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    NFL CB Rankings 2024: Where Do Sauce Gardner, Jalen Ramsey, and L’Jarius Sneed Land?

    Who's the best cornerback in the NFL? PFN's NFL CB rankings have the answer. Here's how we stack the league's top 32 corners heading into 2024.

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    As NFL passing attacks become more creative, diverse, and efficient, defenses are often forced to counteract talented quarterbacks with exotic coverage schemes. However, teams with lockdown cornerbacks might sleep better at night knowing that one side of their field is a no-fly zone.

    Who’s the best cornerback in the league, and who makes up the top 32 at the position? Here are PFN’s NFL CB rankings heading into 2024.

    Offense: QBRB | WR | TE
    Defense: EDGE | DT | LB | S

    Who Is the Best CB in the NFL?

    Note: None of the cornerbacks selected in the 2024 NFL Draft made this list, as there isn’t enough data. However, we’ve added a section highlighting some of the more notable rookies at the end.

    1) Sauce Gardner, New York Jets

    Here’s how reticent NFL quarterbacks are to throw at Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner: In 2023, he was the only CB to start at least 14 games and receive fewer than 60 targets.

    Gardner only saw 55 targets in his coverage area last year as quarterbacks avoided the two-time first-team All-Pro’s zone. He’s broken up 31 pass attempts through two NFL campaigns while allowing just two touchdowns.

    Gardner’s positional leverage — in tandem with his outstanding route-recognition skills, ease of movement, and length — makes him a weapon in zone coverage. That same fluidity and length allow him to lock down receivers in man.

    NFL CB Rankings | 2-15

    2) Patrick Surtain II, Denver Broncos

    Patrick Surtain II wasn’t quite as dominant in 2023 as he was in his 2022 All-Pro season, but that’s the life of an NFL cornerback — even an elite one.

    Denver’s defense was a disaster early last year, and Surtain’s coverage numbers dipped during that stretch. Still, he’s typically as consistent as any corner in the league.

    While he was mentioned as a speculative trade candidate as the Broncos pursued a rookie QB, Surtain was too valuable for Sean Payton to give up. He should rebound in 2024 if the rest of Denver’s defense plays up to par.

    3) Jalen Ramsey, Miami Dolphins

    While the Los Angeles Rams asked Jalen Ramsey to do a little bit of everything, he played almost exclusively on the boundary after being traded to the Dolphins in 2023. Ramsey tore his meniscus in training camp but returned in Week 8, mainly looking like the same elite CB we’d seen in years past.

    Ramsey allowed just a 53.8% completion rate and 51.1 passer rating after coming back from his knee injury. Few corners boast Ramsey’s superior blend of coverage and run-defense skills, which could make him an excellent safety when the time comes. But a potential position change is still a few years away.

    4) Jaylon Johnson, Chicago Bears

    Although Jaylon Johnson flashed over his first three NFL seasons, he put all the pieces together in 2023 — when he was arguably the league’s top CB.

    Johnson set career bests in completion rate (55.2%), yards per target (4.8), and yards per completion (8.7) last season. The former second-rounder allowed only 195 yards and a 33.3 passer rating as the nearest defender in coverage, both of which paced the league.

    The Bears wisely franchised then extended Johnson this offseason, signing him to a four-year deal worth $76 million.

    5) Charvarius Ward, San Francisco 49ers

    It isn’t easy to climb a list like this as an undrafted free agent. Charvarius Ward began his career with the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 but was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs that August. Thrust into action in Year 2, Ward took his lumps, but the long and explosive CB kept improving.

    One of the more physical corners in the game, Ward landed a free agent payday with the 49ers in 2022 and has continued his feisty play in San Francisco. His 34 pass breakups are the second-most in the NFL over the past two seasons.

    A second-team All-Pro in 2023, Ward could land another significant deal when he hits the market again next spring.

    MORE: Predicting the 2024 NFL Playoffs

    6) L’Jarius Sneed, Tennessee Titans

    The only corner in our top 15 to change teams this offseason, L’Jarius Sneed initially received the franchise tag from the Chiefs before being dealt to the Titans, who handed him a four-year, $76.4 million extension upon arrival.

    One of the more versatile corners in the NFL, Sneed spent most of his time in the slot early in his career before playing almost every snap on the perimeter in 2023. The transition took, as Sneed didn’t allow a receiving touchdown in his coverage area until the Buffalo Bills’ Khalil Shakir scored on him in the Divisional Round.

    7) Trent McDuffie, Kansas City Chiefs

    With Sneed playing boundary corner, the Chiefs primarily deployed Trent McDuffie in the slot. He was dominant from the inside and was critical in Kansas City’s Super Bowl win. McDuffie broke up three passes and executed a perfect slot blitz against 49ers QB Brock Purdy in the fourth quarter, enabling the Chiefs to get the ball back.

    Now that Sneed is gone, will K.C. put McDuffie on the outside? Or will he still play most of his snaps on the interior? Either way, McDuffie is arguably the Chiefs’ most valuable defender not named Chris Jones.

    8) Denzel Ward, Cleveland Browns

    The Browns have three cornerbacks in our top 32, but Denzel Ward is the best player in Cleveland’s defensive backfield. The No. 4 overall pick in 2018, Ward has been one of the more consistent players for what’s become an uber-elite Browns defense under coordinator Jim Schwartz.

