B/R NFL 1000 2013: Top 100 Cornerbacks

Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterApril 3, 2013

B/R NFL 1000 2013: Top 100 Cornerbacks

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    A cornerback in today’s NFL must be able to limit targets, limit receptions and keep scores to a minimum. Being a cover corner is the most important aspect to the position—and that’s why coverage skills received the largest share of our B/R NFL 1,000 grade for 2012 cornerbacks.

    As with all the positions in this year's position-by-position rankings, we are scoring criteria at different weights but always adding up to a maximum of 100. Cornerbacks can receive up to 70 points for coverage, 15 for run defense and 15 for tackling.

    Our scouting team reviewed film from the 2012 season of more than 100 cornerbacks to come up with the top 100. The rankings are based on the cornerbacks' 2012 performance, with no credit received for career achievements or potential.

    Players who played fewer than 200 snaps at cornerback didn't qualify for the rankings. Among them: Darrelle Revis (more on him in the next slide).

    In the case of a tie, we broke it based on which cornerback we'd rather have on our team right now.

    All stats from Pro Football Focus.

Where's Darrelle Revis?

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    In the 2012 edition of the B/R NFL 1000 rankings, New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis was our No. 1 cornerback. Chances are he would have been No. 1 again in 2012—or at worst No. 2—but injury struck and Revis wasn’t able to meet the 200-snap minimum needed to qualify for the series.

    Players who miss most of the season aren't included in our rankings, but because Revis is a special case, we're giving him a slide anyway.

    Whether Revis can come back from his ACL injury and perform at the same high level remains to be seen, but NFL teams are interested in his services heading into 2013.

    Should Revis perform at his elite level again, we’ll be happy to rank him back near the top again after 2013.

100-96. Hosley, Jenkins, Gilchrist, Wilson, Robinson

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    100. Jayron Hosley, Giants

    61/100

    Coverage: 45/70; Run Defense: 8/15; Tackle: 8/15

    The second-year player is a former third-round pick, but he’s not developed into a core player for the Giants. At least not a consistent one. Hosley grades out as one of the poorest cover men we saw. His awareness is lacking, and receivers and quarterbacks alike picked on him throughout the year. Physically, he’s fine, but his technique and recognition skills were alarmingly poor.

    Hosley was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

    99. Mike Jenkins, free agent

    62/100

    Coverage: 47/70; Run Defense: 8/15; Tackle: 7/15

    An overrated former first-round draft pick, Jenkins doesn’t show the awareness or effort required to be a consistent NFL cover man. Add in that he misses roughly half of the tackles he attempts, and Jenkins isn’t a valuable starter in the NFL any longer. A change of scenery may do the former Cowboy good in 2013.

    Jenkins was ranked No. 58 in last year's B/R 1000.

    98. Marcus Gilchrist, Chargers

    62/100

    Coverage: 45/70; Run Defense: 9/15; Tackle: 8/15

    Allowing 83.6 percent completion of the passes thrown his way, Gilchrist was the worst in the league in that category. Even though he gives up a lot of catches, he is a solid tackler and doesn’t give up very many yards after the catch. Gilchrist appears to be much more comfortable in zone coverage than matching up in man.

    Gilchrist was ranked No. 105 in last year's B/R 1000.

    97. Jimmy Wilson, Dolphins

    62/100

    Coverage: 48/70; Run Defense: 7/15; Tackle: 7/15

    The former Eastern Montana prospect has ideal size for the position, but Wilson didn’t show a willingness to attack the run and make plays on the ball. In space, he’s good at redirecting the ball-carrier, but that’s all he contributes. Wilson plays safe assignment coverage. He will opt to play on the back of the receiver and not jump the route, which means he gives up a lot of catches but few big plays after the fact. He has some potential moving forward in a wide-open secondary.

    Wilson was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

    96. Josh Robinson, Vikings

    63/100

    Coverage: 43/70; Run Defense: 11/15; Tackle: 9/15

    An early third-round selection in 2012, Josh Robinson played a big role in the Vikings’ playoff season. Against the run, he showed better-than-expected strength and tenacity on the edge. In coverage, Robinson took his lumps early before settling in down the stretch. On film we saw a player too easily baited into mistakes, and one that allowed scores early and often. His awareness—pre- and post-snap—was lacking. If he can work on reading and recognizing routes, we’ll see a big improvement in 2013.

    Robinson was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

95-91. Norman, Vaughn, Hayden, Lee, Jefferson

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    95. Josh Norman, Panthers

    63/100

    Coverage: 48/70; Run Defense: 8/15; Tackle: 7/15

    A first-year contributor from the fifth round, Norman was able to come in and play better than expected. But he still struggled at times. A below-average tackler, he didn’t make an impact against the run. In coverage, his size and length were an asset, but his awareness and ability to read and react on the go were underdeveloped. Norman needs a crash course in NFL technique heading into 2013, but there’s a ton of potential here.

    Norman was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

    94. Cassius Vaughn, Colts

    63/100

    Coverage: 47/70; Run Defense: 6/15; Tackle: 10/15

    Most players take a big step in their third season, but Vaughn struggled in his. His ability to impact the run game was nonexistent on film, and in coverage he was just average. Vaughn struggles to adapt and recover to breaking routes and got caught peeking into the backfield too often on routes. Quarterbacks had a good time throwing at him, as he allowed five touchdowns on the year and a stunning 70 catches.

    Vaughn was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

    93. Kelvin Hayden, Bears

    63/100

    Coverage: 49/70; Run Defense: 7/15; Tackle: 7/15

    Hayden struggled down the stretch for Chicago. His last six games on the year all stood out in our notes as very poor showings, as Hayden struggled to keep up with wide receivers and limit receptions. In 2012 we didn’t see him breaking on the ball with the timing needed to intercept passes or even defend them well. Too many catches and big plays came on his watch.

    Hayden was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

    92. Patrick Lee, Lions

    63/100

    Coverage: 47/70; Run Defense: 8/15; Tackle: 8/15

    Lee has the size and speed to be a star at cornerback, but missed tackles and poor awareness in coverage hurt his 2012 score. He too often jumps routes without the right timing or positioning to deflect or intercept passes. He’ll struggle to locate the ball on deep patterns. Lee has the speed and agility to turn and run off press coverage, and he’ll do a good job getting up on breaking routes, but his ability to locate and attack the ball is poor.

    Lee was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

    91. A.J. Jefferson, Vikings

    63/100

    Coverage: 45/70; Run Defense: 9/15; Tackle: 9/15

    A talented young player, Jefferson struggled in 2012 to keep pace with wide receivers who were able to get ahead of him in their routes. He will gamble on the ball, losing positioning and allowing receivers to pick up positive yards before and after the catch. Better positioning would limit targets and help him limit yards after the catch.

    Jefferson was tied at No. 63 in last year's B/R 1000.

90-86. McCain, Gay, Webster, Cason, Brown

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    90. Brice McCain, Texans

    64/100

    Coverage: 47/70; Run Defense: 9/15; Tackle: 8/15

    A No. 3 cornerback who can line up in the slot or outside on the edge, McCain stood out in a negative light due to missed tackles and poor angles in the run game. As a cover man, he did well inside but was targeted early and often. He allowed receptions, consistent yards and big plays when thrown at. The potential in McCain’s game is big, but his 2012 play was lackluster.

    McCain was tied at No. 20 in last year's B/R 1000.

    89. William Gay, Steelers

    64/100

    Coverage: 45/70; Run Defense: 10/15; Tackle: 9/15

    A 15-game starter in the Arizona secondary in 2012, Gay was counted on as the team’s No. 2 cornerback. He responded with average coverage skills, especially when matched up one-on-one. His limited quickness in space hurt his ability to turn and run with top receivers. He allowed tons of yards after the catch, something that really stood out on film study each week. His inability to position himself to limit receptions and yardage kept his coverage score down.

    Gay was tied at No. 31 in last year's B/R 1000.

    88. Corey Webster, Giants

    64/100

    Coverage: 44/70; Run Defense: 9/15; Tackle: 11/15

    Webster took a big step back in 2012, struggling with missed tackles, allowing too many uncontested catches and giving up scores on a regular basis. He has good size and reach to contest passes, but poor positioning kept him from making an impact in 2012. Webster needs to bounce back in 2013 with smarter play.

    Webster was tied at No. 23 in last year's B/R 1000.

    87.  Antoine Cason, Cardinals

    64/100

    Coverage: 47/70; Run Defense: 7/15; Tackle: 10/15

    Cason has good size and agility, but he plays stiff and lacks the top-end speed to be a major factor. He is a good overall tackler, except he will sometimes shy away from contact. Though he doesn't make many game-changing plays, Cason does have above-average ball skills. The former Charger has the strength to match up in press coverage, but he will struggle dropping back into zone.

    Cason was No. 36 in last year's B/R 1000.

    86. Chykie Brown, Ravens

    64/100

    Coverage: 48/70; Run Defense: 8/15; Tackle: 8/15

    The Ravens’ fifth-round draft pick in 2011, Chykie Brown has potential to develop into a quality player at cornerback. With good size and speed, Brown has the metrics to keep up on the edge. He’s better in man coverage and was exploited at times when asked to read and react in a zone situation. Brown’s closing speed will be a major asset once his awareness matches his athleticism.

    Brown was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

85-81. Williams, Robinson, Jammer, Harris, Routt

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    85. Aaron Williams, Bills

    65/100

    Coverage: 50/70; Run Defense: 7/15; Tackle: 8/15

    The Bills’ second-round pick in 2011, Williams has struggled to impact the passing game. He has the athletic ability and length to be a factor but has shown poor timing and positioning in his coverage technique. Williams allowed far too many scores for his number of snaps in 2012. His lack of field vision and awareness are a liability.

    Williams was tied at No. 63 in last year's B/R 1000.

    84. Dunta Robinson, Chiefs

    65/100

    Coverage: 48/70; Run Defense: 10/15; Tackle: 7/15

    Robinson packs a big punch for someone his size, but he doesn’t know the meaning of wrapping up. He will consistently be in position to make a play but will instead go for the kill shot rather than just taking down the ball-carrier. He is a great athlete who has good quickness and the ability to change direction, but it appears as if he lost a step this past season. Robinson gave up nearly twice as many receptions in 2012, playing for the Falcons, than he did in 2011.

    Robinson was ranked No. 17 in last year's B/R 1000.

    83. Quentin Jammer, Chargers

    65/100

    Coverage: 49/70; Run Defense: 8/15; Tackle: 8/15

    Jammer is past his prime, and it shows on the field. His skills and quickness have been declining over the past two years, and he has been giving up way too many big plays. He finished second worst in the league with eight touchdowns allowed this past season. He is still solid against the run and is able to get low and take out the legs of ball-carriers.  

    Jammer was tied at No. 85 in last year's B/R 1000.

    82. Mike Harris, Jaguars

    65/100

    Coverage: 50/70; Run Defense: 6/15; Tackle: 9/15

    An athletic cornerback with nice potential coming out of Florida State, Harris played well above expectations for a sixth-round pick. He breaks on the ball well and is fluid in his backpedal and off the line. Harris has to work on recognizing routes and reading the quarterback, but there’s enough ability here to be excited about his potential.

    Harris was ranked No. 82 in last year's B/R 1000.

    81. Stanford Routt, Texans

    65/100

    Coverage: 49/70; Run Defense: 7/15; Tackle: 9/15

    After being one of the top corners in the league for the Raiders in 2011, Routt never seemed to fit into the Chiefs defense and was eventually cut in November of 2012. He has great quickness, closing speed and all of the physical tools to be a top-end corner, but he wasn’t able to put it all together. He allowed 64 percent of the passes thrown his way to be completed this past year after only allowing 51 percent in 2011. Routt struggles reading the quarterback and will take too many chances in coverage, leading to big plays for the opposing offense.

    Routt was ranked No. 13 in last year's B/R 1000.

80-76. Green, Robinson, Powers, Lacey, Skrine

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    80. Jonte Green, Lions

    65/100

    Coverage: 51/70; Run Defense: 7/15; Tackle: 7/15

    The 2012 sixth-round pick played well in his first season, showing the speed and length to be an impact at cornerback. Green didn’t impress as a tackler or run defender, but he can develop there. In coverage, Green showed promise, but he allowed too many completions given his number of targets. While Green kept receivers out of the end zone for the most part, he has to be better at getting between the ball and the receiver.

