ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler continues to unveil annual top-10 rankings as voted by various NFL executives, coaches and players. On Tuesday, he shared their list of the top 10 cornerbacks heading into the 2023 NFL season.
Despite making a substantial investment in the position in recent years, the Kansas City Chiefs didn’t have any players make it in this year’s rankings. Both L’Jarius Sneed and Trent McDuffie received votes in the process according to Fowler, but neither had enough votes to qualify them among the league’s best.
McDuffie missed six games as a rookie due to injury, but he had an extremely productive season otherwise. Sneed proved to be one of the NFL’s most versatile cornerbacks, playing outside and in the slot, with production in every facet of the game.
“Solid starter. Was surprised he could play inside for [the Chiefs] as well as he did,” a veteran NFC scout told Fowler. “Long, can run and smart enough to play inside and out. Has the skill set to disrupt on the outside and maximize what the Chiefs want to do schematically. Not sure he’s the most fluid, man-oriented type to be a top-tier CB.”
I suspect the defensive coaching staff would disagree with that last sentiment. During the 2022 NFL season, Steve Spagnuolo broke his prior tendencies and had Sneed travel in man coverage against some of the best cornerbacks in the league.
While it would have been nice to see each player garner recognition, Sneed and McDuffie both have a shiny new ring to prove they’re the best in the league.