Champ Bailey, Ty Law, Ed Reed, Aeneas Williams.
Cornerbacks: Champ Bailey (2019), Ty Law (2019), Ed Reed (2019), Aeneas Williams (2014), Charles Woodson (2021).
Note that in 2019, all Defensive Backs were grouped together, and were Champ Bailey, Brian Dawkins, Ty Law, Ed Reed and Aeneas Williams. Cornerbacks and Safeties were split in 2020, but kept at four in both categories to keep everything modern. With the addition of Woodson, we now have five modern Corners, resulting in significant changes. Games increased by nearly 8, and AV/G had a minor change. Pro Bowls only inched up by .1, and First Team All-Pros dropped by the same amount. Interceptions climbed over 4, and Tackles shot up by 117.
2021 Pre-Season Rank #18, 2020 Pre-Season Rank #21.
After going to eight straight Pro Bowls to begin his career, Peterson slipped badly, first suffering a six-game suspension in 2019, and upon his return, he wasn’t the same player. He played the full 2020 season, and while he was better, he wasn’t Pro Bowl worthy. Peterson landed in Minnesota last year, but was just average, and as he is in his 30s, it is unlikely that he will have a return-to-greatness campaign. If that is the case, has he done enough to enter Canton? If not, one more Pro Bowl should do it.
2021 Pre-Season Rank #20, 2020 Pre-Season Rank #22.
In terms of name recognition, Richard Sherman is one of the most known defensive players of the past decade. Earning an All-Decade spot, Sherman had a renaissance year in 2019, earning him a fifth Pro Bowl, but in the two years after, he had a well-documented off-field issue, and was not great in his last year in San Francisco (2020) and lone season in Tampa Bay. Still, this was a game-changing Defensive Back, who is well over the AV/G, and is only on this list as he openly said that he is not officially retired, though we do not expect him to return.
2022 Pre-Season Rank #54, 2021 Pre-Season Rank #73.
The Rams believed that Jalen Ramsey is the best Cornerback in the NFL, and they went all in to get him during the 2019 season when he was disgruntled in Jacksonville. Ramsey was the top CB in 2020, adding a second First Team All-Pro, a fourth Pro Bowl, and posting a career-high in Approximate Value (15). Currently, over the AV/G, Ramsey added another Pro Bowl, First Team All-Pro, and more importantly a Super Bowl in 2021. This is a special player in his prime, and with more years like the last two, it will be very hard to exclude him.
2021 Pre-Season Rank #55, 2020 Pre-Season Rank #54.
It is usually easy to rank former Defensive Players of the Year, but as we are ten years deep into the career of Stephon Gilmore, and it looks like we now know what we have. After a decent run in Buffalo, Gilmore had an out-of-nowhere DPOY year in 2019 (though it did follow a really good 2018), though he has not matched that year since. A Panther last year, and a Colt this year, Gilmore is on a four-year run of Pro Bowls, though last year's selection is a little curious. Let's see what he does this year in Indianapolis.
2021 Pre-Season Rank #56, 2020 Pre-Season Rank #57.
Don’t let Peters being on his third team in six years fool you. Peters is an excellent Cornerback who is coming off his second First Team All-Pro and third Pro Bowl two seasons ago, and he is a three-time leader in Interception Return Yards. He is just over the AV/G, but he suffered a major setback with a torn ACL that cost him the entire 2021 Season, many spots on this list, and a potential Hall of Fame. We are pulling for him this season to rebound.
2021 Pre-Season Rank #114
Howard had one of the biggest jumps on this list, and while he is temperamental, he is the top defensive star on a rising Dolphins team. A two-time leader in Interceptions and a three-time Pro Bowl Selection, if Howard keeps his composure and remains a star, his HOF chances could tip over the other side of the fence in three years.
2021 Pre-Season Rank: 2015, 2020 Pre-Season Rank #112.
A part of Denver’s Super Bowl 50 win, Harris is in his second year with the Chargers after playing nine years in Colorado. Harris is past 30, and is last year in Denver was average at best, and last year with the Chargers was mediocre. He is as ofthis writing a Free Agent, and his career ight be over.
2021 Pre-Season Rank: #125, 2020 Pre-Season Rank #138.
Lattimore does his job well and he was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2017. Having said that, Lattimore has never had a year where his Approximate Value of nine, nor has he had a First Team All-Pro, despite four Pro Bowls. He enters 2022 but at some time he has to show another level if he wants to make a serious Canton run.
2021 Pre-Season Rank #108, 2020 Pre-Season Rank #129.
A five-year veteran, White was electric in 2019 and 2020, but while Buffalo went to the next level last year, White did not, as injuries compiled and he is coming off his worst season in the NFL. White should be able to bounce back in 2022 and will need to regain lost momentum.
2021: Pre-Season Rank #126, 2020 Pre-Season Rank #148.
Haden went to his third Pro Bowl three years ago but he begins 2022 looking for employment. If Haden's career is over, he will finish with 29 Interceptions, all in the AFC North.
2021 Pre-Season Rank #125, 2020 Pre-Season Rank #125.
Slay’s last three seasons in Detroit have been phenomenal, but it came after three average years, and a rookie year where he only played started four Games. Slay joined the Philadelphia Eagles two years ago hoping to build on that, but that was not the case for the Cornerback. If he does not turn it around soon, there is no reason to discuss him for the Hall.
2021 Pre-Season Rank #132, Last Year’s Rank #118.
Fuller led the NFL in Interceptions with seven in 2018, where he was a Pro Bowl and First Team All-Pro, but that seems like a lot longer ago than it was. Fuller is now with Baltimore after a sub-average year in Denver, and he has plummeted on this list over the last two years.
Last Year’s Rank #146.
Humphrey has gone to the Pro Bowl twice and he is on a team that are Super Bow contenders. He slumped in 2021 and has to return to 2019 form for a serious Hall of Fame push.