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2024 Secondary Unit Rankings

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Fantasy football is just around the corner, but here at FTNFantasy, we are diving into every data point imaginable to set fantasy managers up for their leagues.

Throughout this offseason, we have been ranking the different position groups across the NFL for the 2024 season. This week, we will be looking through and ranking the 32 secondary units in the NFL. This ranking will include corners (including the likely slot cornerback) and safeties. Check it out below.

Track our whole position group rankings series: Offensive Line | Pass-Catcher | Defensive Line | Backfield | LinebackerQuarterbacks | Special Teams | Coaches and Coordinators | more to come!

2024 Secondary Unit Rankings

*Denotes slot player

1. Miami Dolphins

CB1: Jalen Ramsey CB2: Kendall Fuller CB3: Kader Kohou* FS: Jevon Holland SS: Jordan Poyer

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – OCTOBER 29: Miami Dolphins cornerback Jalen Ramsey (5) defends in the secondary during the game between the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, October 29, 2023 at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla. (Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire)

The Dolphins have some turnover in their secondary heading into 2024, but this should be a great unit based on the quality of their replacements. It helps when your two returning pillars in the secondary are among the best players in the NFL.

Jalen Ramsey took a slight step back in terms of quality of play in 2023 (66.4 PFF grade) but allowed just 260 receiving yards and had three interceptions on 36 targets. Meanwhile, Jevon Holland (90.4 PFF grade) has developed into one of the best safeties in the NFL. He finished fourth on the team in tackles (74) while having the highest coverage grade (89.9). New cornerback Kendall Fuller (83.1 PFF grade, 82.8 coverage grade) was the lone bright spot on the Commanders’ defense last year, and former Buffalo Bill Jordan Poyer (73.0 PFF grade, five pass breakups) has developed into a good all-around safety. 

The Dolphins once again feature two strong coverage corners and a pair of safeties that can play against the pass or have an impact coming into the box to stop the run. Even with new faces, this enters the 2024 season as the best secondary in football. 

2. San Francisco 49ers

CB1: Charvarius Ward CB2: Deommodore Lenoir* CB3: Ambry Thomas FS: Ji’Ayir Brown SS: Talanoa Hufanga

LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 17: Deommodore Lenoir #2 of the 49ers during the San Francisco 49ers game versus the Los Angeles Rams on September 17, 2023, at Sofi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. (Photo by Kevin Reece/Icon Sportswire)

The 49ers feature a secondary that truly has no weak points when they are on the field. All five of their projected starters finished 2023 with a coverage grade above 66.0 and a PFF grade above 70.0. All three of their top cornerbacks had at least six pass breakups and allowed three or fewer passing touchdowns. The 49ers also worked to add depth through the draft, adding Florida State cornerback Renardo Green in the second round. Green excelled at man coverage in college, finishing with a 90.0 man coverage grade in his final season. 

If there is one area of concern, it would be their ability to stay healthy, especially on the back end of the defense.  

Their projected starting safeties (Ji’Ayir Brown and Talanoa Hufanga) both played just 10 games last season. San Francisco let veteran safety Tashaun Gipson walk in free agency, so these two players have to stay on the field in 2024. Veteran safety George Odum played just 38 snaps in 2023 but can be relied on in a pinch should the starters go down. 

3. Dallas Cowboys

CB1: Trevon Diggs CB2: DaRon Bland CB3: Jourdan Lewis* FS: Malik Hooker SS: Donovan Wilson

PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 01: Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Trevon Diggs (27) celebrates an interception in the first half during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles on November 01, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Many figured that the Cowboys secondary would struggle once Trevon Diggs was lost after 71 snaps into the season. Instead, we got to see DaRon Bland fill the massive void to keep the secondary afloat. Bland was arguably better than Diggs during his breakout 2021 season (nine pass breakups and 11 interceptions), finishing with a higher PFF grade (90.4) and coverage grade (89.9) while generating six pass breakups and nine interceptions. The Cowboys now have two shutdown corners (assuming that Diggs returns to form quickly after his ACL tear).

Dallas also has a solid, rangy safety patrolling deep center field in Malik Hooker. The veteran has put his early-career injuries aside, completing his third straight season in Dallas with a PFF grade above 68.0. He’s also shown that he can be effective as a run defender (five seasons with a run defense grade above 71.0). Fellow safety Donovan Wilson (69.8 PFF grade) is a solid complement and can play down in the box to free up Hooker on the back end.

It won’t take the Cowboys much to rise to the top team on this list. If Bland can show that his 2023 wasn’t a fluke and Diggs can return to form, it won’t matter what else is around them. Few teams have two cornerbacks as dominant at generating turnovers in the NFL. 

4. Philadelphia Eagles

CB1: Darius Slay CB2: Quinyon Mitchell CB3: Cooper DeJean* FS: Reed Blankenship SS: C.J. Gardner-Johnson

PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 22: Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay (24) rushes during the game between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles on October 22, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

The Eagles went into the offseason with an understanding that they needed to bolster their secondary to get back into Super Bowl contention. In the first round, Philadelphia drafted Toldeo’s Quinyon Mitchell (91.5 PFF grade) after he crushed the pre-draft process at the Senior Bowl and the NFL combine. Mitchell allowed just 27 completions on 62 targets during his final collegiate season. In the second round, the Eagles drafted Swiss Army knife defensive back Cooper DeJean. An injury limited DeJean to just 10 games in his final season, but he allowed just a 37.9 passer rating in his final season with Iowa. DeJean generated six forced incompletions, two interceptions and allowed zero touchdowns as well. He figures to get a chance to factor as the team’s slot cornerback, but he could also be an NFL safety. 

