Ranking all 32 NFL cornerback groups

The Denver Broncos own the top cornerback trio heading into the 2016 season—see where the other 31 teams fall.

| 1 year ago
(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Ranking all 32 NFL cornerback groups

The NFL has become a sub-package league. The transition is still on-going, and teams are moving in different directions with their fifth defensive back, but the fact remains that a team’s fifth DB now plays more than their third linebacker. With that comes a shift in focus when we consider the strength of cornerback situations around the NFL. No longer can you simply look at the strength of a starting pair—that third corner is an increasingly important cog in the defense.

Freshly armed with that knowledge, here’s a 1–32 ranking of every NFL CB corps; we’ve considered every team’s top three cornerbacks for our best projection of how each depth chart would likely line up if the season began today.

1. Denver Broncos

Top CBs: Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr., Bradley Roby

Key stat: All three earned top-30 grades last season among NFL CBs.

Self-anointed as the “No-Fly Zone,” the Broncos’ secondary is led by this terrific trio of cornerbacks. The Broncos were the only team to place their top three corners in our 30-highest-graded in the NFL last season, with Harris leading the way once again. Harris surrendered less than 1 yard allowed per snap in coverage (0.88 during the regular season) for his fourth straight season, the only cornerback to do so since he became a full-time starter in 2012.

2. Arizona Cardinals

Top CBs: Patrick Peterson, Justin Bethel, Tyrann Mathieu

Key stat: Peterson averaged 19.5 coverage snaps per reception last season.

No cornerback went more snaps between allowing a reception last season than Peterson, who after a subpar 2014, was back to his imperious best in 2015. Paired with fellow LSU alum Tyrann Mathieu, the Cardinals have a devastating weapon at outside corner and in the slot to shut down a variety of opposing receivers. The sole weak spot in this trio last season was Bethel, who surrendered at least 75 yards in each of the Cardinals’ final four games.

3. Washington Redskins

Top CBs: Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Quinton Dunbar

Key stat: Norman (with Carolina) allowed 50 yards in a game just once in 2015.

Even before the acquisition of Norman, this was a cornerback corps on the rise. Breeland had a breakout campaign in 2015, allowing 50 yards or more only three times after Washington’s Week 8 bye. Dunbar, an undrafted free agent and wide-receiver conversion, showed his potential in the wildcard defeat to Green Bay by breaking up two passes and allowing only 41 yards on seven receptions.

4. New England Patriots

Top CBs: Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, Justin Coleman

Key stat: Butler recorded 14 pass defenses last season, fourth-most in the NFL.

Following his Super Bowl XLIX heroics, the Patriots put a lot of pressure on Malcolm Butler to be their lead corner after Darrelle Revis’ departure. And, after a tough start to the year against Antonio Brown, Butler handsomely repaid the Patriots’ faith in him. Opposite him, Logan Ryan broke up 10 passes, allowing a passer rating of just 78.8 during the regular season.

5. Buffalo Bills

Top CBs: Ronald Darby, Stephon Gilmore, Sterling Moore

Key stat: Darby and Gilmore combined for a 5.1 coverage snaps per target mark in 2015.

Rex Ryan’s aggressive scheme puts a lot of pressure on his cornerbacks, and unsurprisingly, both Darby and Gilmore were among the league’s most-targeted corners last season (tied for fourth-most) on a per-snap basis. Both stood up to that examination well, and Sterling Moore should provide an upgrade—if he wins the job—over Nickell Robey at slot corner. Robey has allowed 1,041 receiving yards and a passer rating north of 100.0 over the past two seasons combined.

6. San Diego Chargers

Top CBs: Jason Verrett, Casey Hayward, Brandon Flowers

Key stat: Verrett has played 965 snaps over the past two seasons.

As one of the few strengths on this Chargers’ roster, a full season from Verrett would only push this unit higher; a combined 965 snaps over his first two seasons was bettered by 26 corners in 2015 alone. The addition of Hayward ensures that Brandon Flowers will see less action in the slot this season, which could push him back to his best form that we last saw in 2014 after his arrival from Kansas City.

7. Green Bay Packers

Top CBs: Sam Shields, Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins

Key stat: Rollins posted a 58.4 passer rating allowed last season, fourth-best in the NFL.

Not many teams could lose their best cornerback and still boast a top-10 trio of CBs in the NFL. Such is the Packers’ outstanding turnover of cornerback talent that they should be able to sustain the loss of Casey Hayward to the Chargers and not miss a beat. All three of these corners went, on average, more than 10 snaps in coverage between receptions allowed; the Packers were one of only six teams to see their corners surrender completions so infrequently.

8. Houston Texans

Top CBs: Jonathan Joseph, Kareem Jackson, Kevin Johnson

Key stat: Joseph recorded 16 pass defenses in 2015, second-most in the league.

