Analytics Report: James Bradberry Ranks Among NFL's Worst CBs In 2023
James Bradberry’s 2023 season has been far from his second-team All Pro season last year.
Lately, his struggles have come under the national spotlight as he allowed seven catches for 63 yards and a touchdown on Sunday night in Week 14 against Dallas followed by a perfect 6-for-6 passing from Seattle quarterback Drew Lock for 112 yards including the game-winning touchdown in Monday night’s 20-17 loss to the Seahawks.
Dak Prescott hung a 132.9 passer rating against Bradberry, followed by Lock’s perfect 158.3.
Bradberry’s best statistical game came against the Chiefs – he allowed just two receptions on five targets, with Patrick Mahomes posting a 47.9 passer rating against him – and against the 49ers, but his performance against the Niners is skewed by not being targeted in the 42-19 blowout loss.
Bradberry also performed decently against Buffalo after being targeted 13 times, allowing six catches for 62 yards and one touchdown. However, he also secured a game-changing interception and two pass break-ups.
In the offseason, he re-signed to a three-year, $38 million deal after testing the open market, but his season-long struggles this season has to discussion about if the Eagles coaches should bench him or reduce his role.
Here are the veteran cornerback’s statistics in 2023, per Pro Football Focus (PFF):
Seven times already, including each of the past three games, Bradberry has allowed a passer rating over 112.0 and six times over 120.0.
Bradberry is currently averaging 3.85 receptions per game on 6.46 targets. He’s also allowing an average of 47 yards per game, 0.69 touchdowns per game, and a QB rating of 94.72 per game along with averaging 0.08 interceptions per game and 0.54 pass break ups per game.
His decline has been detrimental to an Eagles secondary that’s been injury plagued and remade from last year’s departures.
Bradberry Vs. The Field
Bradberry’s statistics compared to other NFL corners confirm that his play has dropped, as he doesn’t rank top-15 in any major pass defense categories and is ranked among the worst in five categories.
Bradberry is only top-20 in pass breakups and preventing yards after catch. He’s almost dead last in targets allowed, receptions allowed, yards allowed, and quarterback rating allowed while being tied for last in touchdowns allowed in the NFL this season.
2023 Bradberry vs. 2022 Bradberry
Bradberry has underperformed his 2022 season in nearly every category except targets and yards-after-catch allowed.
On fewer targets, he’s allowed more receptions, more yards, and significantly more touchdowns while also having fewer interceptions and pass breakups, and allowing a significantly higher quarterback rating.
Bradberry regression could also be tied to the team’s overall decline in pressure, which can directly impact coverage.
The Eagles, who led the NFL in sacks last year by a wide margin with 70, aren’t getting as many sacks or generating as much pressure as they did last year. They’re currently tied for 13th with 39 sacks. Lack of pressure has hampered the secondary significantly this season.
It’s also important to consider that injuries, which led to less depth and less rotation, and lack of rest can also have hampered Bradberry’s performance. For a few weeks earlier this year, Bradberry was asked to move inside and play the slot, away from his natural outside spot.
The Eagles could look to their rookie cornerbacks if they decide to bench or scale back on Bradberry.
Eli Ricks played 19 snaps in coverage against the Seahawks and allowed no receptions on three targets. Fourth-round pick Kelee Ringo played 18 snaps in coverage and allowed no receptions on two targets.
At a minimum, the Eagles will rely on the rookie cornerbacks as rotational pieces to keep the secondary fresh.
However, it’s possible that the Matt Patrica-Sean Desai defense turns the keys to the future early and moves Bradberry into a rotational role.
The Eagles will have plenty of opportunity to figure out their defensive backfield personnel before the playoffs, as they’re slated to playing weak passing teams over the final three games, starting Monday against the New York Giants’ 32nd-ranked passing game.
The Eagles then play Arizona – ranked 29th in passing – before ending the regular season with another game against the Giants.
– Sam Finkel is a staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com who focuses on analytics.