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Advanced Charting Shows How Badly the Carolina Panthers Need Another CB

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Cap had a rough 2011. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Cap had a rough 2011. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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This time of year excites me not only for the upcoming NFL draft, but because we start to see the statistical wizards start to unveil their charting stats from the prior season after poring over hundreds of hours of film. Advanced charting is wonderful because they're compiled by people with no allegiances or loyalty, and no pre-conceived notions; they're just stat gurus evaluating everyone on a fair playing field.

Ultimately we should get to answer some of the burning questions we have debated over the last few months: Where did Sherrod Martin go wrong? Were McClain and Fua as bad as they appeared on tape? Where were the holes on the defensive line, and finally - who did have the better season, D-Will or J-Stew?

It should surprise nobody that starting CB Captain Munnerlyn didn't fare favorably in Football Outsiders' advanced charting for cornerbacks unveiled this week. If you just want the raw number here it is- Munnerlyn was the 79th best CB in the NFL in 2011... that's right, 79th. That means that no less than fourteen nickel backs were better than Captain was at the #2 CB spot. If you want to know where exactly he failed we'll look at that...

After the jump

There are several areas that Football Outsiders look at in compiling this data:

- Charted targets: How many times was that player directly targeted?

- Yards per pass: How many yards did the offense gain when targeting the player?

- Success rate: Percentage of how many times the offense did not have a successful play targeting the player

- YAC: Yards after catch allowed

Here is how Captain stacked up:

- Charted Targets: 54- Down from 61 in 2010

- Yards per pass: 10.7 (Rank: 79th)- Up from 6.6 in 2010

- Success rate: 43% (Rank: 73rd)- Down from 56% in 2010

- YAC: 6.4 (Rank: 83rd)- Up from 1.9 in 2010

What happened to Captain Munnerlyn? In 2010 he made FO's list of best CBs in the NFL. He ranked 27th in yards per pass, 26th in success rate and 3rd in YAC; he went from being one of the best #2 CBs in the NFL, to by far the worst. There are two key reasons for this drop: 1st was the need for him to cover far more talented receivers on the outside, rather than the slot and the second was due to a defense that asked him to play man-coverage far more often and left him on an island.

It appears the assertion that Captain needs to move back to the nickel spot is a fair one, but there are further concerns if he can only succeed in a zone scheme. In 2011 we saw him have his lunch eaten (for lack of a better term) by the majority of WRs he faced, often giving up big plays. As it stands CB doesn't seem to be on the cards, but perhaps it should.