Breakdowns

The More You Can Do: Part 2

The More You Can Do: Part 2
Charles Brensinger worked in the NFL in various Personnel Department roles for nearly a decade. Most recently, he served as a Pro Scout for the Detroit Lions from 2016-2020.

In this installment of “The More You Can Do,” I’ll look again at the individual player level to investigate who are the most versatile players in the NFL, based on the type of defender that is deployed to combat them as a receiver in the passing game. To do this, I’ll examine which players in the league at RB, FB, and TE are most often defended (identified by PFF primary coverage defender) by non-traditional defenders (DC or DS), which may indicate that the player has a non-traditional skill-set, at least as pertains to the passing game.

As in the previous article, garbage time was removed from the sample to account for extreme in-game situations, which require a defense to defend the situation as opposed to the personnel.


TE vs DC/DS

  • 46 players with 100+ receiving snaps covered by a DC or DS on pass plays

The More You Can Do Part II: TE Table 1

Name Team # REC GRADE DB COVERAGE TOTAL REC SNAPS DB COVER % TGT REC REC YDS YAC REC YCo REC TD ADOT YAC/REC YPRR DP% COMP% WR RTG SLOT%
Dalton Schultz Cowboys 86 57.6 366 567 64.55% 54 34 334 129 53 4 8.37 3.79 0.91 7.32% 62.96% 105 52.19%
Travis Kelce Chiefs 87 77.7 361 645 55.97% 85 49 611 303 161 5 9.52 6.18 1.69 5.36% 57.65% 85 45.15%
Mark Andrews Ravens 89 92.7 357 661 54.01% 111 78 1026 374 200 5 10.8 4.79 2.87 2.38% 70.27% 84.1 63.59%
Mike Gesicki Dolphins 88 67.2 343 574 59.76% 73 44 474 151 66 2 9.56 3.43 1.38 3.92% 60.27% 82.8 61.52%
Dawson Knox Bills 88 66.8 335 536 62.50% 54 36 447 220 80 7 8.33 6.11 1.33 9.52% 66.67% 124 42.99%
Tyler Higbee Rams 89 63.8 319 493 64.71% 50 38 364 174 57 4 6.26 4.58 1.14 4.65% 76.00% 97.4 25.08%
Tyler Conklin Vikings 83 67 298 499 59.72% 46 34 360 163 53 1 7.37 4.79 1.21 0.00% 73.91% 103.5 12.75%
Kyle Pitts Falcons 8 87.4 297 523 56.79% 81 45 785 244 162 0 12.53 5.42 2.64 6.00% 55.56% 68.2 46.13%
Jared Cook Chargers 87 63.2 297 507 58.58% 56 31 422 189 63 2 9.82 6.1 1.42 12.82% 55.36% 61.8 55.56%
Zach Ertz Cardinals 86 57.1 279 531 52.54% 55 30 258 84 33 3 9.18 2.8 0.92 5.88% 54.55% 70.1 57.71%

The More You Can Do Part II: TE Table 2

Name Team # REC GRADE DB COVERAGE TOTAL REC SNAPS DB COVER % TGT REC REC YDS YAC REC YCo REC TD ADOT YAC/REC YPRR DP% COMP% WR RTG SLOT%
Mark Andrews Ravens 89 92.7 357 661 54.01% 111 78 1026 374 200 5 10.8 4.79 2.87 2.38% 70.27% 84.1 63.59%
George Kittle 49ers 85 89.8 225 407 55.28% 52 36 524 260 159 4 9.77 7.22 2.33 5.00% 69.23% 87.8 39.56%
Dallas Goedert Eagles 88 88.4 203 361 56.23% 51 35 537 236 94 2 8.8 6.74 2.65 11.90% 68.63% 108 41.87%
Kyle Pitts Falcons 8 87.4 297 523 56.79% 81 45 785 244 162 0 12.53 5.42 2.64 6.00% 55.56% 68.2 46.13%
Rob Gronkowski Buccaneers 87 81.3 245 394 62.18% 61 35 465 203 91 4 11.85 5.8 1.9 7.32% 57.38% 96.7 32.24%
Hunter Henry Patriots 85 81.3 238 421 56.53% 50 32 393 73 34 7 11.96 2.28 1.65 0.00% 64.00% 119.4 65.55%
Travis Kelce Chiefs 87 77.7 361 645 55.97% 85 49 611 303 161 5 9.52 6.18 1.69 5.36% 57.65% 85 45.15%
Darren Waller Raiders 83 76 239 386 61.92% 75 42 527 219 84 2 11.56 5.21 2.21 9.80% 56.00% 75.8 29.29%
David Njoku Browns 85 75.2 172 314 54.78% 34 20 345 150 112 4 13.47 7.5 2.01 4.17% 58.82% 120.3 37.21%
Albert Okwuegbunam Broncos 85 71.4 101 179 56.42% 26 22 159 116 68 1 5.15 5.27 1.57 4.35% 84.62% 105 23.76%