After a torrid display against the Panthers in Week 2, Joseph rebounded with three pass defenses and only 24 yards allowed to the Bucs a week later, and he didn’t look back. Over the final 14 weeks of the season Joseph was the highest-graded corner in the league in coverage. While Kareem Jackson took a step back from his 2014 form, Kevin Johnson put in a solid rookie display to add to the overall strength of this trio.

9. New York Giants

Top CBs: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple

Key stat: At Ohio State, Apple allowed just 44.6 percent of passes into his coverage to be completed (2015 season).

The Giants have invested heavily to upgrade at cornerback this season, spending big on Janoris Jenkins’ breakout campaign in St. Louis and using a top-10 pick to nab Eli Apple during the draft. As second and third corners, Jenkins and Apple will sit behind Rodgers-Cromartie, who finished among the top-20-graded CBs in coverage for the third straight season.

10. Seattle Seahawks

Top CBs: Richard Sherman, Jeremy Lane, DeShawn Shead

Key stat: Sherman allowed just 48.4 percent of passes into his coverage to be completed, fourth-best in the NFL in 2015.

For the fifth straight season, Richard Sherman didn’t allow even half of the passes targeted into his coverage to be completed; even a career-high of 48.4 percent was still among the top five in the NFL. Sherman’s presence alone elevates this group of corners, but questions persist behind him, which could drag this trio down. Jeremy Lane has shown his quality, but has struggled to stay healthy, while Shead led all Seahawks’ corners in yards allowed (465), despite playing only 520 regular season snaps in 2015.

11. Minnesota Vikings

Top CBs: Xavier Rhodes, Terrence Newman, Captain Munnerlyn

Key stat: Rhodes allowed 50+ yards only once after Week 10 last season.

Over the first 10 weeks of the season, Xavier Rhodes allowed 460 receiving yards, six touchdowns, and only three corners had a lower coverage grade. In the final seven weeks, Rhodes broke up seven passes, surrendered only one touchdown, and only four corners earned a higher coverage grade. Mike Zimmer has consistently stocked his defensive backfields full of talent, and Rhodes—at his best—is the centerpiece of an extremely talented group of corners in Minnesota.

12. Oakland Raiders

Top CBs: Sean Smith, David Amerson, T.J. Carrie

Key stat: Smith has 59 career pass defenses to his name.

Only David Amerson had more than five pass defenses last season among Oakland’s corners. As an offseason remedy, the Raiders added Sean Smith to the mix, who has registered at least eight in each season since 2012. If Amerson proves to not be a one-season-wonder, the Raiders will boast a strong top pairing at cornerback, with the battle for the third spot wide open.

13. Los Angeles Rams

Top CBs: Trumaine Johnson, E.J. Gaines, LaMarcus Joyner

Key stat: Gaines notched 10 pass defenses in 2014, more than any of his rookie peers.

The Rams balked at meeting Janoris Jenkins’ wage demands, and the confidence not to overpay may have been rooted in E.J. Gaines’ much overlooked rookie campaign of 2014. Gaines was the Rams’ highest-graded corner that season, surrendering only 1.03 yards per coverage snap (just outside the league’s top-20 corners that year). The one area the Rams’ corners must improve is their tackling, having missed a combined 78 tackles over the last two seasons (third-most in the NFL).

14. San Francisco 49ers

Top CBs: Tramaine Brock, Dontae Johnson, Jimmie Ward

Key stat: Ward recorded 21 defensive stops in 2015, tied for 10th-most in the league.

The massive personnel turnover in San Francisco last offseason hit the defensive backfield, too, but their fresh crop of cornerbacks more than held their own as the rest of the team struggled around them. Tramaine Brock, Dontae Johnson, and Jimmie Ward all graded well, with Brock surrendering more than 75 yards only three times, while Ward added 21 stops from the slot.

15. Jacksonville Jaguars

Top CBs: Davon House, Jalen Ramsey, Prince Amukamara

Key stat: Ramsey posted a 54.5 completion percentage allowed at Florida State last season.

Even before the acquisition of Jalen Ramsey in the draft, the Jags’ secondary had already made strides, and Ramsey could now cap off an ascending group of cornerbacks. Davon House surrendered a passer rating below 80.0 in his first season in Jacksonville, while free-agent signing Prince Amukamara was tied for 17th in the league, surrendering only 1.04 yards per coverage snap. After Ramsey fell into Jacksonville’s lap during the draft, the Jags now boast unexpected depth at cornerback with the likes of Aaron Colvin now competing for playing time and roster spots.

16. Cleveland Browns

Top CBs: Joe Haden, Tramon Williams, K’Waun Williams

Key stat: Haden recorded a career-high 158.2 passer rating allowed in 2015.

Struggling through injuries, Joe Haden allowed as many touchdowns (four) on 31 targets last season as he had surrendered on 113 targets a year before. A fully healthy and on-form Haden puts the rest of this Browns’ secondary in a position to succeed, with K’Waun Williams proving to be one of the league’s best slot corners over the last two seasons.

17. Detroit Lions

Top CBs: Darius Slay, Nevin Lawson, Quandre Diggs

Key stat: Slay allowed 20 or fewer yards in a game six times last season.

