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New Seahawks player Antoine Winfield: Pro Football Focus' top-graded corner in 2012

Well that is a good thing.

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Chris Graythen

One of the main reasons that I hate USC is that they represent the imbalance of power in college sports. Perhaps it is true that no league or sport is truly balanced, the Yankees and MLB being a perfect example (and why I hate the Yankees), but what is the point of calling it "competitive" when some schools get everything and some schools get very little? The Trojans get to mostly play against schools that simply did not have the same recruiting power, therefore they have less talent, therefore USC will be in a bowl game most years while my alma mater (Washington State) gets to bloom into a bowl game as often as the Madagascar Palm Tree, am I right fellas?

(The Madagascar Palm blooms once every 100 years.)

When Pete Carroll was there, I loathed him for this. I respected him, but damn it I hated him. Now he's my dad and I love him, especially because the recruiting process for Seattle is weirdly powerful. Things like this aren't supposed to happen. We aren't supposed to acquire Percy Harvin, and then attract Cliff Avril, and then sneak in Michael Bennett, and then sign Antoine Winfield to be our third corner. This is USC-type power. This is guys signing for rings, not just money. The Seahawks might have been the best team in football by the end of the year, and then they also might be having the best offseason too.

I'm confused and happy.

Signing Winfield was not that big of a deal to me though, I admit it. I felt like his best days were behind him. When I made an excel sheet of every player drafted in this century, Winfield was not on it. Because Antoine Winfield was the 23rd pick of the 1999 draft by the Buffalo Bills. (And then he went and had a great career somewhere else, because Bills.)

Then you'll notice that Winfield, at age 35, had 100 tackles last season, 3 interceptions, 12 pass deflections, and has grabbed a few sacks in the last five years. Now, 100 tackles isn't a good sign for most corners, but Winfield's reputation for run defense suggests that it's not that bad. Pro Football Focus confirms this, when they graded Winfield as the top corner in 2012:

He may have been atop the overall grade rankings among cornerbacks, but nobody at PFF will try and tell you that Antoine Winfield was the best corner in football last season.

That being said, his grade was impressive for a player of his age and, perhaps most notably of all, he graded positively across the board in every area we analyze for the position. Though he may not have been able to touch the top corners when it came to coverage alone, he still ranked inside the Top 20 in that area and teamed with it an ability that is completely unmatched by his cornerback peers — his play against the run and the short passing game.

Against the run Winfield’s grade was almost twice as good as any other corner. On the season he made 44 stops (tackles that constitute an offensive failure), which was a dozen more than the next best player. Of those stops, 26 were in the run game, logging one on 7.3% of his run snaps, again the top mark by a corner by some distance and one that is actually closer to the norm for linebackers than it is among corners.

This is cool. This is neat. Kenny likes this.

Next year, Winfield will pair with Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor to form the best secondary in the NFL, but he will also pair with the front seven to hopefully form one of the best front sevens in the NFL. With his PFF grade, it makes for an exciting signing, that I am sure makes fans of other teams as hateful, spiteful, and bitter about Pete as I was when he was at USC. By the way, Browner was ranked as the 22nd best corner in the NFL by PFF (out of 113). The second-highest ranked?


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