We’ve officially ranked the top players at each position in a defensive front seven, so now, it’s time to turn our attention to the most valuable part of a defense- the cornerbacks. With the way that passing offenses have evolved, teams have no choice but to be extremely deep at this position, regardless of what defensive scheme they run. At the same time, this tends to be a very volatile position, so if there is one position group that is subject to the largest change in rankings from a year-to-year basis, it’s cornerbacks.
Before we start, let’s go over the metrics that were used in this study:
- Pro Football Focus’ Coverage Grade is the final output after a group of analysts grade defensive backs from a -2 to 2 scale for each of their coverage plays.
- Pro Football Focus’ Run-Defense Grade accomplishes the same feat, but for rushing plays.
- Pro Football Focus’ Tackling Grade also accomplishes the same feat, but for tackling.
- Passer Rating Against measures opposing quarterbacks’ passer rating when targeting a cornerback.
- Yards/Snap measures the numberof yards a cornerback allows per snap.
- The formula, Coverage Snaps minus Slot Coverage Snaps, places an emphasis on outside cornerbacks, who certainly have a more difficult job.
Each of the qualifying cornerbacks were then given a percentile rank in these six statistics based on their production over the past two seasons, and with a slight rank towards their 2019 numbers. Meanwhile, rookies and certain second-year players were ranked based on their projection to the NFL level. Then, the following formula was used to calculate each player’s overall grade:
Now, it’s time to see who the numbers believe are the top 152 cornerbacks in the NFL!
#1: Richard Sherman, San Francisco 49ers (Overall Grade: 95.2624)
A shutdown corner for the Seahawks at his peak, Richard Sherman’s career appeared to be in jeopardy after he tore his Achilles in 2017. However, in his two seasons, with the 49ers, that couldn’t be farther from the case. The 32-year-old didn’t have a great 2018 season, but that can be expected after suffering a severe injury. Therefore, I’m completely buying into his production from last season, as he earned a 90.1 coverage grade. Over the past two seasons, he ranks in the 100th percentile in yards allowed per snap (0.552), and although he’s cast-off as a “zone corner”, that doesn’t matter- he’s the prototype corner for a cover-three scheme, which he has been in for his entire career.
#2: Stephon Gilmore, New England Patriots (Overall Grade: 93.4796)
If you want a man-coverage corner, then Stephon Gilmore is definitely your top target. When the Patriots signed him to a five-year contract following the 2016 season, it was deemed as an overpay for an inconsistent player. Bill Belichick clearly knows how to evaluate cornerbacks, though, and in his three seasons with the team, Gilmore has been exceptional. He leads the league in coverage grade over the past two seasons (87.78) and is able to shadow any top receiver, which allows him to thrive in a system that places a lot of pressure on cornerbacks. With two years of on his contract, it’ll be interesting if the 29-year-old continues to be New England’s top corner, or they look to trade him for a haul as they start a quick rebuild.
#3: Byron Jones, Miami Dolphins (Overall Grade: 89.165)
What makes Stephon Gilmore such a valuable player for the Patriots is that cornerbacks are relied upon so heavy in their scheme, and in Miami, head coach Brian Flores runs the same system; they needed to improve their cornerbacks. Therefore, although $82.5 million is a lot of money, it’s well worth it for an elite player in Byron Jones. The 27-year-old converted from safety to cornerback following the 2017 season, and the results could not have been better. He ranks in the 95th percentile in coverage grade and yards per snap, and also has thrived in isolated cover situations. For a team that is bound to run a lot of cover-one and cover-zero, that’s critical, and I expect him to really transform Miami’s pass defense this season.
#4: Casey Hayward Jr., Los Angeles Chargers (Overall Grade: 88.9714)
Chastised as a slot corner during his first four seasons in Green Bay, the Chargers saw a chance to add an elite cornerback following the 2015 season, and they were able to do so on a bargain $15.2 million contract. Heck, even the new $33 million contract extension he signed is extremely team-friendly, and it’s clear that teams continue to overlook him. At such a volatile position, it’s hard to be consistently terrific, yet Hayward Jr. has never had a coverage grade below 73 in his eight-year career, and has had five seasons with a grade of 83.6 or above. Furthermore, he’s been able to transition to being a full-time outside cornerback, which is not an easy task, and always has the versatile to kick back inside if needed. He should serve as a prime example that size isn’t the only indicator of success at the cornerback position.
#5: Steven Nelson, Pittsburgh Steelers (Overall Grade: 88.0214)
Speaking of undersized cornerbacks, Steven Nelson (5’11”) was an average player in his first three seasons, but has taken his game to a completely different level in the two seasons since then. Despite being forced to travel with #1 receivers on a putrid defense, he more than held his own in 2018 with the Chiefs, and after signing a reasonable three-year, $25.5 million contract with the Steelers, he earned a career-best 80.3 coverage grade. The 27-year-old doesn’t get much recognition, yet over the past two seasons, has clearly been an elite cornerback and one of the most underpaid players in the NFL.
#6: Denzel Ward, Cleveland Browns (Overall Grade: 85.1692)
The third-straight player on this list that is under six-feet tall (5’11”), the Browns clearly weren’t scared by Denzel Ward’s lack of size, as he’s an elite athlete that they felt comfortable taking with the 4th overall pick in 2018. Simply put, the 23-year-old cannot tackle or defend versus the run, which could be a slight problem in new defensive coordinator Joe Woods’ cover-three scheme. However, he’s a true #1 corner capable of shadowing the game’s top receivers, and his transition from college to the NFL has been very smooth- he ranks in the 95th percentile in passer rating allowed. Now entering his third season, the 23-year-old is clearly the game’s top young cornerback, and may challenge for the top spot of this list very soon.
#7: Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore Ravens (Overall Grade: 83.6758)
Although Ward is clearly a rising star, he’s the only elite 23-year-old AFC North cornerback; Marlon Humphrey has been a standout player in his three seasons with the Ravens. As I’ve mentioned, consistency at the cornerback position is very rare, yet Humphrey has a 75.3 coverage grade or higher in each of these three seasons. Sure, he benefitted from a move to the slot last season, but the fact he was able to immediately produce there after the team acquired Marcus Peters is actually impressive; he’s someone the Ravens need to sign to an extension as soon as possible.
#8: Jason McCourty, New England Patriots (Overall Grade: 83.549)
The Patriots acquired Jason McCourty for a late-round pick from the Browns following a solid 2017 season, and after producing at an even better level, New England somehow was able to retain him on a super cheap two-year deal worth $10 million. I don’t know why McCourty isn’t seen as a high-end player, especially when considering the team he plays for, but New England certainly isn’t complaining. Sure, he’s 32-years-old, but he has literally had the same coverage grade (80 in 2018, 79.6 in 2019) despite playing in a tough man-heavy system, and he’s also demonstrated the versatility to move to the slot when needed to. Assuming he’s fully healthy after missing most of the second-half of last season, he should continue to be a major contributor for a loaded secondary.