After he was lit up for 123 yards and a perfect 158.3 passer rating by Peyton Manning in Week 3, Darius Slay rebounded with a string of impressive displays, grading as the fourth-best corner in coverage after that game. Slot corner Quandre Diggs impressed with a run of strong displays in the second half of his rookie season, but the void left by Rashean Mathis’ retirement makes the No. 2 corner role a big question mark for Detroit.

18. New York Jets

Top CBs: Darrelle Revis, Buster Skrine, Marcus Williams

Key stat: Revis recorded a a 56.5 passer rating allowed in 2015, third-best mark in the NFL.

The Jets went all-in on cornerbacks last offseason, but did it really pay off? Darrelle Revis put in a strong season, if not his absolute best, but Antonio Cromartie and Buster Skrine surrendered more than 700 yards each, a combined 10 touchdowns, and passer ratings of over 100.0. Question marks abound behind Revis as we head towards the 2016 season—can Skrine step up to be the second corner? What can they get from Dee Milliner? More questions than answers at corner for the Jets.

19. Kansas City Chiefs

Top CBs: Marcus Peters, Phillip Gaines, KeiVarae Russell

Key stat: Peters notched eight interceptions and 17 pass defenses in 2015, both league-highs.

In terms of sheer volume, Marcus Peters was by far the most-targeted (137) cornerback in the NFL last season, and his targets were certainly action-packed. His impressive rookie season puts him in good stead, but questions abound around him. Phillip Gaines has been solid in limited playing time, and the Chiefs will hope that the likes of KeiVarae Russell, Eric Murray, and D.J. White can stake a claim for playing time ahead of the underwhelming Marcus Cooper and Jamell Fleming.

20. Indianapolis Colts

Top CBs: Vontae Davis, Patrick Robinson, D’Joun Smith

Key stat: Davis surrendered seven touchdowns last season, tied for fifth-most in the league.

After his miraculous 2014 campaign (no TDs allowed, 13 pass defenses, 41.2 passer rating allowed) Davis returned to giving up too many touchdowns to be considered among the league’s elite, but 2015 was still a solid season for him. Behind him, however, the support was lacking. Another strong season from free-agent addition Patrick Robinson will give the Colts a quality starting pair, but the competition to be their third corner looks to be wide open.

21. New Orleans Saints

Top CBs: Delvin Breaux, Keenan Lewis, Kyle Wilson

Key stat: Breaux surrendered 10 touchdowns into his coverage last season, a league-high.

You’ll struggle to find a corner with a more “Jekyll and Hyde” stat line than Delvin Breaux produced last season. He allowed less than 50 percent of passes targeted into his coverage to be completed (15 pass defenses), but a quarter of those 40 completions were converted into touchdowns. On the whole, 2015 was a strong season for Breaux, and while the returning Keenan Lewis will provide an enormous upgrade on Brandon Browner, he is yet to produce his form from his final season in Pittsburgh that would see this trio rise in the rankings.

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Top CBs: Brent Grimes, Vernon Hargreaves III, Alterraun Verner

Key stat: Grimes has surrendered 13 touchdowns since 2014 (six last season).

From 2007 to 2013, Brent Grimes surrendered only 14 touchdown passes; in the last two seasons alone, he has nearly matched that. Grimes surrendered a passer rating of 103.8 last season, his first time over 100.0 since 2008. He highlights a trio of corners looking to re-discover better form from past seasons, playing alongside Vernon Hargreaves (whose form dipped from 2014 with Florida) and Alterraun Verner, who is yet to rediscover the production levels of his Titans days. If all three produce their best form, the Bucs could appear much higher on this list, but can all three rebound?

23. Cincinnati Bengals

Top CBs: Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick, Darqueze Dennard

Key stat: Rookie cornerbacks have taken just 278 snaps for the Bengals since 2010.

The Bengals invest heavily in rookie corners, but rarely allow them to see the field in their first season—a trend that will need to change in 2016 if Dre Kirkpatrick repeats his 2015 form. Former first-round pick Darqueze Dennard must push Kirkpatrick (either to improve, or completely out of the starting lineup), while this year’s top pick, William Jackson III, will look to buck the trend and see playing time as a rookie. Behind Adam Jones, there are plenty of questions, and the answer might just be youth.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers

Top CBs: Ross Cockrell, William Gay, Artie Burns

Key stat: Steelers CBs combined for a completion percentage allowed of 60.0 last season.

Only seven teams didn’t have a single corner allow a completion percentage below 60.0 last year, and the Steelers were one of those seven. In fact, only Cortez Allen (twice) and William Gay have dropped below that threshold over the last three seasons. Cockrell and Gay bring their own strengths (nine pass defenses for Cockrell, zero touchdowns allowed by Gay in 2015), but a thin cornerback group will likely press Burns into action early in his career, after having struggled against Nebraska and Clemson during his final season with the Miami Hurricanes.

