Nov 30, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings (23) carries the ball as Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Dwayne Gratz (27) defends during the first quarter at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
2) Can Dwayne Gratz lock down players after they catch the ball?
If you can’t stop the opposing player from catching the ball then you sure better be able to bring him to the ground after he catches it. Dwayne Gratz was 39th among cornerbacks with 47 tackles last season, numbers coming again per PFF. So he wasn’t forced to make a lot of tackles. But how does that translate to the yards run up on him.
As can be expected, since Gratz allowed more catches than his fellow Jacksonville Jaguars, there were more yards gained in his coverage. He allowed the 26th most yards in the league in his coverage. That’s a whopping 681 yards he is responsible for. Of the 3899 yards the Jaguars allowed through the air last year, Gratz’s coverage accounted for a little over 17%. That’s a lot of responsibility for a cornerback. His 14.5 yards per catch average was the 14th highest among corners. That needs to be corrected.
But we don’t want to know just how many yards were run up on him. We want to know how many were run up in him after the catch. A player can do a lot of damage after the catch and many receivers are prized particularly for doing just that. Gratz did a much better job of tackling the player once he had the ball in his hands, allowing just 176 yards after the catch (64th among corners).
Receivers only gained an extra 3.7 yards per catch on average against Gratz. Compared to Davon House’s 3.4 and Demetrius McCray’s 2.5, Gratz still has some way to improve if he hopes to compete for that starting spot. Overall, he’s doing a good job of limiting yards once the receiver makes the catch. It just isn’t good enough to beat out House and McCray.
Next: Will consistency put Gratz ahead?