Where do Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod rank amongst other Safety Pairings?

The chrome of the Eagles secondary, Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod give the Philadelphia Eagles something they have been searching for since they had Brian Dawkins and Michael Lewis back in 2004.

Two Pro Bowl caliber starting safeties like Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod are hard to come by. Jenkins, as we know, made his debut in Honolulu last season. McLeod, however, hasn’t been to the Pro Bowl but has drawn comparisons to a young Earl Thomas. So where does this pairing rank around the league?

Are Philadelphia Eagles fans merely caught up in the hype or do the Eagles have an elite pairing in the secondary once again in Philadelphia? Below are the top 5 safety combinations as listed by Pro Football Focus in no particular order along with their 2015 statistics.

 

1. New England Patriots

Pro Football Focus Ratings

Patrick Chung: 85.4 Coverage, 79.9 Run Defense = 88.4 Overall (5th)

Devin McCourty: 83.4 Coverage, 78.8 Run Defense = 86.6 Overall (7th)

2015 Statistics

Patrick Chung: 85 Tackles/0 Sacks/1 Forced Fumble/0 Interceptions

Devin McCourty: 64 Tackles/1 Sack/0 Forced Fumbles/1 Interception

2. Green Bay Packers

Pro Football Focus Ratings

Morgan Burnett: 81.2 Coverage, 91.2 Run Defense = 88.5 (4th)

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix: 76.8 Coverage, 89.8 Run Defense = 85.2 (8th)

2015 Statistics

Morgan Burnett: 68 Tackles/0 Sacks/2 Forced Fumbles/0 Interceptions

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix: 100Tackles/3 Sacks/1 Forced Fumbles/2 Interceptions

 

 3. Seattle Seahawks

Pro Football Focus Ratings

Earl Thomas: 85.2 Coverage, 82.1 Run Defense = 89.2 (3rd)

Kam Chancellor: 71.8 Coverage, 84.8 Run Defense = 80.0 (22nd)

2015 Statistics

Earl Thomas: 64 Tackles/0 Sacks/1 Forced Fumbles/5 Interceptions

Kam Chancellor: 74 Tackles/0 Sacks/1 Forced Fumbles/2 Interceptions

 

4. Philadelphia Eagles

Pro Football Focus Ratings

Malcolm Jenkins: 85.8 Coverage, 85.4 Run Defense = 89.8 Overall (2nd)

Rodney McLeod: 79.8 Coverage, 81.2 Run Defense = 83.9 Overall (=10th)

2015 Statistics

Malcolm Jenkins: 109 Tackles/0 Sacks/3 Forced Fumbles/2 Interceptions

Rodney McLeod: 82 Tackles/0 Sacks/3 Forced Fumbles/1 Interception

 

5. Denver Broncos

T.J. Ward: 82.0 Coverage, 81.6 Run Defense = 83.9 (=10th)

Darian Stewart: 77.1 Coverage, 80.4 Run Defense = 81.8 (16th)

2015 Statistics

T.J.Ward: 61 Tackles/2 Sacks/2 Forced Fumbles/0 Interceptions

Darian Stewart: 63 Tackles/0 Sacks/1 Forced Fumbles/1 Interceptions

 

Breakdown

As we can see above, in terms of production, Jenkins is the most consistent, leading in pass coverage, tackles, tied for forced fumbles and ranked 2nd overall on Pro Football Focus. Earl Thomas comes in a close second. He comes in 3rd on PFF Safety ratings.

Looking at the pairings, the only two that rival Jenkins and McLeod on last season are Thomas and Kam Chancellor, who are widely regarded as the benchmark in terms of Safety duos. New England’s Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung have great PFF Ratings, showing the two are a perfect system fits but still lack the overall production of both McLeod and Jenkins.

The Packers Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix stand out above the rest against the run but both have two of the lower coverage ratings, same story with T.J.Ward and Darian Stewart. All of the above can state claim to being the best combination at Safety but if you ask me the Eagles and Seahawks are the only two that can argue they deserve to be recognized as number one.

If we had to rank the top five in order, previous seasons would obviously come into the equation. Thomas and Chancellor have been the benchmark for at least four years now, and even though Jenkins rates higher than both Thomas and Chancellor, Jenkins has really only come of age recently.

Rodney McLeod is young and extremely promising, but in terms of pecking order, at this stage he is just good, not elite. After dissecting each pairing with the statistics provided, the top five is as follows:

 

  1. Earl Thomas & Kam Chancellor
  2. Malcolm Jenkins & Rodney McLeod
  3. Devin McCourty & Patrick Chung
  4. J.Ward & Darian Stewart
  5. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix & Morgan Burnett

 

Although Chancellor probably had the worst season of his career, the Pro Bowl tandem of both he and Thomas are the clear cut number one. For Eagles fans, they can still smile because they have an awesome pairing as well. Jenkins is now an elite safety in the league and McLeod is solid, so both are definitely are a few notches above Chung.

This Eagles team has been desperate at safety for a while now, so it’s nice to see a glimmer of hope at the back end of the secondary with two who are, again, Pro Bowl caliber. That gives us something to look forward to watching in 2016.