25. Atlanta Falcons

Top CBs: Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, Jalen Collins

Key stat: Trufant was the least-targeted corner in the NFL last season (9.8 coverage snaps per target).

No cornerback, not even Richard Sherman or Patrick Peterson, was targeted less often than Desmond Trufant during the 2015 regular season. After facing 180 targets during his first two seasons, Trufant was only targeted 56 times last year. Unless the likes of Robert Alford and Jalen Collins can raise their game and force teams to take on Trufant more often, the Falcons will sport a lopsided secondary, with one of the league’s top corners seeing little of the ball as teams gain their yards away from him.

26. Chicago Bears

Top CBs: Kyle Fuller, Tracy Porter, Brice Callahan

Key stat: Fuller surrendered 50+ receiving yards in a game just twice last season.

After a very disappointing rookie season, Fuller appeared destined for a similar year two after poor showings against Green Bay and Arizona to start 2015. However, after that slow start, he finished with one of the top-15 coverage grades over the final 15 weeks of the season. Fuller’s sustained form was not matched by Tracy Porter, but Brice Callahan will look to build on a solid rookie season out of the slot, with a pair of pass defenses on 33 targets in 2015.

27. Dallas Cowboys

Top CBs: Orlando Scandrick, Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne

Key stat: Carr, Claiborne, and Byron Jones each allowed a 100.0+ passer rating last season.

The Cowboys missed Orlando Scandrick badly last season, but his return can only do so much for a cornerback corps that still fields Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne. Carr has surrendered 18 touchdowns since he arrived in Dallas in 2012 (six in each of the last two seasons), with Claiborne surrendering a passer rating in excess of 100.0 in three of his four seasons as a Cowboy. Scandrick improves matters for Dallas, but one corner can only do so much.

28. Baltimore Ravens

Top CBs: Jimmy Smith, Shareece Wright, Kyle Arrington

Key stat: Smith surrendered six touchdowns last season, a career-high.

In the first four seasons of his career, Jimmy Smith surrendered only six touchdowns, a figure he matched during a disappointing 2015 season that also featured a career-high 10 missed tackles. A return to his fine form of late 2013 and 2014 (before injury cut his breakout season short) would be a boost for a Ravens’ secondary that is relying on veterans like Shareece Wright, Kyle Arrington, and Jerraud Powers to produce at levels that they have only shown sparingly.

29. Philadelphia Eagles

Top CBs: Nolan Carroll, Eric Rowe, Ron Brooks

Key stat: Rowe allowed a 80.3 passer rating last season when targeted, fifth-best by a rookie CB.

The Eagles have plenty of options at cornerback, and though the quarterbacks may steal the headlines, the battle for playing time at cornerback might be the best camp battle in Philadelphia this summer. Can Ron Brooks translate his familiarity with Jim Schwartz’s system into playing time? Can JaCorey Shepherd pick up where he left off when he tore his ACL a year ago and claim the slot role? Outside, the likes of Leodis McKelvin and Jaylen Watkins will put pressure on Nolan Carroll, and in particular, Eric Rowe to earn their starting spots ahead of the regular season.

30. Tennessee Titans

Top CBs: Jason McCourty, Perrish Cox, Brice McCain

Key stat: Cox surrendered seven touchdowns into his coverage last season, a career-high.

2015 could barely have gone much worse for the Titans, and their cornerback corps didn’t escape the damage, with McCourty struggling before his season was cut short by injury. Among the corners who registered playing time, only rookie slot corner Cody Riggs surrendered a passer rating below 100.0. McCourty is now three years removed from his best form, but his sure tackling will at least provide an upgrade after Perrish Cox and Coty Sensabaugh missed a combined 23 tackles last year.

31. Miami Dolphins

Top CBs: Byron Maxwell, Xavien Howard, Bobby McCain

Key stat: Maxwell allowed 100.7 passer rating into his coverage, a career-high.

A first year outside the safe haven of Seattle didn’t go well for Byron Maxwell, and after being traded by Philadelphia, he must start again in Miami. Maxwell still had a nose for the football in Philly (intercepting or breaking up at least 10 passes for the third year in a row), and could very well share starting duties this season with Howard, who surrendered a completion on less than 45 percent of the 162 passes targeted into his coverage over the final two years of his career at Baylor.

32. Carolina Panthers

Top CBs: Robert McClain, James Bradberry, Bené Benwikere

Key stat: 68.4 percent of the Panthers’ CB snaps in 2015 will be replaced this season.

Returning only Bené Benwikere, Robert McClain, and Teddy Williams among corners who played for the team last season, the Panthers face a tall order to produce a secondary that can match up to last year’s group. The Panthers invested multiple picks in corners in the draft, and unless McClain and Benwikere can produce on the outside in a way they haven’t done to this point in their careers, the pressure will be on the Panthers’ young corners to produce immediately.

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

  • Evelyn36598

    I basically earn about 6.000-8.000 bucks every month for freelancing i do from my home. For anyone ready to complete easy computer-based jobs for several hrs each day from your living room and make good paycheck in the same time… Try this work http://ur1.ca/p7vw7

  • HTTRer

    Wow. Did not expect my skins to make it to 3. Thanks!

