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Secondary Issues? Covered: Signing Lockdown CB Aaron Colvin a Major Coup for Texans

By: Andy Cooper

You’ve heard a lot about Jalen Ramsey, who has probably told you a lot about Jalen Ramsey. At the beginning of January, STATS wrote about the Jaguars’ pass defense and mentioned a lot about Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, and Barry Church. Those defensive backs were really good last season.

It was the unheralded one of the bunch that helped make the Jacksonville defensive backfield elite, though. The Jags’ slot corner, Aaron Colvin, wasn’t the loudest of the group and he wasn’t a free agent pickup for Jacksonville before last season. He was, however, a lockdown corner in the slot.

And after his breakout year, the Houston Texans now employ the No. 2 STATS-rated slot corner in the NFL after signing Colvin to a four year, $34 million deal this offseason.

In a series of short articles which started with a look at Albert Wilson and continued with Andrew Norwell’s rise to the NFL’s highest-paid offensive guard, STATS will highlight some free agent signings that didn’t blow the top off the industry — ones that are a tad under-the-radar involving underrated players who have performed well in STATS-unique metrics.

The fifth-year corner out of Oklahoma didn’t record an interception last regular season, which is possibly why he didn’t get as much fanfare as the rest of his teammates in the Jacksonville secondary. But that’s hardly the whole story with Colvin.

Opponents targeted Colvin 54 times last season, but he was burned on just 20 occasions. As we mentioned in the Wilson feature, burns are any positive play made by a receiver while covered by a defender, excluding screen plays. Of those 20 burns, only two turned into big plays for the offense.

Getting burned 20 times on 54 targets converts to a 37.04 burn percentage, which was 12 percent lower than the positional average. So, Colvin was 12 percent less likely to get burned than an average cornerback.

On top of that, when Colvin did get burned, he gave up 3.7 fewer yards per burn than the positional average. That led to a miniscule 232 total burn yards allowed.

By signing with the Texans, Colvin gets to stay in the division and line up against the same players he dominated against a season ago, while also having knowledge of his former teammates in Jacksonville.

With the news that the Texans have also signed Tyrann Mathieu, it appears the Houston secondary will be rather revamped in 2018.