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Can Bradley McDougald fill Jamal Adams’ shoes? | New York Jets training camp primer

Bradley McDougald
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Bradley McDougald‘s career strengths and weaknesses as told by the advanced analytics and film.

New York Jets training camp primers:

Here’s everything you need to know about Bradley McDougald as he looks to provide stability at the safety position in the wake of Jamal Adams‘ exit.

Five positive stats to maintain

Overall coverage

McDougald has a track record of solid coverage. In Seattle, his career average Pro Football Focus coverage grade was 72.2. That mark would have ranked at the 59th percentile among qualified safeties in 2019. In addition, he has only allowed 11 touchdowns over 3,010 career coverage snaps, an average of one touchdown every 273.6 snaps, well beyond the 2019 positional average of 224.5.

Slot coverage

Including the playoffs, Seattle deployed McDougald in slot coverage on 204 snaps over the past two seasons, 14th-most among safeties.

McDougald has done an excellent job in that role. Among the 52 safeties with at least 100 snaps in slot coverage since 2018, McDougald has allowed the 10th-fewest yards per target (5.0), 10th-fewest yards per cover snap (0.69), and second-fewest yards per reception (7.0) out of the slot. He gave up no touchdowns while picking off one pass.

Pass game tackling

You can count on McDougald to clean up efficiently in the passing game. As a Seahawk, McDougald made 135 tackles against the pass while missing only 10, a minuscule miss rate of 6.9%. That ranked as the eighth-lowest rate among qualified safeties over that span. The 2019 positional average was 11.2%.

In 2018, McDougald was the league’s most efficient tackling safety against the pass, making 55 tackles and missing one throughout 19 regular season and playoff games (1.8% miss rate).

Finishing underneath in passing game

From 2017-18 (including playoffs), McDougald allowed only 9.0 yards per reception, third-best out of 46 safeties that were tagged with at least 40 receptions in their direction. McDougald ballooned to an average of 14.0 yards per reception allowed in the 2019 regular season, which ranked at the 20th percentile, so turning this stat around will be key in 2020.

McDougald made 38 “stops” (tackles that constitute a positive result for the defense) in the passing game from 2017-19, which ranked as the seventh-most among safeties over that span even though McDougald played the 25th-most passing game snaps (1,596).

Low penalty count

McDougald has been called for only 10 penalties over 5,044 career defensive snaps (including playoffs), an average of 1.98 per 1,000 snaps that checks in below the 2019 positional average of 2.44.

Two negative stats to improve

Run defense

McDougald struggled against the run in 2019. In the regular season, he ranked at the 16th percentile among safeties with a PFF run defense grade of 52.5, while his missed tackle rate of 25.0% against the run (27 tackles, 9 missed) ranked at the 10th percentile.

McDougald’s career average run defense grade is 62.9, which would have ranked at the 40th percentile among safeties in 2019. His performance in this phase has been all over the map, with solid rankings in 2016 and 2018 but poor rankings in 2017 and 2019. Typically, McDougald ranks decently in racking up stops against the run, but near the very top of the leaderboard in missed tackles.


McDougald’s lack of production as a blitzer will likely mean that Gregg Williams will have to find someone else to take on the rush reps left open by Jamal Adams.

Over the course of his seven-year career, McDougald has rushed the passer on 70 snaps, picking up a sack or knockdown only four times (5.7%).

In 2019 alone, Adams rushed on 101 snaps and picked up 14 sacks-plus-knockdowns (13.9%).

On the plus side, McDougald took a step forward here in 2019. Over his first six seasons, McDougald had picked up zero sacks and one hit over 48 rush attempts. In 2019, McDougald was sent after the quarterback on a career-high 22 snaps and delivered with two sacks and a knockdown (plus three hurries). Including the playoffs, McDougald’s career-high PFF pass-rush grade of 72.7 ranked seventh-best out of 49 safeties to rush at least 10 times.

Five plays that showcase McDougald’s ceiling

McDougald’s man coverage in the slot – particularly against tight ends – may be his best attribute.

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