#9: Joe Haden, Pittsburgh Steelers (Overall Grade: 83.5028)
The Steelers’ pass rush gets most of the credit for their defensive success last season, yet, in my opinion, it’s clear that their secondary is the real reason for their dominance. Although he hasn’t had any high-end seasons in his three years with the Steelers, Joe Haden has been consistently reliable, which has so much value. He was all over the ball this season with 5 interceptions and 10 pass breakups, and although those numbers are fluky, he also measures out well in the more sustainable metrics.
#10: JC Jackson, New England Patriots (Overall Grade: 82.5388)
Yes, that’s right- the Patriots have THREE cornerbacks ranked in the top ten of this list! JC Jackson wasn’t even drafted in the 2018 draft, yet outside of Denzel Ward, he’s been the best cornerback in that draft. He leads the league in passer rating allowed over the past two seasons, and whether it’s been on the outside or in the slot, he’s been an excellent man corner for New England. Want to know why the Patriots continue to dominate defensively? All their of their elite corners will overlooked by every other team, so they’ve been able to build an elite secondary without investing much into it.
#11: Bryce Callahan, Denver Broncos (Overall Grade: 81.031)
The first pure slot corner on this list, Bryce Callahan didn’t play a snap last season after signing a three-year contract with the Broncos, as he went on injured reserve with a foot injury. Between 2017 and 2018, though, the 28-year-old has been a very reliable player, as his 81.8 coverage grade from 2018 ranked in the 99th percentile. Furthermore, head coach Vic Fangio was his defensive coordinator with the Bears, and in 2018, he even unleashed his pass-rush ability- he’s going to be used properly in Denver, and his return from an injury is a major addition for their defense.
#12: Tre’Davious White, Buffalo Bills (Overall Grade: 81.01)
In a loaded 2017 cornerback class, Tre’Davious White was the last one selected in the first round, and he made teams quickly regret that by earning an 89.8 coverage grade his rookie season. Since then, he hasn’t been as productive, with just a mean coverage grade of 70.12, yet he continues to shadow top receivers and has had absurdly tremendous ball production. He’s not the tier-one corner that many see him as, but he’s a player the Bills should definitely be comfortable giving an extension to.
#13: Levi Wallace, Buffalo Bills (Overall Grade: 80.8924)
JC Jackson wasn’t the only elite cornerback who went undrafted in 2018; despite playing at Alabama, Levi Wallace wasn’t even a late day-three pick, which is just baffling. In his rookie season, the 24-year-old earned a starting spot in Week 10, and in seven games, had an exceptional 85.3 coverage grade. Furthermore, he then followed it up with another strong season, and, similarly to White, had excellent ball production. Interestingly, he’s only been penalized once in his NFL career, and although the Bills signed Josh Norman, it would be a massive letdown not to build around White and Wallace as their cornerback tandem for the future.
#14: Jamel Dean, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Overall Grade: 80.603)
A third-round pick out of Auburn, Jamel Dean’s first start in the NFL, Week 9 in Seattle, couldn’t have gone any worse, as he allowed 155 yards and three touchdowns. However, Tampa Bay stuck with him, and the 23-year-old rewarded them with excellent play down the stretch. His ten pass breakups in just seven games demonstrate his ball skills, while he’s a super athletic player with the ability to stick with shifty receivers. The Bucs have a very young cornerback group, but he’s definitely the star heading into his second season.
#15: Quinton Dunbar, Seattle Seahawks (Overall Grade: 79.7662)
Due to legal troubles, it’s unclear what the future actually holds for Quinton Dunbar. It’d be a shame if the allegations against him turn out to be true, however, as he appeared to be an emerging player at a very important position. He had been a quality player previously, but never got the chance the succeed, and as a starter for the Redskins, the 27-year-old was one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL this past season- he earned an 89.5 coverage grade in 613 snaps. Furthermore, his length and playmaking skills made him a great fit in Seattle’s cover-three scheme, and they really need him to be available to play.
#16: Chris Harris Jr., Los Angeles Chargers (Overall Grade: 79.0848)
Since he has spent a lot of time covering the slot, Chris Harris Jr. has always been an underrated player, and had to settle for a meager $17 million contract with the Chargers, who know a thing or two about overlooked slot corners. The 30-year-old has been an elite player manning the slot for the Broncos, and even when asked to be an outside cornerback this season, he held his own despite having little surrounding cornerback talent around him. As a very instinctual player that is an elite run defender, he does his best work in the slot, which is where Los Angeles will use him this season. However, if they feel the need to put him outside, I think he’d thrive in that role opposite of Casey Hayward Jr.
#17: Marcus Peters, Baltimore Ravens (Overall Grade: 78.7178)
As an over-aggressive player who has been rumored to be a high-maintenance locker room presence, it doesn’t surprise me that Marcus Peters has been on three teams in the past three seasons. However, we shouldn’t act like he isn’t a high-impact player. Although his game-to-game consistency leaves a lot to be desired, he is a fearless playmaker who was built to play in a zone-heavy scheme, as his instincts and abilities to read the opposing quarterback are incredible. The Ravens have to be thrilled to have him under contract for just $42 million over the next three seasons.
#18: DJ Hayden, Jacksonville Jaguars (Overall Grade: 77.149)
For the first five seasons of his career, DJ Hayden looked like a complete first-round bust. Yet, he’s been able to revitalize his career in Jacksonville, as, strictly working from the slot, he ranks in the 95th percentile in yards allowed per snap and passer rating allowed. Add in his abilities as a pass rusher, and it’s clear he’s the versatile chess piece that teams should covet as their nickel corner, especially in a cover-three scheme; it’s proven to be an ideal scheme for him. The $19 million he got from the Jaguars looked like an awful deal for them, yet he should cost much more as a free agent next offseason.
#19: Prince Amukamara, Las Vegas Raiders (Overall Grade: 77.0056)
If someone can explain to me how Prince Amukamara had to settle for a one-year, $1.05 million deal in free agency, that would be much appreciated. How NFL teams that desperately need corner help let him sit in free agency until last week is absurd, as he’s been a very productive cornerback. The 31-year-old isn’t a #1 corner, but he is a high-end #2 corner who works best in a zone-heavy scheme; he’s been in the 90th percentile in yards allowed per snap. He’s a huge addition for a young, talent-deficient cornerback group in Las Vegas.
#20: Adoree’ Jackson, Tennessee Titans (Overall Grade: 75.4026)
As a high-end athlete who dominated as a kick returner at USC, Adoree’ Jackson always had an enormous upside, but was seen as a project when the Titans selected him with the 18th pick in the 2017 draft. The 24-year-old hasn’t suffered from any sort of growing pains, however, as his coverage grades have been above-average in every year of his career, while he also has been a playmaker in run defense, for whatever that is worth. With his athleticism, he can stick with almost any receiver, which is what you look for in your #1 corner.