    Green was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

    79. Patrick Robinson, Saints

    66/100

    Coverage: 48/70; Run Defense: 9/15; Tackle: 9/15

    After a promising year in 2011, Robinson took a major step back in 2012 and consistently gave up big plays to wide receivers. He gave up a league-worst nine touchdowns, and in 10 of his 16 games he allowed at least one reception of 20-plus yards. He doesn’t have elite speed, but he possesses all the necessary tools to be better than he played this year. It sometimes appears to be more mental than physical with Robinson, as he will too often be out of position or entirely misread a play.

    Robinson was tied at No. 38 in last year's B/R 1000.

    78. Jerraud Powers, Cardinals

    67/100

    Coverage: 52/70; Run Defense: 7/15; Tackle: 8/15

    Powers is a physical corner for his size and has a great punch in press coverage. He lacks the the top-end deep speed and the boost to recover when he is initially beaten. The former Colt has good quickness in and out of his breaks and adequate closing speed. He doesn’t shy away from contact, but he shows poor form on his tackles. 

    Powers was tied at No. 85 in last year's B/R 1000.

    77. Jacob Lacey, Lions

    67/100

    Coverage: 50/70; Run Defense: 8/15; Tackle: 9/15

    Lacey has great agility and is very fluid in his movement but lacks the top-end speed to keep up with the burners of the league. He also doesn’t have the size to be physical at the line of scrimmage and isn’t able take much away from the bigger, stronger receivers he faces. On occasion, he will show good quickness closing on the ball. Lacey doesn’t show much support in the run game, and it is usually not good when a corner gives up more receptions (34) than he has tackles (30). 

    Lacey was ranked No. 100 in last year's B/R 1000.

    76. Buster Skrine, Browns

    67/100

    Coverage: 52/70; Run Defense: 8/15; Tackle: 7/15

    At only 5’10”, Skrine is small, but he has great quickness and can run with just about everyone. He has good ball skills but doesn’t have the size to compete for the ball with the bigger wideouts and struggles tremendously when matched up against them. He isn’t as fluid as you would like for someone his size, and he has some issues changing direction. Even though he racked up 72 tackles this past season, he doesn’t always wrap up and doesn’t have the strength to take down bigger backs in the run game. 

    Skrine was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

75. Jimmy Smith, Baltimore Ravens

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    Coverage

    51/70

    Jimmy Smith has the height and length to make an impact against top-tier wide receivers, but his technique in coverage and his ability to change direction in space continues to limit him. Fans will point out that he didn’t allow a single touchdown all season, but in limited reps he was targeted often and surrendered too many receptions. Smith, especially in man coverage, was lost at times by breaking routes and timing patterns. He has the range to jump routes and create impact plays, but that ability was limited by his poor positioning in coverage.

    Run Defense

    8/15

    Smith has the length to be a factor here, but he rarely came up to take on the run. When he did attack, he did well to bring down runners and close rushing lanes.

    Tackle

    9/15

    Smith has the size to make an impact, but he misses too many tackles due to poor effort and alignment when breaking down in space.

    Overall

    68/100

    Smith struggled in 2012 but had his best game in the Super Bowl. The Ravens need more of that type of play in 2013.

    Smith ranked No. 73 in last year's B/R NFL 1,000.

74. Eric Wright, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Coverage

    54/70

    A four-game suspension didn’t help the already poor season Eric Wright was having in 2012. The big-money free agent struggled in Tampa.

    He has the size and speed to be an asset on the edge, but his positioning in coverage was suspect. He allowed far too many passes thrown his way to be completed, and while those completions didn’t lead directly to touchdowns, Wright kept the offense alive with stiff transitions and poor awareness in coverage. Playing with injuries did limit his range and agility.

    Run Defense

    7/15

    Teams came right at Wright after Week 1, daring him to stop the run. He was solid, but he struggled to bring down runners in the open field.

    Tackle

    7/15

    Wright’s missed-tackle total quickly added up, as he botched at least one tackle in every game we scouted.

    Overall

    68/100

    A suspension midseason and poor overall play has Wright regressing from his 2011 ranking. Too many poor plays added up to contribute to this.

    Wright was tied at No. 54 in last year's B/R 1000.

73. Aaron Ross, New York Giants

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    Coverage

    51/70

    During the 2012 season, Aaron Ross allowed too many catches for too many yards. That’s not a good sign for a cornerback, and the former first-round pick struggled to stick with receivers in coverage.

    His poor positioning allowed quarterbacks to complete passes without fear of Ross making a play on the ball—and with no interceptions and very few passes defensed on the year, that’s exactly what happened. Ross was often left on an island, and in that situation he struggled to locate the ball before it was in the hands of the nearest receiver.

    Run Defense

    8/15

    Ross has the length to come up and support the run, but he lacks the strength to beat blockers to the ball.

    Tackle

    10/15

    Ross was solid in 2012, making consistent stops and limiting missed tackles. He makes good impact and has the strength to finish in space.

    Overall

    69/100

    A talented athlete, Ross has the baseline skills to be good, but his awareness and positioning in coverage must improve.

    Ross was tied at No. 63 in last year's B/R 1000.

72. Ryan Mouton, Tennessee Titans

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    Coverage

    49/70

    The Tennessee Titans’ inside cover man, Ryan Mouton played well in the slot in 2012. From a coverage standpoint, he allows too many easy receptions. He has to do a better job fighting with receivers in that first five yards to erase receivers and also to keep position to knock away passes. Mouton doesn’t show great ball skills to pick off passes, but he does put himself in good position to limit yards and scores. His ability to plant and drive to the ball is impressive, but he could stand to be a touch faster to the ball.

    Run Defense

    8/15

    An active player at times, Mouton would also struggle to free himself from blockers and movement. He has to work to get through traffic better.

    Tackle

    12/15

    Coming from inside as a slot cornerback, Mouton won’t miss many tackles. He has a consistent impact when he gets his pads on the ball-carrier.

    Overall

    69/100

    Mouton had the potential. He started to deliver on it in 2012 by turning in his best season yet.

    Mouton was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

71. Rashean Mathis, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Coverage

    51/70

    Rashean Mathis struggled with a groin injury throughout much of the 2012 season, limiting his ability to cut and change direction on the go. In coverage, he has good height and long arms to get in and make a play for the ball, but he was often a step behind the receiver.

    He was able to limit quarterbacks with sound coverage for most of the season—especially once back from injury—but he went through stretches where teams targeted him with high success. Mathis was allowing too many yards per catch, and while those rarely resulted in scores, his poor coverage kept drives alive.

    Run Defense

    9/15

    Normally a tough defender, Mathis had trouble getting into position to take on the run.

    Tackle

    9/15

    Mathis didn’t show up much in run defense, opting to play away from the ball and struggling to adjust and come up to play the run.

    Overall

    69/100

    Injury limited Mathis’ 2012 season, but the veteran showed late in the year that he has plenty left in the tank.

    Mathis was tied at No. 59 in last year's B/R 1000.

70. Captain Munnerlyn, Carolina Panthers

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    Coverage

    50/70

    A small cornerback at 5’9”, 182 lbs, Captain Munnerlyn is surprisingly active in space. Ideally set up against a slot receiver, Munnerlyn has good quickness but can be beaten up by bigger receivers—especially when going downfield.

    He was forced to play outside more in 2012 than he should have, and in those situations he wasn’t at his best. Turning and running with receivers isn’t his strength, and when asked to turn away from the quarterback and then locate the ball, he can be a liability. Munnerlyn needs to play facing the quarterback where he can react to what he’s seeing.

    Run Defense

    10/15

    You don’t expect a player built like Munnerlyn to make many plays against the run, but he channels his inner Antoine Winfield and attacks the run well from the edge.

    Tackle

    9/15

    A good tackler no matter the size of the player, Munnerlyn chops down players and does a good job hitting the legs of runners.

    Overall

    69/100

    Munnerlyn was put into a less-than-ideal position playing outside cornerback in 2012, and he may stick there in 2013, but his best spot for success is in the slot.

    Munnerlyn was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

69. Javier Arenas, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Coverage

    50/70

    A speedy, shifty cornerback who has the skill set to excel in the slot, Javier Arenas has struggled to find his footing in the NFL. During the 2012 season, he improved throughout the year but had trouble finding the ball in coverage. When matched up in man-to-man situations, he showed the quickness to compete but was easily beaten on breaking routes. At this point, Arenas doesn’t show the skills to make plays on the ball.

    Run Defense

    9/15

    A smaller cornerback who often plays inside, Arenas has to be able to at least threaten ball-carriers on the edge. He’ll come up quickly to attack the ball but can be pushed aside by blockers.

    Tackle

    10/15

    Arenas is a good tackler, and he's consistent in his ability to make stops in the open field. Better strength and better ability to fight through traffic would increase his rating.

    Overall

    69/100

    A better special-teams player than pure cover man at this point, Arenas took steps in the right direction in 2012 but still has to be better moving forward.

    Arenas was tied at No. 83 in last year's B/R 1000.

68. Brandon Boykin, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Coverage

    52/70

    A stud in the slot, Brandon Boykin excelled in short areas and when matched up with inside receivers. He’s fast enough off the ball to make an impact against quick routes.

    Boykin didn’t show that same capability when matched up outside on bigger receivers with more unpredictable routes, but you can’t help but notice his quickness and burst underneath. He will need to work on his ability to find the ball once he makes a turn in coverage, as he lost track at times. His errors were largely rookie mistakes, though, and he showed promise as the team’s No. 3 cornerback.

    Run Defense

    9/15

    Boykin didn’t flash on film as a stout run defender, but that was expected. He’s a small cornerback with good quickness but poor strength at the point of attack. 

    Tackle

    9/15

    An average tackler in his first season, Boykin doesn’t have the frame or strength to make big plays against the ball. He’s feisty, though, and tough on impact.

    Overall

    70/100

    A rookie standout in the Eagles secondary, Boykin played well when called upon in the slot and emerged as a player the team can build around on the inside. It’s clear from the Eagles’ free-agent moves that coaches see him as purely an inside cover man, though.

    Boykin was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

67. Chris Cook, Minnesota Vikings

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    Coverage

    52/70

    A big cornerback at 6’2”, 212 lbs, Chris Cook took a nice step forward in 2012. A midseason broken arm limited his development, but when healthy he showed nice potential as a starter on the boundary.

    Cook hasn't yet shown the ability to break on the ball and make a play for interceptions or even broken up attempts. He’s a safe, assignment-style cover man who will more likely make a quick tackle after the catch rather than break on the football and make a play. He has good length and can lock up big receivers down the field, but he doesn’t always show the fluid hips and quickness needed to run with guys. He can struggle to adjust and adapt in space.

    Run Defense

    8/15

    With great size for the position, Cook should be a bigger impact against the run. He has to play more physically and take on his responsibility as the edge defender.

    Tackle

    10/15

    A solid tackler, Cook uses his length to get to the ball and wrap up. If he can learn to keep his feet moving and drive through his tackles, he could take off.

    Overall

    70/100

    A former second-round pick, Cook is penciled in as a starter in the Minnesota secondary heading into the 2013 draft. There’s potential here, but he’s still developing in coverage.

    Cook was ranked No. 102 in last year's B/R 1000.

66. Derek Cox, San Diego Chargers

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    Coverage

    52/70

    Derek Cox took a step back after a brilliant 2011 season that saw him record the league’s lowest burn rate. In 2012 he was often injured with back and hamstring issues; when healthy, he was solid, but overall he played stiff and slow due to poor health. It’s tough to grade an injured player, but Cox did meet the minimum snap count to be scouted. There’s a good chance he bounces back into the top 30 once healthy in 2013.

    Run Defense

    10/15

    A smart player on the edge with a good feel for the run, Cox can take away the edge and, when healthy, was willing to step up and take on blockers.

    Tackle

    9/15

    Cox’s tackling skills fell off this past season due to injury. He was stiff and lacked the flexibility to break down runners and attack the ball.

    Overall

    71/100

    Cox’s 2012 carries a massive disclaimer due to injury. The player we saw limping around each week wasn’t the same guy that we fell in love with in 2011.

    Cox was tied at No. 23 in last year's B/R 1000.

65. Nolan Carroll, Miami Dolphins

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    Coverage

    52/70

    An underrated all-around coverage corner, Nolan Carroll has value as a nickel or dime back. The 2012 season saw him develop his awareness, erasing his old habit of jumping routes and gambling on the ball. In the red zone, Carroll can struggle to stay matched up, but he has the height to challenge jump balls and the length to get his hands in to knock away passes. Carroll doesn’t show the ball-hawking skills to intercept passes or challenge the quarterback.

    Run Defense

    9/15

    Carroll doesn’t make many plays against the run, but he doesn’t allow big plays, either. He can effectively close off the edge and keep the ball inside the numbers.