Those players join an extremely deep, experienced group in Philadelphia. Darius Slay (68.6 PFF grade) played just 12 games in 2023 but still had seven pass breakups and two interceptions. The Eagles also return James Bradberry (56.6 PFF grade), Kelee Ringo (64.5 PFF grade) and Avonte Maddux (50.6 PFF grade) as depth pieces. Ringo specifically has earned rave reviews during the early OTA’s and could factor into this secondary in 2024. 

On the back end, C.J. Gardner-Johnson returns to Philadelphia after playing just three games with the Lions. He will join returning free safety Reed Blankenship (73.4 PFF grade) and could once again be used as a versatile piece around the secondary. 

If Mitchell and DeJean can make an immediate impact, then the Eagles could skyrocket into the top slot on this list. Even if they don’t, it is hard to imagine this group falling outside of the top 5 spots thanks to the excellent veterans on the depth chart (assuming Bradberry doesn’t get cut before the season starts). 

5. Seattle Seahawks

CB1: Riq Woolen CB2: Devon Witherspoon* CB3: Michael Jackson FS: Julian Love SS: Rayshawn Jenkins

NEW ORLEANS, LA – OCTOBER 09: Seattle Seahawks defensive back Tariq Woolen finds nothing but open field in front of him during the football game between the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints at Caesars Superdome on October 9, 2022 in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire)

Riq Woolen followed up an excellent rookie season with a strong second season. He had slight regression in PFF grade (67.1) and coverage grade (75.0) but still generated 10 pass breakups and two interceptions. It was always going to be hard to match his first season, but there is no doubt that he’s one of the best young corners in the NFL after year two. 

More importantly, 2023 top-10 pick Devon Witherspoon played like a top-10 pick. Witherspoon showed that his physicality and instincts in college translated well to the NFL (especially in the slot), finishing his first season with 10 pass breakups and an interception. His 84.1 PFF grade was the best on the defense and his 79 tackles were fifth on the team. 

The group surrounding these two young cornerbacks was solid as well. Veteran cornerback Michael Jackson (77.0 PFF grade) played well in a rotational role as the team’s third cornerback. Free safety Julian Love also performed well in his first season with the team, setting career-high marks in PFF grade (72.8) and coverage grade (80.4) thanks to six pass breakups, four interceptions and 123 tackles. He will be joined by free agent Rayshawn Jenkins (60.9 PFF grade) at safety next year. 

The path to climbing this list for Seattle is simple: realistic growth from their young trio (Witherspoon, Woolen and Love) with the veteran pieces around them rising to their level. This can easily be a top-two group if that happens. 

6. Baltimore Ravens

CB1: Marlon Humphrey CB2: Brandon Stephens CB3: Arthur Maulet* FS: Marcus Williams SS: Kyle Hamilton

LANDOVER, MD – OCTOBER 04: Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson (24) runs the ball and is brought donw by Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey (44) during the Baltimore Ravens game versus the Washington Football Team on October 4, 2020 at FedEx Field in Landover, MD. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)

Baltimore returns a solid, veteran group of defensive backs in 2023. This unit averaged 13.2 games played in 2023, finishing with 23 pass breakups, nine interceptions and a 78.4 passer rating allowed in 2023. None of the players in this secondary finished with a PFF grade below 64.0. 

The crown jewel of this secondary (and arguably the defense) has been the rapid growth of safety/do-it-all defensive player Kyle Hamilton. The second-year pro improved his PFF grade (84.7), tackling grade (66.6), pass rush grade (92.7) and coverage grade (89.8) in his second season. He generated four interceptions while playing 206 snaps as a box defender, 275 snaps as a pure free safety and 403 snaps in the slot. Opposing quarterbacks had a 48.4 passer rating when throwing in his direction last season. 

If the Ravens can get Marlon Humphrey (career-low 64.8 PFF grade) healthy and back to his true form, then this could be a top-three secondary. Even if Humphrey is just “good” like he was last season, this is still a top-10 secondary in the NFL today. 

7. New York Jets

CB1: Sauce Gardner CB2: D.J. Reed CB3: Michael Carter* FS: Tony Adams SS: Chuck Clark

PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 12: New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner (1) warms up during pre-season game between the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles on August 12, 2022 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

The Jets have arguably the best cornerback trio in the NFL led by third-year corner Sauce Gardner. Gardner didn’t have an interception last season but still broke up 10 passes and allowed just one touchdown on 51 targets. He posted a 90.6 coverage grade and an 88.6 PFF grade. Both D.J. Reed (77.9 PFF grade) and Michael Carter (80.4 PFF grade) also performed extremely well. The collective group allowed just a 78.4 passer rating against them in 2023. 

The key to this defense ascending in the ranks comes down to their safety duo. Tony Adams was solid in 2023 (68.0 PFF grade), but he needs to clean up his 15.3% missed tackle rate. The Jets will also hope that 2023 free agent acquisition Chuck Clark can return from the preseason ACL tear that cost him his first year with the team. The veteran had four straight seasons from 2019 to 2022 with a PFF grade above 66.0 and a tackling grade above 68.0. He has the versatility to play down in the box as a run supporter (1,478 career snaps), as the deep safety (1,524 career snaps) or as a slot defender (607 career snaps). His versatility would help Adams play to his strengths in coverage. 