#21: Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals (Overall Grade: 75.3956)
Speaking of players with exceptional athleticism and needed match-and-mirror ability, Patrick Peterson has been regarded as one of the league’s top cornerbacks since he was drafted with the 5th overall pick in the 2011 draft. For the most part, that has been accurate, but should we be worried about him moving forward. After all, he is now 30-years-old, and his duties aren’t getting easier- Arizona hasn’t added much cornerback talent around him. Meanwhile, after missing the first six games of last season due to suspension, he regressed to a 64.3 coverage grade, and looked like a shell of his old self at times. Now, he did improve down the stretch, and it was his first season in a new scheme, so I could definitely see him rebounding in 2020. Considering how thin the Cardinals are defensively, though, they’re essentially relying on him doing so.
#22: Charvarius Ward, Kansas City Chiefs (Overall Grade: 75.205)
An undrafted free agent by the Cowboys in 2018, the Chiefs looked silly for trusting Charvarius Ward to be a starting cornerback for them. However, it now looks like they have one of the better young cornerbacks in the NFL. The 24-year-old played over 1,000 regular season snaps for Kansas City, ranking in the 99th percentile in yards allowed per snap. Additionally, he completely played on the outside last season, and also was responsible for being the Chiefs’ top corner last season.
#23: Nickell Robey-Coleman, Philadelphia Eagles (Overall Grade: 74.7812)
In his three seasons with the Rams, Nickell Robey-Coleman was one of the top slot corners in the NFL, earning a coverage grade above 74 in every season with them. However, they still cut him loose to save around $4 million in cap space, and even worse, the 28-year-old had to sign for just $1.3 million with the Eagles. I don’t know why NFL teams have ignored his production so much, but he’s a major addition for Philadelphia.
#24: Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints (Overall Grade: 74.5648)
Sometimes, cornerbacks aren’t in the right scheme, and that can be the reason for their lack of production. As man-coverage cornerback, Marshon Lattimore is an elite talent who is up there with Stephon Gilmore. Yet, the Saints don’t run a lot of man coverage, and Lattimore’s play has suffered. The 24-year-old put together an elite rookie season, but in the two seasons since then, he’s merely been an above-average player. That’s fine, yet it’s still disappointing given the star potential he displayed coming into the NFL.
#25: Jalen Ramsey, Los Angeles Rams (Overall Grade: 72.2708)
Similarly to Lattimore, Jalen Ramsey’s exceptional 2017 season, combined with his draft pedigree (5th overall 2016), has perhaps made him a bit overhyped in the eyes of the media. The 25-year-old is a lengthy corner with the playmaking ability and strength in run defense to thrive in a cover-three scheme, which is what he was in with the Jaguars. Now, though, the Rams are counting on him to be worth two first-round picks and a massive contract extension, which doesn’t seem likely to happen.
#26: Jeffrey Okudah, Detroit Lions (Overall Grade: 72.25)
Coming out of Ohio State, Jeffrey Okudah has actually been compare often to Lattimore and Ramsey. I can understand the Lattimore comparisons, as he’s an athletic, lengthy corner who thrives in man coverage; he’s in the perfect scheme for him with the Lions, who run a lot of press-man coverage. He has the potential to be as dominant as Stephon Gilmore, but cornerbacks are always difficult to project.
#27: Kyle Fuller, Chicago Bears (Overall Grade: 71.9918)
The Bears declined Kyle Fuller’s fifth-year option after he had been unproductive for the first three seasons of his career, and was coming off of a major knee injury. However, that forced them to make a tough decision after he produced admirably in 2017, and, in the end, they matched a four-year, $56 million offer sheet to keep him from signing with the Packers. That looked like a marvelous decision for them after he seemed to be establish himself as a true #1 cornerback in 2018, but his 2019 season left a lot to be desired. Overall, he regressed to a 58.7 coverage grade, and was penalized far more than he had been previously; his rebound may be the key for the Bears getting back on track defensively.
#28: Jaire Alexander, Green Bay Packers (Overall Grade: 71.9886)
The Packers ask a lot of Jaire Alexander, as he tends to travel with every opposing offense’s #1 receiver. Therefore, his game-to-game consistency clearly isn’t there; he has high-level performances, but also as exposed against receivers like Amari Cooper and Keenan Allen. In his first two seasons, however, he’s been roughly the same player; a solid cornerback that tends to allows a decent amount of explosive passes.
#29: Tramon Williams, Free Agent (Overall Grade: 71.9196)
An elder statesman at this point of his career (37-years-old), Truman Williams struggled in his first season back with the Packers last year, as they tried to move him to outside cornerback and safety. However, they let him stay in the slot this season, and he dominated- he received an 82.2 coverage grade. I expect a team to sign him soon to man the nickel for them.
#30: Brandon Carr, Baltimore Ravens (Overall Grade: 71.719)
When they acquired Marcus Peters last season, the Ravens were able to move Brandon Carr to safety last season, and he played alright. The 34-year-old’s best role remains at cornerback, however, as even if he’s lost a step, he’s a very reliable veteran contributor.
#31: Brian Poole, New York Jets (Overall Grade: 71.6208)
After three decent seasons to start his career, Brian Poole settled for a $3 million contract. All he did was thrive in Greg Williams’ defensive scheme with an 80 coverage grade and just 0.53 yards allowed per snap. His reward? A one-year contract worth $5 million; it’s time for the NFL to start valuing slot cornerbacks properly.
#32: Janoris Jenkins, New Orleans Saints (Overall Grade: 69.9008)
After an altercation with a fan on twitter, the Giants cut ties with Janoris Jenkins, which also allowed them to save future cap space and give opportunities to younger players. The biggest beneficiary of that move was the Saints, though, as they were able to gain the services of an impact player. Over the past six seasons of his career, he has had a coverage grade of 66.3 or higher, and be even better thrive now that he won’t be asked to cover #1 receivers.
#33: Kristian Fulton, Tennessee Titans (Overall Grade: 68.5)
A lack of high-end “upside” and a disappointing 2019 campaign in which he dealt with injuries dropped him to the second round, but Kristian Fulton is easily the most refined cornerback from the 2020 draft not named Jeffrey Okudah. He may never be an elite #1 corner, but he’s extremely scheme-diverse with his instincts in zone coverage and the athleticism to play man coverage, so I’m expecting him to be an immediate contributor for the Titans.