    Tackle

    10/15

    Carroll has the length and size to do damage in the open field as a tackler. He does a good job fighting through contact and getting runners down.

    Overall

    71/100

    A good option as a No. 3 cornerback, Carroll hasn’t developed into a starter but is valuable against multiple-wideout sets.

    Carroll was tied at No. 63 in last year's B/R 1000.

64. Josh Thomas, Carolina Panthers

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    Coverage

    51/70

    Josh Thomas wasn’t on our top-100 radar before the 2012 season began, but he quickly earned a ranking with his play in Week 9 against the Washington Redskins. Thomas did give up receptions—especially on intermediate routes—but he showed good potential out on the edge as a player who can eventually be a starting cornerback.

    Run Defense

    10/15

    Thomas has a strong build and is willing to come up and go after runners, but he has to be more consistent at finding the ball and getting to the corner.

    Tackle

    10/15

    A solid tackler, Thomas didn’t miss on the ball when he had to break down and make a hit, but he did struggle at times to get into position against the run and pass.

    Overall

    71/100

    Thomas was a nice surprise in a beat-up Panthers secondary in 2012. He has the look of a future starter if he can continue to develop.

    Thomas was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

63. Kyle Wilson, New York Jets

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    Coverage

    52/70

    Kyle Wilson is the type of cornerback who won’t make many interceptions or break up many passes, but he also doesn’t surrender big plays or touchdowns. His “bend but don’t break” coverage works, but if you favor a cornerback that limits receptions, he’s not your guy. He shows good athletic ability in his transitions, but his awareness and recognition skills are just average. He can struggle to stick his foot in the ground and change direction and doesn’t show the speed to come up and break on the ball in flight.

    Run Defense

    9/15

    Despite being a smaller corner, Wilson does a good job against the run. He will make open-field tackles if not disrupted by blockers. He doesn’t have the strength to break away from stalk blockers consistently.

    Tackle

    11/15

    Wilson does a good job sticking ball-carriers, and he’s strong enough to make stops in the open field. We didn’t note many missed tackles.

    Overall

    72/100

    A quality No. 2 cornerback when forced into that role in 2012, Wilson improved as the season wore on. He’s a capable second starter.

    Wilson was tied at No. 90 in last year's B/R 1000.

62. Tony Carter, Denver Broncos

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    Coverage

    54/70

    A small cornerback at 5’9” and 175 lbs, Tony Carter stepped into a rotational role with the Denver secondary in 2012 and played well as the team’s No. 3 cornerback. He has ideal quickness to operate underneath on quick and crossing routes.

    A knock on Carter’s game was that he often let receivers run free initially in their routes, which allowed freedom to pick up yards pre-catch and let quarterbacks lead the route upfield. When thrown at, he did a good job limiting catches and holding quarterbacks under 50 percent on completions. He has to be more aware and do a better job erasing receivers and keeping quarterbacks from coming his way.

    Run Defense

    9/15

    A small guy who won’t step up and take on blockers or crash the line of scrimmage, Carter can improve his run defense by playing more physically. 

    Tackle

    9/15

    While Carter showed good technique, his follow-through on tackles and production weren’t eye-opening. He’ll have to learn to use his body to set up tackles.

    Overall

    72/100

    Carter impressed our team as a nickelback, and he’s been good enough for the Broncos to move on from Tracy Porter at the position this offseason.

    Carter was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

61. E.J. Biggers, Washington Redskins

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    Coverage

    60/70

    One of the fastest, smoothest cornerbacks in the league, E.J. Biggers won’t be outrun by defenders up the field. He will have a tough time on comeback routes and when the receiver breaks back to the ball, as planting and coming back to the line of scrimmage can be tough for the former Buccaneer.

    His athletic ability is exceptional, but his awareness needs some work. He did improve down the stretch this past season, but teams went at Biggers consistently after he became a starter. While he allowed just over 61 percent of passes thrown his way to be completed, on film those catches resulted in plenty of yards.

    He didn’t surrender many scores and was much better in the red zone than the open field, but he also didn’t bring much help in creating turnovers or knocking passes away. In 2013, he needs to learn to use that exceptional speed to break on the ball with better timing.

    Run Defense

    6/15

    Biggers doesn’t show up on tape as a run defender. This is a clear weakness in his game, as he struggles to fight through blocks or take proper angles to the ball.

    Tackle

    7/15

    Biggers isn’t a strong tackler. Runners can get past him with a good stiff arm or lower-body shake. He misses far too many tackles in space.

    Overall

    73/100

    A starter from Week 6, Biggers has potential in coverage but is a nonfactor on the ground as a run defender or tackler.

    Biggers was tied at No. 90 in last year's B/R 1000.

60. Jabari Greer, New Orleans Saints

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    Coverage

    58/70

    An average athlete but smart player, veteran Jabari Greer is able to annoy wide receivers at the line of scrimmage. He has the quickness to jam and recover off the ball and is fluid enough getting into his backpedal. In coverage, he sticks with receivers well but can be taken deep, and he has trouble attacking high passes.

    Greer is at his best underneath, where he can close on the ball and jump routes from behind. That ability to break on routes leads to interceptions and passes knocked to the ground, but it can also lead to mistimed gambles and big plays for the offense.

    Run Defense

    6/15

    Greer doesn’t have the size or strength to do much damage against the run. He plays on his heels a lot when the ball comes his way.

    Tackle

    9/15

    A feisty player, Greer will initiate contact but isn’t always strong enough to make solo tackles in space.

    Overall

    73/100

    Greer is an ideal No. 2 or No. 3 cornerback who can play both inside and outside. His long-term projection is likely in the slot moving forward.

    Greer was tied at No. 61 in last year's B/R 1000.

59. DeAngelo Hall, Washington Redskins

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    Coverage

    53/70

    When looking at how many times a player is targeted by quarterbacks and comparing that with how many receptions the cornerback allows, DeAngelo Hall is in the bottom tier of all cornerbacks we graded. He gambles far too often by attempting to jump routes and pick off passes. If he mistimes that jump, the wide receiver is wide open and heading upfield in wide-open spaces. 

    The speed and agility to be a very good player are evident on tape, but Hall is too risky and undisciplined on the edge to ever be an elite cornerback. Interception numbers be damned, those few plays per season don’t cover up the yards and catches he allows.

    Run Defense

    10/15

    An aggressive player against the run when the ball is in space, Hall doesn’t like to mix it up against traffic. He’ll attack tosses and sweeps with good results.

    Tackle

    10/15

    Hall misses a lot of tackles, point blank, but he also attempts more tackles than most cornerbacks. He’s willing to come down the line and put his pads on the ball-carrier. While he’s not always efficient, few cornerbacks make as many tackles as Hall does. 

    Overall

    73/100

    A player overrated by some fans and media, the tape doesn’t lie when watching DeAngelo Hall. He’s a gambler in coverage and a liability at times on the edge.

    Hall was tied at No. 42 in last year's B/R 1000.

58. Leonard Johnson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Coverage

    55/70

    An undrafted free-agent pickup by Tampa in 2012, Leonard Johnson played well for a rookie few were counting on. Johnson had three interceptions, showing a good ability to close on the ball and the hands to pull in passes. In coverage, he was often beaten on second moves (as most rookies are), and he struggled when asked to locate the ball with his back to the quarterback. NFL quarterbacks had success against Johnson on a consistent basis, but he flashed the potential to make plays and shut down pro receivers.

    Run Defense

    9/15

    Johnson didn’t show up against the run quite like he did in coverage. This will be an area where added strength and experience are key to his success.

    Tackle

    9/15

    With seven missed tackles on the season, Johnson made his share of mistakes as a tackler, but he also made some big plays when needed. He’ll get better with experience and strength.

    Overall

    73/100

    The Buccaneers have to be happy with Johnson’s first season, especially considering his draft positioning. He might be the team’s best cornerback heading into 2013.

    Johnson was not ranked in in last year's B/R 1000.

57. Alterraun Verner, Tennessee Titans

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    Coverage

    53/70

    While not an elite athlete, Alterraun Verner is good enough to win with quickness and good acceleration on the edge. He started out the year red hot but faded down the stretch, allowing more yards after the catch and struggling in matchups. The only two scores he allowed on the year came in Weeks 16 and 17. Verner won’t be a big interception player, but he does a good job keeping the ball in front of him and will show good timing to jump routes. 

    Run Defense

    11/15

    A pretty tough player on the outside, Verner is willing to crash the backfield and get after the run.

    Tackle

    10/15

    Missed tackles were a problem for Verner in the middle of the season, but overall he shows a nice skill set to drive through ball-carriers and make stops.

    Overall

    74/100

    Verner is a solid No. 2 cornerback, but his lack of big-play potential and his struggles to end the season kept his score low overall.

    Verner was tied at No. 28 in last year's B/R 1000.

56. Trumaine Johnson, St. Louis Rams

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    Coverage

    55/70

    With big size at 6’2”, Trumaine Johnson can match up man-to-man with most receivers. What he lacks in long speed he makes up for with good length and the ability to mug receivers off the line.

    In his first NFL season, Johnson did a good job breaking on the football and taking away big-play opportunities. He uses his body well to bump receivers and kept players from taking the ball upfield post-catch with that size. He needs to be more aware, but that will come with experience. He wasn’t tested by elite receivers in 2012 and could see some learning curve once he’s matched up with better targets in the future.

    Run Defense

    10/15

    A big player coming downhill, Johnson has the frame to take on blockers and get to the ball. He will need to learn to play lower and faster, but he showed good potential in his rookie season.

    Tackle

    9/15

    Missed tackles were an issue for Johnson in his first season as he transitioned from Montana to the NFL. Now that he knows what to expect, he should be better.

    Overall

    74/100

    A player I had pegged as a potential safety prospect in the 2012 draft, Johnson played well as the Rams’ No. 4 cornerback. He’ll be ready for a bigger role in 2013.

    Johnson was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

55. Corey Graham, Baltimore Ravens

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    Coverage

    56/70

    A versatile cornerback with experience in the slot and outside, Corey Graham was called into action once Lardarius Webb went out with injury. In the final 12 games of the season, the Ravens counted on him on the edge, and he did well enough to earn a starting spot in the Super Bowl.

    Graham is good in short areas. He’s quick from spot to spot and moves fluidly when asked to turn his hips in either direction. He can explode and get to the ball in a hurry when he makes reads. He proved to be an aware player by notching four interceptions on the year—including two in the divisional round of the playoffs. There’s enough potential here for Graham to develop into a very good starting cornerback on the outside or in the slot.

    Run Defense

    9/15

    While not a stat-leading tackler, Graham did a good job coming up from the slot to take away the edge. When contacted by blockers, he didn’t show much fight, but he did keep leverage to turn runs back inside.

    Tackle

    9/15

    Graham didn’t miss many tackles on the year, but he didn’t consistently put himself into the best position to make plays. To be a starter in the Baltimore defense, he has to step up.

    Overall

    74/100

    The team trusts Graham enough that Cary Williams was allowed to leave in free agency. In 2013, look for Graham to have a big role alongside Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith.

    Graham was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

54. Marcus Trufant, Seattle Seahawks

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    Coverage

    54/70

    A veteran cornerback with experience inside and outside, Marcus Trufant did well in 2012 as a slot cornerback. Working primarily from the slot position, Trufant was thrown at early and often, resulting in almost 70 percent of passes thrown his way to be completed.

    While he gave up catches, Trufant didn’t give up yards or scores. In fact, he allowed one touchdown all season. His short-area quickness isn’t what it used to be, but he is a physical player with the strength to press and jam at the line. When working inside, he’s able to throw a receiver’s timing off and limit targets on hot reads and quick routes.

    Run Defense

    8/15

    Trufant isn’t afraid of contact, and he’ll shoot up to blast backs, but playing in the slot he was exposed to more blockers. That kept him from making much of an impact.

    Tackle

    12/15

    A consistent, solid tackler, Trufant won’t miss many tackles when given the opportunity to put a clean hit on a ball-carrier.

    Overall

    74/100

    Trufant responded well to a slot cornerback role, and as he ages it’s a position that fits his skill set as a physical, tough underneath cover man.

    Trufant was not ranked ilast year's B/R 1000.

53. Michael Huff, Baltimore Ravens

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    Coverage

    52/70

    Naturally a free safety, Michael Huff moved to cornerback this season out of necessity and found himself playing some of his best football. Beginning in Week 3, he lined up as the Raiders’ starting left cornerback and held his own at an unnatural position. It took him a few games to get settled in at cornerback, and in those games quarterbacks went at him hard, but once he got his feet wet he showed the ability to plant and drive on the ball and break up passes.