  • tk

    Apple may pan out for the giants but its pretty hard to bump them until that show. The depth of Trae Wayne’s and Mackensie AlexandEr bumps the Vikings up.

  • crosseyedlemon

    The Dolphins Ryan Tannehill has to face 4 of the top 6 units listed, so his fantasy value likely won’t be increasing anytime soon.

  • J_May

    If Lane does stay healthy, the Seahawks will have to be ranked much higher. He’s really good. Plus Browner, like Maxwell, could just generally play better under Pete Carroll – if he was needed to shuffle into that side of the other corner position. I feel much more confident in this group of corners than last year’s Seahawks’.

    • eYeDEF

      I think the #10 was more due to Shead in the slot than uncertainty over Lane. I think their ideal lineup would be Sherman and Lane as starters, and on downs that required a slot CB they’d shift Lane into the slot and play Simon at the opposite corner spot. They did that in 2014 in the games Simon was healthy and it might be a better solution than Shead in the slot. We’ll see.

    • Bill Doerr

      Jeremy Lane is nothing special , Ive always thought he is just an AVG CB at best & severely injury prone . In his Entire career he just has 10 passes defensed & 2INTs….

      • Kansas_city_chiefs_fan25

        That doesn’t matter Marcus peters has more Career INT’s than Norman but I wouldn’t consider him better. A CB doesn’t need ball skills to be solid. Sean Smith for the chiefs had hands of stone but he ranked 13th in 2015 and 2nd(or 3rd I could be wrong). Stop hating cause your in their division. Seattle’s corners are better than Arizona’s.

        • Marshall

          You’re crazy If you really think Seattle has better corners than arizona.

          • Kansas_city_chiefs_fan25

            I figured Brandon Browner will be Seattle’s number two. Not Lane. Arizona’s good I mean the three corners up there now ya Arizona’s better. Secondary as a whole I’d say Seattle’s better. Idk I didn’t buy into the NFC this year. Carolina played the two weakest division’s. Arizona couldn’t beat Pittsburgh with a back up.

      • JDM

        Not a Seahawks fan, but Jeremy Lane is good. Stats don’t tell everything

    • WJOinfo

      Browner brings this group down to the bottom half of the league…………..

    • Anthony

      Browner wasnt good enough to play at the college level last year. He’s done yo.

    • Darryl Marion

      Seattle at 10 is a courtesy top 10’for last few years of playing backup and hurt QB’s (look it up First before you call me wrong or name call). Seattle isn’t a top 15 at this point unless they hit the lucky stick playing backups. Look at last two years. Look at the team they beat and the QB playing. Cutlers backup, Romos, Palmers, Flacco, and that is to name a few and just 2015. 2014 they were given the NFC West because of Cardinals literally running out of players. Not a hater, just a facts. I was shocked they played that good in the SB against the Pats. But they never should have been there. They played Cards hurt 4th string QB, Kaepernick at home with Coach who wants to blow the team up on the way out to give SF the finger (49ers were actually leading until Gore got hurt and slowed) then playoff bye, Cam broken back, Rodgers can’t run 7 yards literally and that was their last 4 games before Pats in SB. There are an awesome defense against backups. They win 2 games a year against starters last 3 seasons.

      • Alex

        This is just untrue, before the superbowl with the patriots russell wilson was 10-0 against superbowl winning QB’s, he shouldve been 11-0 if our 3 best secondary players(Kam, Earl, and Richard) didnt get injured against GB, especially with the lead that they had going into the 4th, healthy seahawks defense wouldnt have gotten ravished by tom brady in the 4th quarter like they did, and obviously the play calling on the 1 yard line. and saying that Aaron couldnt run 7 yards is just utterly false when he ran for almost 15 yards to get a 1st down late in the NFC championship game that helped them get in range to tie the game. Last year we did play many backups, but why blame the seattle defense for that? Im not sure where you are getting your statistics from, but you should check them all. Seattle is 10-2 against Superbowl winning QBS currently, so yes they can beat “starters”, they can actually better and beat “Starters with superbowl rings”.

    • Cam

      Browner is not in this discussion as he will not be playing corner (when will everyone get that???). The wild card here for the Seahawks is Tharold Simon. If (& it’s a big if) he can stay fit, then they have a top 5 group. He is as close to a clone of Sherman as there is in the league.

    • Brian

      Personally I think Seattle has the best secondary. And Seattle still has the most feared defense in the nfl as they’ve had for years. Denver’s defense is a bit overrated. For example, if ne had any semblance of an offensive line, ne would have comfortably beat denver in the afc champ game. If ne wouldn’t have gifted denver home field and they’d have played in ne, ne would probably have beaten denver, crappy line and all. Denver’s defense will decline, partly due to the loss of players, but mainly bc wade philipps’ defenses always start out great but decline. He has no sustainability. He did take a page out of the ne playboy and start to change his game plan from week to week so maybe the decline won’t be as bad as in the past, but there’s no way I’d take denver’s defense over seattle. Also, miller is a tad overrated. He’s one of the best in the league, but he does tend to dominate lesser tackles & he’s nowhere near the watt stratosphere.

