Here’s a quick look at all the top-five corners from the last 25 years…and of course the Lions took the worst of the bunch in Westbrook, can they go 0-2?
2018: Denzel Ward, Ohio State, fourth overall (Browns): Started 12 of the 13 games he played in as a rookie and was voted to the Pro Bowl. In 2019, he started all 12 games he played in and allowed a passer rating of just 58.0 on balls thrown his way, which was top 10 among full-time corners.
2016: Jalen Ramsey, Florida State, fifth overall (Jaguars): Was inserted into the starting lineup immediately and has been one of the best cover men in the game ever since. Was named to the all-rookie team during a standout first season, has made every Pro Bowl since and was a first-team All-Pro in 2017.
2011: Patrick Peterson, LSU, fifth overall (Cardinals): The man entered the league eight seasons ago, and still hasn’t missed a Pro Bowl. Heck, he didn’t miss so much as a single game until last season. He was first-team All-Pro as a rookie in 2011, then again in 2013 and 2015. He was also named to the NFL’s all-2010s team. Simply put, he’s one of the best corners of his generation.
2003: Terence Newman, Kansas State, fifth overall (Cowboys): Wasn’t as elite as some of the other top-five cornerbacks, making two Pro Bowls in 15 years and no All-Pro teams, although he was a good player for a very long time. And he was good immediately, defending 17 passes – just one off his career high – and picking off four in 16 starts as a rookie. He did not miss a game until Year 5.
2002: Quentin Jammer, Texas, fifth overall (Chargers): No All-Pros, no Pro Bowls, but 21 interceptions and 129 pass breakups in 12 years. Not a bad career for Quandre Diggs’ big brother.
1998: Charles Woodson, Michigan, fourth overall (Raiders): Started every game as a rookie and made the Pro Bowl, his first of nine. Was named All-Pro the following year, the first of eight nods to either the first or second team. Picked off 65 passes, broke up 139 overall and made 1,003 tackles. Played long enough with the Raiders (team record for forced fumbles and passes defended) and Packers (team record for defensive touchdowns) to set career marks for both franchises. And he set the all-time NFL record for defensive touchdowns (13). Then again, if you’re from Michigan, I don’t have to tell you any of this. Woodson was one of the greatest college players ever, and then he became one of the greatest pros ever during a remarkably consistent 18-year career.
1997: Shawn Springs, Ohio State, third overall (Seahawks): Started all but four games in his first four seasons. Made the Pro Bowl in Year 2, when he picked off seven passes, and was named second-team All-Pro in Year 8. Picked off 33 passes and defended 70 overall in a 13-year career.
1997: Bryant Westbrook, Texas, fifth overall (Lions): Eight cornerbacks have been taken with a top-five pick in the last 25 years. Figures that it would be the Lions who took the worst of them all. Westbrook looked promising early, getting named to the all-rookie team in Year 1 and leading the NFL in interceptions in Year 4. But then he tore his Achilles tendon, was never quite the same and was out of the league by age 28. In all, he picked off 12 passes in five seasons with Detroit before finishing his career in Green Bay.