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Denver Broncos position breakdown: Top cornerback group in NFL

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July 12, 2015


The Denver Broncos have long been an offensive-first team, but it’s hard to ignore what may be their most talent-filled position on the roster; cornerback.

Chris Harris Jr. has proven to be the best cornerback in the entire NFL and the fourth-best player in the league according to Pro Football Focus. He’s so gifted – and also an incredibly hard worker – that we called Harris the most underrated player in the league due to his NFL Top 100 snub.

It all begins and ends with Harris, who’s made a name for himself after going undrafted in 2011. The stats speak for themselves. One of the most impressive is this: Over the last three years, he’s allowed an NFL-best three touchdowns. The men that follow him? Richard Sherman (6) and Darrelle Revis (6), though those two are talked about much more often as the elite corners of the league.

Here’s another superb statistic: Chris Harris played 40 percent of his snaps in the slot last season, though he allowed only 0.57 yards per snap whether inside or outside, which is again an NFL-best. Again, he’s ahead of Sherman (0.76 YPS) and everyone else for that matter.

If you’re looking for a true shut-down cornerback, look no further than Harris.

Of course, starting opposite of him is another talented player in Aqib Talib. Interestingly, Talib and Harris played together at Kansas Univerity and that chemistry shows every time they’re on the field together. Talib played well in his first year with the Broncos, leading the team with four interceptions and tying Harris for the lead in passes defended (18). He also was fourth on Denver’s defense in tackles, with one forced fumble and a sack as well.

The Broncos two starting cornerbacks were put on an island much of the time last season, not only holding their own in one-on-one situations but excelling.

But don’t forget about Bradley Roby, who was remarkable for a rookie. Roby started only two games but saw action in all 16 last season, racking up 67 total tackles. When opposing teams bring in three receivers, the Broncos counter with Roby, putting him outside while Harris goes inside.

It’s a formidable trio of cornerbacks that no opponent wants to face, one which will be up to the task when Wade Phillips’ defense attacks the quarterback even more than in recent years.

In fact, it’s the greatest group of three cornerbacks in the NFL today.

Backup cornerbacks include Kayvon Webster, Tony Carter and rookies out of Tulane Lorenzo Doss and Taurean Nixon. Carter has proven to be a decent backup, but use mostly on special teams seems to fit him. Webster has grown into a talented player but remains stuck behind the three amigos who are starting.

In the NFL, such a pass-oriented league, the Broncos are well equipped to defend any team, and any big-time receiver, they face.


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