8. Chicago Bears

CB1: Jaylon Johnson CB2: Tyrique Stevenson CB3: Kyler Gordon* FS: Kevin Byard SS: Jaquan Brisker

ATLANTA, GA Ð NOVEMBER 20: Chicago safety Jaquan Brisker (9) reacts after a defensive stop during the NFL game between the Chicago Bears and the Atlanta Falcons on November 20th, 2022 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)

Veteran cornerback Jaylon Johnson took a massive leap in 2023, finishing as PFF’s top-rated corner (90.8 PFF grade) and earning a huge payday this offseason. Johnson allowed just a 33.3 passer rating against and generated four interceptions, functioning as a lockdown corner on the outside. 

The Bears also have to be encouraged by the contributions of young players like Tyrique Stevenson, Kyler Gordon, and Jaquan Brisker. Stevenson had his struggles as a rookie (nine touchdowns surrendered) but generated 13 pass breakups and four interceptions while teams picked on him (110 targets) to avoid throwing near Johnson on the other side. Gordon settled into his role as a slot corner, finishing his second season with a 65.6 PFF grade and 68.2 coverage grade. Brisker grew immensely as a tackler in his second season, finishing third on the team in tackles (105) while totaling an interception and five pass breakups.

Chicago also moved on from Eddie Jackson, replacing him with another solid veteran in Kevin Byard in free agency. Byard struggled in coverage at times with the Eagles (71.3 coverage grade) but still finished fourth on the team in tackles (75). He has a PFF grade of 74.0 or higher in six of eight career seasons thanks to his ability to play the run and his sure-handed tackling ability in space. 

The Bears are on the cusp of being a top-five secondary given their blend of youth and experience. If Stevenson, Gordon and Brisker can continue to grow in 2024, this could be one of the best secondaries in the NFL for the foreseeable future. 

9. New England Patriots

CB1: Jonathan Jones CB2: Christian Gonzalez CB3: Marcus Jones* FS: Jabrill Peppers SS: Kyle Duggar

FOXBOROUGH, MA – NOVEMBER 06: New England Patriots safety Kyle Dugger (23) after a game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts on November 6, 2022, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)

The Patriots secondary has the talent to justify this ranking, but they need their best players on the field to achieve it. Last season, only three of the projected starters (Jonathan Jones, Jabrill Peppers and Kyle Duggar) played more than four games. Jones (76.5 PFF grade) and Peppers (87.3 PFF grade) were stalwarts, while Duggar (50.0 coverage grade) struggled as a pass defender but made up for it as a tackler (109 tackles, third on the team). 

For the Patriots to realize their potential, they need the four-game sample size of 2023 first-round pick Christian Gonzalez to be legitimate. Gonzalez had the makings of a shutdown corner when healthy, allowing just 16 receptions for 157 receiving yards and posting an 80.8 PFF grade. If that is who he is in the NFL, then he will be a true top cornerback. The team also needs slot corner Marcus Jones to play more than the 44 snaps he did in his second season. Jones had a 67.6 PFF grade in 2023 thanks to four pass breakups and two interceptions. 

A healthy Patriots secondary could easily push for a top-five ranking, if not higher. 

10. Cleveland Browns

CB1: Denzel Ward CB2: Martin Emerson Jr. CB3: Greg Newsome* FS: Juan Thornhill SS: Grant Delpit

CLEVELAND, OH – SEPTEMBER 10: Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) is hit by Cleveland Browns safety Grant Delpit (22) after throwing a pass during the fourth quarter of the National Football League game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns on September 10, 2023, at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)

The Browns have playmakers at both cornerback and safety, making them one of the more formidable secondaries in the NFL.

All three of Cleveland’s cornerbacks finished 2023 with at least nine pass breakups and two interceptions. Denzel Ward (69.6 PFF grade) gets a lot of love for his body of work at cornerback, but the unsung hero of 2023 was second-year player Martin Emerson. Emerson allowed just 33 receptions on 70 targets last season and was the only cornerback to allow zero passing touchdowns. Quarterbacks had a passer rating of 45.3 against him last year.

On the back end, Grant Delpit continues to grow as a coverage safety. He posted career-highs in PFF grade (70.0) and coverage grade (75.5) in 2023 and was utilized more as a pass rusher off the edge (12 pressures). He still leaves a lot to be desired as a tackler (career 13.7 missed tackle rate), but he’s evolving into a versatile threat. If the Browns can see improved play from 2023 free agent acquisition Juan Thornhill (67.3 PFF grade), then this could be a top-five secondary in the NFL. 

11. Denver Broncos

CB1: Patrick Surtain CB2: Levi Wallace CB3: Ja’Quan McMillan* FS: Brandon Jones SS: Caden Sterns

DENVER, CO – JANUARY 8: Denver Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II (2) runs onto the field during player introductions before a game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High on January 8, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire)

Patrick Surtain didn’t meet expectations in terms of his counting statistics, but he’s still one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Surtain posted his third straight season with a PFF grade above 66.0 and a coverage grade above 64.0. He also had the most pass breakups in his career (9).

The other cornerbacks on this team aren’t much to write home about. Both Levi Wallace and Ja’Quan McMillan had coverage grades below 63.0 and allowed passer ratings above 100.0 when targeted. The duo combined for eight pass breakups but also gave up 15 combined touchdowns.