      • Brian Lynch

        A bit overrated? Not when you concider they got very little help from the offense last year. I guess the AFC Championship and the Super Bowl weren’t enough for you. This list is best corner back group and Denver is clearly where they belong at the top. Their 3rd corner is better than quite a few squad’s best corner. As for Seattle, they have two great safeties, but they are now lacking depth behind Sherman at corner…

        • Brian

          Still say they’re overrated. They aren’t the shutdown squad seattle has when both are at their best. Honestly the afc champ game and super bowl don’t say much in my opinion. The pats had more guys on ir than any team last year. Their offensive line was tackling dummies. They put it on brady but that was definitely more on the lack of an offensive line and the front 7 of denver. It’s not hard when u only have to cover a second and a half. Not to mention if I Remember correctly the pats weapons were all banged up and they still nearly let gronk and brady beat them. Then the Panthers game, I give way more credit to the front 7. They shut down the Panthers excellent running game and harassed cam all game. The panther wrs are all scrubs. Overall defense was elite last year in Denver. Front 7 of denver was the best by a large distance. The CB’s are elite but bc of their front 7 get more credit than warranted in my opinion.

          • Brian

            And Roby shows flashes but he was inconsistent. Talib can’t cover shifty guys. Harris is a top 3 cb. But not the best in the league

          • Jonathan Roberts

            You could credit the Broncos Defense effectively with 17 of the 24 points that led to the super bowl victory. One TD was all them, one was handed to the offense on the short side of the field, and the FG was same. That was a common theme all last year, where the defense set up the offense for good plays and saved us whenever Peyton threw a bad turnover. And guess what this defense was ranked at the start of last season? 10th. We may be super hyped now, but there is a reason for it. The defense is always picking up the garbage that our offense leaves on the field and turns it into something great. It takes a lot to win a Superbowl with a record setting horrible offense, and that is what they did.

  • Evan

    Really?!? Seahawks 10th?!?
    They ranked number 2 in pass yards allowed per game last year… And that was with an injured Lane. AND it’s was considered a down year for the Legion of Boom, which are all in the prime of their careers. Seattle defense over the last 4 years will go down in history as one of the greatest of all time and all the key players are there, all are finally healthy, and all are the right age.

    • cjfarls

      Chancellor, Thomas, and Sherman are awesome. Their DBs as a whole are certainly top-5. But the 1st 2 of those don’t count in this evaluation, and the depth behind Sherman is iffy.

      • David Stinnett

        They are fine , and they are better than last year, when they were much better than #10. Also, Lane is severely underrated. When Seattle doesn’t even draft a DB, there’s a reason. No team knows better what they are doing in this dept.

    • Louie

      Sorry bro, Legion of Boom kinda blows now. Everybody has figured it out. Simple cover 3 scheme that is highly vulnerable underneath. Sherman is a product of the system who lacks proper speed to play true one on one. Earl is legit and kam is dank too. Corners are the problem.

  • GBPFan12

    Add Gunter and Micah Hyde to our corner group along with our safety duo and we probably have the most depth out of any secondary. Be nice if the front seven steps up this year.

    • Brian Dugan

      PFF is definitely higher on Casey Hayward than most (if not all) Packers fan. I like Hayward a lot, but calling him our best CB last year is a stretch. Sam Shields was definitely better. The rookie CBs were better than him at times, as well. I’m excited to watch Rollins, Randall, and Gunter keep developing. A couple of the UDFA look to have the potential for Joe Whitt to work his magic, too.

