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If The Bengals Sign Him: Don't Expect Stanford Routt To Become An Answer To Any Question

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+ Former Oakland Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt visited the Cincinnati Bengals on Friday. Two days later Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio published that Routt would come to a decision on his future very soon -- most likely because the interest generally wasn't there. And maybe the interest isn't particularly strong because he's not an especially good cornerback, if one were to believe the grades at Pro Football Focus.

This is one of those times my dependence on Pro Football Focus tends to be weary. I know that the film they watch is mostly television broadcasts, probably using replays from NFL's Game Rewind. In that case not every defensive back can be judged because there's a significant time in which defensive backs (along with wide receivers) are out of frame, therefore out of sight.

We can only assume that those grades are being weighted and judged by the plays in which that player is involved. Now that would mostly apply to a player's overall statistics allowed in the secondary, not the grade. For instance in 2010, Routt posted an opposing quarterback rating of 69.0 and allowed only 42.4 percent of the passes against his receivers to be completed. Seems rather impressive. Yet that year Routt earned a grade of -9.3. What's up with that?

The Pro Football Focus grade is accumulation of other grades. For instance that year Routt's pass coverage was actually scored a +1.5, but the penalties he earned cost him -7.2 points. Combine that with a -4.0 score on run defense, and you see the point. So for our purposes we list his overall grade (PFF), as well as his coverage grade (Cov.). And the final category we're calling "OQBR", which stands for Opposing Quarterback Rating.

Season PFF Cov. Pct. Cmp TD INT OQBR
2011 -6.7 +4.1 51.1 9 4 82.4
2010 -9.3 +1.5 42.4 4 2 69.0
2009 -7.6 -3.7 71.4 2 0 124.1
2008 0.1 2.8 48.5 2 0 89.2

Routt isn't a player that the Bengals should view as some Johnathan Joseph replacement -- Cincinnati has yet to sign that player, either from the NFL draft or free agency. That being said we wouldn't be surprised if Routt went with the one-year route, trying to rebuild his talents for another contract year in 2013.

And that's the point.

There's questions about Leon Hall's rehabilitation and whether he'll be ready for the regular season or spending the first six weeks on the Physically Unable To Perform List. Adam Jones and Kelly Jennings are entering free agency with expiring contracts, leaving Nate Clements as your only "sure thing" heading into the 2012 season. That's a 32-year old sure-thing to you, Mister.

Does this change anything for the NFL draft this year? No. Cincinnati could (and probably will) select a Janoris Jenkins or Dre Kirkpatrick (or whomever your favorite cornerback is this week). If the team signs the former Raiders cornerback, he would become a means to bridge a gap, repair a Mount Everest-sized leak in the secondary.

And that's the point.