Key & Diagnose: Top 5 Rookie Cornerbacks

by | Jun 11, 2022

Top 5 Rookie Cornerbacks


–  Gridiron Ratings 2022 Rookie NFL Draft Guide

Texan Derek Stingley:

Derek Stingley lands with the Texans where he should operate as the team’s #1 cornerback. He will start across from veteran free-agent acquisition Steven Nelson and slot cornerback Desmond King. Drafting Stingley will pay huge dividends for the Texans’ secondary. Former Pro Bowler Desmond King was miscast as the team’s top cornerback last season. King was played out of position as a boundary cornerback for much of the season due to a lack of depth. Adding Stingley allows the Texans to switch King back to his natural slot cornerback position. IDP fantasy managers looking to draft Stingley should expect immediate fantasy production. The Texans have the 5th toughest strength of schedule according to Stingley will get tested early and often against some of the league’s best passing games. He’s an upside selection as a potential top 24 option in cornerback required leagues.




Jet Ahmad Gardner:

Ahmad Gardner lands with the Jets where he slots in as the Jets’ top cornerback on the roster. He will start across from free-agent acquisition  D.J. Reed to form a solid cornerback duo. Gardner was arguably the Draft’s best cornerback after he didn’t allow a single touchdown while in coverage in his college career. His coverage skills will be put to the test against some of the league’s best WRs. The Jets have the 6th toughest strength of schedule this season. Gardner should provide IDP managers solid production this season as a potential top 24 option in cornerback required leagues.




Chief Trent McDuffie:

Trent McDuffie land with the Chiefs where he’s projected to be their #1 cornerback. His presence in the secondary will be welcomed after the Chiefs finished 27th in passing yards allowed last season. McDuffie will start across from mediocre veterans Rashad Fenton and slot cornerback L’Jarious Sneed. McDuffie could be very active with the Chiefs having the #1 toughest strength of schedule this season. The Chiefs could be involved in a lot of shootouts, making McDuffie an intriguing IDP play most weeks.




Bill Kaiir Elam:

Kaiir Elam lands with the Bills where he’s projected to start across from Pro Bowl cornerback Tre’Davious White and exceptional slot cornerback Taron Johnson. The Bills finished with the #1 ranked passing defense last season. Elam replaces Levi Wallace who left via free-agency this off-season. Elam should be very active with teams unlikely to challenge White or Johnson much in the passing game. He should have the opportunity for multiple fantasy relevant weeks with the Bills’ potent offense forcing shootouts most weeks. Elam could be a solid streaming option and he has top 24 upside.



Bear Kyler Gordon:

Kyler Gordon lands with the Bears where he’s projected to start across from emerging cornerback Jaylon Johnson. The Bears badly needed a #2 cornerback after they allowed a whopping 31 touchdown passes last season. Gordon should have no problem beating out mediocre veterans Kindle Vildor and Duke Shelley for starting duties. He profiles as a versatile cornerback similar to Colts cornerback Kenny Moore. Gordon is able to play both the boundary and slot cornerback positions. Expect Bears HC and former Colts’ DC, Matt Eberflus to use Gordon in a similar role as he did with Kenny Moore in Indianapolis. Gordon has sleeper potential as he could be used in an IDP friendly role under Eberflus.



Gauging Dynasty Vs. Redraft

The cornerback position is extremely volatile for fantasy purposes. Much like the defensive tackle position, there’s only a few options that have high floors. The position is largely boom or bust. It’s not recommended to start cornerbacks unless playing in a cornerback required league. IDP managers should consider starting Safeties in their DB slots. Safeties that play in-the-box are ideal because they have more stable floors. 



Managers should particularly stay away from elite cornerbacks. Teams are unlikely to challenge elite cornerbacks much, which leads to less opportunity for fantasy points. Rookie cornerbacks on the other hand, make for good streaming options. They are more likely to be targeted in coverage and they have upside in high scoring matchups. The optimal approach is to leave these players on waivers and stream them from week to week.





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