Thankfully, Denver should be stout on the back end. The team signed Brandon Jones in free agency to replace Justin Simmons. Jones played 13 games in 2023, scoring a 78.5 coverage grade and a 76.8 PFF grade. Jones only had 48 tackles in 2023 but has been a reliable tackler throughout his career. Caden Sterns has struggled with injuries (including missing nearly all of the 2023 season) but has been a high-level player when on the field.

Denver doesn’t have the talent to move reliably into the top 5, but they can be top 10 thanks to the strong play of Surtain and the upside of their safety duo. 

12. Buffalo Bills

CB1: Christian Benford CB2: Rasul Douglas CB3: Taron Johnson* FS: Mike Edwards SS: Taylor Rapp

Buffalo has put together one of the best unsung cornerback groups in the NFL. All three of its returning starters finished 2023 with a PFF grade above 80.1 and a coverage grade above 78.0. Rasul Douglas was acquired during the 2023 season and immediately emerged as the team’s top cornerback. Quarterbacks completed just 52.6% of their passes and had a passer rating of 40.1 against him during his nine games with Buffalo. The combination of Christian Benford, Douglas and slot corner Taron Johnson generated 15 pass breakups and six interceptions while allowing just six touchdowns on the season. 

Unfortunately, Buffalo is far less settled on the back end of the defense because of ineffective play and their salary cap situation. The Bills moved on from Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde this offseason, which means they will need far better play from returning contributor Taylor Rapp in a full-time role. Rapp had the worst PFF grade (56.4) and coverage grade (57.6) of his career last season. He is a dependable tackler (three straight seasons of an 81.0+ PFF grade) but needs to be better. The other safety spot will be between free agent acquisition Mike Edwards (56.5 PFF grade in Kansas City) and 2024 second-round pick Cole Bishop. The rookie is a versatile player who had issues in coverage in 2023 and likely needs time before being relied on. 

If Buffalo’s safeties can rise to the ability of their cornerbacks, then this could very easily be a unit that pushes its way into the top 5 (or close to it). If not, then this is firmly a top-15 unit as long as everyone can stay healthy. 

13. New Orleans Saints

CB1: Marshon Lattimore CB2: Paulson Adebo CB3: Alonte Taylor* FS: Jordan Howden SS: Tyrann Mathieu

CHICAGO, IL – NOVEMBER 01: New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore (23) runs in action during a game between the Chicago Bears and the New Orleans Saints on November 01, 2020 at Soldier Stadium, in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

The Saints secondary is composed of two excellent players, one solid cornerback and two massive question marks heading into 2024. 

Injuries have limited Marshon Lattimore to just 1,036 snaps over his last two seasons. When healthy, he’s shown that he’s still solid in coverage (69.6 average coverage grade), but his willingness in run defense and tackling has taken a hit. Thankfully, fellow cornerback Paulson Adebo took a big developmental step in 2023. He set career-highs in snaps played (948), PFF grade (78.6), tackling grade (79.2) and coverage grade (80.5). He had as many interceptions (4) and pass breakups (11) in 2023 as his two previous seasons combined while allowing just 56.8% of the passes thrown his way to be completed.

On the back end, Tyrann Mathieu continues to provide high-level safety play. During his last two seasons with New Orleans, the veteran safety has posted consecutive PFF grades above 81.0 and generated seven total pass breakups and seven interceptions. He also has back-to-back years with a coverage grade above 87.0 during that time. 

The other pieces of this secondary need work. Slot corner Alonte Taylor gave up six touchdowns in 2023 and finished with a 45.7 PFF grade. The team will also need Jordan Howden to take a step after he played 15 games in 2023. He allowed a 109.8 passer rating against and had just 43 tackles despite playing 569 snaps. 

Lattimore may be past his prime, but if he can rebound and stay on the field, this has the makings of a top-10 defense. If not, then it could be another long season in New Orleans. 

14. Green Bay Packers

CB1: Jaire Alexander CB2: Eric Stokes CB3: Keisean Nixon* FS: Javon Bullard SS: Xavier McKinney

CHICAGO, IL – JANUARY 03: Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander (23) in action during a game between the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers on January 03, 2021 at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

The decision to trade Rasul Douglas was an interesting one last season since he was performing like the team’s best cornerback (and continued to play at a high level once he was traded).

Unfortunately for the Packers, Jaire Alexander continues to struggle with injuries. The veteran cornerback played just 445 snaps in 2023, giving up a career-high passer rating (124.1) while allowing 72.7% of passes to be completed against him. He has at least two interceptions every season of his career, but it is fair to wonder if the injuries are starting to catch up with him.

Green Bay will be hoping that Eric Stokes can show the same quality play that he flashed his rookie season after injuries have limited him to just 587 snaps over the last two years. Stokes had nine pass breakups as a rookie but has allowed 80% of the passes against him to be completed the last two seasons. Keisean Nixon will reprise his role in the slot after getting an extended look there in his fifth season. Nixon had four pass breakups and an interception on 535 coverage snaps.

