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AFC North Ranked: Top Cornerbacks in the AFC North
In a pass-happy league, having good cornerbacks is essential to success. Some of the best corners in football reside in the AFC North, one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL.
With Week 1 less than a month away, we’re taking a look at the top corners in the division.
1. Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore Ravens
Humphrey has been in the league for four seasons since being selected 16th overall out of Alabama in 2017. But ever since he stepped onto the field, he has been one of the top corners in all of football.
According to Pro Football Focus, Humphrey ranks in at least the 87th percentile in coverage grades for both in the slot and out wide, a testament to his versatility. While he has also registered an interception in every season, including a career-high three in 2019, Humphrey led all of football with eight forced fumbles in 2020.
With a couple of Pro Bowls and a First-team All-Pro recognition, Humphrey has already proven himself to be one of the league’s top cornerbacks. He’s the top guy in the AFC North.
2. Denzel Ward, Cleveland Browns
It was a surprise to many when the Browns selected Ward fourth overall in the 2018 draft. But over the last three seasons, the pick has shown to be worth it, with Ward now considered a top-10 corner in the NFL.
At just 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, Ward is a quick, explosive corner who is able to keep up with the game’s fastest receivers. His work in coverage is elite, where just 51.4 percent of passes thrown his way have been completed in his three seasons. He also sits in the 96th percentile of corners in single coverage, according to PFF.
Ward has still managed to be overlooked as a star corner, perhaps since he has not played more than 13 games in any season so far. But at 24 years old, we’re not far away from seeing the former Buckeye get serious recognition from around the league.
3. Marcus Peters, Baltimore Ravens
Peters’ career trajectory has been a little different than the first two players on this list, as the seventh-year vet is playing for his third team. However, the 28-year-old Peters is one of the most decorated corners in football and still playing at a high level.
The former first-round pick has lots of awards already, including two first-team and two second-team All-Pro honors. But the stats back it up, as no corner in football has anything close to the 31 interceptions Peter has racked up since entering the league in 2015. His ultra-aggressive style of going for big plays has also resulted in six career pick-6s.
Peters plays a far different style than the lockdown corners Humphrey and Ward. But you can’t argue with the results, as no one at the position creates more turnovers than Peters.
4. Joe Haden, Pittsburgh Steelers
Through 11 seasons, Haden has been one of the pillars of his position. And while he might not be as dominant as he was during his younger days in Cleveland, the 32-year old is still one of the better corners out there.
Haden has always had a knack for getting the football, earning nine interceptions in the past three seasons. That number should be even higher, as the former Florida Gator leads the NFL with nine dropped interceptions in that same span. He is also consistent in coverage and has just two missed games ever since he turned 30.
Teammate and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick tends to outshine Haden in the secondary in Pittsburgh, but the veteran is still a very good cornerback. As you can see, few are better than him within the division he’s played in for his whole career.
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