Pro Football Focus again? Yes, and now you have the chance to say they actually got something right(or opposing fans to say they don't know what the hell they're talking about). Today, PFF ranked all 32 cornerback groups in the league, and is very high on the Washington Redskins going into this season(weird, right?). Washington is ranked #3, with only the Denver Broncos and the Arizona Cardinals ahead of them.
3. Washington Redskins
Top CBs: Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Quinton Dunbar
Key stat: Norman (with Carolina) allowed 50 yards in a game just once in 2015.
Even before the acquisition of Norman, this was a cornerback corps on the rise. Breeland had a breakout campaign in 2015, allowing 50 yards or more only three times after Washington’s Week 8 bye. Dunbar, an undrafted free agent and wide-receiver conversion, showed his potential in the wildcard defeat to Green Bay by breaking up two passes and allowing only 41 yards on seven receptions.
The addition of Josh Norman was obviously huge for these rankings, after a season where he was arguably the best corner in the league. PFF has Norman as the #1 offseason addition that will have an immediate impact on their new team. The Panthers rescinded the franchise tag, and Washington immediately pounced on the premier free agent, signing him to a 5 year, $75 million contract.
Norman joined the Redskins after they had already signed free agent Greg Toler and re-signed Will Blackmon(who is currently practicing at safety). The signing of Norman also made it an easy financial decision to release Chris Culliver to save $8 million this season. Culliver tore his ACL for the second time in three years, and his Week 1 suspension cleared the guaranteed money in his deal.
Bashaud Breeland has been a steal for the Redskins since being drafted in the 4th round two years ago. PFF is also high on him, and believes he had a breakout season last year. Look for Breeland to continue to improve this season, and mesh well with Norman in the backfield.
Quinton Dunbar was one of the biggest surprises on the roster last year. An undrafted WR from Florida who was converted to CB during training camp, and showed enough to make the roster after spending the first few weeks on the practice squad. Dunbar was able to see more playing time than anyone expected last season due to injuries, starting two games at the end of the year. Dunbar finished his rookie year with 13 tackles, 5 passes defended, and an end zone interception(Thanks Eli!).
PFF doesn't mention him, but the Redskins also drafted a CB in the 3rd round this year, Virginia Tech's Kendall Fuller. The rookie is returning from microfracture knee surgery that ended his final year at VT. Fuller is already practicing with the team, and will be ready to go for training camp.
Other cornerbacks on the Redskins roster: rookies Lloyd Carrington and Mariel Cooper, Jeremy Harris, Dashaun Phillips.
Rankings in the NFC East: #3 Redskins, #9 Giants, #27 Cowboys, #29 Eagles
And rounding out the list at #32...the Carolina Panthers.
Where should the Redskins CBs rank this season?