Cornerback Rankings: The 32 top cornerbacks heading into 2021 (2023)

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The amount of top-level play from NFL cornerbacks is astonishing. It鈥檚 challenging to rank these guys with the multitude of schematic differences and responsibilities. Obviously, this is a subjective endeavor, and we could argue for days about the names that are too high or too low. However, I prefer to look at this exercise as a nod of respect toward the top cornerbacks in the NFL for the 2021 season.

Top 32 cornerbacks in the NFL for the 2021 season | 1-10

In a pass-heavy league, the cornerback position has grown into one of the most important positions on the football field. Who looks to be a top-10 cornerback in the NFL right now? There is a massive amount of talent currently at the position.

1. Jalen Ramsey, Los Angeles Rams

I simply won鈥檛 acknowledge any Jalen Ramsey disrespect in this dojo. I鈥檓 not entirely sure why he鈥檚 playing such a high volume of his 2021 snaps in the slot, but it certainly isn鈥檛 hurting his case as the best cornerback in football.

(Video) Ranking The Top 32 Cornerbacks In The NFL Heading Into The 2021 Season

The dude still smacks like a truck as a tackler and despite allowing over 60% completions, he鈥檚 only allowing 5.5 yards per target and under 10 yards per catch.

If you built a cornerback in a lab, they would look like Ramsey. He鈥檚 6鈥1鈥, 210 pounds, and his spider chart might as well have been colored in by a nine-year-old. Ramsey is a freak, and on top of it all, he鈥檚 so good against the run that his late-career safety transition will probably end in an All-Pro berth or two.

He鈥檚 a unicorn playing cornerback in a world of 5鈥11鈥, 190-pound movers, and we don鈥檛 acknowledge that enough.

2. Jaire Alexander, Green Bay Packers

Jaire Alexander is responsible for my favorite troll of all time on a football field. After a broken-up pass against Wake Forest in 2016, he pranced behind the unsuspecting receiver in a manner I鈥檝e never witnessed.

Alexander has those piercing eyes that make him and Randall Cobb look related, and I can鈥檛 imagine having to line up against him with those things staring a hole through the crown of my nose.

If Ramsey is the freak, Alexander is the new mold. He鈥檚 slimmer, and with that lack of cumbersome muscle, he鈥檚 more efficiently able to transition and stick.

3. Tre鈥橠avious White, Buffalo Bills

Tre鈥橠avious White has been one of the top cornerbacks in the league since the minute he stepped on an NFL field. His on-field and sideline hijinx make it look like he legitimately loves every second of playing football. White does a fantastic job of toeing the line between aggressive and reckless. He gets his hands on passes left and right without getting himself so out of position that he鈥檚 unable to recover.

(Video) Ranking The Top 32 NFL Cornerbacks For The 2022 Season (NFL CB Rankings 2022)

I wouldn鈥檛 have any issue calling White the best cornerback in football if Ramsey and Alexander didn鈥檛 exist. They鈥檙e simply on a tier of their own for the time being. However, if White can keep up his torrent pace in 2021, he could easily elevate into the same conversation for CB1.

4. Trevon Diggs, Dallas Cowboys

I鈥檝e already written my story on Trevon Diggs. He鈥檚 a wide receiver baiting quarterbacks into throwing passes that he can jump. His goal is not to make it so a quarterback doesn鈥檛 want to throw the ball his way. He plays so he is targeted, which leads to his interceptions. He gets to passes that most receivers cannot get to, making his multiple near-INTs in 2021 as impressive as his 7 actual interceptions.

The yards on Diggs鈥 ledger are largely hollow. His value is easy to see. His -37.2 EPA when targeted is twice as productive as any other defender in the league. To further my point, Matthew Stafford鈥檚 EPA is 39, and he鈥檚 an MVP candidate at quarterback. What Diggs is doing through six games is absurd.

When Diggs is targeted, the opponents鈥 quarterback rating is 45. He isn鈥檛 at the top of the CB rankings yet simply because this is all so new. He鈥檚 going up against each team鈥檚 best receiver, shadowing them around the field. If he can do this for 17 games, even if the interceptions evade him, it鈥檒l be tough to argue there鈥檚 a better cornerback in the league.

5. Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore Ravens

What do you want out of your elite cornerback? Personally, I want a guy who travels up and down the field on an assignment basis against the opposing team鈥檚 best receivers. Since 2019, Marlon Humphrey鈥檚 done exactly that in Wink Martindale鈥檚 aggressive man-to-man scheme. In 2019 and 2020, for instance, he played more in the slot than out wide.

It鈥檚 unfortunate he鈥檚 not more widely regarded as a ballhawk, but many can鈥檛 look past the paltry INT numbers to his league-high 8 forced fumbles in 2020. Humphrey impacts the games in all the ways you want him to. He鈥檚 one of the few that鈥檒l travel anywhere on the defense to cover an offense鈥檚 best weapon. Heck, he played more snaps in the slot in 2020 than he did on the outside!

6. Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints

Marshon Lattimore struggled a bit relative to expectations in 2020, but he鈥檚 back with a vengeance in 2021. A few coverage lapses have led to big plays this year, but that happens in a scheme that relies on communication both pre- and post-snap. When he鈥檚 been asked to man up against some of the best receivers in the NFL, he鈥檚 delivered.

(Video) Rank the 32 Cornerbacks in the NFL 2021 Season

Lattimore possesses everything you could want in a cornerback. He鈥檚 intelligent and has ideal size and athleticism. It just wasn鈥檛 all there for him in 2020. Still, the Saints鈥 defense was great last season and has continued to be so in 2021. Even with the big plays allowed early in the season, quarterbacks have just a 68.1 rating when targeting Lattimore this season.

7. Xavien Howard, Miami Dolphins

Xavien Howard has always been an outstanding blend of consistency and aggression. However, Miami鈥檚 cornerback really blossomed in 2020, intercepting a league-high 10 passes. He鈥檒l still give up a big play here and there (as his yards per reception allowed shows), but that鈥檚 the nature of being an aggressive cornerback.

Howard has struggled so far in 2021, but the same can be said for the entire Dolphins defense. The Buccaneers game in Week 5 was the culmination of bad luck early in the season, and it resulted in Howard allowing a season-high 89 yards in coverage. Still, he鈥檚 a gifted tactician at the position and will get back on his feet this season.

8. Stephon Gilmore, Carolina Panthers

The Patriots did what the Patriots always do 鈥 they traded (or cut) a player that鈥檚 still near the top of his game, but is beginning to walk down the hill.

The Panthers get a physical and sticky man coverage cornerback who will be an interesting fit on an incredibly young defense. Even if the young Jaycee Horn hadn鈥檛 gone down to injury, this would have been an outstanding move for the Panthers.

I still expect a lot from Stephon Gilmore, and with those expectations will come quick criticism if he doesn鈥檛 perform to his standards. At his advancing age, two underwhelming seasons in a row would be a strong signal to sell him in these cornerback rankings moving forward.

9. Denzel Ward, Cleveland Browns

Denzel Ward, in my opinion, is another year away from being a potential top-five cornerback in the NFL. In truth, he could be there already. That is how much top-end cornerback play there is in the NFL.

(Video) Ranking The Top 20 Cornerbacks in the NFL 2021

Ward was one of the first to fit the new modern mold of NFL cornerback. Receivers started getting smaller and more shifty. It was only natural that the prototype for cornerback shifted as well. With modern NFL rules, it鈥檚 a disadvantage not to have the type of foot speed Ward possesses.

With the defense surrounding the young CB, he could easily be higher on the list heading into next season. There is no shortage of defensive weapons on Cleveland鈥檚 roster.

10) J.C. Jackson, New England Patriots

J.C. Jackson isn鈥檛 the most consistent cornerback in the world, but he鈥檚 not necessarily the gambler that Howard and Marcus Peters tend to be. No, he was targeted often because of who was on the opposite side, and his ball skills shined in the process, recording 10 INTs in 2020.

He remains among the league leaders in targets, and with that comes the yards. Jackson is fluid and explosive with great natural feet to play a sticky brand of man coverage. His technical inconsistencies are the only thing keeping him from being among that next tier up.

Top 32 cornerbacks in the NFL for the 2021 season | 11-32

11. Byron Murphy, Arizona Cardinals
12. Kenny Moore II, Indianapolis Colts
13. Marcus Peters, Baltimore Ravens
14. Jaylon Johnson, Chicago Bears
15. Carlton Davis, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

16. Casey Hayward, Las Vegas Raiders
17. William Jackson III, Washington Football Team
18. Darius Slay, Philadelphia Eagles
19. Bryce Callahan, Denver Broncos
20. James Bradberry, New York Giants

21. Kendall Fuller, Washington Football Team
22. Taron Johnson, Buffalo Bills
23. Darious Williams, Los Angeles Rams
24. Donte Jackson, Carolina Panthers
25. Greg Newsome, Cleveland Browns

(Video) Ranking The Top 20 Cornerbacks in the NFL 2022

26. Chidobe Awuzie, Cincinnati Bengals
27. Steven Nelson, Philadelphia Eagles
28. Adoree鈥 Jackson, New York Giants
29. Greedy Williams, Cleveland Browns
30. Jamel Dean, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