  • Bill Doerr

    I would take AZs Cornerbacks over Denvers unit 7 days a week and twice on Sunday, and anyone would choose AZs top 2 over Denver’s best 2.
    Last Year was 3X Pro Bowler (@ Gunner) 6″1/205PD CB Justin Bethels 1st season starting as the #2CB over those last 7 games & he had 10 passes defensed w/ 2INTs/2FFs & ranked 39th in pass coverage of 118 ranked CBs. Bethel also had the 4th lowest allowed completion percentage in the NFL last year via PFF allowing just 49.1% of passes thrown his way to be completed. Bethel posses Elite Speed (4.39 40 & 6.75sec 3 cone drill) & Elite Athleticism ( 42.5in vertical), he has Elite potential at CB & Spent all off-season working on his game. Bethel is going to be massively improved this season. AZ drafted 2 rookie CBs as well to compete with Bethel which will only make him better…
    The two CBs Arizona drafted have sky high potential as well. People questioned 3rd round pick 6″1/200PD CB Brandon Williams ( They also question Elite All-Pro FS/CB T. Mathieu, Elite WR John Brown, and Elite RB David Johnson so these draftniks track record isn’t to good) who posses length w/ 33in long arms, Elite athleticism & elite speed running a 4.37 40 with as good as hips/feet as you will find in a CB & Excels in man coverage which AZ runs. Williams College DB Coach also coached Peterson & Mathieu, and that coach told Arians Williams is the most talented natural DB he has ever coached with says a lot. Brandon Williams has been HIGHLY IMPRESSIVE in OTAs and Mini camp really catching the Arians eyes. Arians believes he will start & has a very good chance of doing so. Williams was also one of the best special team players in the country last year, and will be AZs #2 Gunner opposite Bethel.
    AZ got a HUGE steal on 6ft/185pd CB Harlan Miller in the 5th round . Miller is a excellent man cover CB putting up 11INTs & 41 passes defensed in 3yrs in College. Bethel put on an absolute show at the Senior Bowl as the best looking CB there, shooting his draft stock to the 2nd round but it fell again when at the combine like a ton of players he tested badly running a 4.61 40, even though at his Pro Day he ran a 4.54 & 4.51 40 & 6.89 3 cone drill time.. Miller plays extremely fast on the field though ( Miller is one of those guys who play really fast on the field , faster than they test & the tape shows that) & stays stride for stride with even the fastest WRs with excellent technique , very polished & is excellent in man to man and off man coverage with very fast darting feet & very loose hips. Miller was a mid to late 2nd round talent Arizona was able to get in round 5. Harlan Miller can play both in the slot and outside, he to will really push for a starting spot & gives AZ excellent depth.
    Arizona’s secondary is absolutely loaded at both CB & Safety, veteran 6″1/210PD FS Tyvon Branch (can play SS/CB as well) was a big time pickup with his Elite speed running a 4.28 40, Elite Athleticism & Excellent pass coverage ability, paired with Mathieu he gives AZ one of the best safety duos in the NFL. With all of the talent in AZs secondary they have the best secondary in the NFL in my opinion but undenialably have a top 3 secondary. AZ will finally have an Elite Pass Rush this year as well which will vastly help out the backend and show people how truly talented the secondary is.

    • c g

      I think you should just say every player for AZ is elite. LoL oh wait you did.

      • Kansas_city_chiefs_fan25

        Lol even tho they aren’t.

      • crosseyedlemon

        Bill is one of those elite members with the elite ability to elitely assess the elite performances of elite athletes. I’m curious as to how he will condense this comment to a 140 character tweet.

    • Phyein

      Wow. That is all.

    • Brian M


    • Kansas_city_chiefs_fan25

      No way is Arizona’s corners better than Denver’s. This is coming from a chiefs fan.

    • Kansas_city_chiefs_fan25

      This guys acts like his team is the 1972 Dolphins.

      I now have a disliking for Arizona all of a sudden.

    • spock

      So you’re an Arizona fan, right?

    • Rob

      So the newly drafted players are already scored as ‘elite’? Shouldn’t they be required to play football first before they are voted into the HOF?

  • ted

    What Crack head wrote this

  • Get over it

    Scotty M is the best GM in the NFC and top tier NFL wise, stay tuned #REDSKINS

    • crosseyedlemon

      I think that at some point in the season we can expect Cousins to look skyward with the plea “Beam me up Scotty”.

    • Brian Dugan

      Is that why his first pick as a GM was Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers?

      • HTTRer

        You can stop talking. He’s better than whatever you’re team has.

        • Brian Dugan

          My team’s GM is Ted Thompson who is actually the best GM in the NFC. But if you want to keep going with your aggressive hottakery, follow your heart.

          • HTTRer

            Brian Dugan— Point made.

  • Brian M

    Pats are probably too high up this list, Chiefs too low. Other than that, pretty solid.

    • Phillip

      Chiefs lost Smith, that’s a huge blow cause he was the #1 CB in KC laat year and when he was out that secondary was exposed. With the Pats, they were solid last year with Butler and Ryan last year, they really stepped up and became a legit top duo in the NFL. I think the biggest head scratcher is Washington at #3. They’re corners were not very good in that WC game at all. I can understand a bump with the Norman addition, but to #3?? I think that’s a little crazy.

      • Kansas_city_chiefs_fan25

        KC won’t miss Smith as much as you’re leading on. Smith was a product of good coaching (All Harris, Emmit Thomas hall of famers). He was expendable if he wanted to much money. Gaines allowed 200 yards in 200 snaps in 2014 (rookie year). He had a yards per snap average best out of all 2nd year players and 10th among slot corners in the first three weeks (before tearing his acl). We also drafted Steven Nelson in round 3 2015. He was one out of two players coming out college that didn’t have a broken tackle. You add that to drafting 3 Corners in 2016. Moving rookie of the year (franchise wise) from 2013 Marcus Cooper and Arizona’s third round pick Jamal Fleming from 2012 to safety could also hold benefits. KC is a place defensive players go to get their careers back on track. We didn’t suffer because Smith’s absence. We suffered become Peters was rusty sitting around for 10 months before playing in the big league. We suffered because of lack of pass rush in the first 3 games. KC relies on pass rush. That’s why KC’s DB’s looks good. Is Smith a good player? Absolutely. Was he the heart and soul of the defense? Hell No. Will we take a step back? Yes but not 19th. In fact I think the open competition in KC has made them better.

