A.J. Bouye, Jalen Ramsey
When free agent cornerback A.J. Bouye signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in March, penciled in to start opposite 2016 rookie sensation Jalen Ramsey, it gave the Jaguars arguably the NFL’s best pair of corners — on paper.
This week, that status was all but confirmed, as Bouye and Ramsey were selected as the starting cornerbacks for the AFC in the 2018 Pro Bowl. The NFL’s annual all-star game is scheduled for Jan. 28 in Orlando.
Bouye had six interceptions this season to go with 17 pass breakups and 49 tackles. Ramsey registered four interceptions, 17 pass breakups and 53 tackles. Continue reading
Originally published by HERO Sports:
Similar to Colin Kaepernick at the quarterback position, the most well-known defensive back in the 2017 NFL free-agency class is still unsigned as the preseason gets underway.
That DB would be Darrelle Revis, the future Hall of Fame cornerback whose swift drop-off from shutdown to sit-down last season compelled the New York Jets to release him following another failed attempt to make the playoffs. Although Revis is only 32 years old, the Super Bowl champion and seven-time Pro Bowler has reportedly received little interest on the free-agent market. And if he does find a team, he might be asked to move to safety to mask whatever loss of speed and cover skills he’s had. Continue reading
Tags: A.J. Bouye, Brandon Carr, Colin Kaepernick, Darrelle Revis, Eric Weddle, Jalen Ramsey, Jason McCourty, Jimmy Smith, Johnathan Cyprien, Logan Ryan, Malcolm Butler, Mike Adams, Morris Claiborne, NFL, Prince Amukamara, Stephon Gilmore, Tony Jefferson
Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:
1. Devin McCourty, FS, Patriots (NFL) — Not one of New England’s defensive backs had a standout game statistically. Nobody made a very memorable big play or forced a takeaway. So, McCourty gets this spot under the Kawhi Leonard/Andre Iguodala NBA Finals MVP criteria: It’s not so much what he did, it’s more about what he prevented someone else from doing.
Just like Leonard and Iguodala were rewarded primarily for not allowing LeBron James to completely dominate the 2014 and 2015 Finals, respectively, McCourty’s biggest accomplishment in the Patriots’ 34-28 win over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI is that he didn’t allow Atlanta WR Julio Jones to dominate the game. Continue reading
The first time I remember hearing the term “shutdown cornerback,” it was used to describe none other than Deion Sanders.
And it wasn’t just about Deion shutting down Jerry Rice or Tim Brown or any of the NFL’s other top receivers of the 1990s. It was about Deion shutting down entire halves of the football field. About Deion shutting down a team’s entire passing attack. About Deion shutting down anything in his line of sight.
And since then — while I’ve heard the term “shutdown cornerback” used to describe dozens of other star cornerbacks in the NFL, college and high school — no corner has been as good at shutting things down as Deion Sanders. Continue reading
Earl Thomas (12) with the Longhorns
The thing with unofficial titles is that anybody can lay claim to them.
And in a competitive environment such as the big-time sports industry, where everybody is looking to own something that sets them apart from the pack, that means any attractive title you can imagine could have multiple entities claiming it as their own.
In college football, one such example is the unofficial moniker “Defensive Back University,” better known as “DBU.”
Generally defined as the football program that historically produces the best defensive backs and/or sends the most DBs to the pro level, “DBU” has been ascribed to no shortage of major-conference programs: LSU, Florida, Texas, Washington State, Miami, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State have all worn the mythical “DBU” crown in recent years. Continue reading
The NFL Network is in the process of gradually revealing its ranking of the league’s top 100 players for 2016, airing a new episode each week that unveils 10 players at a time.
The reveal of the NFL’s list of the league’s top 100 rookies for 2016 was less ceremonial. The whole thing landed quietly all at once as an NFL.com article last week.
Surprisingly, the second-ranked rookie was former UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, whose talent is unquestioned but whose injury history allowed him to fall to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round of the draft. Since the top 100 rookies list is based on who the experts think will make the biggest impact next season — and because some observers still doubt whether Jack will be able to play next season — it was an interesting choice. Continue reading
Tags: 2016 NFL Draft, Eli Apple, Jalen Ramsey, Karl Joseph, Keanu Neal, KeiVarae Russell, NFL, Su'a Cravens, Vernon Hargreaves III, Vonn Bell, William Jackson III
More than 50 defensive backs were selected in this year’s NFL Draft — 52 to be exact, if you include Washington-bound linebacker/safety hybrid and second-round pick Su’a Cravens. That figure is up from 46 the previous year.
Seven DBs were taken in this year’s first round; up from five a year ago. And while the first DB drafted last year wasn’t called until the 11th overall pick (Vikings CB Trae Waynes), three DBs went in the top-11 this year: No. 5 Jalen Ramsey to the Jaguars, No. 10 Eli Apple to the Giants, and No. 11 Vernon Hargreaves III to the Buccaneers.
With each (no pun intended) passing year, it would appear defensive backs are becoming more valuable in the NFL. Just look at the salaries that the league’s best veteran DBs command in free agency, and look at how many rookies DBs are popping up on the draft tracker. Continue reading
The 2016 NFL Draft started with a pair of quarterbacks, and toward the end of Thursday’s first round, another QB provided the most authentically emotional moment of the night.
Then there was the twisting, turning story line involving a 315-pound offensive lineman and some social media skullduggery that sent him on a Warren Sapp-like slide down the draft board.
And added to the mix were some crazy red-carpet outfits, one adorable scene-stealing toddler, a handful of unexpected picks and some interesting trades.
Almost lost in all of that was the fact that no position group had a better first round than the defensive backs, a group headlined by No. 5 overall pick Jalen Ramsey, the Florida State corner-slash-safety who is headed to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Continue reading
In the 80-year history of the NFL Draft, only once has a defensive back been taken with the No. 1 overall pick. That was all the way back in 1956, when the Pittsburgh Steelers took safety Gary Glick out of Colorado A&M (now known as Colorado State). Glick, who was also a kicker, played seven years in the league with the Steelers, Colts, Chargers and Washington. He finished his career with 14 interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries.
Six decades later, 2016 was shaping up to be the year in which a defensive back went No. 1 in the draft again.
The league was ready for it. Continue reading
Tags: Darian Thompson, Eli Apple, Jalen Ramsey, Karl Joseph, Keanu Neal, Mackensie Alexander, Morgan Burns, NCAA, NFL, NFL Draft, Vernon Hargreaves III, Vonn Bell, William Jackson III
Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:
Darrelle Revis, CB, New York Jets (NFL): He stole what was supposed to be Andrew Luck’s show on “Monday Night Football,” intercepting one pass and recovering two fumbles in the Jets’ defensively dominant 20-7 victory. Revis also had four tackles and turned Indy’s No. 1 receiver, T.Y. Hilton, into a non-factor (4 rec, 45 yds). With Revis at the helm, a Jets’ defense that last season threatened to break an NFL record for fewest forced turnovers has this season taken the ball away from its opponents a league-high 10 times through two games.
RJ Williamson, SS, Michigan State (NCAA): In Saturday’s 35-21 win over Air Force, Williamson had five tackles, one interception, and one fumble recovery, which he took back 64 yards for a touchdown. The senior strong safety then put the finishing touch on the Spartans’ victory by recovering Air Force’s onside kick late in the fourth quarter. Continue reading