    When asked to turn and run with receivers, Huff did a good job to flip his hips on time and bail. His footwork wasn’t picturesque, especially early on, but he did his job there. Giving up yardage underneath was a problem, as the Raiders lined him up off the ball to make his transitions easier. For a career safety playing cornerback, Huff did very well.

    Run Defense

    13/15

    Huff has the skills to run alleys and make tackles, something he did very well at safety. His experience, vision and quickness make him an asset on rushing downs from either position.

    Tackle

    10/15

    Huff didn’t make the same impact as a tackler coming down from corner, but most of his missed tackles came early in his transition. By Week 6, he was a sure tackling presence on the outside.

    Overall

    75/100

    A safety when drafted out of Texas, Huff was forced into a cornerback role in 2012 and had one of his best seasons. His future as a versatile defender is bright.

    Michael Huff was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

52. Darius Butler, Indianapolis Colts

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    Coverage

    57/70

    Darius Butler came into the lineup in Week 5 and made an impact in coverage as the team’s slot cornerback. From there he moved to an outside role in sub-packages while continuing to make an impact in the slot against multiple receiver sets. He played well inside, keeping receivers locked down and limiting receptions on quick hits and crossing patterns.

    When moved outside, Butler wasn’t as strong. It was clear by late in the year that he’s at his best inside, where his quickness can be an asset. When placed outside on bigger receivers, he struggled to keep pace and was picked on more. While two of his interceptions came on the outside, Butler’s future is in the slot.

    Run Defense

    8/15

    Not a big physical presence, Butler did a good job getting across the line to threaten the run but didn’t make many individual stops against ball-carriers.

    Tackle

    10/15

    With good quickness and closing speed, Butler was able to trap and pursue receivers after the catch. That allowed him to limit yards after the catch and keep receivers out of the end zone.

    Overall

    75/100

    A good slot cornerback with upside in that role, Butler is best served staying on the inside as the Colts’ No. 3 cornerback. The team seems to agree with their signing of Greg Toler to play outside with Vontae Davis.

    Butler was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

51. Josh Wilson, Washington Redskins

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    Coverage

    55/70

    Josh Wilson is quick and fast, but he struggles to time his turns and keep pace with wide receivers down the field. His ability to change direction in space is average, and it's often the reason for his allowing receptions. A lack of top-end size can limit his reach and ability to high-point passes.

    Wilson isn’t a highlight-reel cornerback—you won’t see a ton of interceptions or big plays—but he’s tough to shake down the field. The key for him is being more physical, as receivers can beat him up underneath and drive him off the ball. That results in a lot of yards allowed per catch and too many scores coming on his watch.

    Run Defense

    9/15

    Wilson can be tough at the line of scrimmage and has a good nose for the ball. He’ll fly up from corner to take on outside runs with good success but can be moved off his spot by blocking wide receivers.

    Tackle

    11/15

    Missed tackles hurt Wilson at times this season, but it would come and go in spurts. His Week 5 game against Atlanta was bad, but Wilson was solid for the rest of the season.

    Overall

    75/100

    Wilson is solid, but as a highly targeted cornerback, he surrendered too many points and yards in 2012.

    Wilson was tied at No. 48 in last year's B/R 1000.

50. Joselio Hanson, Oakland Raiders

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    Coverage

    55/70

    Joselio Hanson has good technique in his lower body when coming off the line of scrimmage, showing fluid athletic ability. That technique and athleticism didn’t prevent him from allowing too many completions compared to targets. Teams were able to hurt him underneath by asking him to plant and come up to play the short pass.

    While he did well limiting yards after the catch, Hanson allowed almost 82 percent of passes thrown his way to be completed. He struggles with the quickness and awareness needed to break on the ball and make a heads-up play on the pass. He does a good job keeping the football in front of him, but he won’t make impact plays on passes.

    Run Defense

    9/15

    Hanson will come up and play the run, but not with a high level of success. He’s above average at turning the play back inside but does little on his own to stop the run.

    Tackle

    11/15

    Hanson flashes on film as a solid tackler, but one that will miss tackles in the open field often. He’s aggressive and active in pursuit and has surprising strength to put runners down.

    Overall

    75/100

    Hanson has been at his best as a No. 3 cornerback, and in 2012 he allowed too many completions with too few impact plays of his own.

    Hanson was tied at No. 90 in last year's B/R 1000.

49. Robert McClain, Atlanta Falcons

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    Coverage

    57/70

    A solid slot cornerback in nickel and dime packages, Robert McClain made big strides in 2012. He did an excellent job with short-area quickness to keep up with smaller, faster receivers coming out of the slot on offense. He does a good job using his hands to redirect at the line, but he lacks power to be an effective press cover man against all types of players. McClain may not be ready to make a jump outside against bigger receivers and more complex route trees, but he’s a threat in coverage when kept inside.

    Run Defense

    8/15

    McClain doesn’t have the size or strength to be an impact against the run consistently, but he shows willingness to attack.

    Tackle

    10/15

    McClain breaks down in space and shows good flexibility and lower-body power to slam into ball-carriers. Keeping his eyes up and pads down will help.

    Overall

    75/100

    As a slot cornerback, McClain has few peers. Whether or not he’ll be ready to make a move outside at some point remains to be seen, but for what he’s asked to do, few are better.

    McClain was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

48. Dimitri Patterson, Miami Dolphins

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    Coverage

    54/70

    Dimitri Patterson doesn’t have the speed of a top-tier cornerback, but he’s physical and active. He has good quickness, but he can be beat if taken upfield on a deep route. He doesn’t show the hands or speed to make interceptions when breaking on the ball.

    Patterson is best in zone coverage where he can come up to play the ball. He won’t let receivers behind him and shows good discipline in coverage. He doesn’t break up many passes but is a solid tackler in the open field.

    Run Defense

    9/15

    Patterson will struggle to attack the run with angles. If he has to take on a back head-up, he’s fine, but he struggles in pursuit.

    Tackle

    12/15

    Patterson is a strong tackler with good size to handle ball-carriers one-on-one. We didn’t see many missed tackles from Patterson.

    Overall

    75/100

    Patterson had an interesting season after being cut by Cleveland, but he landed on his feet in Miami and played well to end the season.

    Patterson was tied at No. 83 in last year's B/R 1000.

47. Asante Samuel, Atlanta Falcons

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    Coverage

    62/70

    With five interceptions on the year, you might expect Asante Samuel to be ranked higher, but a closer look at his game tape shows flaws to that theory. He did show athletic ability on the edge, especially in one-one-one situations in man coverage, but when targeted he allowed easy completions for first-down yardage.

    On the year we consistently noticed Samuel giving up 10-15 yards per catch—and that’s not including yards after the catch. He did make some big plays in coverage with his interceptions, but he also allowed big plays in coverage. Samuel is talented, but his interception totals overrate his season.

    Run Defense

    8/15

    Watching Samuel take on the run was painful for our team. He didn’t show strength or effort at the point of attack and failed to even turn the run back inside with his presence on the outside.

    Tackle

    5/15

    Samuel missed 22 tackles on the year—good for the most of any cornerback in 2012. His poor attempts at tackling keep him down low in our rankings.

    Overall

    75/100

    Samuel made a big drop in our rankings this season as his receptions allowed and missed tackles soared. With some of the lowest run-defense and tackling scores in the league, Samuel stands out as a one-dimensional player.

    Samuel tied at No. 18 in last year's B/R NFL 1,000.

46. Nnamdi Asomugha, San Francisco 49ers

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    Coverage

    55/70

    There are times when a player is simply a bad fit for what a team is doing. Nnamdi Asomugha in Philadelphia was a prime example of that. He struggled in zone coverage—pitifully, I might add—but that’s not his strength. The Eagles didn’t use his length or his experience as a boundary corner to maximize his production.

    Poor safety play (very poor) and an inconsistent pass rush added up to made Asomugha’s job harder in 2012 than it needed to be, and while there is enough blame to go around for his poor play and disappointing production, he was miscast in the Eagles secondary. Looking at him individually, he did struggle to adapt and gave little effort at times in coverage. When asked to press and bail, he looked slow and sluggish, which resulted in big yards from receivers off the line. Asomugha wasn’t targeted as often as people may remember, though.

    It’s true that Asomugha didn’t play well in Philadelphia, but the rhetoric on him being terrible isn’t fair or accurate.

    Run Defense

    11/15

    With good size and long arms, Asomugha is big enough to make an impact on the edge. He can turn the run in and will come up to take on runners behind the line.

    Tackle

    11/15

    A form tackler, Asomugha can be timid at times, but he is strong enough to make consistent tackles in space.

    Overall

    77/100

    Asomugha leaving Philadelphia will be good for both sides, and when placed in a 49ers defense with safety help he’ll be allowed to shine once again in man coverage.

    Asomugha was ranked No. 4 in last year's B/R 1000.

45. Tramon Williams, Green Bay Packers

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    Coverage

    59/70

    A player known for his timing and ability to jump routes, Tramon Williams does an excellent job setting up quarterbacks and then breaking on the ball to either intercept it or knock the pass away. While he didn’t score many interceptions in 2012—just two—he did notch 15 broken-up passes. He’s a highly targeted cornerback, though, and based on receptions and yards allowed he is a middle-tier player. Williams has to better lock up receivers throughout the route instead of relying on loose coverage and closing speed to make an impact play.

    Run Defense

    6/15

    He doesn’t do much against the run—see the team’s Week 17 and divisional playoff games as proof that when a running back is headed his way, Williams wants nothing to do with it.

    Tackle

    12/15

    Williams makes plenty of tackles, but his misses added up too. While it wasn’t a consistent problem, he has to do better at getting his pads down and initiating contact.

    Overall

    77/100

    Williams had an up-and-down season in 2012, failing to show the trademark closing speed and timing that made him a star in previous seasons.

    Williams was tied at No. 20 in last year's B/R 1000.

44. Sean Smith, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Coverage

    56/70

    At 6’3" and 218 pounds, Smith is your prototypical press-man cover corner. He uses that size and length to his advantage at the line of scrimmage to keep receivers from getting a free release. He is very good at keeping his eyes on the quarterback and breaking on the ball in coverage. He anticipates these routes well, and while he doesn’t possess elite short-area quickness moving laterally, he does break well on the ball coming forward.

    He’s much better when he has his hands on the receiver than he is playing off coverage, though. Smith doesn’t move too well laterally, and without being able to jam up the receiver, he can get beat in the open field.

    Run Defense

    8/15

    As big and physical as Smith is on the outside with receivers in press coverage, it really doesn’t translate to run defense. He’s not a liability, but you’d expect more physicality from him there based on his strengths in pass coverage.

    Tackle

    13/15

    Tackling is not an issue for Smith. He’s very good at breaking down in the open field and wrapping up a ball-carrier.

    Overall

    77/100

    Smith recently signed a three-year, $16 million deal with the Chiefs. With new Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton saying he wants to bring more pressure, Smith should fit in well.

    Smith was tied at No. 73 in last year's B/R 1000.

43. Cedric Griffin, Washington Redskins

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    Coverage

    55/70

    A new home with the Washington Redskins prompted a better season from Cedric Griffin. A midseason hamstring injury limited him, but he was considerably better than the player we saw in 2011. He was more consistent in both limiting targets and taking away completions when thrown at.

    He didn’t register an interception on the year, but he did close on the ball well in zone coverage and showed he could tackle in space to limit yards after the catch. He has to do a better job on intermediate routes, as he’s susceptible to a late break in the route that gives the receiver the room needed to make a play. Our biggest negative in coverage was that he allows too many yards per catch. Seemingly every catch was good for 15 yards.

    Run Defense

    9/15

    Griffin didn’t play the run up to his potential in 2012, as blockers were able to easily shield him from the play.

    Tackle

    13/15

    We didn’t chart one missed tackle for Griffin in his nine games active in 2012.

    Overall

    77/100

    The 2012 season saw Griffin improve his man-to-man cover skills, moving him up considerably in the rankings.

    Griffin was ranked No. 70 in last year's B/R 1000.

42. Janoris Jenkins, St. Louis Rams

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    Coverage

    60/70

    Janoris Jenkins often gave up easy underneath passes, especially on third down, because of his alignment off the ball. Receivers were able to check to the quarterback and pick up an easy pitch and catch. Jenkins is a gambler, too, and while that paid off at times with highlight-reel interceptions, it also resulted in big plays for the offense when he mistimed his breaks.

