Pro Football Focus has released their rankings for the best secondaries in the NFL. Where did the New England Patriots rank?
It has been a great season for the New England Patriots, and one of the reasons why is because of their secondary. Even though the Patriots’ defense has improved as a unit, they are still led by their secondary.
Safety Devin McCourty is the best player in the secondary for the Patriots, and he continued to lead the unit this season. However, he had some help this year, as cornerback Malcolm Butler had a breakout season.
This season, Butler combined for 16 interceptions and pass breakups. Butler was ranked as the best overall defensive player by Pro Football Focus this season, as he truly played great for the Patriots. PFF ranked the secondaries not only by what they do in coverage but also how they help against the run.
In coverage, Butler received the highest grade for the Patriots at 91.1, which was third-best in the NFL. In run defense, it was McCourty who led the way with an 83.1 rating. Overall, the Patriots were ranked with the third-best secondary in the NFL behind the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.
Here is what PFF had to say about the Patriots’ ranking:
The Giants weren’t the only team to feature multiple All-Pro selections in the secondary. Devin McCourty continues to be one of the top safeties in the game, earning the highest coverage grade of any at the position this season. Malcolm Butler had a breakout year at cornerback with a combined 16 interceptions and pass breakups, and the third-highest coverage grade among corners. Logan Ryan is still a solid No. 2 cornerback and played much better over the last half of the season. The one real weakness in the secondary has been Patrick Chung, who after earning career-highs in overall and coverage grades last season, ranks 81st out of 91 safeties in overall grade in 2016.
From PFF’s rankings in Week 7, the Patriots’ secondary has greatly improved. In the first rankings, the Patriots were ranked 16th, which makes it quite the jump to third. The rankings show just how good the Patriots’ secondary has been this season. Now, the secondary will prepare for another Super Bowl run.