(Christopher Hanewinckel and Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports)

Ronald Darby vs. Marcus Peters: Who has the edge in the Defensive Rookie of the Year race?

With three weeks remaining, who has the edge in the Defensive Rookie of the Year battle between Ronald Darby and Marcus Peters?

A few weeks ago, Buffalo Football Report looked at Ronald Darby’s chances of winning Defensive Rookie of the Year. Now with three games remaining, it’s time to reevaluate Darby’s chances and compare him to the top competitor for the award Marcus Peters. BFR will look at both players in a variety of ways and determine who the favorite among the duo is to win DROY.

Standard Stats

Player

Games Played

Tackles

Interceptions

Passes Defensed

Ronald Darby

13

64

2

23

Marcus Peters

13

55

5

24

Standard stats favor Peters. Although Darby has more tackles than Peters this season, the Kansas City Chiefs cornerback has three more interceptions, including one that went for a touchdown, and one more pass defensed. The Buffalo Bills rookie cornerback has a chance to make up ground in these categories over the final three weeks but right now Peters has the slight edge in terms of standard stats.

EDGE: Peters

Analytics

Player

PFF Cornerback Rank

PFF Rating

Coverage

Run Defense

Penalties

Ronald Darby

4

+14.3

+12.6

+1.3

+0.4

Marcus Peters

88

-4.5

-3.8

-0.1

-0.6

Peters may have had the edge in the statistical category, but he doesn’t come close to Darby when it comes to analytics. Darby is Pro Football Focus’ No. 4 cornerback with only Tyrann Mathieu, Josh Norman and Chris Harris Jr. rating out higher. That’s pretty good company considering Mathieu and Norman are legitimate Defensive MVP candidates.

The biggest area of difference between Darby and Peters is in coverage. Here’s a look at how each rookie has fared when being targeted this season.

EDGE: Darby

Coverage

Player

Thrown At

Rec. Allowed

Percentage Caught

Yards Allowed

TDs Allowed

QB Rating

Ronald Darby

98

52

53.1

589

4

76.4

Marcus Peters

112

62

55.4

817

7

80.8

 

The coverage breakdown shows why Darby has a much higher rating than Peters over at PFF. Buffalo’s cornerback has the edge over Peters in percentage caught by 2.3, 228 fewer yards, three fewer touchdowns and opposing quarterbacks have had less success against Darby through 14 weeks.

EDGE: Darby

Conclusion

With three weeks remaining, Darby and Peters are neck and neck in the Defensive Rookie of the Year race. If the award were to be presented today, Darby would be the more deserving candidate. That said, Peters can make up some ground in the final three weeks of the season.

The Chiefs face a weaker schedule to end the season. Peters will face off against Matt Schaub or Jimmy Clausen in Week 15, Johnny Manziel in Week 16 and Derek Carr in Week 17. As for Darby, the Bills cornerback will see the likes of Kirk Cousins, Matt Cassel and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

In addition to facing off against weaker quarterbacks, Peters will have Sean Smith starting alongside him. Smith is a very capable cornerback who can line up across from another team’s No. 1 WR. The Bills may be missing Stephon Gilmore for the remainder of the season. That means that Buffalo will probably send Darby out against the likes of DeSean Jackson, Dez Bryant and Brandon Marshall. If Darby performs well in the last three weeks of the season, he’ll have earned the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

 

 


Buffalo Football Report Top Stories