#34: Emmanuel Moseley, San Francisco 49ers (Overall Grade: 68.373)
Yet another undrafted free agent from 2018, the 49ers asked Emmanuel Moseley to be a starting cornerback for him down the stretch. The 24-year-old exceeded all expectations with a 65th percentile rank or better in coverage grade, yards allowed per snap, and passer rating allowed, and he’ll likely start for the 49ers again next season. With a lack of cornerback depth, though, San Francisco desperately needs him to prove that his 2019 production wasn’t a fluke.
#35: Kenny Moore II, Indianapolis Colts (Overall Grade: 68.1924)
With his ability to contribute when needed in run defense, as well as his coverage ability, Kenny Moore II is the perfect versatile weapon to play in the slot. The 26-year-old also barely gets penalized, and his consistency can’t also be commended enough.
#36: Johnathan Joseph, Tennessee Titans (Overall Grade: 68.1522)
Although he is now 36-years-old, Jonathan Joseph is still going strong. Despite being the Texans’ #1 corner in a scheme that runs a lot of single-high concepts, he has had an above-average coverage grade in each of the past ten seasons, and will be reunited with his old defensive coordinator, Mike Vrabel, with the division-rival Titans.
#37: Holton Hill, Minnesota Vikings (Overall Grade: 81.101*)
Multiple suspensions ruined his 2019 season, but if he is able to stay on the field in 2020, Holton Hill has all the talent to be a starting cornerback for the Vikings. The 23-year-old earned a starting spot for Minnesota down the stretch in 2018, and in total, ranked in the 90th percentile or better in coverage grade, yards allowed per snap, and passer rating allowed.
#38: K’Waun Williams, San Francisco 49ers (Overall Grade: 67.4494)
Due to an injury dispute, the Browns released K’Waun Williams, a productive slot corner they signed as an undrafted free agent, after just two seasons. That was great news for the 49ers, as he is currently making just over $3 million, yet has established himself as a high-end nickel defender. He makes an impact as a pass rusher in addition to his abilities in coverage, and he should be in much higher demand as a free agent in the upcoming offseason.
#39: Jeff Gladney, Minnesota Vikings (Overall Grade: 67.445)
He may not have the size that teams are looking for, but Jeff Gladney certainly plays like a 6’4″ cornerback with his outstanding physicality. His anticipatory instincts in zone coverage will work great in head coach Mike Zimmer’s defensive scheme in Minnesota, and I expect to start as a rookie, whether it’s on the outside or in the slot.
#40: Darqueze Dennard, Free Agent (Overall Grade: 66.4246)
The Jaguars already have a terrific slot corner in DJ Hayden, but they still had an agreement with Darqueze Dennard on a three-year deal before it fell through. I don’t know whether they were going to move him to the outside, but the 28-year-old’s best work has come from the slot, even though he has struggled to stay healthy.
#41: James Bradberry, New York Giants (Overall Grade: 66.2002)
With his size and length, James Bradberry appears to be the prototype cover-three corner; he lacks the top-end speed to stick with top receivers, but has a lot of upside in zone coverage. Therefore, he was a solid player for the Panthers, though even then, he’s only been a slightly above-average cornerback. Now, however, he’ll be in a single-high, isolated press-man scheme with the Giants, and the results could be disastrous; he is about to play in the worst scheme for his abilities.
#42: Chidobe Awuzie, Dallas Cowboys (Overall Grade: 66.1404)
Drafted in the second round out of Colorado, Chidobe Awuzie has been as productive as the Cowboys could’ve asked for playing opposite of Byron Jones; he allows some big plays and isn’t a playmaker, but his overall output has been more than sufficient. There are rumors that the Cowboys may move him to safety, which would be a mistake.
#43: Trevon Diggs, Dallas Cowboys (Overall Grade: 66)
Speaking of the Cowboys, they landed a first-round cornerback in the second round; Trevon Diggs has all the length and zone-coverage ability you could ask for. He’s a little similar to Bradberry in that he shouldn’t be isolated or asked to play man coverage, yet in a press-zone scheme, which Dallas appears to be committed to running, he should be an impact player for them.
#44: CJ Henderson, Jacksonville Jaguars (Overall Grade: 69.95)
With his elite athletic traits, teams were able to overlook CJ Henderson’s poor 2019 season at Florida, as the Jaguars took him with the 9th overall pick. Theoretically, Henderson’s best fit would be in a man-heavy scheme, but he also has upside as an instinctual playmaking cover-three cornerback, which he’ll need to be in Jacksonville. He’s more of a boom-or-bust player, though the reward could be massive.
#45: AJ Terrell, Atlanta Falcons (Overall Grade: 65.5)
Speaking of athletic players who were drafted in the first round in 2020, AJ Terrell has issues winning at the catch point, but that tends to be a more fluky flaw than one that’ll doom him. He wasn’t tested a lot at Clemson, and struggled when he did, but overall, he appears to have the tools of a reliable man-coverage corner, and he should fit in nicely with what the Falcons typically want at the cornerback position.
#46: Jimmy Smith, Baltimore Ravens (Overall Grade: 65.3628)
Jimmy Smith’s struggles with injuries have been so consistent, that it really makes you wonder if certain players really are “injury prone”. Nevertheless, when healthy, he has been a productive player, and in a “position-less” defensive scheme, his abilities in run fits cannot be left unnoticed. He’s in a perfect spot as the Ravens’ #3 cornerback- he isn’t being relied upon.
#47: Shaquill Griffin, Seattle Seahawks (Overall Grade: 64.989)
For the first two seasons of his career, Shaquill Griffin didn’t appear to be a starting-caliber player for the Seahawks, especially after he received a 51.9 coverage grade in 2018. In his third season, however, he put it all together, as he allowed under a yard per snap, only was penalized once, and also had 13 pass breakups to go along with his 76 coverage grade. With Quinton Dunbar’s status unknown, the Seahawks need Griffin to have another strong season.
#48: Cameron Dantzler, Minnesota Vikings (Overall Grade: 64.75)
Considering that the Seahawks needed cornerback depth, Cameron Dantzler is actually a player they should’ve considered drafting. Alas, he went to a different cornerback-needy team, and was a massive steal in the third round. Sure, he doesn’t have the elite physical traits that some players have, but he was arguably the most refined player in zone coverage in this draft class- his skills will be greatly appreciated by head coach Mike Zimmer.
#49: Carlton Davis, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Overall Grade: 63.8658)
Similarly to the players ranked ahead of him, Carlton Davis is a slower cornerback, and relies on physicality and instincts in order to succeed. The 23-year-old took a step forward in his second season, earning a 72.1 coverage grade, but he still gets penalized too often and also gets beat down the field due to his lack of high-end speed. On the bright side, he finished the season very strong, which could be a sign of him adjusting to defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ defensive scheme.
#50: Mike Hilton, Pittsburgh Steelers (Overall Grade: 63.4136)
In each of the first three seasons of his career, Mike Hilton has received a 72 coverage grade or better, and also been impactful as a pass rusher, and before this season, in run defense. Ideally, he would allow less yards per snap, but he’s a versatile chess piece that defensive coordinators should covet when he becomes a free agent next offseason.
