One sign that cornerbacks are getting more respect and recognition in the NFL these days is that, on the 2018 edition of the NFL Network’s Top 100 ranking, the 12 cornerbacks listed tied with defensive end for the most popular defensive position.
Another sign is that when Marshon Lattimore was voted NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year this past season, he became the second cornerback in the last three years to win the award.
Before that, the last corner to earn DROY honors was Charles Woodson in 1998. Prior to Marcus Peters winning DROY for 2015 and Lattimore winning it for 2017, only five other cornerbacks had their names on the trophy.
Lattimore recorded 52 tackles, five interceptions, 18 pass breakups and one forced fumble on his way to helping the New Orleans Saints snap a three-year playoff drought this past season. He was named to the Pro Bowl, and he made one of the most memorable plays of the NFL season with his “butt interception” on national TV against the Atlanta Falcons on Christmas Eve.
He also made his debut on the NFL’s Top 100 list, ranked No. 82 overall.
Lattimore says he relishes big-name matchups, specifically mentioning Julio Jones as his favorite receiver to line up across from. Lattimore certainly delivered against Jones, as he had two of his five INTs in games against Jones’ Falcons.
This upcoming season, Lattimore will have plenty of those challenging matchups that he likes.
The Saints’ schedule has him penciled in to face Jones twice, Mike Evans (Tampa Bay) twice, Josh Gordon (Cleveland), Odell Beckham Jr. (NY Giants), Stefon Diggs (Minnesota), Brandin Cooks (LA Rams), A.J. Green (Cincinnati), Alshon Jeffrey (Philadelphia) and Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh).