Best in the Business - Cornerbacks
Updated: Oct 4, 2020
By Kartik Mathur
5th - Quinton Dunbar
Dunbar was traded to Seattle for a 5th round pick ... a total steal. At age 28, it's safe to say he's at his prime. Dunbar allowed a passer rating of 52.6, the second best in the NFL, just behind Richard Sherman. He had 5 pass break-ups and 3 interceptions playing ONLY 11 games. Health could be a problem for him as he dealt with hamstring injuries but he says he's at his " best right now ". He's pretty experiences as well, what he does best is best is tracking the wide receiver not through his eyes and shoulder movement but his footwork. This is an amazing ability as he doesn't bite on sudden fakes. This gives him the advantage as stays glued to the assigned receivers and hence locks them down. At 6'2", quarterbacks don't throw jump-balls towards him. He initially played wide receiver, so he does recognize various receiver-based techniques. However with his current legal issues, it is questionable whether he will play the upcoming season or not.
4th - Tre'Davious White
Tre'Davious White is coming of his first pro bowl year, and he was fantastic. He had 6 interceptions ( T-1st in the league ). He was didn't allow a single touchdown the entire season. He's on of the best in the league at man coverage which is why he is so valuable to the Buffalo Bills. He had a grade of 74.5 for man coverage. He allowed just 13/30 catches practically locking down receivers while playing 1 vs 1 with them.
He's mastered jamming of receivers when they run slants, curls or any of the shorter routes. He plays physical and barely allows any completions thrown towards him. He also has good field awareness and is able to read plays and counter them. The fans absolutely love him as he's been made numerous clutch plays which allowed the Bills to secure some crucial games. Being just 25, he has a long good career ahead and will most likely prefer to stay with the Bills.
3rd - Richard Sherman
Yes, Richard Sherman had to be here of course. Making a name for himself with Seattle, he had a comeback year in the 2019-20 season. Appearing as one of the top cornerbacks in the league, Sherman was rated PFF's best cover cornerback. While proving he still has a lot of football to play at age 31, Sherman allowed around just 4.5 yards per target ( approximate ) while allowing an opposing quarterback rating of just 46.8 ( T-1st in the league ). The average passer rating for quarterbacks this year was 90.4, so it means quarterbacks were almost half as efficient throwing towards Richard Sherman.
He had 11 pass deflections and 3 interceptions, which wasn't the best in the league but Sherman stood his ground against some highly skilled receivers. He did make mistakes, such as in Superbowl 54; allowing a big catch vs Sammy Watkins. However we'll have to see how he plays in the coming years but for now he's definitely proved himself. He's arguably one of the most experienced and smartest cornerbacks currently in the NFL so he has an advantage against the new generation of wide receivers.
2nd - Marlon Humphrey
Marlon Humphrey, just 24 years old has made a name for himself as a nominee for the next best cornerback in the future. Humphrey plays alongside with Marcus Peters on the Baltimore Ravens, probably being the best cornerback duo in the NFL. Humphrey is a rare cornerback as he easily shifts his playing between slot and the outside cornerback position, giving the Ravens flexible options. When he plays in man coverage, he is one of the best in the league with a grade of 74.4.
In 2019, the 23-year old totaled 65 tackles, 14 passes defensed, four tackles for loss and three interceptions -- two of which were returned for touchdowns. These stats are unreal especially for Humphrey as he goes up against Odell Beckham.jr, Jarvis Laundry, Juju-Smith Schuster and will go up against A.J Green and newly drafted Tee Higgins. He allowed a 68.4 passer rating ( better than his 2018 season ). He is a key contributor to the Ravens defense and hasn't even reached his peak yet.
1st - Stephon Gilmore
Who else could it be. Gilmore let the league in interceptions ( 6 ) and pass deflections ( 18 ).
He allowed a passer rating of 32.8. Fun fact, the NFL passer rating for throwing the ball out of bounds is 39.6, so it is a proven fact that it is safer to throw the ball out of bounds instead of towards Stephon Gilmore. He allowed a 34.6% catch rate being the best in the league. It's just undeniable that he's the best. He also allowed only 280 receiving yards. He's a total lockdown player. He's mastered playing in press and all other coverage styles. It's practically impossible to create separation from him on any route.
Seeing his gameplay, he stays with the receiver throughout the route and knocks the ball down almost every time. Whether or not its a star receiver he's covering, he stays physical and jams the receivers up at the release practically stopping the play then and there. Even playing taller, stronger and faster receivers, he manages to stay with the receiver and anticipates every release and route. It's like playing against a mind-reader. Entering his 30's, he would still have top-of-the-league talent for years to come, and he was healthy the entire past season. All in all, its best for any quarterback not to take shots with Stephon Gilmore.
A lot of you might be thinking why are some of the bigger names not in this list: MARCUS PETERS, MARSHAWN LATTIMORE, JALEN RAMSEY, BYRON JONES and more. That's because all these players have extreme talent but still have a lot to learn. They still have their weak spots, as most of them are beaten on simple slant plays or curls. They still have a lot to learn and just don't have the entire experience package. One of their biggest common flaws are that they still get flagged for holding and pass interference numerous time ( especially at crucial moments ) and worst of all, they get heated at moments and get involved in unnecessary " unsportsmanlike conduct " . Being a top cornerback of course means allowing a low passer rating, or low completion percentage allowed or having numerous interceptions but some of the big aspects are often ignored such as being well disciplined and having consistency.