(Christopher Hanewinckel and Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports)

Ronald Darby and Marcus Peters can make their case for Defensive Rookie of the Year on Sunday

Marcus Peters has had a fine rookie season, but Ronald Darby has been better. In Week 12, the rookies will continue their respective campaigns for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

The AFC Wild Card race is the top storyline for the game between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs but it’s not the only reason to watch the game. Two rookies competing for Defensive Rookie of the Year will take to the field for their respective teams on Sunday. Ronald Darby and Marcus Peters, two of the favorites for DROY, will compete on Sunday and be asked to lock down the opposing teams best receivers.

Heading into the game, Peters has garnered more attention than Darby. Peters has been an outstanding rookie, but has he been better than Darby? Stats and analytics say no. Here’s a look at the rookie cornerbacks and how they’ve fared in multiple categories. All of the stats below are from Pro Football Focus, minus passes defensed which comes from NFL.com.

Player

Targeted

Rec. Allowed

Yards Allowed

TDs Allowed

INTs

Passes Defensed

QB Rating

Ronald Darby

74

37

379

0

2

20

53.8

Marcus Peters

84

47

624

7

4

18

87.6

 

Opposing quarterbacks have completed 50 percent of their passes on Darby and the completions on average have gone for 10.2 yards. As for Peters, the Chiefs cornerback has allowed 56 percent of his targets to go for receptions. The 47 receptions have gone for 13.3 yards.

The most glaring stat against Peters’ case for Defensive Rookie of the Year is touchdowns allowed. According to PFF, seven touchdowns have been thrown in Peters’ coverage, whereas Darby has not allowed a single touchdown to date. Passes defensed also favors Darby. In fact, Darby is atop the league in passes defensed. Peters bests Darby in interceptions but that is the only category where Peters holds an edge.

Last, when looking at the QB rating when throwing at each CB, Darby’s rating is significantly better. Peters has six games where opposing quarterbacks have a 100.0 or better rating when throwing into Peters’ coverage. His worst performance came against the Cincinnati Bengals. Andy Dalton had a QB rating of 158.3 after completing 4-of-4 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. Not helping Peters’ case is the fact that the Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers both threw for over 100 yards against Peters. The Texans game featured Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett at quarterback whereas Landry Jones was able to find success against Peters.

As for Darby, opposing quarterbacks only have one game in which their rating was 100 or better (Week 9 vs. Miami). Six of Darby’s games have resulted in quarterbacks having a 50.0 or lower QB rating. In terms of 100 yards allowed or more, it hasn’t happened to Darby yet. The most yardage that Darby has allowed this season, 62 yards, came against Dalton and the Bengals.

Pro Football Focus’ signature stats also favor Darby. In cornerback run stop percentage, Darby finds himself tied for 14th in the league, whereas Peters comes in 22nd. Buffalo’s corner is 26th in tackling efficiency among all cornerbacks and Peters is 31st. Last, in coverage snaps per reception, Darby is 39th in the league. Kansas City’s cornerback comes in 67th in this category.

Peters, the 18th overall pick in the 2015 draft, has had a fine rookie season to date. However, statistics and analytics prove that he hasn’t been as effective as Darby, the 50th overall pick in the draft, this season. On Sunday, both cornerbacks will have the opportunity to prove their cases for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Darby hasn’t locked down the competition just yet but if his lockdown play on the field continues, he should be the top choice for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

 


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