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Film Room: B.W. Webb shows potential as slot corner

Despite a rocky start to his career, Webb did some good things in 2018 and could build on them in Cincinnati

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Giants Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

B.W. Webb has been a bit of a journeyman in the NFL. He was a fourth round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2013 and the Bengals are now his 8th NFL team. He didn’t even play a game in 2017, after being cut by the Bears in September.

William Jackson and Dre Kirkpatrick aren’t going anywhere, so Webb was presumably brought in to replace Darqueze Dennard in the slot, though Dennard was also brought back. While Webb does have experience playing this position, 2018 was his best season as a pro, and he played mostly outside corner.

Still, he did spend a few weeks of 2018 playing primarily slot corner and one would assume that former Giants defensive backs coach and new Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo has a good beat on what Webb can do and how he will fit in the defensive system.

Here is a look at Webb playing in the slot under coach Anarumo in 2018.

In the first clip, Webb is responsible for the flat. The Eagles and in a bunch and there is no immediate threat to the Webb’s zone. He drops off and focuses on reading the backfield. When running back Wendell Smallwood comes out of the backfield and releases into the flat, Webb breaks on his route and removes the option. This is a great example of an aggressive match zone defense and excellent execution by Webb.

In the next clip the Eagles motion into a bunch look on 3rd and 4. They run the “star” concept which is common in bunch and designed to get the defense to chase routes they shouldn’t or pick themselves. Webb shows good discipline and understanding of the defense by dropping straight back and realizing that he is responsible for the route that is directly in front of him. The ball is completed to tight end Zach Ertz, but Webb breaks and makes the tackle for a 3-yard gain; forcing a punt.

Webb does an excellent job in man coverage against Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu here. He starts with inside leverage and maintains position inside of Sanu throughout the route. Notice how at the 31-yard-line Sanu slows down and Webb does not fly by him? This is because Webb has his eyes on Sanu’s hips. If you watch closely, you can see Sanu lower his hips. This indicates a cut and good man defenders focus on these kinds of keys to anticipate breaks. In this case however, it Sanu is simply trying to make Webb think he is cutting. Webb honors the maneuver, but quickly closes the gap between him and Sanu as the receiver continues up field. Webb demonstrates a keen understanding of man coverage.

This is a similar look against Ertz. The tight end stems to the outside, then looks like he want to cut inside. Webb cuts him off and even takes on a good shot from the much bigger Ertz. Webb maintains position inside and underneath him throughout the route.

It is a bit concerning that he only had one interception all season. Even worse, it was a gimme that came shortly after he dropped a would-be interception.

Webb may be a temporary solution, and the long term plan may be to use Darius Phillips or Davontae Harris in this role, but he definitely has some skills as a slot corner. He is particularly adept at covering bigger slots and high ends.