True Cover Corners

Given that the gold standard for cover corners played for the 49ers in one Deion Sanders, his early predecessor, Jimmy Johnson, the hardest hitting CB around in Ronnie Lott, and one of the best pure cover guys in Eric Wright, the question today is, are there any real shutdown cornerbacks left in the NFL? Jimmy Johnson was one of the first corners considered a shutdown corner, as he was studiously avoided by just about every head coach in the game back then. Of course, ‘back then’ meant jamming WRs at the line, hand-checking down the field, and grappling with the WR until the ball was in the air.

The culmination of the ‘anything goes’ era of defensive backfield prowess came in the form of Mel Blount. At 6’3, 205 lb, and 4.5 speed he had the power and quickness to take on anyone and everyone the NFL had to offer in the way of WRs. And he won most of the battles. In a 14 year career, he amassed 57 picks and left countless broken WRs in his wake. This led of course to the Mel Blount rule change of not being able to bump or impede the WR after the WR gets 5 yards off the line.

This led to smaller and quicker CBs like Champ Bailey, Darrell Green, Eric Wright, and yes, Neon Deion. Guys who could read and react quickly to WRs adjusting routes, and close fast once the ball was in the air. These guys were not necessarily known as tacklers (Deion? Please! He avoided contact like the plague), but made their bones covering the #1 WR on a given team and taking away half the field available to the opposing QB. Sure there have been outliers, Mike Haynes, Lester Hayes, big guys that got it done, but the trend was these guys to be strictly coverage, and let the safeties clean up the runs. Especially with the even newer rules around covering WRs. The line of engagement is now ONE yard as opposed to 5, so the onus is even higher to cover WRs without incurring a penalty.

Now? Well, Richard Sherman is now the standard to what the prototypical CB should be. Big, strong, and fast. Sherman is (well, was) excellent in run defense, zone coverage, and press coverage. The whole package.Β  Thing is, he and his Seattle compatriots seemed to get away with grabbing, roughing up, and impeding WRs. Why they got away with this is a different matter, but their success as a whole, and Sharman’s in particular certainly has changed how GMs and scouts look at corners in college. They want rangy, fast, and tough CBs.

It remains to see if we got the real deal here, but Sherman is better than what we had. He may not be a true cover corner, but he’s as close as we can get.




About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers and SF Giants fan
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53 Responses to True Cover Corners

  1. Winder says:

    I truly doubt Sherman is anything like he was 2/3 years ago but he is a stop gap for the immediate future and that is what we need to have so we can draft the BPA’s and not always go after need. If we don’t go after the big name FA’s right from the get then we will probably do what we did last year. I like the rob is thinking with the pickups of Lewis and Robinson. Hope we can do it.

  2. unca_chuck says:

    I’ll say one thing about Sherman and his actions toward the 49ers, and that is that most of his anger was directed at Jim Harbaugh. He had his dustups with plenty of players, but for the most part that was all gamesmanship.

    Hate him for his stance on now supporting Kaepernick, he’s doing that at his own peril.

    • Winder says:

      chuck- I think there are players on every team who’s thinking is inline with Kap. All of that is out of our control unless we want to boycott the league. Which I don’t believe would make a difference at all. Baseball and football are like meditation to me, I can escape for a little while and the bullshit just goes right over my head.

    • Lurker John says:

      Sure didn’t seem like it when he was screaming at and about Crabtree after the NFC title game. Granted, Harbs was the impetus, but he didn’t hold back on any Niner.

  3. unca_chuck says:

    It has made a huge difference in the way of contributions to inner city programs, and awareness on some level of things that could be better.

  4. Winder says:

    Well the fun is starting now, so far I haven’t heard anything with the Niners yet. To bad about Robinson.

  5. NJ49er says:

    I’d kick the tires on ILB Preston Brown.
    If he’s affordable Foster could become Trade bait.

    • 12th Man says:

      I don’t think they are close to dumping Foster as things stand. Even if the DA files charges, the 9ers will hold onto him.
      Kids on notice though, no doubt about it.

  6. unca_chuck says:

    The DA has until today to file the DV charge. We’ll see where things stand if no charges are filed. If nothing else comes out he may just lose 4 games.

  7. Lurker John says:

    Robinson signs with the Bears? Why the fuck would be want Trubisky throwing to him? Jimmy G is a far better option. He has a broken knee anyway.

    • unca_chuck says:

      must be the money. FA WRs usually come at a high price.

      They may be scared off by the 3 year/$42 mill. Watkins got 3/$39 mill.

      Wonder what Mike Wallace would sign for? He’s not super spectacular but he’s a solid guy.

  8. unca_chuck says:

    Weston Richberg? Sounds like a lawyer for Daddy Warbucks.

    I like that he can slide over to center if need be.

  9. unca_chuck says:

    Depth, Rob. We still need to draft for these positions. And WR. These moves lead me to believe we may go WR with the 1st pick. Or pass rusher. Or CB.

    Shit, I don’t know. One of the above?

  10. Robert De Luca says:

    Don’t care much about the two free agents we’re rumored to be looking at, Lewis and Shead

  11. Robert De Luca says:

    Two of our top needs filled !

