Best cornerbacks in the NFL: A look at the top 10 in 2023


Who are the best cornerbacks of 2023 in the NFL? Reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Sauce Gardner would like to have a word.

Acquired by the Miami Dolphins from the Los Angeles Rams during the spring, Pro Bowler Jalen Ramsey certainly finds himself in the conversation. When looking at the NFL best CB for 2023, we also must take into account a certain ball hawk with the Dallas Cowboys.

Without further ado, we check in the 10 best cornerbacks in the NFL for 2023.

Best cornerbacks in NFL 2023 edition

10. Trevon Diggs, Dallas Cowboys

best cornerbacks in the nfl: trevon diggs
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

There is very little doubt that Diggs is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Over the course of the past two seasons, the former Alabama standout has registered a whopping 35 passes defended to go with 14 interceptions. Those are some astounding numbers.

Unfortunately, Diggs is a bit lower in these rankings than others for one reason. His gambling mentality is make-or-break. Over this very same two-year span, Diggs has yielded 1,580 yards to opposing pass-catchers. That’s by far the highest number among our top 10. He’ll need to fix this in 2023 while continuing to be a ball hawk if he wants to get paid like an elite cornerback.

9. Charvarius Ward, San Francisco 49ers

best cornerbacks in the nfl: charvarius ward
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Signed from the Kansas City Chiefs last offseason, San Francisco could not have envisioned Ward’s first season in Northern California going so well. He spearheaded a secondary that yielded as many touchdowns (20) as interceptions (20) through the air.

Continually going up against the opposition’s No. 1 receiver, Ward gave up a mere 56.8% completion and 82.4 QB rating when targeted. He also yielded a career-low 6.4 yards per target. With San Francisco boasting the best defense in the NFL heading into the 2023 season, don’t expect this to change.

8. A.J. Terrell, Atlanta Falcons

best cornerbacks in the nfl: a.j. terrell, atlanta falcons
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

After earning second-team All-Pro honors as a sophomore back in 2021, Terrell regressed last season. Though, a large part of that was the Falcons’ inability to put consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks (21 sacks in 17 games). That’s definitely not on Terrell and the rest of the Falcons’ secondary.

What we do know is that this former Clemson standout was absolutely brilliant the year before (50% completion, 61.0 QB rating). That’s a far cry from when he gave up north of 900 yards and a 109.6 QB rating as a rookie. Expect a return to form in 2013 amid reinforcements on Atlanta’s defense.

7. Tariq Woolen, Seattle Seahawks

best cornerbacks in the nfl: tariq woolen
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

One of two 2022 rookies to make our list of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, Woolen would’ve earned ROY honors if it weren’t for Sauce Gardner. The UTEP product came out of absolutely nowhere after being a mere fifth-round pick.

How good was Woolen as a rookie? He led the NFL with six interceptions while allowing a mere 48.7 QB rating when targeted. Opposing quarterbacks threw for only 292 air yards on 66 targets (4.4 per). That’s simply sensational. With rookie No. 5 pick Devon Witherspoon slated to start opposite Woolen in 2023, we expect much of the same from the youngster.

6. Jaycee Horn, Carolina Panthers

best cornerbacks in the nfl: jaycee horn
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

New Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero is going to work wonders with this unit, especially in the secondary. Just look at how he helped Patrick Surtain turn into one of the best CB’s in the NFL with the Denver Broncos.

As for Horn, an injury plagued rookie season gave into him turning into an elite cover guy for Carolina in 2022. The South Carolina product yielded just 429 yards on 60 targets for an average of 7.2 yards per. Quarterbacks also boasted a mere 62.4 rating when targeting him. We’re expecting a leap to All-Pro standards in 2023.

5. Jaire Alexander, Green Bay Packers

best cornerbacks in the nfl: jaire alexander
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Some thought that an injury-plagued 2021 campaign would somehow derail Alexander. That was utterly foolish. The former Louisville standout returned to form this past season, tallying five interceptions and 14 passes defended in the process.

Alexander, 26, typically mirrors the opposing team’s top wide receiver. Even with that as a backdrop, he gave up just 366 air yards on 82 targets a season ago. The 63.7 QB rating Alexander yielded was also among the best in the league.

4. Jalen Ramsey, Miami Dolphins

best cornerbacks in the nfl: jalen ramsey
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins were hoping that the 29-year-old Ramsey would return to form after a somewhat down 2022 season when they acquired him from the Los Angeles Rams. He showed some signs of regression last season with the Rams, giving up a career-high 659 receiving yards. Though, that came on an eye-opening 91 targets. The measurables were still there statistically.

Unfortunately, Ramsey suffered a torn meniscus in his second training camp practice with the Dolphins. He underwent surgery in late July and will be lost until December.

3. Darius Slay, Philadelphia Eagles

best cornerbacks in the nfl: darius slay, philadelphia eagles
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Slay and fellow cornerback James Bradberry are two of the seasons Philadelphia won the NFC a season ago. This five-time Pro Bowl performer recorded 14 passes defended and three interceptions while going up against No. 1’s throughout the 2022 season.

Opposing quarterbacks completed just 46 passes in 17 regular-season games when targeting Slay. He yielded 6.7 yards per target and a mere 58.2% completion. This represented the fourth time in five years that quarterbacks failed to connect on 60% of their passes when throwing in Slay’s direction. Yeah, he’s still elite at the age of 32.

2. Patrick Surtain II, Denver Broncos

best cornerbacks in the nfl: patrick surtain ii
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s in the bloodlines. Surtain’s father was one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL for a good five-year span from 2001-05, earning three Pro Bowl and two All-Pro honors. The apple certainly doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

The No. 9 overall pick of the Broncos out of Alabama back in 2021, Surtain was brilliant out of the gate (51% completion, 61.3 QB rating, 4 INT). Denver’s defense took a minor step back during his sophomore season of 2022, but Surtain still held quarterbacks to a mere 360 air yards on 77 targets. A true shutdown guy, he recorded 10 passes defended and two interceptions en route to earning First-Team All-Pro honors.

Related: 2023 NFL power rankings

1. Sauce Gardner, New York Jets (the best cornerback in the NFL)

best cornerbacks in the nfl: sauce gardner

After just one season, Gardner is unquestionably the best cornerback in the NFL. What he did as a rookie en route to earning First-Team All-Pro honors was absolutely absurd. The last time we saw something like this from a rookie cornerback was Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Haynes all the way back in 1976.

Gardner led the NFL with 20 passes defended. He missed only five of 80 would-be tackle attempts, gave up a 53.5% completion and 62.7 QB rating when targeted. Quarterbacks put up just 277 air yards on 86 targets (3.2 yards per) when throwing at Gardner. They averaged a mere 5.3 yards per target. Yeah, Gardner will be among the best cornerbacks in the NFL for at least the next decade.

PHP Code Snippets Powered By :