Ranking the top 5 cornerbacks entering the 2021 NFL season

Xavien Howard, Dolphins, NFL
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL season is starting to quickly approach, and fans across the world are as excited as ever for the 2021-22 NFL season to kick off. The 2021 season is slated to be one of the best ever as every team has some great talent in every position on the field.

As we wait for training camp to heat up and preseason battles to take place, we figured now would be a good time to drop who the best cornerbacks in the league are. There are a ton of talented cornerbacks and some young players who are rising up as stars.

Let’s take a look at our top five rankings for the best cornerbacks in the NFL as we gear up for the start of the 2021 NFL season.

5. Jaire Alexander, Green Bay Packers

Jaire Alexander is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, and he proved that with his shutdown defense in 2020. He is the number one cornerback for the Packers, and thus far he’s been exceeding the expectations of being the number 18 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Alexander, 24, is a very physical cornerback who doesn’t snag a lot of interceptions, but does make a lot of athletic plays. In 2020, he accumulated 51 total tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, 13 passes defended, one interception, and allowed just a 51.3 completion percentage on throws his way. Right now, he is without a doubt the No. 5 best cornerback in the NFL and that ranking could improve this year.

4. Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints

Marshon Lattimore has been a lockdown cornerback since his arrival to the league back in 2017, and he is expected to continue reaching those expectations in 2021. Lattimore, like Jaire Alexander, is a very physical cornerback who prides himself on taking a receiver out of the game by limiting targets and tackling well after the catch.

Lattimore has been a major spark for the Saints’ secondary, and if he’d caught more of the interceptions he’d dropped, he could be as high as number one or two on this list. In 2020, he accumulated a career high 62 total tackles, 11 passes defended, two interceptions, and allowed just a 52.9 completion percentage on balls thrown his direction.

3. JC Jackson, New England Patriots

JC Jackson emerged into one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks in 2020, as he was second in the league in interceptions for the Patriots. At 25, he has always had a knack for finding the football in the secondary, and he blew up into an elite talent in 2020.

Jackson may not have the best coverage skills, but he excels in zone coverage and has outstanding hands to bring in the football. In 2020, he logged 40 total tackles, 14 passes defended, three fumbles recovered, nine interceptions, and allowed a 59.0 completion percentage on balls thrown his way. He is well deserving of this ranking.

2. Xavien Howard, Miami Dolphins

Many can argue that Xavien Howard is the best cornerback in the NFL after his dominant 2020 season, but I’m going to stick him in our number two spot for the time being. Howard led the NFL in interceptions in 2020 and excelled in both man and zone coverage.

The Dolphins have a star in Howard, and he could emerge into the top dog with another breakout season. Howard, in 2020, logged 51 total tackles, one forced fumble, 20 passes defended, 10 interceptions, and allowed a completion percentage of just 51.5 percent on balls thrown his way. He is one of the best cornerbacks in the game and this ranking is more than fair.

1. Jalen Ramsey, Los Angeles Rams

Jalen Ramsey, in my opinion, is the best cornerback in the NFL and there’s no true debate about it. Ramsey is the definition of a lockdown corner and he is amongst the highest paid players in the league for a reason.

A former number five overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2016, Ramsey has the skill set to completely take an opposing number one receiver out of a game, and he has done it countless times. Ramsey excels in man to man coverage, and he can also cover the zone very well too. Ramsey, in 2020, accumulated 44 total tackles, nine passes defended, and one interception while allowing just a 50.7 completion percentage on balls thrown his way.

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