The strength of this secondary will undoubtedly be the safeties. Green Bay invested heavily in both free agency and the draft to improve the play of this group. Xavier McKinney is coming off a career year with the Giants, finishing with an 87.5 PFF grade and a 91.2 coverage grade in his fourth season. He led the team in interceptions (3) and finished second in tackles (116). He will be joined by 2024 second-round pick Jonathan Bullard. Bullard is a safety who can play in the slot, serving both roles with Georgia over the last two seasons. He had consecutive seasons as a starter with a PFF grade above 80.0. 

If Alexander and Stokes can stay healthy and return to form, the Packers have the makings of a top-10 secondary in the NFL. If injuries continue to plague this group, then they will certainly tumble down this list. 

15. Carolina Panthers

CB1: Jaycee Horn CB2: Dane Jackson CB3: Troy Hill* FS: Jordan Fuller SS: Xavier Woods

CHARLOTTE, NC – DECEMBER 18: Carolina Panthers corner back Jaycee Horn (8) during an NFL football game between the Pittsburg Steelers and the Carolina Panthers on December 18, 2022 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire)

The Panthers have interesting pieces in their secondary, but they desperately need 2021 first-round pick Jaycee Horn to stay on the field. Horn has just one season with over 300 snaps played. He was active for just six games last year (including five straight to end the season) and had an 83.0 PFF grade and 84.1 coverage grade. If that play can translate into a full season sample size, he could enter the conversation as one of the more impactful cover corners in football. 

He will be joined by veteran free agent Dane Jackson on the outside after a solid tenure with the Buffalo Bills. Troy Hill will also reprise his role in the slot after an inconsistent 2023. He was solid in coverage (66.9 PFF grade) but struggled as a tackler as evidenced by his 16.7% missed tackle rate. 

At safety, Xavier Woods had arguably the best season of his career despite missing time due to injuries. He posted his best PFF grade (80.3) and coverage grade (81.7) while breaking up five passes and generating two interceptions. He’s extremely versatile, playing deep safety (446 snaps), in the box (210) and in the slot (121) last season. He will be joined by free agent Jordan Fuller. Fuller bounced back from a 2022 hamstring injury that limited him to three games, finishing with a 66.7 PFF grade. He had five pass breakups and three interceptions and has been a reliable tackler. He can play deep safety, which allows the Panthers to continue to utilize Xavier Woods in a variety of ways. 

Like Green Bay, the Panthers will hope the back end of their defense is strong enough to make up for some inconsistency at corner, especially if Horn is injured once again. If this group can stay healthy, they have the talent and playmakers to climb these rankings. 

16. Atlanta Falcons

CB1: A.J. Terrell CB2: Clark Phillips CB3: Dee Alford* FS: Jessie Bates SS: Richie Grant

ATLANTA, GA – OCTOBER 16: Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell (24) looks on after the NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the San Francisco 49ers on October 16, 2022 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire)

The 1-2 punch of A.J. Terrell at cornerback and Jessie Bates at safety might be the best duo in the league. Terrell remained disruptive as a cover corner (four straight seasons with at least seven pass breakups) and cut his touchdowns allowed in half (4) in 2023. He’s not a great tackler (career 14.7% missed tackle rate), but he doesn’t need to be a cornerback who can play coverage on an island.

Jessie Bates was a transformative talent in his first season with the Falcons. He set career-highs in PFF grade (90.6), run defense grade (89.8), tackling grade (84.7) and coverage grade (90.2) in his first season with the team. He led Atlanta in interceptions (6), forced fumbles (3) passes defensed (11) and tackles (132).

Unfortunately, the talent surrounding these players isn’t nearly as strong. 2023 fourth-round pick Clark Phillips was limited to just 414 snaps in 2023, finishing with a 59.0 PFF grade and a 58.5 coverage grade. Dee Alford was better in the slot (70.0 PFF grade) but allowed 70.5% of passes against him to be completed and surrendered three touchdowns. 2021 second-round pick Richie Grant continued to struggle in an expanded role on the defense. Grant had a 42.6 coverage grade in his third season and allowed a 128.9 passer rating against him last season. He gave up five touchdowns on the back end of the defense.

If the Falcons can get more consistency out of their cornerbacks, then the talent of Terrell and Bates can drive this team into the top 10. If not, it is likely a unit that will comfortably sit between 12 and 20 on this list in 2024.

17. Kansas City Chiefs

CB1: Trent McDuffie* CB2: Joshua Williams CB3: Chamarri Conner FS: Bryan Cook SS: Justin Reid

The loss of L’Jarius Sneed is significant for the Chiefs, but it was necessary given the team’s cap situation. This is still a very deep secondary unit but will need to prove that they can weather the loss of arguably their most talented player. 

The growth of Trent McDuffie will certainly help. McDuffie played an expanded role in 2023, alternating between the outside corner (300 snaps) and the slot (448 snaps). He improved his PFF grade (82.9) and coverage grade (78.3) while providing 16 pressures and 3.0 sacks as a blitzer. He needs to clean up his missed tackle rate (13.6 in 2023) but is developing into quite a talent.

The rest of the cornerback group is relatively uncertain thanks to their depth. Five different cornerbacks (including safety/slot Chamarri Conner) played over 300 snaps in 2023. All of them had a PFF grade above 66.0 and a coverage grade above 63.0. The Chiefs have plenty of flexibility to find the best group, but in OTAs, it seemed like Joshua Williams (four pass breakups and two touchdowns allowed) and Conner (75.2 passer rating against) had emerged as the lead players. Jaylen Watson (six pass breakups in 2023) should also factor into the rotation.