#51: Desmond Trufant, Detroit Lions (Overall Grade: 63.3084)
After signing him to a two-year, $21 million contract, the Lions are betting on Desmond Trufant to complement Jeffrey Okudah in a tough scheme to play in. Luckily for Trufant, he has experience playing in a man-heavy system with the Falcons, and although his passer rating allowed ranks in just the 30th percentile, he has consistently graded well from Pro Football Focus. Personally, I think that my ranking system is actually underrating the 28-year-old.
#52: Darius Slay, Philadelphia Eagles (Overall Grade: 62.3506)
Staying with the Lions, Matt Patricia’s system isn’t an easy one for a cornerback to thrive in, and Darius Slay wasn’t capable of constantly traveling with teams’ #1 receivers. Between 2014 and 2018, the 29-year-old was one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL, and I could see him vaulting back into the top 20 if his production at the catch point improves- he’ll be playing far more zone coverage with the Eagles.
#53: AJ Bouye, Denver Broncos (Overall Grade: 61.717)
Speaking of bounce-back candidates that were traded this offseason, AJ Bouye surprisingly struggled with the Jaguars last year, even though he was dominant in the three seasons prior. Now, Jalen Ramsey getting traded didn’t help, but the 28-year-old isn’t going to have an outside cornerback to work with in Denver, even if he would appear to be an excellent fit in Vic Fangio’s defensive scheme.
#54: Jaylon Johnson, Chicago Bears (Overall Grade: 61)
Although he ended up being drafted in the second round, it would have surprised nobody if Jaylon Johnson was picked in the first round. His playmaking instincts are similar to Marcus Peters, and although he is prone to allowing big plays, his warts can be covered up in a zone-heavy, cover-two/cover-three defensive scheme. Luckily for him, the Bears play a lot of two-safety sets, so he landed in a good place for him to succeed.
#55: Bryce Hall, New York Jets (Overall Grade; 60.8)
Had it not been for an ankle injury that ruined his 2019 season at Virginia, Bryce Hall may have been a first-round pick. He isn’t someone that you want to play man coverage or be isolated with, but finding a prospect with better ball skills and physicality in the 2020 draft was very difficult. With the current personnel he has, Gregg Williams is in a good spot to run a lot of press coverage, and the defense would work best with Hall slotted in as an immediate starter.
#56: Javien Elliot, Free Agent (Overall Grade; 60.7608)
After performing well for the Panthers in the slot last season, Javien Elliot is a player that certainly should be on an NFL team. He hasn’t been penalized once in his career, doesn’t allow big plays, and could be a starter for a lot of teams in the nickel. The Panthers, for instance, still lack any sort of reliable slot corner.
#57: Troy Hill, Los Angeles Rams (Overall Grade: 59.8674)
Between 2016 and 2018, Troy Hill was merely a role player for the Rams. After they traded Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, however, they needed a new starting cornerback to complement their new prized addition in Jalen Ramsey, and Hill was an excellent #2 corner for them. He held his own despite being consistently targeted, and although he doesn’t have a lengthy track record, I’m confident in him being a starter for Los Angeles in 2020.
#58: Desmond King II, Los Angeles Chargers (Overall Grade: 59.8674)
Meanwhile, the other Los Angeles team has a dilemma with their versatile defensive back. After two dominant seasons to start his career, Desmond King II wasn’t as productive in coverage last season, and his 132.7 passer rating allowed was absurdly poor. He works as a nickel player in the Chargers’ cover-three scheme, but honestly, I still think his best role is as a do-it-all safety- he’s an effective pass rusher, tackler, and run defense, and he doesn’t have a current starting spot with Los Angeles after they signed Chris Harris Jr.
#59: Sean Murphy-Bunting, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Overall Grade: 58.649)
The Bucs made the bold decision to draft Sean Murphy-Bunting over more well-regarded cornerbacks in the second round of the 2019 round, choosing to believe in his athletic upside. Outside of one standout performance against the Jaguars, the 22-year-old’s rookie season wasn’t great, but he showcased playmaking instincts and the ability to play in the slot, and appears to be a player on the rise heading into his second season.
#60: Mackensie Alexander, Cincinnati Bengals (Overall Grade: 57.3888)
#61: Gareon Conley, Houston Texans (Overall Grade: 57.2212)
Marshon Lattimore isn’t the only former first-round pick from Ohio State that would benefit from playing in a more man-heavy scheme; Gareon Conley has performed well in man coverage and press coverage, but he has overall struggled due to the defensive schemes he has been stuck in. Now, he did play better (68.5 coverage grade) once he was traded to the Texans, so hopefully, he’s found the right system for him.
#62: Damon Arnette, Las Vegas Raiders (Overall Grade: 56.85)
Sticking with Ohio State cornerbacks, Damon Arnette was probably the most surprising first-round pick in the 2020 draft, and he’ll have to prove a lot of doubters wrong; it has been a very criticized selected. As a slower man coverage cornerback, he appears to be a low-end starting cornerback, but I do commend him for being scheme diverse and having a high floor. It’s likely that he’ll start right away for the Raiders.
#63: Tramaine Brock Sr., Free Agent (Overall Grade: 56.8294)
#64: Rock Ya-Sin, Indianapolis Colts (Overall Grade: 56.825)
After trading out of the first round in last year’s draft, the Colts still picked up a player that many thought could sneak into the first round- Temple’s Rock Ya-Sin. As a physical zone corner, the 24-year-old is a great fit in defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus’ scheme, and progressed throughout his rookie season. He is susceptible to explosive passes, yet he’s an intriguing young player that is worthy of a starting spot.
#65: Blessuan Austin, New York Jets (Overall Grade: 68.034*)
Multiple ACL injuries dropped Blessuan Austin to the sixth round of the 2019 draft, but he always had the talent to perform at a high level. Well, he earned a starting spot in Week 10 of last season, and exceeded expectations with a 69.9 coverage grade- he’ll compete with Bryce Hall to be the team’s #2 corner this season.
#66: Darnay Holmes, New York Giants (Overall Grade: 56.5)
Darnay Holmes has quite the story in terms of his college career, as he was able to graduate UCLA in two seasons and head to the NFL. Although his last year in college was shaky, he is an aggressive player with necessary athletic traits, and has all the tools to continue to develop. He definitely will be able to start in the slot, but I wouldn’t rule him out as an outside cornerback in the Janoris Jenkins mold.
#67: Ross Cockrell, Free Agent (Overall Grade: 56.39)
#68: Terrance Mitchell, Cleveland Browns (Overall Grade: 56.052)
#69: Maurice Canady, Dallas Cowboys (Overall Grade: 65.805*)
#70: Eric Murray, Houston Texans (Overall Grade: 54.282)
The Texans paid Eric Murray around $20 million for the next three seasons, most likely to have him man the slot for them. Considering that the 26-year-old has actually performed better as a safety, it’ll be interesting to see how Houstons utilizes him.