    In his second season, look for Jenkins to work on playing with more discipline. He can’t simply jump at every pass thrown to his man and expect to make a play on the ball; there’s quality in a cornerback who can sit down and cover to limit targets and make tackles when the catch is made. Interceptions excite fans for a handful of plays per season, but strong coverage will win games.

    He did have a very good first season, and his potential is exciting, but there is work yet to be done. Jenkins can be praised for limiting big plays, something he did well, but his average yards per pass (10.8) and run-after-catch yardage weren’t great either.

    Run Defense

    9/15

    Jenkins did a good job finding the ball and tracking, but didn’t always close the job by getting through traffic and putting backs down.

    Tackle

    9/15

    We counted more than enough missed tackles for Jenkins on the season, including a show-stopping five against the Bills in Week 14.

    Overall

    78/100

    An aggressive, physical first-year cornerback, Jenkins pick-sixed his way to a dynamite 2012 season. Now the pressure is on to develop and take the next step.

    Jenkins was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

41. Aqib Talib, New England Patriots

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    Coverage

    58/70

    Aqib Talib’s 2012 was a tale of two seasons—his first four weeks with Tampa and then his eight games with New England after a four-game league suspension. There were games immediately after his trade to the Patriots where he struggled, which was expected after missing time and changing teams.

    As an athlete, Talib has excellent size and agility. He’s quick off the ball and is quick to flip his hips and turn to run. The biggest knock on his game was his lack of communication with other defenders, both in Tampa and New England. He struggled when asked to hand off a receiver to a safety—or when sitting down in the flats and releasing a receiver without help behind him. Those little issues that can become big plays haunted Talib and caused him to allow more completions and more yardage (pre- and post-catch) than he should have.

    Run Defense

    9/15

    Talib doesn't capitalize on his size or athleticism, lacking the fight and positioning to be a consistent factor here.

    Tackle

    11/15

    When he does get to the right place, Talib can make the tackle. Better in open space than in traffic.

    Overall

    78/100

    Talib's teamwork shortcomings and the harm done by his suspension count against him. But with some coaching and practice, he can move back quickly to his previous ranking, or better.

    Aqib Talib was tied at No. 31 in last year's B/R 1000.

40. D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers

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    Coverage

    56/70

    With average speed, D.J. Moore has to rely on technique and awareness to make plays in coverage. A solid No. 3 cornerback for the Bears in 2012, Moore has good balance and change-of-direction skills. He doesn’t show the length or range to consistently close on the ball and break up passes, but he does have good hands and can convert interceptions.

    Moore gives up completions underneath and can give up big yardage after the catch at times. He has to be more aware in man coverage and quicker in zone play to come up and take away the pass.

    Run Defense

    10/15

    Moore is active and aggressive. He’ll take on blockers in space and can turn the run back in from the edge.

    Tackle

    12/15

    There were few missed chances by Moore in 2012 as he showed the strength and technique to bring down runners in space and in traffic.

    Overall

    78/100

    A good young cornerback with some upside, Moore is a nice fit as a nickel or dime cornerback.

    Moore was tied at No. 75 in last year's B/R 1000.

39. Cary Williams, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Coverage

    56/70

    A better athlete than you might think, Cary Williams is fluid in coverage and has the athletic ability to break on the ball and create turnovers. He showed good awareness as a Raven in 2012 to react to tipped passes, which he was able to catch and return for positive yards. He also allowed too many completions.

    Williams has very good length at 6’1” and the range to make plays on the ball if he has to close on it from five to 10 yards away. His six interceptions were as much a part of good timing as they were great cornerback play. He did show good reach in knocking away passes.

    He allowed plenty of catches, and at a high completion percentage. He was an all-or-nothing cornerback at times, giving up touchdowns and big yards. Williams may have been overrated due to his statistics.

    Run Defense

    8/15

    With good size and strength, Williams can come up to take on the run but is often negated by good blocking. Williams’ angles to the ball were suspect.

    Tackle

    14/15

    Williams rarely missed tackles and was one of the most active cornerbacks we saw all season. Williams was a consistent threat to ball-carriers.

    Overall

    78/100

    Williams stepped up for Baltimore down the stretch, playing a big part in the team’s Super Bowl run, but he’ll be a bigger target in 2013 outside of the Ravens defense.

    Williams was tied at No. 75 in last year's B/R 1000.

38. Alfonzo Dennard, New England Patriots

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    Coverage

    60/70

    A one-time first-round prospect, Alfonzo Dennard fell to the seventh round in the 2012 NFL draft due to concerns about his speed and character. He answered both in his first NFL season. He emerged as a starting-quality corner in New England, showing the timing and toughness in man-to-man coverage that scouts saw at Nebraska.

    Dennard doesn’t have great size, but he has the awareness to time his jumps and high-point passes with his impressive vertical leap. In his first NFL season he did get turned around by double moves that resulted in scores, but quarterbacks didn’t have much success picking on him in coverage on a consistent basis.

    Run Defense

    9/15

    Dennard is tough, but he’s also small. Blockers were able to get him backpedaling against the run off the edge. He knifed through traffic at times, but he has to be better here.

    Tackle

    9/15

    Game film showed Dennard missing more tackles than we remembered. The rookie was tough to beat in space, but he has to do a better job wrapping up against running backs.

    Overall

    78/100

    Dennard is a tough, fiery cornerback. Because of that, he has to learn to play under control more, but overall his upside and potential are exciting.

    Dennard was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

37. Kyle Arrington, New England Patriots

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    Coverage

    55/70

    Kyle Arrington didn’t record an interception in 2012 while allowing five touchdowns to be scored against him. What didn’t show up in the stat sheet was his smooth athletic ability and quick feet. He has the hips and quickness to turn and run with receivers.

    Arrington was challenged often in 2012, and while he struggled at times he also did a good job keeping receivers from picking up big yards after the catch. A negative was that he struggled with receivers after their first break in the route. That poor positioning led to receivers picking up plenty of yards before the ball was delivered.

    Run Defense

    11/15

    Arrington isn’t aggressive, but he is active in the run game. He uses his quickness to get past blockers and can sneak his way into the backfield to make stops.

    Tackle

    12/15

    A surprisingly good tackler for a smaller defensive back, Arrington did a good job getting his arms around runners and holding on. He didn’t let many players get past him once he made contact.

    Overall

    78/100

    A good No. 2 cornerback for the Patriots in 2012, Arrington may be best served in a rotational role as the team’s No. 3 cornerback in 2013.

    Arrington was ranked No. 33 in last year's B/R 1000.

36. Brandon Carr, Dallas Cowboys

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    Coverage

    59/70

    Brandon Carr’s first season in Dallas saw a regression in his game, but there's enough promise to build around. He can be stiff and heavy at times in his transitions, but he shows good plant-and-go ability to attack the ball.

    Carr doesn’t pull down many interceptions—three this past season—but he puts himself in position to make tackles after the catch and limit big plays. The ability to keep receivers from getting behind him in coverage was a big positive we found in his 2012 film. Rarely did receivers beat him downfield.

    Run Defense

    10/15

    A good-sized defender at 6’0” and 207 lbs, Carr can take on the run and set the edge against sweeps and tosses on the outside. 

    Tackle

    10/15

    When you look at Carr’s 10 missed tackles on the year, it’s a bit worrisome, but he was a consistent presence taking on ball-carriers in 14 of 16 starts.

    Overall

    79/100

    Carr is a talented cornerback with the skill set to move up the rankings once he’s more comfortable in the Dallas secondary.

    Carr was ranked No. 16 in last year's B/R 1000.

35. Morris Claiborne, Dallas Cowboys

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    Coverage

    60/70

    The Dallas Cowboys’ best cover corner, Morris Claiborne played very well in his rookie season. The LSU product did struggle at times but transitioned well in terms of coverage and athletic ability on the edge in a Cowboys defense with little safety help.

    The ability to read and react to passes didn’t jump off the screen when viewing Claiborne’s All-22 film. He struggled to find the ball at times until it was in the receiver’s hands. Because of that, he allowed a high number of receptions versus targets, but he didn’t allow big plays or scores. He was often just one step behind in coverage, and we saw enough speed to believe he can correct this in the future. 

    Run Defense

    8/15

    Claiborne will come up to take on the run, but his pursuit to the ball isn’t always ideal. He takes looping paths to the ball and can be shaken in space.

    Tackle

    11/15

    Missed tackles weren’t an issue for Claiborne as he showed good pop in his pads and good flexibility to get low to take on runners. Week 17 against Washington was a tough one for him, but overall he was solid.

    Overall

    79/100

    Claiborne has all the tools to vault up our rankings in future years as he learns the NFL game.

    Claiborne was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

34. Keenan Lewis, New Orleans Saints

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    Coverage

    57/70

    A flexible, athletic cornerback with good size, Keenan Lewis is poised to become one of the NFL’s best. He has good speed to turn and run with receivers on deep routes, and he uses his length well to get his hands on the ball and to shield targets away from the quarterback.

    Opponents targeted the former Steeler often in 2012, but he responded by limiting completions and keeping catches to a minimum. Lewis doesn’t give up big yards after the catch, showing a good ability to stay in position to make a tackle post-catch. He has the height to high-point the ball and make plays on passes. He did notch an impressive 23 passes defensed, showing he can break on the ball and impact the play.

    Run Defense

    12/15

    Lewis has the strength to help set the edge in the run game. He attacks well and takes smart angles to the ball, rarely getting caught out of position or overpursuing the ball.

    Tackle

    10/15

    Lewis missed more tackles than we wanted to see. He has a nasty habit of dipping his head and losing sight of the ball-carrier.

    Overall

    79/100

    A talented young cornerback, Lewis has the skill set to soar up the rankings in 2013. Keep an eye on him.

    Lewis was tied at No. 95 in last year's B/R 1000.

33. Chris Culliver, San Francisco 49ers

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    Coverage

    59/70

    The San Francisco 49ers relied heavily on Chris Culliver in 2012, and he responded with a solid season. The second-year cornerback posted 15 passes defensed—including two in the Super Bowl—and picked off two passes on the year.

    He struggled with awareness in coverage, especially in handing off routes to his safeties. That lack of communication and coordination resulted in big plays on his watch. He was targeted often in the San Francisco secondary and must do better in 2013 to use his length to his his hands on the ball or his body between the ball and the receiver. Culliver’s instincts to jump routes isn’t quite developed yet.

    Run Defense

    10/15

    Culliver wasn’t a major impact in the run game, but he did a good job using his size to tie up blockers and force the run back inside. He didn’t make many single stops on the ball in the run game.

    Tackle

    10/15

    Culliver has good speed to track the ball and make plays in pursuit. He’s strong enough to pull down receivers post-catch.

    Overall

    79/100

    Culliver was hot and cold in his second season, but he showed marked improvement over his 2011 season. The 49ers will ask even more of him in 2013.

    Culliver was ranked No. 47 in last year's B/R 1000.

32. Sheldon Brown, Cleveland Browns

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    Coverage

    60/70

    A feisty veteran cover corner, Sheldon Brown uses his quickness and awareness to limit what opposing quarterbacks can do. He sees the ball very well and knows how to time his breaks so that he can jump routes. That allowed him to notch three interceptions on the year and add 12 passes defensed. Brown did allow a decent number of completions per target—about six for every 10 passes thrown his way—but overall his ability to keep up in coverage was solid.

    Run Defense

    10/15

    Brown is tough at the line of scrimmage but will fall prey to a good stalk block and can be run off by receivers.

    Tackle

    9/15

    Missed tackles were an issue for Brown at times this season, as he struggled to get his arms around ball-carriers. He was still an active tackler on the edge.

    Overall

    79/100

    A good No. 2 cornerback in 2012, Brown is an aging player and someone the team could look to move inside to a nickelback role.

    Brown was tied at No. 45 in last year's B/R 1000.

31. Jason McCourty, Tennessee Titans

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    Coverage

    58/70

    Jason McCourty is a tall, fluid cornerback with the speed to recover and turn to run upfield. He’s smooth in making transitions from starting stance to coverage. He uses his hands well to redirect at the line of scrimmage and shows the length to get between the receiver and the ball. He breaks quickly on passes in the air and will knock down passes with his ability to slap at the ball. McCourty shows good awareness and will make plays on tipped and errant passes.

    In man coverage, he can be exploited with breaking routes and will give up yards post-catch due to gambling on passes and losing positioning. McCourty has to play more disciplined on an island, especially with poor safety play behind him.

    Run Defense

    11/15

    McCourty does a good job playing on or near the line of scrimmage. He comes off the edge to play the run well and will make plays behind the line.

    Tackle

    10/15

    With good length and strength, McCourty doesn’t lose his hold on many tackles. His angles and initial impact could be better.

