In these reviews I will be going over how each position group did individually then compare them against the rest of the NFC North teams to see how the upcoming season might go for the group. This time I’ll be covering the cornerback groups in the NFC North.
Keeping Kyle Fuller is huge for the Bears. He was by far their best corner and the only guy on their roster to start every game after he missed all of 2016 with a knee injury. The spot across from him was filled most of the time by Prince Amukamara with Bryce Callahan stepping in when needed. Between these three the Bears have an average cornerback group at best, they could have done with improving the group in the off-season but they focused getting players in other positions. Will this hinder them in the upcoming season?
Darius “Big Play” Slay is criminally underrated in my eyes. His presence alone makes number one receivers not want to play that week as well as being the joint interception leader in 2017. Opposite him could be any number of players, Nevin Lawson, DeShawn Shead or Teez Tabor. Nevin Lawson was a decent player last year but I think he will only be in contention for a starting spot if DeShawn Shead doesn’t work out as expected or until coaches are comfortable letting Teez Tabor start. There will be a battle between the three of them for the second starting spot and they could all step in and do a good job.
With the Packers best corner from last season Damarious Randall leaving it’s quite difficult to say how this group will transition into 2018. If they didn’t draft or trade for some corners they would be by far one of the worst secondary groups in the league. However luckily for Packers fans they drafted not one but two corners with their first two picks. Both of these pickups look like they have the potential to be great players and with Kevin King coming into his second season this group is one of the more unpredictable ones coming into the new season.
The Vikings have a strong, physical corner group consisting of Trae Waynes, Xavier Rhodes and Terrance Newman. They further bolstered this group with their first round draft pick Mike Hughes which added much needed depth. The group is certainly good but I don’t rate them as highly as others might. I think their front seven give them a much easier job than some other groups may have. However they are still a lockdown group that ranked in the top five in most passing defense categories last season.
Packers – 4th
I only put the packers here because of the uncertainty. They could have three corners come out on day one and make plays right from the off, or they could all become busts. I like to see players perform to their best in the NFL so hope the former will happen but it’s way too early to tell. Proper analysis of this group will have to be done after the 2018 season and you can’t rank them above a group of players that have NFL experience yet.
Bears – 3rd
This secondary is too reliant on Kyle Fuller for my liking and while he is good he’s not good enough that you can rely on him to carry you through games alone. I think they should have added another corner to play alongside him as Prince Amukamara and Bryce Callahan simply don’t cut it.
Vikings – 2nd
The reason the Vikings are behind the Lions is I think that as an individual group they are slightly worse. They may have better stats as a team when it comes to passing yards allowed and yards per attempt but their front seven has such a huge impact on that I can’t rate them above the Lions. The group themselves have fewer passes defended, tackles and interceptions than the Lions so I think the stats back me up here.
Lions – 1st
Bias? Maybe. But maybe not. The group had the highest turnovers and passes defended in the North. For a group where these stats are arguably two of the most important I think that means quite a lot. Slay did carry the bulk of this but if Teez can become the player that shut down Mike Evans in week 14 last season every game then they have a fantastic one-two combo on their hands. Along with the addition of ex legion of boom member DeShawn Shead and resigning Nevin Lawson they have also have quality depth if injuries happen.