#71: Pierre Desir, New York Jets (Overall Grade: 54.2766)
After a breakout 2018 season with the Colts, Pierre Desir was rewarded with a three-year, $22.5 million extension. However, he regressed to a 57.9 coverage grade last season, and was cut loose by them. Now, he’s with the Jets after signing a one-year contract, and I expect him to rebound. His overall production has hampered by a groin injury, as upon returning from injury, he was much better. With him, Bryce Hall, and Blessaun Austin, New York has a lot of physical press corners for their defense.
#72: Noah Igbinoghene, Miami Dolphins (Overall Grade: 54.2)
The Dolphins surprised some by taking Noah Igbinoghene in the first round, as they already have two of the top three highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL, and Igbinoghene was seen more as a project. Yet, it’s a very understandable selection. The Auburn product is the type of athlete that was meant to play in their man-heavy scheme, and as a slot corner, his growing pains in the NFL will be less severe. This was a necessary move to build their secondary, which is where teams should look to be strong at defensively.
#73: Bradley Roby, Houston Texans (Overall Grade: 54.1414)
After being a solid contributor for the Texans after signing a one-year, $10 million contract, Bradley Roby earned a new $36 million extension from Houston. The 28-year-old has at times been a productive cornerback, but when asked to play on the outside, he has been far worse. Considering how Houston has managed their secondary, and how much Roby is getting paid, it’s likely he’ll continue to be misused.
#74: Anthony Brown, Dallas Cowboys (Overall Grade: 53.92)
After signing Anthony Brown to a new three-year, $15 million contract, the Cowboys are expecting him to start for them. After falling out of favor with the old coaching staff, this is a great opportunity for Brown, though there isn’t much from his past track record to suggest he’ll be an average player, whether it’s on the outside or in the slot.
#75: Amik Robertson, Las Vegas Raiders (Overall Grade: 53.85)
Coming out Louisiana Tech, Amik Robertson reminds many people of a young Chris Harris Jr. with his playmaking instincts working from the slot. I’m not ready to anoint him yet, but he appears to be a starting-caliber nickel corner immediately, and was a great pick for the Raiders in the fourth round.
#76: Darious Williams, Los Angeles Rams (Overall Grade: 63.889*)
#77: Trayvon Mullen, Las Vegas Raiders (Overall Grade: 53.137)
The Raiders have targeted Clemson players in general manager Mike Mayock’s first two seasons with the organization, which is what led them to Trayvon Mullen in the second round last season. For a rookie, the 22-year-old played fine, as although his lowlights were low, and he was penalized a lot, he did enough for there to be some hope for him to be a starting player for the Raiders.
#78: Michael Davis, Los Angeles Chargers (Overall Grade: 53.0178)
#79: William Jackson II, Cincinnati Bengals (Overall Grade: 52.9554)
After getting drafted with the 24th overall pick in the 2016 draft, William Jackson II missed all of his rookie season with a torn pectoral muscle. Then, he came back and immediately was one of the top cornerbacks (90.4 coverage grade) in the NFL, and was also an above-average player (72.9 coverage grade) the following season. In 2019, however, he couldn’t adjust to a new scheme, and fell flat with a 55.2 coverage grade and 1.32 yards allowed per snap. Jackson is set to be a free agent at the end of next season, making this is a pivotal time for his future with the Bengals, as well as his eventual earning power.
#80: Malcolm Butler, Tennessee Titans (Overall Grade: 52.762)
As the hero of Super Bowl 49 for the Patriots, Malcolm Butler is always going to have a lot of name value, especially after he developed into a well-regarded cornerback. His $61 million contract with the Titans isn’t working out great, though, as he is coming off of his worst season, and needs to be closer to his Patriot self to live up to his heavy price tag.
#81: Michael Ojemudia, Denver Broncos (Overall Grade: 52)
Iowa cornerbacks generally have a sound track record of being impact players in the NFL, which is why I understand the Broncos selecting Michael Ojemudia in the third round. He was taken higher than people expected him to be drafted, but he has a lot of potential in zone coverage, and will likely be an immediate starter in head coach Vic Fangio’s defense.
#82: Amani Oruwariye, Detroit Lions (Overall Grade: 51.5)
It’s unclear why Amani Oruwariye fell to the fifth round in the 2019 draft, as he definitely had the talent to go much higher. The 24-year-old more than held his own in 215 snaps as a rookie, and is a great insurance plan for Detroit- he is capable of filling in if Desmond Trufant or Jeffrey Okudah misses any time; outside of one bad game, he was an excellent player for them.
#83: Aqib Talib, Free Agent (Overall Grade: 51.0412)
Between 2013-2018, Aqib Talib had a late-career renaissance, as he emerged as one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL after hitting a bump in the road in the middle of his career. However, he was unproductive for the Rams before going on injured reserve, and it’s telling that no one has signed him yet- have he seen the end of the 34-year-old? At the very least, he has the be worth a flyer for any team, right?
#84: Troy Pride Jr., Carolina Panthers (Overall Grade: 51)
Drafted in the fourth round of this year’s draft, Troy Pride has all the physical tools you look for in a high-end cornerback. Yet, his feel for the game is lacking, and because of that, he faces a steep learning curve when adjusting to the NFL. He has a lot of upside in man coverage, though, so the rebuilding Panthers should definitely try him in a starting role.
#85: Taron Johnson, Buffalo Bills (Overall Grade: 50.953)
#86: Darryl Roberts, Detroit Lions (Overall Grade: 50.934)
#87: Xavien Howard, Miami Dolphins (Overall Grade: 49.7812)
With a new regime in place, the Dolphins mostly turned over the roster last offseason, but they did retain one young player- they made Xavien Howard the highest-paid cornerback at the time. I see the 26-year-old as more of a cover-three zone safety with his lack of top-end speed, especially as he struggled in five games with Miami’s new man-heavy scheme. Hopefully, now that he’s healthy, year two can go much better as the team’s #2 corner opposite of Byron Jones.
#88: Eli Apple, Free Agent (Overall Grade: 49.5932)
After his deal with the Raiders fell through, Eli Apple is still looking for a new team. He has something to offer for a press-heavy team, and I expect someone to sign him soon.
#89: Trae Waynes, Cincinnati Bengals (Overall Grade: 48.9086)
Whereas Apple is struggling to find a new team, Trae Waynes had no problem cashing in with the Bengals, signing a three-year, $42 million contract with them. Judging by the fact that he ranks lower than Apple, that would appear to be a very egregious contract. The 27-year-old has been an average player for his entire career, and there isn’t much reason to think that’ll change with the Bengals.