    Overall

    79/100

    The former sixth-round pick has become a true starting cornerback with good speed, fluid hips and the ability to close on the ball in space.

    McCourty was tied at No. 45 in last year's B/R 1000.

30. Cortland Finnegan, St. Louis Rams

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    Coverage

    61/70

    Our No. 9-ranked cornerback in 2011, Cortland Finnegan had a brilliant start to the 2012 season but then began to falter as midseason approached. In scouting Finnegan, we started noticing that he was surrendering a lot of receptions per game—turns out he allowed over 73 percent of passes thrown his way to be completed.

    Finnegan does deserve credit for limiting yards on those receptions, but giving up 77 catches on the year is a staggering number. He is aggressive and physical, but too much so at times. He can be stiff when asked to turn and run and can sometimes be beaten on a wide receiver’s first move—which is reason for his many receptions allowed but not much yardage.

    Run Defense

    11/15

    Finnegan makes a ton of stops against the run—that much is undeniable on film—but he often plays fast and loose, which can lead to openings for backs.

    Tackle

    8/15

    Missed tackles were all too common for Finnegan this season as he totaled at least one missed tackle in nearly every game we scouted. He’s aggressive, but he shows poor form when driving in on ball-carriers.

    Overall

    80/100

    Finnegan received praise for his early-season accolades, but his man-to-man cover skills were a bit overrated. A great bend-but-don’t-break corner, Finnegan allows too many easy catches.

    Finnegan was ranked No. 9 in last year's B/R 1000.

29. Vontae Davis, Indianapolis Colts

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    Coverage

    65/70

    Vontae Davis started off the 2012 season miserably, struggling to do anything of worth against the Chicago Bears. His season trended up from there, though, and by season’s end he was playing very good football. If fans and writers looked at one game, in Week 1, they would see a bad cornerback, but the whole of the season showed Davis playing well.

    He’s an exceptional athlete with good quickness and body control—two traits that allow Davis to make plays on the ball in flight. He wasn’t always comfortable jumping routes early in 2012, but by Week 13 he started finding his way to the football more. The key for Davis’ improvement next season will be his comfort in the Colts secondary and his trust of the players around him. There is quite a bit of talent with which to work here.

    Run Defense

    6/15

    Davis isn’t much to watch against the run. His angles to the football were sloppy and ill-timed. He’ll turn the run back in to the middle, but that’s about it.

    Tackle

    9/15

    Davis will let runners bounce off his pads when he engages ball-carriers. He’s strong enough to pull down backs and receivers but isn’t consistently in place to do so.

    Overall

    80/100

    Davis will be unfairly judged by many who look at his first few games in 2012, but taking a bigger look at his season shows a player on the rise.

    Davis was tied at No. 20 in last year's B/R 1000.

28. Chris Houston, Detroit Lions

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    Coverage

    58/70

    A small cornerback with very good speed, Chris Houston didn't get the national credit he deserved for his play in a bad Lions secondary in 2012. Quarterbacks and receivers picked on him underneath on crossing and option routes, but when asked to turn and run he was tough to beat one-on-one.

    Houston did a much better job in 2012 to change direction and find the ball. That allowed him to better time his breaks on routes and keep receivers from getting behind him in coverage. He didn’t have much help around him in 2012, but with his quickness and instincts, there’s room to grow.

    Run Defense

    12/15

    Houston did a good job reading the play and getting into position to either stop the ball or force the run back inside. He doesn’t give up the edge in run support.

    Tackle

    10/15

    Houston didn’t notch missed tackles on film, but he didn’t always give all-out effort to get to the ball, either. He’s a strong tackler when engaged, but he shied away from too many chances.

    Overall

    80/100

    Houston is a quality No. 1 cornerback in Detroit, and with better safety help behind him and more of a pass rush, he could shoot up the list in 2013.

    Houston was tied at No. 23 in last year's B/R 1000.

27. Prince Amukamara, New York Giants

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    Coverage

    60/70

    A smooth, fluid cover man with good speed to close the gap when coming up to play the pass, Prince Amukamara has prototypical NFL cornerback size and speed to be a No. 1 player on the outside. Staying healthy has been a problem for him thus far, but when he’s on the field, good things happen.

    When looking at burn rate—how many completions a cornerback allows—Amukamara grades out very well from a game-to-game look. He’s physical off the line and has the strength to press and redirect wide receivers early in their routes. Underneath routes and quick hits can trouble him in coverage, but he comes up well to play the pass and makes quick stops when the ball is delivered hot. Amukamara allowed just one big play on the year, and it was against Drew Brees. His coverage was tight and on time. Doing better with those short routes and underneath hits will push his ranking higher in 2012.

    Run Defense

    9/15

    You won’t see punishing hits on running backs from Amukamara, but he does set the edge well by getting through wide receiver’s blocks. He has to be more reliable when asked to break down and tackle in space.

    Tackle

    11/15

    With good size and length, Amukamara is able to make an impact as a tackler both in space and in traffic. He doesn’t always win on first impact, and runners can bounce off his pads, but all told, he’s sound.

    Overall

    80/100

    Amukamara was able to stay mostly healthy in 2012 and showed the production that made him a top prospect in the 2011 NFL draft. The sky is the limit for him as long as he can stay on the field.

    Amukamara was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

26. Bradley Fletcher, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Coverage

    58/70

    A solid option at cornerback early in the Rams’ season, Bradley Fletcher saw his snaps decrease down the stretch but showed enough promise to land a free-agent deal from the Eagles.

    He has the size and length to be a factor on the edge. He’s flexible enough to track the ball deep and turn to run with receivers, but isn’t the fastest player on the field in a downfield run. Opposing quarterbacks had success looking him off and getting him to bite in coverage, but he recovers well and was able to keep passers from exposing him. People will remember his penalties against the Patriots, but otherwise Fletcher showed signs he could be a very good cover man.

    Run Defense

    10/15

    Fletcher is strong enough to support the edge and keep runners from picking up yardage on the outside.

    Tackle

    12/15

    We didn’t note missed tackles from Fletcher often in his early season play. He showed a good ability to bring down ball carriers both in the run and passing game.

    Overall

    80/100

    It was a surprise when Fletcher was demoted, as his play had been solid. The Eagles could have a steal on their hands.

    Fletcher was tied at No. 48 in last year's B/R 1000.

25B. Greg Toler, Indianapolis Colts

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    Editor's note: Due to a production error, we initially left Greg Toler out of this slideshow. He's back in! Rather than rudely kick out a player who was in the original Top 100, we're sneaking Toler in as No. 25B, making Johnathan Joseph 25A and leaving the other rankings untouched.

    Coverage

    58/70

    A big, physical cornerback with the size and strength to redirect receivers off the line of scrimmage, Toler can use his hands well to keep receivers from getting cleanly into their route and has the quickness to turn and run with the ball downfield. He did struggle with injury while with the Cardinals in 2012, which limited his development and production totals.

    Toler is a promising young cornerback with the physical skills to be a good boundary player. The key for him is to play with better awareness and better discipline when on the edge. With a better understanding of routes and timing, he has the potential to move up the board.

    Run Defense

    10/15

    A tough run defender thanks to his length and size, Toler can come up and take on the run. He could work to get through traffic better, but his ability to get position underneath is solid.

    Tackle

    13/15

    Toler doesn't miss tackles. When watching him this season we saw a player who, when in position, was able to stick ball-carriers and bring them down easily.

    Overall

    81/100

    Toler is an up-and-comer at the position, and had he been healthy in 2012 there's a good chance his play would have pushed him further up the board here. What we saw was promising and effective.

    Toler was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

25. Johnathan Joseph, Houston Texans

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    Coverage

    62/70

    A top-five cornerback in 2011, Johnathan Joseph didn’t enjoy the same success in 2012. The Texans cornerback did show the same quick feet and loose hips, but in coverage he didn’t make a similar impact with interceptions, defensed passes or in blanketing receivers to limit targets.

    Quarterbacks often picked on Joseph in 2012, firing away at his side of the field. The Texans had a quality pass rush and good safeties—two side components to good coverage at times—but it was Joseph who didn’t always live up to expectations. On a positive note, he limited touchdowns and big plays. He keeps the ball in front of him and doesn’t make mistakes by gambling for jump balls. He actually allowed a lower percentage of passes to be completed in 2012 than he did in 2011.

    Joseph is a good cover cornerback, but on a large scale there were flaws.

    Run Defense

    10/15

    A solid edge defender, Joseph did a good job with read-and-react plays, but receivers ran him off without much fight.

    Tackle

    9/15

    The stat sheet would tell you that Joseph rarely missed tackles, but on film you see a player who doesn’t wrap up or make impact when slamming into ball-carriers. Joseph was a nonfactor more often than not.

    Overall

    81/100

    Joseph was under the microscope coming off a brilliant 2011 season, and in watching his play we found enough flaws to move him down overall. But make no mistake, Joseph is capable of being a top-tier player.

    Joseph was ranked No. 5 in last year's B/R 1000.

24. Brandon Browner, Seattle Seahawks

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    Coverage

    60/70

    A big, physical cornerback, Brandon Browner lacks the top-end speed that most scouts look for at the position. While he isn’t fleet of foot, he is strong at the line of scrimmage and in his routes. Wide receivers can’t rub him or box him out to get positioning across the middle. He does a good job playing the ball and using his size to attack. Faster receivers did have some success against Browner, especially when picking up yards before the catch, but no NFL receiver did well against him after the catch. 

    Run Defense

    11/15

    A big man, Browner will come up and play around the line like a strong safety. His angles to the ball and ability to get through traffic can stand to improve.

    Tackle

    10/15

    You’ll see Browner miss tackles, especially in space where his stiffness allows runners to get past him. When he makes contact, it’s solid.

    Overall

    81/100

    Browner is a rare prospect with a build that few NFL wide receivers can match. As he becomes more comfortable, his potential is high. 

    Browner was tied at No. 38 in last year's B/R 1000.

23. Ike Taylor, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Coverage

    59/70

    Ike Taylor’s 2012 season ended in Week 13, but in the 11 games before he showed the confidence and awareness that has made him a top cornerback for years. He is best in man coverage, where his quickness and vision allow him to get in front of the ball and make plays on the pass. He’ll fight through the route to contest passes and does a good job frustrating receivers.

    Taylor did not show the same penchant for interceptions in 2012 that he did in 2011, but he did a good job defending and challenging passes. He can be beaten by a good double move, and you’ll see veteran quarterbacks looking him off with shoulder fakes. He does tend to be susceptible to high yardage before the completion when quarterbacks come his way. Better positioning and change-of-direction skills would put him in closer quarters on those grabs.

    Run Defense

    11/15

    Taylor fits the Steelers’ tough mentality against the run. He’s a long-limbed corner who will come up to play the edge with good success.

    Tackle

    11/15

    During his 11 full games, Taylor was a consistent tackler with few outright misses. He did put himself in poor positions at times, but when he had a clear attempt he generally made the tackle.

    Overall

    81/100

    Taylor has long been an underrated presence on the edge, and when healthy he’s one of the better, more consistent players at the position.

    Taylor was tied at No. 11 in last year's B/R 1000.

22. Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo Bills

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    Coverage

    59/70

    Another big, physical cornerback that excels in press coverage, Stephon Gilmore is at his best when he gets his hands on the receiver at the line of scrimmage. He's quick enough to stick with Chiefs wideout Dexter McCluster on a hitch route to the outside and physical enough to fight with Dwayne Bowe on a fade a few plays later in the end zone.

    However, if a receiver has a free release he can beat Gilmore on posts, square-ins and drags. And Gilmore needs to be smarter in how he covers receivers.

    Run Defense

    8/15

    Gilmore doesn’t read run/pass well from his cornerback position. He is often a step/count late in reading plays.

    Tackle

    14/15

    Gilmore was one of the five best tackling cornerbacks in 2012. He will disengage blocks to come up and make a play in run defense. He hits more like a safety when taking on a ball-carrier.

    Overall

    81/100

    Once Gilmore gets a little more fine-tuned with his coverage and recognition skills he’ll be among the best in the league at his position. He possesses all the necessary athletic ability to stay with quicker receivers and has the physicality that will serve him well against bigger, stronger receivers moving forward.

    Gilmore was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

21. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Denver Broncos

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    Coverage

    62/70

    Rodgers-Cromartie is known for his athleticism, and that’s on full display when you watch him out in space on a receiver. The former Eagle has excellent recovery speed and the ability to turn and run with any receiver in the league. He possesses excellent fluidity in his hips at 6’2" and the short-area quickness to break on balls in his area and get his hand in there to break up a pass.

    He uses the sideline well when directing receivers down the field and shows an ability to go up and get a ball at its highest point in traffic. He shows a good awareness of his area on the field in relation to the receiver and quarterback. He can lose his footwork jamming at the line of scrimmage, and that can lead to receptions, although he has the speed and agility to recover.

    Run Defense

    9/15

    Doesn’t show much in the run game. If he’s not near the play or is locked up by an offensive player, he isn’t a factor in run defense. The phrase "business decision" comes to mind.

    Tackle

    11/15

    Rodgers-Cromartie is a better tackler than most would believe. He uses his length to get into the backfield and can attack the ball in space.

    Overall

    82/100

    He’s a boom-or-bust player. His coverage abilities combined with his elite athleticism will carry him through as a guy that will flash brilliance one game and the opposite the next. Always a factor, always a question.

    Rodgers-Cromartie was ranked No. 37 in last year's B/R 1000.

20. Adam Jones, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Coverage

    62/70

    Adam Jones has become a solid role player in the Cincinnati secondary. He’s quick and shows natural balance and flexibility in his backpedal and transitions. Jones didn’t record an interception in 2012, but he did keep quarterbacks from putting points on the board by allowing just two scores all season.

    Jones’ timing to jump routes wasn’t as defined this past season, but he played well in space and was able to secure tackles and make stops soon after the catch. Jones’ best trait was his ability to simply stick with receivers and keep quarterbacks from throwing his way.

    Run Defense

    10/15

    Jones isn’t a timid player, and that showed up on film. He will come off the edge to make plays on tosses and sweeps but can get bulldozed by moving blockers.

    Tackle

    10/15

    Jones didn’t notch big tackle numbers in 2012, but he showed an ability to wrap and tackle in space. He won’t let many runners get through his arms.

    Overall

    82/100

    The player formerly known as Pacman, Adam Jones has developed and matured into a quality cover corner for the Bengals.

    Jones was ranked No. 34 in last year's B/R 1000.

19. Leon Hall, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Coverage

    61/70

    Leon Hall is a prototypical NFL cornerback. He’s solidly built with long arms and quick feet. Hall shows very good instincts to attack the ball in flight and create turnovers. He has excellent timing and vision when the ball is thrown in his direction, and if he can’t get his hands on it to pick off the pass, he’s good at knocking the ball down.

    Hall will limit receptions at an above-average rate but did play stiff at times in 2012, which allowed receivers to make plays when coming back to the ball. Hall has good hands to secure interceptions and can make plays with the ball in his hands.

    Run Defense

    11/15

    Hall has always been a tough defender on the edge, and he’s willing to come up and play the run. He could do better to keep his outside arm free when engaged by blockers.

    Tackle

    10/15

    A solid tackler, Hall doesn’t miss many tackles but did struggle to throttle down in space and make ball-carriers nervous.

    Overall

    82/100

    Hall had a good season coming back from injury that ended his 2011 season, but it was clear early in the year that he wasn’t quite himself. By season’s end we saw Hall emerging again as a top-tier cornerback.

    Hall was tied at No. 23 in last year's B/R 1000.

18. Carlos Rogers, San Francisco 49ers

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    Coverage

    57/70

    Carlos Rogers was picked on often during the 2012 season as teams went away from Tarell Brown in coverage. That resulted in Rogers allowing a good number of catches on underneath routes. If you believe that cornerbacks can bend but not break, Rogers was your man. He did a great job limiting scores—just three allowed in 19 games—but was picked apart underneath as teams took advantage of his limited speed and soft alignment off the ball.

    Rogers doesn’t have smooth hips in transitions to turn and run, but he has quickness when asked to plant and come back to the ball. That allowed him to limit what receivers did after the catch and came in handy in tighter spaces like the red zone.

    Run Defense

    11/15

    Rogers has never been afraid of a little contact. With good length and size on the edge, he was able to make an impact as an outside defender in the physical 49ers scheme.

    Tackle

    14/15

    One of the better tackling cornerbacks in the NFL, Rogers rarely misses a tackle. In the 19 games the 49ers played this past season, he had just three misses.

    Overall

    82/100

    Rogers saw a regression in 2012, in part due to fewer interceptions. He’s a solid cornerback, but one that is on the decline.

    Rogers was ranked No. 6 in last year's B/R 1000.

17. Terence Newman, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Coverage

    55/70

    A veteran cover man, Terence Newman still plays with exceptional flexibility and agility on the edge. He’s smooth in his backpedal and does a good job turning his hips to run with receivers when pressed off the line. Newman can be physical at the snap and shows good hand placement to jam and knock receivers off their routes.

    Much better in underneath coverage, he can be exposed downfield. He doesn’t allow big plays after the catch, but quarterbacks can pick on him with intermediate routes. Newman’s lack of length and height don’t limit him, as he plays with great underneath positioning on jump balls. If he could limit receptions better in 2013, he could move up again.

    Run Defense

    13/15

    Newman is strong enough and stout enough to take on the run. He’ll beat blockers to the ball and does a good job using his hands to stay free on the edge and keep containment.

    Tackle

    14/15

    Newman was one of the more active tacklers we saw from the cornerback position, and he did so with consistency. On the year, he had fewer than five missed tackles.

    Overall

    82/100

    Newman made a big recovery in Cincinnati in 2012 and jumped way up the rankings after a poor 2011 in Dallas.

    Newman was tied at No. 54 in last year's B/R 1000.

16. Cortez Allen, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Coverage

    63/70

    An exciting young player, Cortez Allen didn’t make our 2011 rankings but shoots up the board in 2012. He has ideal length and quickness in and out of his breaks, and that shows up on film and in his production. He shows good timing and anticipation in coverage, which allows him to be on point and in position to limit receptions (just 58 percent of passes thrown his way) and keep receivers from turning upfield after the catch to make plays.

    Allen allowed just one touchdown on 77 attempts this season—a very good rate for anyone, excellent for a second-year cornerback. The more we scouted Allen, the more we fell in love with his potential.

    Run Defense

    10/15

    Allen has the mentality and frame to be a player against the run. He has to work better to get off blockers and come free to make plays.

    Tackle

    10/15

    Allen does a good job bringing down receivers after the catch but struggled with running backs coming at him full-throttle. He’ll need to get better at using his shoulder to put a hurt on ball-carriers.

    Overall

    83/100

    One of the more exciting young cornerbacks in the NFL, Allen has enough potential that the Steelers let Keenan Lewis walk to the Saints in free agency. 

    Allen was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

15. Sam Shields, Green Bay Packers

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    Coverage

    65/70

    A freak of an athlete at cornerback, Sam Shields has the speed and agility to wreak havoc on the offense in coverage. He changes direction so smoothly and is able to plant and go to attack the ball. He has the hands to be a threat to intercept passes and the speed to be a problem with the ball in his hands.

    He’ll jump routes and gamble at times, which can lead to points for the offense but also sets up the Green Bay defense with interceptions and batted-down passes. Shields can be physical at the line of scrimmage and has shown a good ability to press and recover quickly.

    Run Defense

    9/15

    Shields is a tough defender, but he can get knocked around and shielded from the ball on the inside. He’ll come up and stick runners at times, but he can be inconsistent.

    Tackle

    9/15

    While you don’t see many missed tackles, Shields doesn’t pop much when asked to come up and defend the run. He does well to bring down receivers in space.

    Overall

    83/100

    Had Shields been healthy in 2012, we might be talking about a top-10 player at the position. The sky is the limit in 2013.

    Sam Shields was tied at No. 71 in last year's B/R 1000.

14. Kareem Jackson, Houston Texans

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    Coverage

    60/70

    One of the NFL’s most improved cornerbacks in 2012, Kareem Jackson lived up to his draft standing with solid tackling and lockdown coverage. He looked more fluid in 2012 than he did in 2011, showing a better backpedal and better ability to flip his hips and run downfield. His technique finally started to match his athletic ability, which allowed him to better stick with wide receivers.

    Jackson’s ability to track receivers put him in better position to make a play on passes in the air. That led to four interceptions and 16 passes defensed on the year. Jackson would do better to keep the ball in front of him in zone coverage, but all things considered, the third-year cornerback took off in 2012.

    Run Defense

    10/15

    Before the season I thought Jackson might be a better safety, which speaks to his ability to play physical in the run game. Plenty of room to improve here, but he’ll come up and put his pads on runners.

    Tackle

    13/15

    A tough tackler, Jackson went through a huge stretch of the season (15 weeks) without missing a single tackle.

    Overall

    83/100

    Jackson made major improvements in Year 3, showing the Texans that he is a legitimate No. 2 cornerback for the future.

    Jackson was tied at No. 48 in last year's B/R 1000.

13. Brandon Flowers, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Coverage

    63/70

    Brandon Flowers is another one of the top-ranked cornerbacks who's on the smaller side. At 5’9" and just over 180 lbs, Flowers uses every bit of that size to disrupt the timing and routes of opposing receivers.

    He does a good job of getting his hands on receivers at the line of scrimmage and not giving a free release. He possesses elite short-area quickness and breaks on the ball very well. He can stay on the hip of receivers on the outside and does a good job on short to intermediate throws. He doesn’t possess elite downfield speed and can get beat deep on occasion. Has shown to be susceptible to the deep post from faster receivers.

    Run Defense

    11/15

    Flowers does a good job in run defense helping set the outside. He’s not overly physical with defenders but will take down a ball-carrier in the open field. Won’t shed any blocks with his smaller frame but wraps up well and doesn’t miss many tackles. 

    Tackle

    10/15

    Shows good form in coming up from his cornerback position on the outside to meet the offensive player. Is at his best in tackling when coming downhill in the open field.

    Overall

    84/100

    Flowers is the definition of a "solid" cornerback. He’s amassed just 16 interceptions over his five-year career thus far, and his tendency to give up big plays is probably keeping him from being a household name anywhere outside of Kansas City. He deserves the six-year, $49 million deal he signed with Kansas City back in 2011, but he needs more big plays to get to that next tier of cornerbacks.

    Flowers was ranked No. 7 in last year's B/R 1000.

12. Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals

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    Coverage

    64/70

    Few players in the NFL can recover in coverage like Patrick Peterson, which can be a good and bad thing. He will take risks that most cornerbacks wouldn’t because he knows he’s fast enough to recover, but a well-timed and well-placed pass will still expose Peterson’s positioning at times.

    As many brilliant plays as Peterson makes in coverage, he gives up as many touchdowns and big plays. He did show improvement in awareness and ball skills in 2012, but from an overall view of his play he allowed too many catches, way too many touchdowns and almost 14 yards per catch. Those three areas all have to come down for Peterson to actually become as good as many people assume he is.

    Run Defense

    11/15

    A big player who can come up and impact the run game, Peterson can stand to clean up his angles to the ball-carrier, but once there he can be a factor.

    Tackle

    10/15

    Missed tackles in space hurt Peterson, but he showed big improvement here over his 2011 film. He did a better job playing with a low pad level and running through ball-carriers.

    Overall

    85/100

    Peterson remains somewhat overrated by fans due to his athletic ability and high draft position, but in 2012 he backed up his reputation and started to play like a stud cornerback. Now he has to follow that up with an even better 2013.

    Peterson was tied at No. 54 in last year's B/R 1000.

11. Antonio Cromartie, New York Jets

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    Coverage

    65/70

    Antonio Cromartie’s raw athletic ability makes him standout from others, as does his length and height to match up with bigger, stronger receivers. He is smooth in his backpedal and has the speed to turn and run with receivers. He’s a very fluid athlete overall and that shows up on film.

    In coverage, he did a great job knocking away passes and keeping receivers from bringing in the ball. He was abused a bit underneath with soft zone coverage, though. In the red zone he had trouble with back-shoulder throws and must play with better position there.

    Run Defense

    10/15

    When Cromartie comes up to support the edge, he can make an impact. Fans perhaps would be surprised to see how well he played against the run in 2012.

    Tackle

    11/15

    Cromartie doesn’t make a ton of tackles, but in 2012 he did a better job closing on the ball and limiting missed tackles. While his effort can be questioned, his technique is better than advertised.

    Overall

    86/100

    One of the biggest improvers during the 2012 season, Cromartie answered the call when Darrelle Revis went down and played his best season yet.

    Cromartie was ranked No. 51 in last year's B/R 1000.

10. Lardarius Webb, Baltimore Ravens

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    Coverage

    65/70

    It’s no secret that Lardarius Webb is one of my favorite players in the NFL. Why? Because he’s a menace in coverage and a technician on the edge. Before injury in 2012, Webb was playing excellent football. Despite being a smaller cornerback, Webb is quick and active on the outside. He’s able to time his breaks and use his quickness to get into position to make a play on the ball.