At safety, Justin Reid (57.7) struggled in 2023, giving up four touchdowns in coverage. His strengths are closer to the line of scrimmage, as evidenced by his 3.0 sacks and team-leading 95 tackles last season. The return of Bryan Cook (65.2 PFF grade) as the deep safety will certainly allow the team to utilize him to his strengths. 

Losing Sneed is significant, but this can still be a top-15 unit as long as McDuffie continues to develop and other players can provide consistent play. 

18. Los Angeles Chargers

CB1: Asante Samuel Jr. CB2: Kristian Fulton CB3: Ja’Sir Taylor FS: Alohi Gilman SS: Derwin James

CARSON, CA – NOVEMBER 18: Los Angeles Chargers free safety Derwin James (33) during the NFL regular season game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, November 18, 2018, at StubHub Center in Carson, CA. (Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire)

The Chargers had a strong pairing in their secondary with cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. and Derwin James, but 2023 might have added a third player into the mix. 

Fourth-year safety Alohi Gilman thrived in his first year as a starter, finishing the season with an 86.1 PFF grade, a 75.2 run defense grade and an 89.2 coverage grade. Gilman generated seven pass breakups and two interceptions and 73 tackles. The coaching staff will also look to James, who had his first career season with a PFF grade under 77.0 in 2023. 

Asante Samuel Jr. had his best career season in 2023 (73.9 PFF grade) thanks to his improvements in coverage. Samuel had 11 pass breakups and his third straight season with two interceptions. He will be joined by free agent Kristian Fulton, who struggled through 644 snaps with the Titans last season. Quarterbacks completed 72.5% of their passes for a 129.3 passer rating against him last year. Ja’Sir Taylor will once again be the primary slot corner. He allowed a 60.4% completion percentage and had eight pass breakups last season but needs to be more reliable as a tackler (23.5% missed tackle rate).

If Gilman can repeat his strong 2023, this unit has the makings of a top-15 group. As it stands, the team can afford a bit of regression from him if James can get back to his dominant form. 

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

CB1: Jamel Dean CB2: Zyon McCollum CB: Christian Izien* FS: Antoine Winfield Jr. SS: Jordan Whitehead

Antoine Winfield Jr. has developed into the best, most well-rounded safety in the NFL. Winfield had a PFF grade, run defense grade, tackling grade and coverage grade above 87.0 in 2023. He generated seven pass breakups and three interceptions in 2023 in the passing game while adding 122 tackles, 6.0 sacks, six forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. His presence alone makes this unit (or any unit) a top-20 selection.

The rest of the talent around him is far less impactful. Jamel Dean had his first career season with a PFF grade below 74.0 (68.3). He allowed career-worst marks in completion percentage against (68.9) and passer rating (128.6) but had four pass breakups on the season. He’s joined by Zyon McCollum (52.1), a super athlete who needs refinement, and Christian Izien (66.8 PFF grade) in the slot. 

Winfield will also be joined at safety by free agent Jordan Whitehead. Whitehead returns to the Buccaneers after two successful seasons with the Jets. Whitehead posted consecutive seasons with a 66.0 PFF grade and a 68.0 coverage grade. He’s generated eight pass breakups and six interceptions in the last two years but was credited with nine touchdowns against in coverage. 

Winfield turns a solid unit into a top-20 unit, but if the team can get growth from any of their young cornerbacks, they can push well inside the top 15. 

20. Houston Texans

CB1: Derek Stingley Jr. CB2: Jeff Okudah CB3: Desmond King FS: Jalen Pitre SS: Jimmie Ward

Derek Stingley Jr. rebounded from an inconsistent rookie season to develop into a fantastic cover corner in his second season. Stingley had six pass breakups and five interceptions and allowed a paltry 53.8 completion percentage against. He struggled with injuries again in year two (11 games played), but he could be a force if he stays on the field. 

The Texans also have a solid safety duo in Jalen Pitre and Jimmie Ward. Both players finished with a 61.0+ PFF grade. Both are better in the run game than as pass defenders (at this point), but it is a strong group patrolling the middle of the field. 

Desmond King returned to the team midway through the season to reprise his role in the slot and once again performed well. King had his second straight season with a PFF grade above 70.0 and a coverage grade above 71.0. The other outside cornerback will be a competition between veteran Jeff Okudah (50.5 PFF grade in 2023) and 2024 second-round pick Kamari Lassiter (85.4 PFF grade at Georgia). Okudah has struggled consistently throughout his career and Lassiter had terrible speed numbers testing, so time will tell if either can be effective. 

A healthy Stingley and a strong start from Okudah or Lassiter would be enough to push this group into the top 15. If Pitre can realize his amazing potential in 2024, this could be a group that challenges the top 10. 

21. Tennessee Titans

CB1: L’Jarius Sneed CB2: Chidobe Awuzie CB3: Roger McCreary FS: Elijah Molden SS: Amani Hooker

The Titans made the bold move of trading for L’Jarius Sneed this offseason to start a revamp of their cornerback group. In four career seasons, Sneed has three years of a PFF grade above 71.0 and a coverage grade above 71.0. He has 24 career pass breakups and 10 career interceptions on 246 targets against. He will be joined by another free agent, former Bengal Chidobe Awuzie. Awuzie struggled throughout 2023 but is still a solid veteran who has shown he’s capable of strong play.

