Comparing Ike Taylor and DRC

The question has come up about dealing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie straight up for quarterback Kevin Kolb. Then, to perhaps make us think some more, the possibility has arisen that even if DRC is traded, the Cardinals could obtain a starting caliber cornerback in free agency. One name brought up is Ike Taylor, who last played for the Steelers. We all know that the Cardinals like to bring in former Steelers and Taylor woudl be familiar with what defensive coordinator Ray Horton would try to accomplish with the defense. 

The community response has been mixed. In a FanPost on the topic, the sentiment has been strongly in favor with keeping DRC on the team. The poll in the front page story yields different results. A slight majority would trade DRC for Kolb and bring in Taylor to replace DRC. 

Since there has been a bit of discussion about Taylor and DRC, I thought I would find some numbers to see how they compare. Taylor has a reputation for being a very good corner. DRC is scary talented but not always focused and has not yet made it to the elite level because of inconsistencies, despite a Pro Bowl already. 

DRC, at age 25,  is a bit younger than the 31-year old Taylor. Taylor has played on a team with a very good pass rush. DRC has played on a Cardinals team known for having a soft defense with at times almost no pass rush at all. 

Let's look at the coverage numbers since the 2008 season (including the playoffs)

Ike Taylor:

Year

Targets

Catches Allowed

Catch %

Yards

YPC

YAC

TD Allowed

INT

PD

Passer Rating Against

2010

102

57

55.9

699

12.3

231

1

2

7

72.3

2009

100

59

59.0

818

13.9

214

3

1

9

91.2

2008

120

72

60.0

927

12.9

335

6

1

14

97.5

DRC:

Year

Targets

Catches Allowed

Catch %

Yards

YPC

YAC

TD Allowed

INT

PD

Passer Rating Against

2010

90

56

62.2

814

14.5

270

4

3

10

92.5

2009

129

68

52.7

863

12.7

354

7

7

16

69.4

2008

117

72

61.5

897

12.5

384

10

6

16

92.4

2010 for Taylor and 2009 for DRC are their best seasons in the sample. In simple pass defense numbers, they are very similar. DRC, though seems to be suprior in some important coverage numbers. He gets more turnovers and gets his hands on  the ball more often. He also gives up more big plays as noted by the TD against numbers. 

DRC is clearly the more talented player, although Taylor has pretty solid numbers. He, however, has been part of an elite team defense. In the past we have seen defensive backs leave teams that had great defenses and be very coveted because of their production. Then the player disappoints because the defensive schemes were more the reason for the success. Arizona has been burned by this, having signed safety Dexter Jackson years ago from Tampa Bay and Duane Starks from the Ravens. Both were terrible signings. 

More recently we have the example of Bryant McFadden, who was signed because of his physical play in Pittsburgh. His coverage skills were less than expected, and even when returning to Pittsburgh he experienced struggles.

The other huge issue with letting DRC go is that he should still improve. Now, he is notably lazy in practice and in film study, but if he gets that straight, he has the potential to be Hall of Fame material. Taylor is likely going to see decline in not too long. 

Granted, Taylor could be very productive now, but the team would need to begin looking for their next shutdown corner. 

So the task is yours. What do you now think after having seen the numbers? I still hold to the premise that if the team believes that Kevin Kolb is going to be their quarterback of the now and future, then you make the trade.

But it would be hard to see DRC go, especially since we have seen what he can do. 

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