The NFC West has become a safe haven for cornerbacks who had not only fallen out of favor with their last teams, but three of the four teams have consistently been searching every nook, cranny, and Shanny for any starting duo that won’t be eaten alive by Robert Woods, Deebo Samuel, DeAndre Hopkins, or DK Metcalf.
The only exception of the division being the LA Rams, the reigning champions of pass defense.
The San Francisco 49ers dumped D.J. Reed, so the Seattle Seahawks picked him up and almost immediately made him a starter. Then the 49ers dumped Ahkello Witherspoon, and the Seahawks hit the ‘repeat’ button. Competing with and against those two will be Pierre Desir, a corner who has played for three teams in the last two years, and Damarious Randall, a former first round pick who Seattle is attempting to move back to the position after a failed two-year trial at safety with the Cleveland Browns.
It’s not as though the Niners can brag, however.
San Francisco’s top corner is Jason Verrett, whose 13 games in 2020 is being hailed as the healthiest season of all-time, only because Verrett hadn’t played in more than four games since 2015. Deserving of a comeback award? Yes. Healthy? He wasn’t.
And while the Arizona Cardinals are getting attention for maybe adding J.J. Watt, Rodney Hudson, and A.J. Green when those veterans are well past their prime, perhaps Kliff Kingsbury can thank those players for overshadowing the fact that 31-year-old castoff Malcolm Butler is now their number one cornerback. The former Patriots Super Bowl hero was released by the Tennessee Titans in March and according to Pro-Football-Reference has allowed 15 touchdowns in the last three seasons alone.
Butler headlines a group that includes 32-year-old Robert Alford, who I thought had already played for Arizona — but in fact he has not played for anyone since 2018 — and Darqueze Dennard, a former first round pick who has typically only ever been asked to start out of necessity.
Headed into 2021, the Cardinals have a case for employing the most unreliable cornerbacks unit in the NFL, but at least the Seahawks and 49ers aren’t far behind.
Jalen Ramsey, Darious Williams, Terrell Burgess^
Depth: David Long, Robert Rochell*
Ahkello Witherspoon, D.J. Reed, Pierre Desir
Depth: Tre Flowers, Tre Brown*, Damarious Randall
San Francisco 49ers
Jason Verrett, Emmanuel Moseley, K’Waun Williams
Depth: Ambry Thomas*, Dontae Johnson, Deommodore Lenoir*
Malcolm Butler, Byron Murphy, Robert Alford
Depth: Darqueze Dennard, Marco Wilson*, Tay Gowan*
^The only information I’ve read so far about the cornerbacks competition is that Terrell Burgess is in the early lead over David Long. Subject to change based on training camp and preseason.
Go on, show ‘em....Best cornerbacks group in the NFC West?
This poll is closed