31. Shaquill Griffin, Jacksonville Jaguars
32. Bryce Hall, New York Jets

FAQs

Who is the best CB in the NFL 2022? 鈥

Ranking the 5 best cornerbacks in the 2022 NFL season ft. Trevon Diggs and more
  • #5 - Trevon Diggs, Dallas Cowboys.
  • #4 - Stephon Gilmore, Indianapolis Colts.
  • #3 - Jalen Ramsey, Los Angeles Rams.
  • #2 - Ahmad 'Sauce' Gardner, New York Jets.
  • #1 - Patrick Surtain II, Denver Broncos.
20 Nov 2022

Who is the highest rated cornerback? 鈥

Below are the league's top 10 cornerbacks in passer rating allowed through five weeks of the 2022 campaign.
  • Jaycee Horn, Carolina Panthers: 23.8 passer rating allowed. ...
  • James Bradberry, Philadelphia Eagles: 29.9 Passer Rating Allowed. ...
  • D.J. ...
  • Tariq Woolen, Seattle Seahawks: 40.2 Passer Rating Allowed.
15 Oct 2022

Who is the top 5 cornerbacks in the NFL? 鈥

  • Marlon Humphrey. Baltimore Ravens 路 Sixth season. ...
  • Tre'Davious White. Buffalo Bills 路 Sixth season. ...
  • Denzel Ward. Cleveland Browns 路 Fifth season. ...
  • Jaire Alexander. Green Bay Packers 路 Fifth season. ...
  • Kenny Moore. Indianapolis Colts 路 Sixth season. ...
  • Patrick Surtain II. Denver Broncos 路 Second season. ...
  • A.J. Terrell. ...
  • Xavien Howard.
9 Aug 2022

What CB has the most interceptions 2022? 鈥

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson has caught the most interceptions this season, with 6 interceptions.

What CB has the most tackles? 鈥

Antoine Bethea has the most career tackles by a defensive back, with 995 tackles.

Who has the most interceptions CB? 鈥

Paul Krause has made the most career interceptions by a defensive back, with 81 interceptions.

Who is the fastest CB in NFL history? 鈥

Deion Sanders 鈥 Speed kills at all positions. Not only is he considered the best cornerback in NFL history, he is also one of the best returners in NFL history. Deion Sanders is a legend of the game who became the GOAT with his feet and not his tackling ability.

Who is the hardest hitting cornerback? 鈥

The 10 Hardest Hitting DBs in the NFL
  1. Adrian Wilson, SS, Arizona Cardinals.
  2. Troy Polamalu, SS, Pittsburgh Steelers. ...
  3. Brian Dawkins, SS, Denver Broncos. ...
  4. Laron Landry, FS, Washington Redskins. ...
  5. Sheldon Brown, CB, Philadelphia Eagles. ...
  6. Bob Sanders, SS, Indianapolis Colts. ...
  7. Antoine Winfield, CB, Minnesota Vikings. ...

Who are the top 10 corners in the NFL right now? 鈥

Top 10 NFL Cornerbacks: 2022
  • Honorable Mention: Kenny Moore II (IND) ...
  • Darius Slay (PHI) ...
  • Marlon Humphrey (BAL) ...
  • Marshon Lattimore (NO) ...
  • Denzel Ward (CLE) ...
  • A.J. Terrell (ATL) ...
  • J.C. Jackson (LAC) ...
  • Tre'Davious White (BUF)
16 Aug 2022

Who is the #1 defensive player in the NFL? 鈥

Aaron Donald has had three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year. He was 鈥渟elected鈥 seven-time Pro Bowl and led the league in sacks once. He has 93 quarterback hits, 59 tackles for loss, and 46.5 sacks across games. Aaron Donald is the best defensive end in NFL.

What cornerback has the most pick sixes? 鈥

Rod Woodson has scored the most career interception touchdowns by a defensive back, scoring 12 touchdowns.

Who leads in interceptions all time? 鈥

Paul Krause has the most interceptions in NFL history.

Who leads in interceptions? 鈥

C.J. Gardner-Johnson

What CB are still free agents? 鈥

2022 NFL Free Agents: Cornerbacks
  • J.C. Jackson, CB, Patriots. Age: 26. ...
  • D.J. Reed, CB, Seahawks. ...
  • Stephon Gilmore, CB, Panthers. Age: 31. ...
  • Carlton Davis, CB, Buccaneers. Age: 25. ...
  • Charvarius Ward, CB, Chiefs. Age: 26. ...
  • Casey Hayward, CB, Raiders. Age: 33. ...
  • K'Waun Williams, CB, 49ers. Age: 31. ...
  • Bryce Callahan, CB, Broncos.