    In just six games, he had an interception and three passes defensed—all the more impressive when you consider how little he’s targeted. Webb is great at finding the ball both out of his turns and when asked to track the ball deep. He won’t give up deep receptions in coverage. Had he been healthy to finish the season, Webb was on his way to a Pro Bowl season.

    Run Defense

    13/15

    Webb, at 180 lbs, isn’t a big, strong cornerback, but he does a very good job taking up space and keeping the run inside. He’ll come up to pop backs if they get through the front seven.

    Tackle

    9/15

    Missed tackles were an issue for Webb this year as he struggled to make enough initial contact to put ball-carriers down. He has to wrap up better.

    Overall

    87/100

    An injury cut short a great season from Webb, but make no mistake, he’s legitimately one of the best in the league.

    Webb was ranked No. 8 in last year's B/R 1000.

9. Tim Jennings, Chicago Bears

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    Coverage

    63/70

    The smallest of our top-ranked cornerbacks, Tim Jennings’ play isn’t limited by his size. Jennings is quick in space and makes fluid, clean transitions with receivers. He’s able to stick with receivers off the line and has the speed to turn and run up the field if needed.

    Jump balls can be a problem for Jennings, naturally, but he shows good technique to jar the ball loose as the receiver comes down. However, he will struggle with physical wide receivers off the line. The Panthers' Steve Smith beat him up because he’s so physical and quick off the line. If there’s a weakness to his game, that’s it.

    Run Defense

    12/15

    Jennings' lack of size can be a liability on the edge in run defense. He’s aggressive and physical and a strong tackler, but he can get pushed out by good blocking receivers.

    Tackle

    12/15

    You will see a few missed tackles from Jennings, as he can be limited by a shorter reach and struggle to get free from blockers, but he’s a consistent presence on the edge.

    Overall

    87/100

    Jennings and Charles Tillman combined to be one of the NFL’s best cornerback duos in 2012—in large part due to Jennings’ ability in man and zone coverage.

    Jennings was tied at No. 38 in last year's B/R 1000.

8. Joe Haden, Cleveland Browns

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    Coverage

    64/70

    Joe Haden has the potential to be one of the best two or three cornerbacks in the NFL, but he has to find better consistency in coverage. Having three interceptions on the year didn’t hurt or help his ranking, but allowing six touchdowns in coverage did.

    Haden has the quickness to turn and run, but this year he struggled to change direction in the red zone and keep up on breaking routes. He’s aware and agile, which makes him tough to beat in space, but NFL wide receivers had success in 2012 in picking up yards before and after the catch. He played softer than we had seen before, not showing his usual strength in his ability to redirect receivers and stick in their pockets. He’s still very good, but 2012 wasn’t his best season.

    Run Defense

    11/15

    Haden is a physical player, which helps him in the run game. He will get run off by receivers at times and struggle to come back to the ball, but he has the ability to turn in the run.

    Tackle

    12/15

    Haden will miss some tackles in traffic but has the strength to stop runners in space.

    Overall

    87/100

    A four-game suspension hurt Haden’s 2012 season, but there is no doubting he’s a potential top-five player at the position.

    Haden was ranked No. 3 in last year's B/R 1000.

7. Champ Bailey, Denver Broncos

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    Coverage

    60/70

    Champ Bailey is a future Hall of Fame candidate, and in 2012 he was once again a top-tier cornerback. He is a fluid athlete with the quickness to turn and run with wide receivers off the line. While the league's best will beat him over the top, he’s instinctive and athletic enough to keep pace with most NFL talent.

    Bailey allowed just one touchdown in the regular season due to his ability to limit targets and prevent big plays in space. In the red zone, he effectively reads the quarterback and reacts in zone coverage. He plays the ball well when breaking on routes from a soft zone. He still has the ability to create and force turnovers.

    Run Defense

    13/15

    Bailey plays the run better than you might expect. He is one of the game’s best at forcing runners back inside to tacklers and will come up to take away tosses and sweeps.

    Tackle

    14/15

    You won’t see many missed tackles when scouting Bailey. He’s an active, aggressive tackler with wrap-up technique and sure hands.

    Overall

    87/100

    Bailey has lost a step, but his 2012 film showed that he’s still a top-level NFL cornerback. There’s still quality play left in his game.

    Bailey was tied at No. 11 in last year's B/R 1000.

6. Antoine Winfield, Free Agent

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    Coverage

    60/70

    A tough, physical cornerback who locks up well in man coverage, Antoine Winfield bucks the trend of the bigger, taller player in today’s NFL. He doesn’t have the length or size to be a physical presence on the edge, but he plays tough and aggressive at the line of scrimmage.

    Winfield, who failed to reach a deal with his 2012 team, the Vikings, this offseason, can play in press coverage and does a great job impacting wide receivers off the line. He’s quick enough to adjust in space and can run with players in their route tree. Bigger receivers will be able to go over the top on him, but he’s very aware and does a good job getting inside position on jump balls and uses his hands well to knock the ball out of a receiver’s hands when they’re coming back down to the ground. Winfield wins with his physical style of play.

    Run Defense

    15/15

    A nasty run defender, Winfield attacks the ball and will fight through traffic to get to the runner. He’s slippery in space and plays with a nonstop motor when asked to come up and attack the edge.

    Tackle

    13/15

    Winfield was close to being a top-rated tackler, but we noticed too many missed tackles to be a perfect 15. His smaller frame and limited reach made him a less-than-perfect tackler.

    Overall

    88/100

    After a full 17 games of viewing, it was apparent that Winfield was one of the best. He had just one bad game in all of 2012; unfortunately, it was against Green Bay in the playoffs.

    Winfield was tied at No. 43 in last year's B/R 1000.

5. Tarell Brown, San Francisco 49ers

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    Coverage

    63/70

    Some will argue that a great pass rush helped Tarell Brown, and it definitely does make his job easier, but his ability to stick in man coverage and run with wide receivers stood out this past season. Brown doesn’t pull down a lot of interceptions—he had just two in the regular season and one in the playoffs—but he is able to limit receptions and yardage.

    Brown will give up catches, but they will be short-yardage catches thrown underneath while he plays off the line of scrimmage in coverage. He closes on the ball well but doesn’t have the length to jump routes and rack up interceptions. What he does well is plant and go to play the pass in front of him. He can get a little lost on deep routes, but that area improved considerably in 2012.

    Run Defense

    10/15

    Brown’s exceptional ability to make tackles in space keeps his run defense score high, but when engaged by blockers—be it a wide receiver or fullback—Brown struggled to come free and make a play on the ball. He was inconsistent here throughout the year.

    Tackle

    15/15

    A tough tackler on the edge, Brown does a good job pulling down runners whether they’re coming right at him or if he’s trailing in pursuit. One of the best tacklers in the NFL during the 2012 season, Brown didn’t miss one tackle in the 19 games we saw on the year.

    Overall

    88/100

    Brown was targeted often in 2012, but he did a good job limiting receptions while establishing himself as an elite tackler.

    Brown was tied at No. 28 in last year's B/R 1000.

4. Casey Hayward, Green Bay Packers

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    Coverage

    67/70

    A natural zone-coverage cornerback, Casey Hayward excels on underneath coverage where he can read the quarterback and break on the ball. Few NFL cornerbacks have the awareness that he showed in his first season, and that led to six interceptions and 21 passes defensed on the 2012 season.

    When lined up on the outside, Hayward was targeted more but equally successful at limiting receptions, so he’s not just a zone-coverage nickelback. Hayward has the length and quickness to play on the outside and take away top receivers and was one of the game’s best in the slot. Watching him in Week 11 against Detroit, we saw a future All-Pro cornerback (seven targets, one catch for six yards). He earned my Defensive Rookie of the Year vote for his all-around excellence in coverage and ability to create turnovers.

    Run Defense

    10/15

    Hayward lined up often on the inside and underneath, in Robber coverage, which put him in position to impact the run off the tackle and to the sideline. Hayward does a good job coming up to play the run, but he could be more consistent in getting through traffic.

    Tackle

    11/15

    A solid open-field tackler, Hayward will attack the legs of ball-carriers and does a good job getting his man. Hayward won’t miss tackles in the open field and is strong enough to hit and maintain contact.

    Overall

    88/100

    Rookies aren’t supposed to play this well, but Hayward landed in the ideal spot for his talents as a zone cover man and instinctive ball hawk.

    Hayward was not ranked in last year's B/R 1000.

3. Chris Harris Jr., Denver Broncos

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    Coverage

    64/70

    Chris Harris had a good 2011 season, but in 2012 he took the next step. He has the quickness to keep pace with most NFL wide receivers, showing the feet and hips to change direction and move fluidly through routes. He’s talented enough in man coverage to stick in the hip pocket of a wide receiver and take away passes with physical coverage.

    Harris will get targeted often (see Week 16 vs. Cleveland), but he limits receptions well and does a good job keeping receivers from picking up yards after the catch. He limits yardage and big plays—just two touchdowns on the year—which is what you want from any cornerback.

    Harris doesn’t make a ton of interceptions or break on the ball particularly well, but he also doesn’t gamble by jumping routes and guessing on the play. He’s disciplined to sit and make the tackle if a catch is made. That means he won’t be leading the league in interceptions, but he also won’t lead the league in touchdowns allowed. Watching him on film, you see a versatile cornerback who can play inside or out.

    Run Defense

    11/15

    Harris does a good job holding the edge and forcing runners back inside. He’s a good tackler in space, but doesn’t have the strength to always beat blockers to the ball. Harris is willing and aggressive, but if blocked he can be held off.

    Tackle

    14/15

    Harris jumps off the screen in tackling situations. He’s not the biggest cornerback, but he plays physical and will come up to stick ball-carriers. He’s active, totaling high numbers of tackles, and backs that up on film with solid technique and aggressiveness.

    Overall

    89/100

    One of the best-kept secrets in the NFL, Harris is on the verge of breaking out on a national scope. 

    Harris was tied at No. 43 in last  year's B/R 1000.

2. Charles Tillman, Chicago Bears

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    Coverage

    67/70

    One of the more well-rounded cover corners during the 2012 season, Charles Tillman made a major impact in the Chicago secondary with near-flawless coverage. He had just three interceptions on the year but did a great job limiting targets (passes thrown his way) and receptions.

    When a receiver did catch the ball, Tillman was there to make a quick tackle. His ability to transition through routes is exceptional, as he shows quick feet and loose hips in space. He has the length and height to take away jump balls and has the awareness to track deep balls over his shoulder. A great stat from 2012: The longest pass Tillman allowed was 28 yards.

    Run Defense

    11/15

    Tillman comes up to play the run with aggressiveness, showing the ability to chase runners and even set the edge to some extent. This isn’t his strength, but he does a good job forcing the run back to the inside and will make plays on the ball if called upon.

    Tackle

    13/15

    Tillman is an active tackler, showing up often in run support and when making plays after the catch. He doesn’t miss tackles when attacking the ball and shows a consistent impact with ball-carriers.

    Overall

    91/100

    The man they call “Peanut” had a big season in 2012. Tillman impacts the game with tackles, coverage, forced fumbles and interceptions.

    Tillman was ranked No. 14 in last year's B/R 1000 .

1. Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks

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    Coverage

    70/70

    Richard Sherman was amazing in 2012, limiting completions and creating turnovers with eight interceptions and 24 passes defensed. He plays with great range at 6’3” and has the length to take away deep routes.

    Sherman, unlike most tall cornerbacks, is quick enough to keep up on underneath routes and can be effective no matter the route. His read-and-react ability is as good as his trash-talking skills. His height is a natural advantage over most wide receivers, as he’s able to take away jump balls and can contest back-shoulder throws with his long arms.

    Few NFL cornerbacks have the quickness to run with wide receivers and the size to play hip to hip, but Sherman has both. He’s a rare find.

    Run Defense

    12/15

    A solid edge defender with good range and quickness to take away the corner, Sherman will come up and play the run well, flying up to make a tackle and can be aggressive closing on the ball. 

    Tackle

    13/15

    Sherman isn’t a natural tackler, but he’s effective in space at bringing down ball-carriers. He doesn’t pack much power in each hit, but he is efficient.

    Overall

    95/100

    Sherman had one of the best seasons in recent memory for a cornerback, showing that physical, aggressive play at the line of scrimmage is back in the NFL.

    Richard Sherman was ranked no. 23 in last year's B/R 1,000.