Just how good was Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden in 2020? So good that he made Next Gen Stats’ top 10 coverage players in 2020 list that was released on Friday and recapped by Nick Shook on NFL.com.
Haden, who only played in 14 regular season games last season, ranked 10th overall on Next Gen Stats’ top 10 coverage players in 2020 list.
Here is what Shook wrote about Haden ranking 10th overall on the list.
Passer rating allowed: 76.5
Catch rate allowed below expectation: -5.8%
Tight window pct: 24.3%
Target rate: 16.9%
Average separation: 2.2 yards
Targeted expected points added: -9.3
Even in his 11th NFL season, Haden still proved to be an effective cover man. He allowed just 2.2 yards of separation per target in 2020, the fifth-lowest average in the NFL (minimum 50 targets), and the best mark he’s posted in the category during the Next Gen Stats era (since 2016). The Steelers corner compiled a completion percentage allowed below expectation for the fourth straight season and is one of just four players to do so while seeing a minimum of 50 targets in each season during that span. While his numbers aren’t quite as astronomical as others on this list, Haden proved with his play and production that he’s still a strong performer at the position.
It’s worth noting that to qualify to be on the list, players needed a minimum of 300 coverage snaps and 40 targets to achieve legitimate volume among qualifiers, per Shook. Players also had to finish with a catch rate allowed that was below expectation, a negative targeted expected points added (a metric used to quantify how much an individual player impacted an opponents’ scoring potential), a tight window percentage of at least 20 percent (15 percent for linebackers — more on that later) — and a maximum passer rating allowed of 80. These requirements pared down the candidates to only those with the most well-rounded production.
Haden, who turned 32 in April, is now in his fifth season with the Steelers. The former first round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns had 52 total tackles in 2020 to go along with two interceptions and 12 passes defensed, One of those interceptions he returned for a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens.
According to Pro Football Reference, Haden was targeted 79 times in 2020 and he allowed 40 receptions for 559 yards and three touchdowns. He had a passer rating against him of just 75.9.
Haden is now in the final year of his current contract so unless he signs a contract extension later this summer, there is a good chance that 2021 will be the final season of his long NFL career.