New York Jets Cornerback Sauce Gardner was ranked the top corner on Pro Football Focus’ Top 10 cornerback list. Pro Football Focus Analyst Sam Monson created the list. The list was released on June 4.
Gardner had a spectacular rookie campaign and won NFL Defensive Rookie of The Year. The last cornerback to win the award was Marshon Lattimore in 2017.
Gardner recorded 51 tackles, two interceptions and 20 pass deflections. Gardner currently has an 87.9 grade on Pro Football Focus.
The Cornerback Position
Playing corner is challenging because of what the position demands. Cornerbacks are required to cover top receivers while moving backward. Corners must know how to defend their side of the field.
Monson’s list sparked a lively debate on Twitter. Football fans shared who they believed was the best cornerback in the NFL. Cornerbacks like Patrick Surtan, Jaire Alexander, Trevon Diggs and Jaycee Horn were brought up. Fans defended their opinions on who is the best.
The list got me thinking about who the best cornerback is. I don’t believe there is a number-one cornerback in the NFL. In today’s NFL corners aren’t consistent enough. Any corner can have a great season, but that doesn’t make them the best cornerback.
My Ideal Cornerback
My ideal cornerback primarily plays zone defense. According to the 33rd team, since 2020 66.4 percent of quarterback dropbacks have been against zone coverage.
Zone defense is valuable because of the talented quarterbacks and wide receivers. Playing zone defense allows corners to read the eyes of a quarterback. Corners can read routes, determine offensive plays and manipulate quarterbacks in zone coverage.
Man coverage is overrated. Man coverage is rarely played and doesn’t help corners. Cornerbacks rely on their defensive line to generate pressure in man coverage. If defensive lines can’t generate pressure corners will get beat.
Cornerbacks are more vulnerable in man coverage. Some cornerbacks have poor technique which hurts them against offensive skill players. NFL games have proved my point.
My ideal cornerback must tackle in the run game. Tackling in the run game is essential because it shows corners care about their defense. It’s easy to cover receivers and neglect the running game. Tackling is an art that corners should respect.