2019 Free Agent Preview: Cornerbacks
It’s a weak year for high-end available corners in NFL free agency. There’s a lot of great corner prospects in the draft, so NFL teams might turn there for the help they need. Let’s look at the best of this CB free agent class…
(1) Best free agent CB: Steven Nelson, KC – A lot of people are pointing to Ronald Darby as the top free agent corner, but I do not see it at all…especially coming off a November ACL tear.
Nelson is tough, scrappy, and can cover + tackle in the run game. I’ve been a fan since watching him work at the Senior Bowl the year he came out of Oregon State. He’s not elite, he’s just good.
The Chiefs need all the pass cover help they can get, so they may ink Nelson -- but the Raiders could throw around a lot of money here too.
(2) Best free agent CB: Bryce Callahan, CHI – One of the top slot corners in the NFL. Vic Fangio has groomed him for years. He’ll feel a strong pull to go to Denver. Chicago would like him back, but they are getting tight on money and may lose out in a bidding war if teams like Cleveland or Indy or Buffalo get involved.
Top ‘Sleeper’ free agent CB: Jason Verrett, LAC – It’s risky because Verrett has been hurt for most of the past three seasons. But before injury he was becoming/was a shutdown corner. Does he have any juice left?
I don’t even know where to guess him to…possibly he stays with LAC due to loyalty? Not sure any team out there would pay up much for him with his injury background of late.
Top ‘Deep Sleeper’ free agent CB: Darryl Roberts, NYJ – You’ll know what NFL teams have great defensive scouting people when they pull Roberts from the Jets. I’d argue he was their best CB at times last year, filling in for injured Trumaine Johnson. We had high scouting ratings on Roberts when he came out of West Virginia.
NYJ has the money to keep him, but the Patriots developed him prior…but bet on the Buccaneers, and Roberts old HC Todd Bowles bringing him to Tampa.
Other CB free agents of note…
-- Man, Ken Crawley was hot a couple of years ago…and was benched/a backup for the Saints last year. What happened? Some team will roll the dice to find out. Perhaps, Carolina or Atlanta in division gives him a whirl…they’ve seen him at his best more than others might have?
-- Eric Rowe was a sometimes promising and mostly failed CB for the Patriots…bad thing to have on your resume. However, we graded Rowe as a top safety prospect in his draft class. He has some safety possibility as well as a useful corner, if needed. He gives a defensive backfield options at, likely, a cheap price tag.
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