Cornerback is one of the most important positions in a defense due to the pass-heavy nature of today's NFL, and very few teams can succeed without at least one dominant defensive back patrolling their secondary. With that being the case, it's worth noting that the free-agent market this offseason is flush with game-changing cornerback talent, which could go a long way in turning teams fortunes around in the immediate future.
With that in mind, here are the five best cornerbacks that will likely be available in free agency.
5. Jimmy Smith, Baltimore Ravens
Jimmy Smith comes with a pretty big "buyer beware" label due to his injury history, but when he's healthy, he's one of the best corners in the game. The 31-year-old doesn't have the splash-play potential that teammate Marcus Peters possesses, as he's recorded only three interceptions over his last two seasons. However, his coverage skills are bordering on elite. Since 2018, Smith has allowed just two passing touchdowns when targeted in coverage (111 targets), holding QBs to a passer rating of 72.9 in 2018 and 67.8 in 2019.
4. Bradley Roby, Houston Texans
Bradley Roby has revitalized his career this season and could be in for a huge contract this offseason — if the Houston Texans let him walk, that is. The former Ohio State standout was Houston's best cover man in 2019, allowing a 60.3 percent completion percentage and 79.1 passer rating against when targeted (62 targets). The 27-year-old is also a threat to score when he gets his hands on the ball, as he's returned three of his nine career interceptions for touchdowns and returned a fumble for a score.
3. Logan Ryan, Tennessee Titans
If you're a team in need of an all-around versatile cornerback, look no further than Logan Ryan. The 28-year-old defensive back was all over the field in 2019, tallying a team-leading 113 tackles (73 solo), a career-high 4 1/2 sacks, four interceptions and an impressive 18 passes defended (No. 3 in the NFL) on the year. Ryan can occasionally struggle in coverage (93.8 passer rating allowed since 2018), but his all-around skill set would bring tremendous value and versatility to almost any defensive system.
2. Chris Harris, Denver Broncos
Chris Harris has been one the best cornerbacks in the NFL over the last half-decade, and after nine long years with the Broncos, he'll get the chance to test free agency for the first time in his career. The 30-year-old had a slight down year in 2019, allowing 15.1 yards per completion and a 113.5 passer rating against (70 targets), but his overall body of work and championship pedigree is too hard to ignore. A four-time Pro Bowler and 2016 First Team All-Pro selection, Harris is bound to have many suitors this offseason and a change of scenery could be just what he needs to return to his usual dominant ways.
1. Byron Jones, Dallas Cowboys
It may seem a little unconventional to put a player who only has two career interceptions to his name at the top of this list, but the sky's the limit for Byron Jones as he hits free agency this offseason. At just 27 years old with plenty of room to grow, the one-time Pro Bowler had another fine season in 2019, allowing just 33 receptions and 351 yards receiving across the 64 times he was targeted in 2019. Jones also been one of the league's most versatile defensive backs in coverage, capable of playing — and excelling — at cornerback and both safety positions if the need arises.
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Mike Esposito is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Esposito also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username espo6891. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.