      • HTTRer

        Hey, we’re top 15 even without Norman. Breeland is the real deal, and Dunbar and Kendall Fuller have a boat load of potential. That being said, all of those players still have things to be desired.

    • Rob

      I think fourth is just about right. I think they are ahead of Washington too. But rather than moving the Pat’s to third I might looking at bouncing another team past them. Not sure I wouldn’t swap Arizona and Denver too.

  • NotImportant

    Lolol, don’t be mad when the Panthers rank top 10 in defense again, including in all CB stats.

    • Rob

      I think they stuck the Panthers at the bottom because of the turnover. Also they do have a point that the remaining vets have not been that great. Their young players are unknowns and who knows what would happen? So I would call the Panthers more a big question mark than actual rating them as bad.

      • NotImportant

        True. Logical comment. Thanks Rob!

    • HTTRer


      • NotImportant

        I live in Cary, North Carolina you dumb fuck.

        • HTTRer

          Sorry. It’s just there are bandwagon fans everywhere. There’s a 90% chance someone like you was not a Panthers fan before last year. By the way, nice place.

          • NotImportant

            Oh, thank you. I’m sorry for calling you a “dumb fuck.” I agree, we do have many bandwagon fans.

  • Ron

    Who are these geek mtf’s who come up these formulas???

    • Phillip

      Just cause it’s not something you can comprehend, doesn’t mean it’s not legitimate.

  • ian allen

    Does Talib shooting himself in the leg make a difference? IDK, maybe, but having the pass rush Denver exponentially helped the DBs. They only had to cover for what…2 seconds?

    • Phillip

      Their secondary was for real too. There were plenty of times in that GB game Rodgers bought time and couldn’t find anybody. That secondary is as real as that pass rush.

      • Rob

        Yeah, but to Ian Allen’s point that was before. I think this was done prior to that incident. I agree that even if Talib is lost to charges (at this time nothing is known so that’s an ‘even if’ not a prediction) the Denver DB will be a strong unit, but still I don’t know about calling them #1 overall.

        • Phillip

          Who should rank ahead of them?? Who has a better CB group that Talib, Harris and Roby?? They legitimately have 2 top 10 CBs and another talented former 1st round pick. Nobody else in the league even has anything close enough to be considered #1 over them. And you can’t remove Talib from the equation cause he’s not, and even if he misses any time, it’s like just a few weeks to suspension. Denver is hands down the #1 CB group right now.

  • Phillip

    I can understand pretty much the entire top 10, but Washington at 3, really?? They ranked 25th in yards allowed and 22nd in passer rating allowed. I understand the addition of Norman bumping them up, but into the top 3?? I can’t agree with that.

    • Trump

      I feel Breeland and Dunbar are really on the rise, add Norman and Fuller and we have a top 3 CB team

      • Phillip

        Norman, who is yet to play a snap in Washington’s defense and Fuller who is a rookie?? I’ll give you 2 names, Byron Maxwell, 2015 high profile FA signing and Eric Rowe, 2015 2nd round pick, what did they do for Philly’s defense?? Absolutely nothing. Washington hasn’t earned a top 3 ranking by adding 2 players who could become complete busts for them in 2016, just the way Maxwell and Rowe were for Philly.

        • HTTRer

          Phillip, Norman is way better than Maxwell, and Kyle Fuller is a first round pick without injuries. Top 3 is definitely a reach, but they’re top ten any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.

          • HTTRer


  • Uncle Drew

    Why are people sleeping on Cyrus Jones? He’s gonna make a huge difference in the Pats secondary. I think he even ha’s a chance to move Ryan back to the nickel CB spot. But at the least, we should expect he’ll beat out Coleman

  • Darryl Marion

    Cards could be #1 very easy here. Both best players are coming of injury. Gun shot and knee surgery. Talib/Mathieu. But Cards Peterson I’d put over Any other Bronco.

  • Felton51

    Still missing the good old days of PFF Premium Stats. Look at New Orleans QB rating versus defender – Kikaha 138, Anthony 136, Hawthorne 125, Humber 129, Ellerbe 126, Wilson 118, Lewis 138 (injury related), Browner 123 (more like 158 with penalties) and Vaccaro 117 – even Breaux was at 96 and Swann at 93. The much maligned Byrd was low man at 57. At least PFF can see that the main reason for that is a pass rush that generated one sack/hit/hurry per three pass attempts (worst in the league) versus one every two attempts (NFL average). I got all of that from Premium Stats at PFF, but sadly, no more.

  • Iluv2raceit

    Terrible stats and are based upon last season. Most teams have restructured in this off season, so the ranking provided in this article is crap.

  • Alex P

    Looking at this now I laugh how wrong you were about the Packers.