These players join three returning starters in the secondary. Roger McCreary grew immensely as a cover corner last season, finishing with a 72.2 coverage grade. Amani Hooker (65.7 PFF grade) and Elijah Molden (55.9 PFF grade) make up a solid back end of the defense. Neither player is a big presence in coverage, but both provide strong play as dependable tacklers. 

The Titans have a strong cornerback group and could climb if Awuzie returns to form and McCreary develops further. 

22. Los Angeles Rams

CB1: Darious Williams CB2: Tre’Davious White CB3: Quentin Lake* FS: Russ Yeast SS: Kamren Curl

The Rams are hoping that some veteran additions to their secondary will help stabilize the unit after an inconsistent 2023. Williams returns to the Rams after two seasons with the Jaguars. He had 29 pass breakups and four interceptions during his time in Jacksonville while limiting quarterbacks to a sub-60% completion percentage while targeting him. 

The Rams will also be gambling that Tre’Davious White can return from a torn ACL in 2023 after returning from a 2022 Achilles tear. White hasn’t played more than 630 snaps since the 2020 season but has been strong in coverage when he’s on the field. White and Williams will be paired with 2023 returning slot man Quentin Lake. Lake played 451 snaps (346 in the slot) and was a strong tackler (84.6) who was inconsistent in coverage. If White struggles, the team could lean on Cobie Durant or 2024 third-round pick Kamren Kitchens.

Russ Yeast also returns as the team’s free safety in 2024. The 2022 seventh-round pick grew in coverage in his second season (55.1 grade) but is a league-average player. He will be joined by free agent Kamren Curl. The former UDFA played at least 700 snaps in each of his four seasons with the Commanders and never had a PFF grade below 66.0. He can play deep safety or in the box for the Rams.

23. Detroit Lions

CB1: Carlton Davis CB2: Terrion Arnold CB3: Amik Robertson* FS: Kerby Joseph SS: Brian Branch

DETROIT, MI – NOVEMBER 06: Detroit Lions safety Kerby Joseph (31) steps in front of Green Bay Packers tight end Marcedes Lewis (89) to make an interception during the Detroit Lions versus the Green Bay Packers game on Sunday November 6, 2022 at Ford Field in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire)

Detroit is hoping that a significant offseason investment can turn around a brutal secondary from 2023. The Lions added Carlton Davis (58.2 PFF grade) and slot corner Amik Robertson (63.4 PFF grade) in free agency to try to stabilize their cornerback group. That duo combined for 12 pass breakups and four interceptions in 2023 but allowed eight touchdowns against. 

Detroit also invested in cornerback heavily in the 2024 NFL Draft, using its first and second-round pick to add talent to the team. First-round selection Terrion Arnold was one of the best cornerbacks in college football in 2023, finishing the season with an 88.4 PFF grade and an 84.9 coverage grade. Arnold has just one year of starting experience under his belt but made the most of it with five interceptions last season. Detroit also drafted Missouri’s Ennis Rakestraw Jr. in the second round. He’s a lighter prospect but is excellent in zone coverage (85.2 PFF grade) despite a lack of turnovers (one career interception). 

2023 second-round pick Brian Branch was a revelation for the Lions in 2023, finishing with a 78.1 PFF grade and generating 11 pass breakups with three interceptions. Branch played mostly in the slot (530 of 736 snaps) but should see his role expanded to a slot/safety hybrid in 2024. Detroit will also need to see stability from third-year safety Kerby Joseph. Joseph has been excellent in coverage in his career (nine pass breakups and eight interceptions) but is inconsistent as a tackler. 

The Lions have a lot of new pieces on this defense but will need strong contributions from their rookies to push into the top 20. 

24. Cincinnati Bengals

CB1: Cam Taylor-Britt CB2: D.J. Turner CB3: Mike Hilton* FS: Geno Stone SS: Vonn Bell

The Bengals return a veteran-heavy cornerback group with free-agent additions at the safety position. Cam Taylor-Britt took a nice developmental step in 2023, raising his PFF grade (64.5) and coverage grade (70.3). Taylor-Britt generated five pass breakups and four interceptions in his second season while significantly cutting down his completion percentage against (53.4). His counterpart, DJ Turner, struggled throughout his rookie season (51.5 PFF grade), allowing a 112.2 passer rating against in his first season. Mike Hilton is one of the best slot corners in the game and will return for his fourth season in Cincinnati. Since joining the team, Hilton has had three straight seasons with a PFF grade above 72.0 and a coverage grade above 72.0. 

The Bengals dipped into free agency to bolster their safety group due to the struggles of 2022 first-round pick Dax Hill (50.9 PFF grade). Former Raven Geno Stone is an excellent addition coming off a strong season as a full-time starter. He generated seven interceptions last season and finished with an 84.9 PFF grade. Vonn Bell also returns to Cincinnati after a year with the Panthers. He’s a solid veteran (seven straight years with a 62.0+ PFF grade) who can play as the deep safety or roll down into the box for run support.

At worst, this is a solid, veteran unit that doesn’t have enough talent to escape the 15 to 25 range of secondaries. At best, Hill finally develops and justifies his first-round selection as a chess piece on the defense and this group can climb. 

