While tape analysis on the Seahawks’ 2021 draft class and newcomers will arrive throughout the offseason at Seahawk Maven, looking at the data also provides enlightening detail. Opening up the Sports Info Solutions Football Rookie Handbook 2021 highlights three analytically-speaking standouts from Seattle’s 2021 rookie class. Blending this data with initial tape observations leads to some interesting conclusions. Here is part two of a three-part miniseries.
CB Tre Brown
Compared to D'Wayne Eskridge, who featured in 11 of SIS’ top-10 categories, Seattle’s fourth-round selection Tre Brown was present in five.
Like part one, let’s start with total points, described by SIS as their" proprietary player value metric that uses an expected points framework and distributes the value gained or lost on a play to the players involved based on their impact on the play.”
It’s a more precise tool for evaluating individual player contributions than solely using expected points added. “Total points is more robust because it accounts for things that EPA does not—uncatchable passes, drops, air yards, YAC, offensive line play, etc.,” SIS research and design associate Bryce Rossler explained in February 2021. Brown, who turns 24 in September, cropped up in two total points categories that fit what the Seahawks were looking for.
- 1.0 coverage total points per game: press, tied eight among cornerbacks
- 2.3 coverage total points per game: wide, sixth among cornerbacks
Seattle wants its corners to be able to press and its biggest hole was on the outside. In the press category, only two corners above Brown were drafted after him: Deommodore Lenoir (placed third) in the fifth round and Rodarius Williams (placed fourth) in the sixth round. With the wide filter, one CB above Brown was taken after his pick: Shemar Jean-Charles (placed third) in the fifth round.
Brown’s college deployment and alignment also matched the Seahawks’ needs, too. He was playing on the outside and the Sooners asked him to mix in press alignment. Seattle took a rookie who can compete for an outside corner spot, hoping to emulate the success of D.J. Reed—who has longer arms but is of similar stature and approach.
At Oklahoma, Brown was:
- In press 39 percent of the time, seventh among cornerbacks
- Lined up outside 85 percent of the time, tied second among cornerbacks
So, not only does Brown play more with an outside style, it’s where he’s spent the vast majority of his time in college. NFL players at 5-foot-10 and under often get regarded as slots purely based on height. With the 5-foot-9 Brown, his experience, testing numbers, and traits mean playing corner on the perimeter is his best shot in the pros—aside from his kick return potential.
Finally, Brown played well in zone coverage.
- 3.3 zone coverage yards per snap, eighth among cornerbacks
Obviously, the Seahawks sprinkle in cover 1 man defense as an alternative but, in 2020, they predominantly ran cover 3 with cover 2 zone as their change-up. SIS charted the Seahawks as running zone on 68 percent of their snaps, the third-highest rate in the NFL.
What isn’t highlighted in the SIS numbers is the amount of catch points Brown was present at but narrowly missed a pass breakup on. Rather than forcing an incompletion after being aggressive for the undercut, Brown would give up the catch. How he and his 30 3/8-inch arms overcome this challenge, in the even more athletic NFL, is the biggest question mark for Brown’s Seattle career.
Permission to use the Sports Info Solutions data was granted by the SIS vice president of football and research and Rookie Handbook editor Matt Manocherian on May 22, 2021. You can purchase “The SIS Football Rookie Handbook 2021” here. It’s a fantastic read full of data, articles, and NFL-level scouting reports. Follow SIS on Twitter here and Matt here.