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  • Writer's pictureSeaFlock Blogger

Player Praise: Ugo Amadi – A Shiny New Nickel

When Marquise Blair went down in Week 2 against New England, I was worried we’d return to our way of playing an absurd amount of base defense like we did in 2019. Enter Ugo Amadi. He’s been a ballast in our secondary and arguably our best-performing cornerback. He’s certainly passed the eye test, as he seems to have a couple nice pass break ups (PBUs) each game. I also don’t remember him every being burned deep – the cardinal sin in Pete Carroll’s defense.

Below, I’ll take a look at some metrics in evaluating Ugo Amadi’s performance thus far through Week 6. Evaluating the play of defensive backs just purely using statistics and advanced metrics is quite difficult. I also don’t have access to NFL Game Pass to review All-22 film nor do I have a subscription to Pro Football Focus, so I’ll do the best I can.

Completion Percentage – 72.0%, 18 RECs on 25 TGTs

League Average – 68.8%

Amadi is giving up a fairly high completion rate, but we know that this doesn’t tell us the whole story. A better question would be to ask how many yards is he giving up per completion, or better yet, how many yards is he giving up per target?

Yards per Target – 5.0 yards

League Average – 7.4 yards

Amadi fares very well in this metric and is tied for 19th among all qualifying defenders and tied for 6th among all qualifying defensive backs. He is elite in this area. Yards per Target is akin to Yards per Attempt for a QB, and a 5.0 YPA for a QB would be abysmal. Amadi is also giving up just 7.0 Yards per Completion, which means even though he’s giving up a high percentage of completions, they’re not going for many yards.

Defensive Average Depth of Target (DADOT) – 7.5 yards

League Average – 8.3 yards

Now we know why Amadi is allowing such a low Yards per Target; it’s because he’s only being targeted 7.5 yards downfield on average, slightly below the league average. However, his DADOT is extremely low when comparing him to just DBs, as the league average DB’s DADOT is 9.9 yards per attempt. This is likely due to his position as a nickelback covering short and intermediate routes from slot receivers.

Passer Rating – 83.1

League Average – 95.7

Despite not having an interception on the season, Amadi has allowed a below league average passer rating when targeted. Think about the 83.1 number for a second. I know passer rating is flawed and doesn’t really show the QB’s efficiency, but even when considering YPA, arguably a better metric for efficiency, Amadi fares well. Amadi has also given up 0 touchdowns in his coverage, likely contributing to his lower passer rating despite not securing an interception, yet.

Yards After Catch per Reception – 3.6 yards

League Average – 4.2 yards

This metric is likely skewed as soon as a defender gives up a long YAC reception, but Amadi has yet to give that up. Securing the tackle after a catch is made is crucial in preventing the long plays that Pete Carroll defenses hate SO much. He’s certainly not great in this area, but he’s a little better than average.

Passes Defensed – 4

Amadi is tied for 34th among all qualifying defenders, despite just playing 5 games (remember these stats are through Week 6). It’s not a crazy amount, but exemplifies Amadi’s playmaking ability and his knack for being around the ball. For context, Bobby Wagner is also tied with Amadi with 4 PDs and Shaquill Griffin has 7 PDs, tied for 7th in the league (again, despite only playing 5 games).

Missed Tackle Percentage – 8.3%

League Average – 9.8%

I HATE missed tackles. We never had this problem in our LOB glory days, but last season it seemed like Seattle defenders missed tackles all the time, leading to big plays. Amadi is certainly, up to this point, better than the league average in securing tackles, especially when you consider that the DB average is 11.1%, much higher than the league average that includes linebackers. For context, the only Seattle DBs to have a lower missed tackle percentage than Amadi are Quinton Dunbar (0.0%) and Tre Flowers (5.0%).

The Verdict

All in all, Amadi is better than league average in Yards per Target, Passer Rating, YAC per Reception, and Missed Tackle Percentage. Considering that the Seattle secondary is currently allowing the most passing yards per game, I’d consider Amadi’s play EXCELLENT. Perhaps he’s not a shutdown nickelback just yet, but he’s more than serviceable and likely one of the better Seattle corners up to this point.

I’ve exported Pro Football Reference’s advanced defense data into a spreadsheet and only included Seattle defensive backs.

Source: Pro Football Reference

Areas highlighted in red with red font are worse than average DBs, and those in green are better. Unsurprisingly, most of the Seattle DBs are worse than the average DB in most coverage metrics, save for Ryan Neal. Seattle DBs have actually done a decent job in limiting yards after the catch, with the exception of Jamal Adams and Marquise Blair. Ryan Neal is someone who stands out in coverage, with similar a similar Yards per Target as Amadi, but a much lower Passer Ratings thanks to his two INTs. However, Neal has a TERRIBLE missed tackle percentage at 21.7%, missing 5 tackles thus far.

It’s also pretty ugly seeing 4 Seattle DBs giving up a passer rating over 100, including Shaq Griffin and Jamal Adams. We don’t need to talk about Tre Flowers (yuck).

When comparing Amadi to Blair, his predecessor, it’s glaring just how much better Amadi is. In fact, Amadi is better in EVERY highlighted metric. I know Blair only played for a game and a half and thing could certainly change, but I think Amadi should be our nickel corner moving forward, even when Blair does return from injury.

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