11.5 yards per reception, ranks 74th
- 64.8% targets caught, ranks 45th
- Passer rating of 76 when targeted, ranks 35th
+ Really good at playing the ball in the air, can win in contested situations and will create turnovers. Can play through a receivers hands to stop a completion too.
He does get turned around and beat here but... The recovery is really good and the ball skills. Phew. He's really good in contested situations which is another reason I really like him against bigger WRs/TEs, especially in the red zone. pic.twitter.com/aTDK6YqQjI— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 26, 2022
+ Good footwork and technique to mirror receivers routes, especially in off coverage
Really good in off coverage here again. You can see the footwork and transition from backpedal to covering the out route is really good. I think he's a tough corner to beat in off coverage and his awareness in zone is outstanding. pic.twitter.com/4JmCxbjcjl— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 26, 2022
+ Outstanding at understanding route depth and dealing with hi-lo situations. Has a really good feel for when to come off the deeper receiver and break on the short route.
This was one of my favorite plays. Really difficult as a C2 corner to have a vertical route and a Hi-Lo coming at you. He sits just enough on the underneath route to tempt Herbert into the intermediate route and makes a hell of a play on the ball. pic.twitter.com/f915fbMO2c— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 26, 2022
+ Has great click and close speed and breaks on the football very well. Has some excellent reps in off coverage.
He's also really good in off coverage. He's quite aggressive and will jump these routes and has really good speed to close on the football. His acceleration is good and you can see why he gets a few interceptions each year. pic.twitter.com/mur8EIDO48— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 26, 2022
There's the click and close speed/acceleration in off coverage again. He's going to fit what Gannon did at the start of last year very well. He's better with the game in front of him. pic.twitter.com/uJ5Qk9hL8i— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 26, 2022
Last couple of positives... The ball skills are evidence. He flies towards the ball aggressively and clearly wants to make big plays. The click and close speed is very good here! pic.twitter.com/l8TebsG4ge— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 26, 2022
+ Has a great sense of when to pass a receiver off to the deep safety, especially in quarters coverage.
James Bradberry film thread... Largely from this past season but not all clips are. Very evident early on he is very, very good in zone coverage and will be brilliant in quarters. Elite at knowing when to pass the deep route off to a safety. You see it time and time again. pic.twitter.com/0scvS4tJgl— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 26, 2022
I remember highlighting this play as an aspect that Hurts needs to improve on but forgot it was Bradberry. Really good timing and knowing when to pass the deep route onto the safety whilst trying to lure the QB into throwing the route coming into his zone. He excels at this. pic.twitter.com/HIVIWswkMe— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 26, 2022
I mean this is an awful throw but you get the picture by now. He looks like a great fit for a 2-high/quarters etc style of defense and he excels in zone. pic.twitter.com/YzIfajXCbL— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 26, 2022
+ Can play physical man coverage on bigger bodied receivers and matchup with tight ends who are split out wide. Not afraid to press receivers either.
So... Can he play man?! Yes! He can. But I would say he's better in specific situations and against certain bigger WRs. I liked seeing him in press in the red zone where his lack of deep speed can be hidden. He's very physical and is long enough to press too. pic.twitter.com/apuCq5U7NA— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 26, 2022
Chiefs tape is really really interesting. They put Bradberry on Kelce and he had some really good reps. He was very physical with him but he got away with it. He's better in man coverage against bigger receivers where he can use his length/physicality pic.twitter.com/oqSlw3p2Ue— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 26, 2022
Here he is on Kelce one on one again. Not afraid to get physical. I doubt the Eagles use him as a matchup guy on tight ends but he has proven he can handle tight ends who split out wide which is obviously a big part of the modern NFL. He probably thrives in those matchups tbh. pic.twitter.com/McLlEeCkEn— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 26, 2022
+ Is not a soft corner in the run game. He missed too many tackles last year but it wasn’t for a lack of effort or physicality.
He was absolutely not a consistent wrap up tackler last year (I'm not sure why) but I never saw a lack of effort. He had some good plays where he fought through blocks and made a great tackle. Looked like technique issues overall rather than him being 'soft'. pic.twitter.com/YFmNBWVeeX— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 26, 2022
- Better as a number 2 cornerback, rather than lining up against the oppositions best WR.
A-Rob got the better of him 1on1 a few times when he tried to press. He can play man but is certainly more of a zone corner. pic.twitter.com/OMHMV52BNv— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 26, 2022
- Doesn’t have great deep speed and get can run past on the outside with no safety help. His acceleration is good but long speed is average.
So the negatives... He clearly had some issues last year. So what happened? His biggest issue was playing man on quicker receivers on the outside. He gave up some big plays and the lack of deep speed was clearly evident. pic.twitter.com/YV29FOetj3— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 26, 2022
He can also get beat underneath in man due to a lack of real speed. Mike Williams isn't slow but Bradberry makes him look pretty fast... pic.twitter.com/TYLlNRN3Le— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 26, 2022
- Can be a little bit overly physical and grabby at times and will get called for pass interference.
He also got too grabby on the outside because he struggled in man against the top WRs. I think you want him in man against the opposition #2 WR (or a good matchup) and he probably isn't good enough to be a #1 CB. pic.twitter.com/6ocMC5oW56— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 26, 2022
- Tackling was poor last year for some reason. He struggled to wrap up consistently.
- His aggressiveness means he is suspectable to being beat over the top on double moves or play action.
I mentioned early on he's very aggressive (which is good) but guess what... Sometimes that can come back to bite you! He is definitely prone to jumping on PA and teams will look to target him with this. pic.twitter.com/uVdjz1wUaQ— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 26, 2022
I was not sure about the Bradberry signing after looking at some of the stats but I liked the tape a lot more than I thought and I really like the signing.
I thought James Bradberry’s tape was actually fine last year and better than I expected after what I had read about him. It was quite clear that he is not good enough to be a team’s number 1 cornerback when he just has to line up on the opposing teams number 1 wide receiver and you saw him struggle against the likes of Mike Williams and CeeDee Lamb in man coverage. He doesn’t have great deep speed and this shows when he is asked to play in single-high man coverage and he struggled at this.
However, I thought the film showed that Bradberry can still be an excellent zone corner. In particular, he fits a 2-high/quarters style of defense really well as he has outstanding timing of when to pass of the vertical route to the deep safety as I highlighted earlier. He also has a great understanding of route depths and is good in hi-lo situations. In addition to this, he can break on the ball quickly and has really good acceleration in short areas.
He is not incapable of playing man coverage either, I think some people have been too harsh on him in this area. He showed he can man up on bigger bodied receivers, such as Travis Kelce, as long as he can get physical with them at the line of scrimmage. He will probably be fine in man situations on a lot of number 2 wide receivers around the league as well.
I think the only question I have over the Bradberry signing is what happens if the Eagles want to play more single-high man coverage. In an ideal world, you do not want him lining up on an opposing teams top wide receiver in man coverage. I think Gannon wants to play a lot more split-safety coverage and I think Bradberry will be a superb fit for that style of defense. I am looking forward to watching the trio of Maddox, Slay and Bradberry next year!