#90: Justin Layne, Pittsburgh Steelers (Overall Grade: 48.2)
As a lengthy cornerback, Justin Layne was an intriguing developmental project in the 2019 draft that the Steelers felt comfortable drafting in the third round. He’ll draw some Joe Haden comparisons, so he may been seen as the veteran cornerback’s future replacement.
#91: Chris Jones, Arizona Cardinals (Overall Grade: 48.09)
#92: Kevin Johnson, Cleveland Browns (Overall Grade: 47.5802)
Kevin Johnson failed to live up to expectations as a former first-round pick, but he was much better with a change of scenery for the Bills last season. After earning a 76.3 coverage grade and allowing a passer rating of just 78.4, I think he’ll fit in well with the Browns and will play well above this ranking.
#93: Avonte Maddox, Philadelphia Eagles (Overall Grade: 47.4664)
#94: Marvell Tell III, Indianapolis Colts (Overall Grade: 46.627)
As a converted college safety, Marvell Tell III has the length and ball skills that the Colts are looking for with their cornerbacks. In the 254 snaps he played during his rookie season, he allowed a putrid passer rating of 111.2, but when asked to play on the outside, rather than the slot, he was far better.
#95: Greg Stroman, Washington Redskins (Overall Grade: 46.694)
#96: Justin Coleman, Detroit Lions (Overall Grade: 46.5138)
The Lions gave Justin Coleman $36 million to lock down the slot for them, and it’s safe to say he did far from that. The 27-year-old started out strong, but was a liability for them down the stretch, and his transition from Seattle’s cover-three scheme to Detroit’s man scheme didn’t go as smoothly as anticipated.
#97: Jonathan Jones, New England Patriots (Overall Grade: 45.6402)
Speaking of slot defenders in a man-heavy system, Jonathan Jones has been a solid contributor for the Patriots, especially as a playmaker. On the other hand, he ranks in just the 20th percentile in yards allowed per snap, and for New England’s sake, Jason McCourty should be their nickel corner this season.
#98: Kevin King, Green Bay Packers (Overall Grade: 45.264)
Kevin King had a lot of fans coming out of Washington in the 2017 draft, but after struggling to stay healthy in his first two seasons, he was a subpar player for the Packers last season. I’m very surprised Green Bay is sticking with him as their #2 cornerback without any competition.
#99: Logan Ryan, Free Agent (Overall Grade: 44.3422)
With a reported $10 million asking price, Logan Ryan has yet to sign with a team, and if he doesn’t change his demands, he could be on the market for much longer. Sure, he’s a very productive nickel pass rusher, but he has also been a below-average player in coverage in two of the past three seasons, which isn’t acceptable as a slot corner.
#100: Bidi Wreh-Wilson, Atlanta Falcons (Overall Grade: 52.442*)
#101: Greedy Williams, Cleveland Browns (Overall Grade: 43.562)
Despite being a very hyped-up prospect at LSU, Greedy Williams fell to the second round of the 2019 draft, and the Browns felt obliged to end that fall. Unfortunately, his rookie season didn’t go as planned, as his 53.6 coverage grade ranked in just the 20th percentile; he also didn’t improve throughout the season, as some rookies normally do. Nevertheless, he is still a very talented player, and him developing could make a massive difference for Cleveland’s defense.
#102: Jourdan Lewis, Dallas Cowboys (Overall Grade: 43.078)
As the Cowboys’ slot corner, Jourdan Lewis has been a decent player, but not enough to be a valuable player in the nickel. His 103.3 passer rating allowed from this past season shows that he was picked on at times by opposing offenses.
#103: Tre Herndon, Jacksonville Jaguars (Overall Grade: 42.98)
#104: Tre Flowers, Seattle Seahawks (Overall Grade: 42.6298)
#105: Brandon Facyson, Los Angeles Chargers (Overall Grade: 42.154)
#106: David Long Jr., Los Angeles Rams (Overall Grade: 42.1)
As someone who graded well in college, David Long Jr. looked like a great selection for the Rams in the third round of the 2019 draft. He only played 109 snaps as a rookie, but will start in the slot for them this season.
#107: Cre’Von LeBlanc, Philadelphia Eagles (Overall Grade: 41.796)
#108: Lamarcus Joyner, Las Vegas Raiders (Overall Grade: 40.8614)
As a free safety for the Rams, Lamarcus Joyner has a very impactful player. However, despite paying him $42 million, the Raiders decided to play him in the nickel, and the results were disastrous. His 42.8 coverage grade, 110.2 passer rating allowed, and 1.32 yards allowed per snap all illustrate why Las Vegas should move him back to his normal position.
#109: Dre Kirkpatrick, Cincinnati Bengals (Overall Grade: 39.486)
#110: DW Webb, Cincinnati Bengals (Overall Grade: 39.3344)
#111: Bashaud Breeland, Kansas City Chiefs (Overall Grade: 39.1928)
Many see Bashaud Breeland as the Chiefs’ top corner during their Super Bowl run last season, yet that couldn’t be farther from the case. His 43.2 coverage grade, twelve penalties, and issues giving up explosive passes really hurt Kansas City’s defense, so the fact that he is facing a four-game suspension isn’t worry something they should be concerned about.
#112: Donte Jackson, Carolina Panthers (Overall Grade: 38.9638)
With 4.32 speed, Donte Jackson was an athletic developmental project when the Panthers drafted him in the second round of the 2018 draft. After a solid rookie campaign, the 24-year-old was a liability for Carolina last season, as he looked just out of place. Hopefully, he can get back on track in a scheme that probably will run more man coverage, but he also now has to be the team’s #1 corner.
#113: Kendall Fuller, Washington Redskins (Overall Grade: 38.7732)
Coming off of an absurdly 2017 campaign, Kendall Fuller looked like a great acquisition for the Chiefs, who sent Alex Smith to Washington. He took a step back in 2018, but it was his middling play in 2019 (55.3 coverage grade) that was concerning. At the same time, he also had to play safety for Kansas City, and as a full-time slot corner, his second stint with the Redskins should be more in line with previous production. It’ll have to be- he’s getting paid $10 million over the next four seasons.
#114: Trumaine Johnson, Free Agent (Overall Grade: 38.7112)
Sure, Trumaine Johnson didn’t live up to the $72.5 million contract the Jets gave him, but he certainly isn’t a bad player. Between 2015-2018, he received a coverage grade of 68.8 or higher, but fell out of favor this season before going down with a season-ending injury. At the very least, he is worth taking a swing on for any team looking to add cornerback depth.