When we combine the lists above with the tables from “The More You Can Do: Part 1,” we can again identify players who display versatility in both their alignment and skill set, and as a result the way the defense chooses to defend them.

One thing that sticks out in regard the TE tiers below is that intuitively, one would probably consider many of the Tier 3 players to be more versatile players than those who appear in Tier 2 and an argument could even be made that certainly players in Tier 3 are even more versatile than those found in Tier 1.

The commonality between the Tier 3 players is that, while they may not have appeared on the lists that place an emphasis on the number of snaps, they did show up in each instance on the lists that emphasized PFF grade in those specific situations. This means that although they might not been at the top of the league in terms of snaps in certain alignments or when covered by a certain position, they did meet the minimum threshold in that regard and were high producers from a grade standpoint.

TIER 1 TIER 2 TIER 3 TIER 4
Mark Andrews (Ravens) Hunter Henry (Patriots) George Kittle (49ers) Tyler Higbee (Rams)
Travis Kelce (Chiefs) Mike Gesicki (Dolphins) Dallas Goedert (Eagles) Tyler Conklin (Vikings)
Kyle Pitts (Falcons) Dalton Schultz (Cowboys) Rob Gronkowski (Buccaneers) David Njoku (Browns)
Darren Waller (Raiders) Albert Okwuegbunam (Broncos)
Dawson Knox (Bills) Cole Kmet (Bears)
Jared Cook (Chargers) Evan Engram (Giants)
Zach Ertz (Cardinals) Pat Freiermuth (Steelers)

HB vs DC/DS

  • 38 players with 100+ receiving snaps covered by a DC or DS on pass plays

The More You Can Do Part II: HB Table 1

Name Team # REC GRADE DB COVERAGE TOTAL REC SNAPS DB COVER % TGT REC REC YDS YAC REC YCo REC TD ADOT YAC/REC YPRR DP% COMP% WR RTG SLOT%
Najee Harris Steelers 22 66.6 317 491 64.56% 49 45 260 296 146 2 -0.84 6.58 0.82 2.17% 91.84% 102.4 6.31%
Ezekiel Elliott Cowboys 21 43.7 281 446 63.00% 33 23 135 138 37 2 0.21 6 0.48 7.14% 69.70% 84.8 3.56%
Austin Ekeler Chargers 30 54.7 264 441 59.86% 28 20 239 260 118 3 0.64 13 0.91 0.00% 71.43% 132.9 10.23%
Devin Singletary Bills 26 41.8 239 393 60.81% 25 19 103 134 45 1 -0.52 7.05 0.43 9.52% 76.00% 62.6 7.53%
Leonard Fournette Buccaneers 7 52.7 218 378 57.67% 20 18 95 85 28 0 0.55 4.72 0.44 5.26% 90.00% 65.6 2.75%
Darrel Williams Chiefs 31 72.6 208 359 57.94% 32 28 310 284 82 1 2 10.14 1.49 0.00% 87.50% 104.4 2.40%
Aaron Jones Packers 33 59.8 191 329 58.05% 30 26 154 180 77 3 -0.47 6.92 0.81 3.57% 86.67% 121.4 8.90%
Myles Gaskin Dolphins 37 46.7 188 306 61.44% 27 20 74 105 24 1 -0.67 5.25 0.39 8.33% 74.07% 88.7 4.79%
Josh Jacobs Raiders 28 56.5 187 304 61.51% 26 21 141 143 75 0 0.38 6.81 0.75 8.33% 80.77% 73.2 4.81%
Mike Davis Falcons 28 39.7 186 326 57.06% 30 23 79 120 38 0 -1.43 5.22 0.42 7.69% 76.67% 78.5 4.84%