  12. Winder says:

    Rob- Lewis would be a real asset to our offense. I am waiting to see this years version of Joe Williams, Joe just might be the reason we let Hyde walk.

  13. Lurker John says:

    The caveat on Brown is his willingness to show up to camp in shape. He’s yet to do that in 3 years and I think that act is wearing thin with the Niners. He has a chance to be part of something special. Wake up dude.

  14. Winder says:

    Truly happy that AZ got Badford. They will surely draft a QB early in the draft.

  15. alleykat69 says:

    Jimmy Graham to the Packers as Seattle continues their legion of broom!

  16. Lurker John says:

    Who thinks the Niners might try to work a deal to move up and grab Chubb?

    • unca_chuck says:

      When we were 1-9 I thought he was within reach. Now? It’ll cost too much to move up that high. Maybe he’ll drop to 5 or 6? If so, they could make a play. Then again, they could do the same for Q Nelson.

      If the Niners feel good about Garnett, I think they take Q Nelson off their board. Pass rush, CB, take your pick.

    • Winder says:

      Doubt it lurker Chubb should go within the first 3 picks,

  17. unca_chuck says:

    Wow. I guess Pete’s in it for the long haul. He had to rebuild the team back in 2010. Funny thing is he reached the playoffs at 7-9, with Matt Hasselbeck, and beat the Saints. Pete’s looking at a couple more years to redo these guys again.

    • Winder says:

      chuck – have a feeling that Nelson will be a Bronco. It all depends whether they want to invest in a QB or fill a very big need at OL. Seen a few mocks that have him make it to 9 but I don’t believe it.

  18. Lurker John says:

    You don’t see guards go top 10 very often, even good ones. This guy must be a wrecking machine, but 26 reps at 225 lbs at the combine? Not exactly mind-blowing for a guy of his size purported strength

  19. Lurker John says:

    Legion of Broom. I love it. POTD for Kat.

  20. Robert De Luca says:

    This could get interesting. The Packers just cut Jordy Nelson.

  21. NJ49er says:

    Seeing reports of Bridgewater to NYJ. They’re another team that could snag QNelson if that’s the case.

    Bills to grab Lotulelei and that could impact their ability to pay ILB Preston Brown.
    Be a nice add if they’re interested in an instant option to Foster….just say’n.

    DE Adrian Clayborn, LT Greg Robinson and OG Shawn Lauvao aren’t yet committed anywhere from the looks of it either.

    Could be some bargains with Post FA cuts too.

    • NJ49er says:

      Same goes for OGs Jonathan Cooper in Dallas and Jack Mewhort in Indy.

      • Winder says:

        Jets also got T. Johnson and the RB from the Browns, kinda looks like they are serious about contending but I think they are gonna have to draft a QB for the future.

      • NJ49er says:

        Buffalo is putting pressure on the NYJ to grab the QB with Pick 1 Winder.
        If Buffalo can swing a deal to leapfrog them, it would sure be epic.
        Division rivals sharing NY.
        It doesn’t get more intriguing than that πŸ˜€

        Top 10 should be very busy this year.
        Browns and Bills will see to it I think.

  22. rob says:

    I saw that too , never thought Lotulelei would become a free agent at this point

  23. NJ49er says:

    Donte Moncrief to Jags is being reported – Another WR off the radar if true –

  24. rob says:

    Looks like Carlos is gone ! If so a RB at #9 seems like the way this is going !

  25. rob says:

    From a Q&A with Todd Mcshay

    11. What if the 49ers, who traded for Jimmy Garoppolo earlier this season, get a top-two pick? Should a QB still be in play?

    McShay: No. I think Garoppolo can be a starting-caliber quarterback in San Francisco. He’s only 26 years old. He needs a better supporting cast around him. Wide receiver and offensive line are two of the 49ers’ biggest needs, and because there isn’t an elite lineman or wide receiver worthy of the top pick, the first thing I would do is put the pick on the block for the highest bidder that is looking to move up to take one of the quarterbacks. The 49ers’ rebuild will take some time, and they need multiple picks.

  26. rob says:

    And this one

    If my team needs a ______, we’re in luck in this draft.

    McShay: Running back. It’s a very deep draft at the position. Barkley is No. 1, but LSU’s Derrius Guice, Stanford’s Bryce Love and the Alabama duo of Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris are really good, too. I have nine backs with grades that would put them in the first three rounds.

  27. NJ49er says:

    McKinnon on board from MN
    Scat back with good Receiving skills.

  28. rob says:

    Shows how smart I am ! We just signed Mckinnon ! I guess he’s a better receiver out of the backfield than carlos . Must be why we swapped out backs !

    • rob says:

      “Carlos Hyde was a deliberate, physical runner. In that sense, he wasn’t a great fit for Kyle Shanahan’s outside zone scheme that thrives with explosive, one-cut-and-go running backs.

      That’s what the team got by signing former Viking Jerick McKinnon. “

  29. rob says:

    Holy crap

  30. Lurker John says:

    McKinnon’s running stats don’t leap out at you, but I suppose it’s all about fit. He’s a good receiver. With Hyde gone, someone will have to carry the running load. Williams? A draftee?

  31. unca_chuck says:

    Williams. McKinnon will be splitting time with Williams. Brieda as backup.

    New thread is up.

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