#115: Rasul Douglas, Philadelphia Eagles (Overall Grade: 38.317)
#116: Nevin Lawson, Las Vegas Raiders (Overall Grade: 35..802)
#117: Mike Hughes, Minnesota Vikings (Overall Grade: 35.588)
When the Vikings drafted Mike Hughes in the first round, it appeared to be a luxury pick for a team that had a lot of cornerbacks. However, he didn’t play well as a starter last season, and allowed 1.42 yards per snap.
#118: Fabian Moreau, Washington Redskins (Overall Grade: 35.4532)
#119: Jimmy Moreland, Washington Redskins (Overall Grade: 34.726)
#120: Daryl Worley, Dallas Cowboys (Overall Grade: 34.453)
#121: Nik Needham, Miami Dolphins (Overall Grade: 34.292)
Between Weeks 6 through 11, Nik Needham looked like a massive steal for the Dolphins as an undrafted rookie. From there on out, though, he struggled massively, and certainly won’t start for Miami this season.
#122: Duke Dawson Jr., Denver Broncos (Overall Grade: 33.998)
#123: Ahkello Withsepoon, San Francisco 49ers (Overall Grade: 33.753)
Ahkello Withsepoon showed promise in his rookie season for the 49ers in 2017, but in the two seasons since then, he has been a subpar player, and allowed an alarming 109.3 passer rating last season.
#124: Byron Murphy, Arizona Cardinals (Overall Grade: 32.208)
The first pick of the second round in 2019, Byron Murphy was not only seen as the most refined cornerback in that draft, but also a high-end, first-round talent. Instead, he was a liability for Arizona, didn’t improve throughout the season, and was even worse when they moved him to the slot. It’s safe to say he needs to have a second-year breakout for the Cardinals to improve defensively.
#125: Isaiah Oliver, Atlanta Falcons (Overall Grade: 32.088)
Sticking with the team of disappointing early draft picks, Isaiah Oliver was coveted in the 2018 draft, and it was a surprise to see him fall to the end of the second round. In 240 snaps as a rookie, the 23-year-old looked like a great pick for them, but as a full-time starter in 2019, he did not play well. His 1.45 yards per snap allowed and 110.3 passer rating allowed were very alarming.
#126: TJ Carrie, Indianapolis Colts (Overall Grade: 31.4496)
#127: Jalen Mills, Philadelphia Eagles (Overall Grade: 30.2846)
Mills will be apparently moving to safety, which is the right decision. He was a liability at times as a cornerback- he has been consistently susceptible to explosive passes down the field.
#128: Kevin Peterson, Arizona Cardinals (Overall Grade: 29.453)
#129: Trevor Williams, Philadelphia Eagles (Overall Grade: 29.288)
#130: Rashaan Melvin, Jacksonville Jaguars (Overall Grade: 29.252)
#131: Josh Norman, Buffalo Bills (Overall Grade: 29.0046)
At his peak, Josh Norman wasn’t a player you wanted to be used in man coverage, but he had always been a playmaker in zone coverage. The 32-year-old fell flat last season, though, as he had a 43.4 coverage grade and allowed as a passer rating of 133.3. On the bright side, he’ll be reunited with Sean McDermott, and a past track record of success in a zone-heavy scheme, he adds depth for Buffalo’s secondary.
#132: Robert Alford, Arizona Cardinals (Overall Grade; 28.327)
Last offseason, the Cardinals signed Robert Alford to a three-year, $24 million contract after he was cut by the Falcons, and before he could play a game, he was placed on injured reserve. The 31-year-old was a solid starter for the Falcons between 2015-2017, but really struggled in 2018, and is someone Arizona must view as a bounce-back candidate.
#133: Kendall Sheffield, Atlanta Falcons (Overall Grade: 28.327)
#134: Sam Beal, New York Giants (Overall Grade: 28)
A former supplemental draft pick, Sam Beal may have to start for the Giants this season, and he really hasn’t played enough for us to know what to expect.
#135: Davontae Harris, Denver Broncos (Overall Grade: 27.491)
#136: Anthony Averett, Baltimore Ravens (Overall Grade: 27.367)
#137: Ronald Darby, Washington Redskins (Overall Grade: 26.7098)
For the first four seasons of his career, Ronald Darby was an above-average cornerback for the Eagles, but just had issues staying healthy. Once again, he failed to play a full season in 2019, yet it was his atrocious production that was the main concern- he received a 39.8 coverage grade and allowed 2.02 yards per snap. I expect him to somewhat bounce back, though it’s risky for the Redskins to entrust him with a starting spot.
#138: Xavier Rhodes, Indianapolis Colts (Overall Grade: 26.0606)
Once upon a time, Xavier Rhodes was a popular cornerback, and the saying around him was that the “Rhodes were closed”. Whether he was actually as productive as many though he was can be debated, but what we do know is that he has been a liability over the past two seasons. His ability to get beat deep was an issue even in a zone-heavy scheme in Minnesota, and I just don’t think he is a starting-caliber option. Yet, that is what the Colts apparently view him as.
#139: Buster Skrine, Chicago Bears (Overall Grade: 24.8098)
#140: DeAndre Baker, New York Giants (Overall Grade: 24.741)
Due to the off-the-field circumstances, it is unlikely that DeAndre Baker actually plays next season. That would be quite the letdown for the Giants, who selected him in the first round in 2019, and stuck with him despite him ranking in the 10th percentile in coverage grade. It’s also worth noting that even if he were to play, he isn’t a good fit in New York’s isolated man-heavy scheme.
#141: Artie Burns, Chicago Bears (Overall Grade: 24.403)
#142: Isaac Yiadom, Denver Broncos (Overall Grade: 24.1316)
#143: Grant Haley, New York Giants (Overall Grade: 22.439)
#144: Jomal Witz, Miami Dolphins (Overall Grade: 21.973)
#145: Sidney Jones, Philadelphia Eagles (Overall Grade: 21.706)
Once seen as one of the top cornerbacks in the 2017 draft, a major Achilles injury dropped Sidney Jones to the second round of that draft, and he looked like a bust over the first two seasons of his career. Nevertheless, he showed some signs of breaking out last season, though his lowlights remained very low.
#146: MJ Stewart, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Overall Grade: 21.571)
#147: LeShaun Sims, Tennessee Titans (Overall Grade: 19.9992)
#148: Lonnie Johnson Jr., Houston Texans (Overall Grade: 19.828)
In the 2019 draft, Lonnie Johnson Jr. appeared to be a good fit for any teams running a cover-three scheme, as he is a lengthy corner who lacks top-end speed. The Texans, however, run a lot of cover one, and the second-round pick was constantly exposed. I just don’t see him getting better in this scheme.
#149: Vernon Hargreaves III, Houston Texans (Overall Grade: 19.428)
#150: PJ Williams, New Orleans Saints (Overall Grade: 17.944)
#151: Nate Hairston, New York Jets (Overall Grade: 15.1088)
#152: Nick Nelson, Las Vegas Raiders (Overall Grade: 10.99)