The More You Can Do Part II: HB Table 2

Name Team # REC GRADE DB COVERAGE TOTAL REC SNAPS DB COVER % TGT REC REC YDS YAC REC YCo REC TD ADOT YAC/REC YPRR DP% COMP% WR RTG SLOT%
Cordarrelle Patterson Falcons 84 91.6 139 257 54.09% 38 29 386 236 158 3 5.71 8.14 2.78 0.00% 76.32% 134.3 17.27%
Darrel Williams Chiefs 31 72.6 208 359 57.94% 32 28 310 284 82 1 2 10.14 1.49 0.00% 87.50% 104.4 2.40%
Tony Pollard Cowboys 20 71.7 103 171 60.23% 21 19 157 155 52 0 0.62 8.16 1.52 5.00% 90.48% 97.8 9.71%
Saquon Barkley Giants 26 69.2 153 276 55.43% 27 22 176 188 58 2 -0.15 8.55 1.15 4.17% 81.48% 118.5 7.84%
J.D. McKissic Commanders 41 67.7 131 225 58.22% 29 24 147 157 31 1 0.41 6.54 1.12 7.41% 82.76% 99.3 19.85%
Samaje Perine Bengals 34 67.2 100 173 57.80% 16 16 118 136 43 1 -1.13 8.5 1.18 0.00% 100.00% 118.2 15.00%
Najee Harris Steelers 22 66.6 317 491 64.56% 49 45 260 296 146 2 -0.84 6.58 0.82 2.17% 91.84% 102.4 6.31%
James Conner Cardinals 6 65.6 129 249 51.81% 14 13 113 141 63 1 -0.93 10.85 0.88 0.00% 92.86% 124.1 13.18%
Nyheim Hines Colts 21 64.1 134 229 58.52% 31 22 193 173 71 0 2.13 7.86 1.44 11.54% 70.97% 87.2 26.12%
Miles Sanders Eagles 26 60.3 124 212 58.49% 17 13 92 123 40 0 -0.65 9.46 0.74 7.14% 76.47% 88.4 0.81%

The first chart reflects HBs with 100+ receiving snaps when covered by a DB and is sorted by number of DB coverage snaps. The second chart follows the same criteria, but is sorted by PFF receiving grade. While the first chart is important, as it identifies which HBs draw special attention from the defense most often, we’ll focus on chart No. 2, which puts more emphasis on how the player is able to produce despite receiving special attention. It’s worth noting that Darrell Williams and Najee Harris (highlighted in bold) are the only players present on both lists, which for the purpose of this study qualifies as a higher level of versatility.

It’s not a perfect system, but when we combine the tables above with the tables from “The More You Can Do Part 1,” we can identify players who display versatility in both their alignment and skill set and tier them based on the aggregate of how many times their names appear on each of the four tables.

TIER 1 TIER 2 TIER 3 TIER 4
No players appeared in all 4 HB tables Najee Harris (Steelers) James Conner (Cardinals) Austin Ekeler (Chargers)
Aaron Jones (Packers) Tony Pollard (Cowboys) Devin Singletary (Bills)
Cordarrelle Patterson (Falcons) Ezekiel Elliott (Cowboys) Leonard Fournette (Buccaneers)
Nyheim Hines (Colts) Darrell Williams (Chiefs)) Myles Gaskin (Dolphins)
JD McKissic (Commanders) Josh Jacobs (Raiders)
Mike Davis (Falcons)
Saquon Barkley (Giants)
Samaje Perine (Bengals)
Miles Sanders (Eagles)
Alvin Kamara (Saints)
Darrell Henderson (Rams)
Chase Edmonds (Cardinals)
D’Andre Swift (Lions)
Chris Evans (Bengals)
Rex Burkhead (Texans)
Kenneth Gainwell (Eagles)
Kenyan Drake (Raiders)

