The LA Rams might have the NFL’s best cornerback duo in Jalen Ramsey and restricted free agent Darious Williams, who is probable to return. That’s the great news for defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, a former secondary specialist with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Football Team.
The challenge for Morris will come in the form of whatever cornerbacks end up filling out the depth chart after Ramsey and Williams. And should the Rams decide not to give Williams the first round tender that likely holds off any team from attempting to poach him, it’s possible that their search will extend beyond just looking for a number three corner to replace free agent Troy Hill.
Given that Hill played more snaps than Williams in the regular season (972 to 824) and the playoffs (134 to 89), what even is a “number three corner” anyway?
Troy Hill was one of the most frequently involved players on LA’s defense in 2020 but in our preview of his free agency, fans voted to let him walk. Placing a tender on Williams to retain him is a “no-brainer” but replacing Hill may take more than crossing your fingers that 2019 third rounder David Long (116 defensive snaps in 16 games last year) has only been buried on the depth chart because of solid dirt.
Sometimes Hill played in the slot. Sometimes he didn’t. Some of these players play in the slot. Some of them don’t. But the Rams pulled Darious Williams from games frequently in 2020 so you would think that they’re going to want to find a cornerback who is capable of starting opposite of Ramsey, if it’s not going to be Hill.
Here are 26 names to start considering.
Unrestricted Free Agent CB, Snap percentage in 2020 (Height, Weight)
Terrance Mitchell, Browns, 99.4% (5’11, 191)
Mitchell’s first season as a full-time starter after seven years in the league. It did not appear to be a strong campaign however, more of a necessity.
Patrick Peterson, Cardinals, 98.8% (6’1, 203)
Ronald Darby, Washington, 95.8% (5’11, 193)
Darby started all 16 games for Washington and had one of his strongest seasons to date playing for Jack Del Rio. Darby is still only 27.
Troy Hill, Rams, 94.9% (5’11, 183)
Michael Davis, Chargers, 92.4% (6’2, 196)
I’m not sure what the market will think of Davis. It seems a lot of people view him as a sleeper, which would be a paradox in the free agent market.
Vernon Hargreaves, Texans, 88.6% (5’10, 204)
Xavier Rhodes, Colts, 87.4% (6’1, 218)
Rhodes appeared to get back on his feet a little bit last season.
William Jackson, Bengals, 83.7% (6’, 196)
PFF ranked Jackson and Richard Sherman as the top two free agent cornerbacks this year.
Rasul Douglas, Panthers, 77.5% (6’2, 209)
Jason Verrett, 49ers, 77.4% (5’10, 188)
Verrett played in more than four games for the first time since 2015 and he was one of the best corners in the NFC West, at least. The 49ers are in danger of losing both of their starting cornerbacks and if a division rival takes either, that could be a serious blow.
Jourdan Lewis, Cowboys, 73.8% (5’10, 195)
Shaquill Griffin, Seahawks, 73.8% (6’, 198)
Seven of these 26 names play in the NFC West.
Dre Kirkpatrick, Cardinals, 67.7% (6’2, 190)
Nevin Lawson, Raiders, 67.6% (5’9, 190)
Jason McCourty, Patriots, 65.4% (5’11, 195)
Desmond King, Titans, 65.2% (5’10, 200)
There’s debate about how good King is today, but he was once viewed as an elite slot defender. It’s unforeseeable if a team will decide to risk it and pay him like he can be an elite slot defender again or not.
Kevin King, Packers, 64.6% (6’3, 200)
Bashaud Breeland, Chiefs, 64.1% (5’11, 195)
Mackensie Alexander, Bengals, 60.6% (5’10, 192)
These players played in under 60% of the snaps last season but were on PFF’s top-15 free agent cornerbacks list.
Nickell Robey-Coleman, Eagles, 55.6% (5’8, 180)
It would be surprising if the Rams were looking for a reunion here. Ruby-Tuesday didn’t seem to have a strong season with the Eagles anyway.
Cam Sutton, Steelers, 53.2% (5’11, 188)
Mike Hilton, Steelers, 45% (5’9, 184)
Brian Poole, Jets, 42.3% (5’9, 213)
Chidobe Awuzie, Cowboys, 41% (6’, 202)
Quinton Dunbar, Seahawks, 34.5% (6’2, 202)
Richard Sherman, 49ers, 32% (6’3, 195)
What should Rams do with their third cornerback spot?
This poll is closed
Re-sign Troy Hill
Other free agent (add in comments)
Nothing. Let a competition play out in camp