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Although a cornerback's job is to slow down receivers—and more receivers are being put on the field than ever— its positional value isn't as high as it once was.
Simply put, due to innovative spread sets, receivers are going to get open. Yes, having a Darrelle Revis or Richard Sherman exponentially helps a defense, but with motions, trip formations and rub routes, a fine cornerback can be relatively negated throughout the course of a game.
A cornerback is at the mercy of the wide receiver he's covering, someone who's dependent on the signal-caller throwing the football. Therefore, a cornerback—over the long haul—doesn't have as much impact on a game as positions like quarterback, wide receiver or pass-rusher.
Also, today's rules make it so difficult for a cornerback to make plays on a receiver or the ball.
Yes, finding a good one is a luxury, but the positional value isn't there at the top of a draft.
A play-making safety can make a good defense great. From intercepting passes to jarring a deep ball loose to sneaking into the "box" on a running play, safeties undoubtedly have value.
However, a safety can essentially be phased out of a game by the opposition's offensive game plan.
Sure, if an offense has to tailor its attack to keep the ball away from Ed Reed, there's a value in that, but over the course of a safety's career, his game-by-game impact is relatively minimal, and teams can get by without an elite player at the position.
A center is the quarterback of the offensive line, usually a cerebral technician with a nice blend of power and agility to get to the second level and enough anchoring strength to deal with mammoth defensive tackles at the point of attack.
He must create a rapport with his signal-caller and the rest of the offensive line to be prepared for stunts and exotic blitzes.
But a center isn't dealing with the most threatening pass-rushers on each play, and often gets help from neighboring guards in pass protection and when an "A" gap run is called.
Tight ends are morphing into huge, athletic and ultra-versatile game-changers. Every team uses them differently and some more than others, but a mismatch-creating tight end is becoming a trendy aspect of new age, spread offenses.
Also, hard-nosed blockers will never lose their worth, although running is sparser than ever.
Still, their positional value in the draft has never been high, and it shouldn't be.
They're more of a novelty than anything else.