FB vs DC/DS

  • 13 players with 10+ receiving snaps covered by a DC or DS on pass plays

The More You Can Do Part II: FB Table 1

Name Team # REC GRADE DB COVERAGE TOTAL REC SNAPS DB COVER % TGT REC REC YDS YAC REC YCo REC TD ADOT YAC/REC YPRR DP% COMP% WR RTG SLOT%
Kyle Juszczyk 49ers 44 62.9 139 270 51.48% 21 15 174 116 58 1 8.67 7.73 1.25 0 71.43% 112 20.86%
Patrick Ricard Ravens 42 50.2 72 145 49.66% 5 4 26 18 6 1 1.4 4.5 0.36 0 80.00% 127.9 23.61%
C.J. Ham Vikings 30 72.5 44 95 46.32% 6 6 42 10 3 0 5.33 1.67 0.95 0 100.00% 95.8 11.36%
Jakob Johnson Patriots 47 47.6 35 59.32% 2 1 3 1 0 0 0.5 1 0.09 0 50.00% 56.3 0.00%
Keith Smith Falcons 40 56.5 26 54 48.15% 5 4 27 26 18 0 0.8 6.5 1.04 0.2 80.00% 89.2 19.23%
Alec Ingold Raiders 45 64.8 25 50 50.00% 6 5 49 18 13 1 5.33 3.6 1.96 0.1667 83.33% 140.3 20.00%
Giovanni Ricci Panthers 45 46.5 21 48.84% 1 0 0 0 0 0 17 0 0 0 0.00% 39.6 14.29%
Adam Prentice Saints 46 57.4 20 34 58.82% 2 2 14 12 5 0 1 6 0.7 0 100.00% 95.8 0.00%
Reggie Gilliam Bills 41 48.6 20 51.28% 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0.00% 39.6 25.00%
Jason Cabinda Lions 45 50 18 40 45.00% 4 2 6 1 1 0 2.5 0.5 0.33 0 50.00% 56.3 16.67%

The More You Can Do Part II: FB Table 2

Name Team # REC GRADE DB COVERAGE TOTAL REC SNAPS DB COVER % TGT REC REC YDS YAC REC YCo REC TD ADOT YAC/REC YPRR DP% COMP% WR RTG SLOT%
C.J. Ham Vikings 30 72.5 44 95 46.32% 6 6 42 10 3 0 5.33 1.67 0.95 0 100.00% 95.8 11.36%
Elijhaa Penny Giants 39 66.5 16 28 57.14% 3 2 20 25 17 0 -1 12.5 1.25 0 66.67% 85.4 6.25%
Alec Ingold Raiders 45 64.8 25 50 50.00% 6 5 49 18 13 1 5.33 3.6 1.96 0.1667 83.33% 140.3 20.00%
Kyle Juszczyk 49ers 44 62.9 139 270 51.48% 21 15 174 116 58 1 8.67 7.73 1.25 0 71.43% 112 20.86%
Adam Prentice Saints 46 57.4 20 34 58.82% 2 2 14 12 5 0 1 6 0.7 0 100.00% 95.8 0.00%
Keith Smith Falcons 40 56.5 26 54 48.15% 5 4 27 26 18 0 0.8 6.5 1.04 0.2 80.00% 89.2 19.23%
Khari Blasingame Titans 45 55.8 10 23 43.48% 1 1 -1 2 1 0 -3 2 -0.1 0 100.00% 79.2 0.00%
Andy Janovich Browns 31 52.8 13 22 59.09% 1 1 3 2 2 0 1 2 0.23 0 100.00% 79.2 0.00%
Patrick Ricard Ravens 42 50.2 72 145 49.66% 5 4 26 18 6 1 1.4 4.5 0.36 0 80.00% 127.9 23.61%
Jason Cabinda Lions 45 50 18 40 45.00% 4 2 6 1 1 0 2.5 0.5 0.33 0 50.00% 56.3 16.67%

Unlike the HB list, the overwhelming majority of the players found on FB Table #1 are also present on FB Table #2, although Kyle Juszczyk (49ers), Patrick Ricard (Ravens), and CJ Ham (Vikings) are the only players that really see significant snaps covered by a DB.

When we combine the lists above with the lists from The More You Can Do Part 1, we can again identify players who appeared most frequently, displaying versatility in both their alignment and skill set, and as a result the way the defense reacts and chooses to counter act them specifically with the types of players they deploy in primary coverage.

TIER 1 TIER 2 TIER 3 TIER 4
Patrick Ricard (Ravens) Reggie Gilliam (Bills) Jakob Johnson (Patriots) Elijhaa Penny (Giants)
Kyle Juszczyk (49ers) Alec Ingold (Raiders) Adam Prentice (Saints) Khari Blasingame (Titans)
CJ Ham (Vikings) Giovanni Ricci (Panthers) Derek Watt (Steelers) Andy Janovich (Browns)
Jason Cabinda (Lions) Nick Bawden (Jets)
Keith Smith (Falcons)