    While Ward missed time with a shoulder injury, he still made his third career Pro Bowl after allowing a 56.2 passer rating and one touchdown on 66 targets. Run defense isn’t the most essential trait for an NFL corner, but Ward looked better in that area after struggling with tackling in 2022.

    9) DaRon Bland, Dallas Cowboys

    Sure, DaRon Bland can be beaten at times. But he posted nine interceptions and an NFL-record five pick-sixes while earning first-team All-Pro honors in 2023.

    Shifting from the slot to the perimeter after fellow Cowboys CB Trevon Diggs’ season-ending injury, Bland was among the most dangerous defensive backs in the game. He’s a turnover waiting to happen.

    10) D.J. Reed, New York Jets

    One of the best free agent value signings in recent memory, D.J. Reed has been the Robin to Gardner’s Batman over the past two seasons. Reed plays much bigger than his 5’9″ stature and can handle any additional targets that QBs are afraid to send Gardner’s way.

    The Jets have the NFL’s best cornerback duo, and it’s not particularly close.

    11) Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints

    One of the most athletic corners in the league, Marshon Lattimore’s pre-draft Relative Athletic Score ranked in the 99th percentile. He consistently melds his ferocious athleticism with an uncanny ability to make incredible plays in coverage, while his mental trigger in Cover 3 is unbelievable.

    Lattimore turns 28 this summer and has missed 17 games with injuries over the past two seasons. A potential trade candidate after the Saints drafted CB Kool-Aid McKinstry in Round 2, Lattimore could rebound in New Orleans or elsewhere in 2024.

    12) Devon Witherspoon, Seattle Seahawks

    Rookie cornerbacks usually have much to learn before becoming the player we believe they could be at the NFL level. But that’s changed over the past few seasons, and Devon Witherspoon is the prime example.

    A menace at the college level, Witherspoon excelled from Day 1 with the Seahawks. His 10 QB pressures ranked second among cornerbacks, and we expect new Seattle head coach Mike Macdonald to continue using Witherspoon as a slot blitzer.

    KEEP READING: Who Are the NFL’s Highest-Paid Cornerbacks?

    13) Jaire Alexander, Green Bay Packers

    Jaire Alexander’s high-end play is as good as nearly any NFL corner’s, but injuries have kept him off the field. A shoulder sprain cost him 13 games in 2021, while another shoulder issue kept Alexander on the sidelines for all but seven games in 2023.

    However, he earned second-team All-Pro nods in 2020 and 2022, allowing a sub-70 passer rating in both seasons. If he can stay healthy, Alexander is the best player on a rebuilt Packers defense.

    14) A.J. Terrell, Atlanta Falcons

    A.J. Terrell’s 2021 campaign was so outstanding — 4.8 yards per target, second-team All-Pro — that it might be challenging for the Falcons’ CB to get back to that level. Terrell’s allowed more explosive plays and committed more penalties over the ensuing two seasons, but his elite upside remains tantalizing.

    Those flashes are hard to forget, especially as Terrell enters a contract year. He has to show more consistency under first-year DC Jimmy Lake for Atlanta to feel comfortable extending him.

    15) Derek Stingley Jr., Houston Texans

    This is admittedly something of a projection for Derek Stingley Jr., who’s been hampered by hamstring injuries since the Texans selected him third overall in 2022. He’s only appeared in 20 NFL games, but Stingley looked like a lockdown CB1 at the end of last season.

    Stingley earned AFC Defensive Player of the Month honors for December after leading the league with three interceptions and nine pass breakups while allowing just a 1.7 passer rating in coverage. DeMeco Ryans can design Houston’s entire coverage plan around him.

    NFL CB Rankings | 16-32

    16) Trevon Diggs, Dallas Cowboys
    17) Martin Emerson, Cleveland Browns
    18) Riq Woolen, Seattle Seahawks
    19) Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore Ravens
    20) Taron Johnson, Buffalo Bills
    21) Jamel Dean, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    22) Tyson Campbell, Jacksonville Jaguars
    23) Darius Slay, Philadelphia Eagles
    24) Darious Williams, Los Angeles Rams
    25) Cam Taylor-Britt, Cincinnati Bengals
    26) Kenny Moore II, Indianapolis Colts
    27) Joey Porter Jr., Pittsburgh Steelers
    28) Stephon Gilmore, Free Agent
    29) Asante Samuel Jr., Los Angeles Chargers
    30) Brian Branch, Detroit Lions
    31) Greg Newsome, Cleveland Browns
    32) Carlton Davis, Detroit Lions

    Unranked Rookie CBs

    • Quinyon Mitchell and Cooper DeJean, Philadelphia Eagles
      The Eagles desperately needed cornerback help in the draft and got lucky enough for Quinyon Mitchell to fall to pick No. 22 in Round 1. Then, Philadelphia got aggressive on Day 2 by trading up for Cooper DeJean. Both rookies could be instant-impact starters for the Eagles.
    • Terrion Arnold and Ennis Rakestraw Jr., Detroit Lions
      Detroit moved up for Terrion Arnold after Philadelphia grabbed Mitchell and followed the Eagles’ lead by double-dipping with fellow CB Ennis Rakestraw Jr. The Lions, who also traded for Carlton Davis and signed Amik Robertson in March, clearly prioritized secondary depth this offseason.
    • Nate Wiggins, Baltimore Ravens
      With Kyle Hamilton potentially shifting to a true safety role in 2024, the Ravens needed another corner. They found Nate Wiggins at the end of Round 1, who might become an immediate starter in Baltimore.

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