Bradley McDougald‘s career strengths and weaknesses as told by the advanced analytics and film.
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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
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.
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
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.
How do you think greg williams uses these guys now? Im thinking sometimes on run plays maybe you have poole take the ss role while having macdougald cover the slot. I mean you can even have them and maye be all almost interchangeable? Or just allow maye to roam the deep. On pass rushing downs the other team may expect poole to be blitzing but you can switch it up sometimes and send macdougald since it seems like he can handle it. I dont know all the x’s and o’s but man this trade looks better by the minute!
That’s a great point on Poole, these two can definitely be interchangeable at times. Poole may be better in the box/as a run defender, so as you said, sometimes you can bring Poole to the edge or near the line of scrimmage and put McDougald in the slot. I can see plays where Poole lines up in the slot and blitzes with McDougald picking up his man. Lots of interchangeability here!
I think Maye will continue to lean towards playing the single-high/deep – because he’s really good at it (the guy just does not bust coverages and has good range) – but I do expect him to come down a bit more often with Jamal gone. Having Adams allowed Gregg to feel good about leaving Maye deep on almost every snap because Jamal could handle everything else. Without Jamal, we could see a bit more of Maye near the line, and I think he can handle it. Very solid run defender and tackler.
So, there really should be a lot of interchangeability between McDougald/Maye and then McDougald/Poole. Intrigued to see how Gregg alters his defense without his core player – remember he has another star coming back in Mosley (plus Williamson). Really could be a much different-looking defense. Gregg worked around the weaknesses in the second half and built a scheme that tailored to the deficiencies and strengths. Now, those deficiencies and strengths are a bit different.
I’m with you! Lots to like about this. Obviously McDougald is no Adams, but he will keep the fort held down. Solid, experience, versatile player, especially in the passing game, which of course would be what you’d prefer if you had to choose one phase for him to be better at.