Who is the best DB to ever play in the NFL? 鈥

1. Ronnie Lott. While most players on the list were stellar at either cornerback or safety, Lott excelled at both. He was named All-Pro at corner, free safety, and strong safety in his career, and his speed and strength terrorized any receiver who went across the middle.

Who is the hardest hitter to ever play in the NFL? 鈥

Jack Tatum

In total, he won 1 Super Bowl and received 8 Pro Bowls, and was nicknamed 'The Assassin.' He is known as one of the hardest hitters due to his tackle on Darryl Stingley in 1978, which left him paralyzed from the chest down for the rest of his life.

Who is the hardest hitter of all time? 鈥

1. Mike Tyson. Whenever there's a discussion about the hardest hitting boxer, Mike Tyson is always mentioned. Known as the baddest man on the planet, Tyson was feared for his punching power.

Who has the best defense in the NFL? 鈥

  • Buffalo Bills. ...
  • Green Bay Packers. ...
  • Los Angeles Chargers. ...
  • Los Angeles Rams. ...
  • New Orleans Saints. ...
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers. ...
  • Denver Broncos. ...
  • Cleveland Browns. Jadeveon Clowney, who put up one of the better seasons of his career last year playing alongside Myles Garrett, was smart to come back for more in 2022.
22 Aug 2022

Who is the only white corner in the NFL? 鈥

He converted to cornerback in 2021, making him the first white NFL player at the position since Jason Sehorn in 2003. Apke re-signed with the team on March 17, 2022. He was released on August 16, 2022, but re-signed to their practice squad on August 31.

Who are the top 5 defenses in the NFL? 鈥

Best NFL Defense Rankings
  • Philadelphia Eagles (Get +500 odds on the Eagles to win the Super Bowl with BetMGM) ...
  • New England Patriots. ...
  • New York Giants. ...
  • Chicago Bears. ...
  • Cincinnati Bengals (Get +1400 odds on the Bengals to win the Super Bowl with DraftKings)
12 Oct 2022

Who is the goat of defending in football? 鈥

#1 Paolo Maldini

Defending is seldom regarded as the most beautiful skill in football.

Who's the best defensive line ever? 鈥

1. Reggie White. The "Minister of Defense" is widely considered the greatest defensive lineman to ever play the game. No other player in the history of the game could explode through an offensive line quite like No.

Who is the best defensive end in the NFL 2022? 鈥

Aaron Donald has had three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year. He was 鈥渟elected鈥 seven-time Pro Bowl and led the league in sacks once. He has 93 quarterback hits, 59 tackles for loss, and 46.5 sacks across games. Aaron Donald is the best defensive end in NFL.

Who is the highest rated CB in Madden 22? 鈥

Here's a list of the top 10 cornerbacks in "Madden NFL 22" by overall rating, via ESPN.
  • Jalen Ramsey, Rams, 99.
  • Stephon Gilmore, Patriots, 97.
  • Jaire Alexander, Packers, 95.
  • Tre'Davious White, Bills, 93.
  • Marlon Humphrey, Ravens, 92.
  • Xavien Howard, Dolphins, 91.
  • James Bradberry IV, Giants, 90.
  • Denzel Ward, Browns, 89.

Is Jaire Alexander the best CB? 鈥

Green Bay Packers star Jaire Alexander was arguably the best cornerback in the NFL in 2020.

Who will win the Defensive Player of the Year 2022? 鈥

Marcus Smart

Who has the best offensive line in the NFL? 鈥

NFL offensive line rankings: Eagles, Chiefs lead the top five
  • Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles' offensive line is the gold standard. ...
  • Kansas City Chiefs. If you ever doubted the importance of a quality offensive line, look no further than the Chiefs' Sunday night game. ...
  • Detroit Lions. ...
  • Cleveland Browns. ...
  • Dallas Cowboys.
5 Oct 2022

Who is the best CB in Madden 23? 鈥

If it's in the game, it's in the game. And there aren't many players better in the game than Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey is one of the league's premier shutdown corners. So it's no surprise he was recognized as the best corner in Madden 23, receiving a 98 overall rating.

What Madden 22 team has the best defensive line? 鈥

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Who has the best corners in Madden? 鈥

List of the Best Cornerbacks on Madden 23
#PlayerTOTAL
1.Davante Adams WR | Raiders | Deep Threat2,888
2.Trent Williams LT | 49ers | Power2,167
3.Aaron Donald RE | Rams | Power Rusher2,533
4.Myles Garrett RE | Browns | Power Rusher2,749
83 more rows

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