25. Pittsburgh Steelers

CB1: Joey Porter Jr. CB2: Donte Jackson CB3: Cameron Sutton* FS: Minkah Fitzpatrick SS: DeShon Elliott

PITTSBURGH, PA – DECEMBER 15: Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (39) looks on during the NFL football game between the Buffalo Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 15, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire)

Joey Porter Jr. had a strong rookie season for the Steelers, allowing a 46.3 completion percentage while generating six pass breakups and one interception. He finished with a strong 65.2 PFF grade and a 67.9 coverage grade. He forms a nice returning duo with veteran safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick was limited to just 549 snaps in 2023 but still made an impact in coverage (66.6 PFF grade) and as a run defender (80.0 grade).

Pittsburgh will be relying on new faces to round out the rest of their secondary. The Steelers acquired Donte Jackson from the Panthers in the Diontae Johnson trade to serve as their second outside cornerback. The veteran cornerback was inconsistent throughout his time with the Panthers as a cover corner (22 career touchdowns surrendered) and as a tackler (16.9% career missed tackle rate). Porter and Jackson will be joined in the slot by returning Steeler Cameron Sutton. Sutton was a good player for Pittsburgh during the first six years of his career but struggled as an outside corner in his lone season with Detroit. He allowed a 67.4% completion percentage and gave up a career-high five touchdowns in 2023. 

Finally, the Steelers brought in veteran safety DeShon Elliott to work alongside Fitzpatrick on the back end of the defense. Elliott has five straight seasons with a 66.0 or higher PFF grade and a 61.0 coverage grade. He will allow the Steelers to utilize Fitzpatrick all over the field to best utilize his skill set. 

26. Minnesota Vikings

CB1: Byron Murphy Jr. CB2: Shaq Griffin CB3: Josh Metellus FS: Camryn Bynum SS: Harrison Smith

The Vikings return most of an average secondary in 2024. Byron Murphy Jr. had an uneven first season with Minnesota in 2023, generating six pass breakups and three interceptions but surrendering six touchdowns. His 58.2 coverage grade was the lowest since his 2019 rookie season. He’s joined by Josh Metellus in the slot and free agent Shaq Griffin coming off a 77-snap season in Carolina due to injuries.

Metellus got his first taste of consistent playing time last season, rotating between the slot (396 snaps), the box (377 snaps), on the edge (206 snaps) and deep safety (55 snaps). The veteran gave up five touchdowns but offset that with 29 pressures and three sacks off the edge. 

Camryn Bynum has developed into a quality safety, finishing 2023 with a 73.1 PFF grade, 79.1 run defense grade and 69.7 coverage grade. Like Metellus, the Vikings moved him all over the defense to maximize his strengths. Harrison Smith is starting to slow down but is still a quality safety. He had his lowest PFF score since 2013 last season (68.9) but still impacted the game as a run defender and in coverage. 

27. New York Giants

CB1: Deonte Banks CB2: Cordale Flott CB3: Tre Herndon* FS: Jason Pinnock SS: Tyler Nubin

The Giants need Deonte Banks to be more consistent in his second season. The rookie finished 2023 with six pass breakups and two interceptions but surrendered four touchdowns and 12.2 yards per reception with eight penalties. Banks has the physical tools to become an extremely good cornerback, but he needs to clean up his technique.

The rest of this secondary is not very good. Cordale Flott regressed with more playing time, giving up three touchdowns and missing 15.6% of his tackles in his second season. He worked primarily as the team’s slot corner and could benefit from a move back outside. The Giants signed Tre Herndon after the draft to be their slot corner. Herndon has been average throughout his career but is coming off his first season with a PFF grade above 56.0 (70.4). Quarterbacks have a career 112.3 passer rating against him. 

The safety group will desperately miss the presence of Xavier McKinney. Jason Pinnock was solid in his first season as a starter, finishing with a 67.7 PFF grade on 1,011 snaps. He will be joined by 2024 second-round pick Tyler Nubin out of Minnesota. Nubin was a playmaker throughout his college career (13 career interceptions) and has excellent size (6-foot-2, 210 pounds). His testing was underwhelming, but he has the IQ and anticipation to be an excellent safety at the NFL level. 

28. Jacksonville Jaguars

CB1: Ronald Darby CB2: Tyson Campbell CB3: Darnell Savage* FS: Andre Cisco SS: Antonio Johnson

HOUSTON, TX – JANUARY 01: Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Tyson Campbell (32) celebrates his fumble return for a touchdown with Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen (41) during the football game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on January 1, 2023 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire)

The Jaguars are trying to build the secondary up to alleviate the pressure on 2021 second-round pick Tyson Campbell. Injuries limited Campbell to just 589 snaps in 2023, but he was struggling before that. Campbell allowed the worst completion percentage (70.0%) and passer rating (127.4) of his career. He gave up eight touchdowns on 60 targets in his third season. 

Jacksonville will hope that Ronald Darby and Darnell Savage can provide stability to take the pressure off Campbell in his fourth season. Darby has been consistently good as a coverage corner in his career with a PFF coverage grade of 61.0 or higher in seven of nine seasons. Savage has been used as a safety throughout his career with the Packers but has experience as a slot defender and could be used in both roles with Jacksonville. 

If Savage is down playing in the slot (which was suggested after his signing), then this safety group is very underwhelming. Andre Cisco is a solid veteran who has three straight seasons of a 67.0 or higher PFF grade. His strength is in coverage, but he’s a well-rounded player who is routinely used as the deep safety. 2023 fifth-round pick Antonio Johnson played just 172 snaps in his rookie season but flashed playmaking ability when on the field. He had two interceptions on 15 targets last season.

There aren’t any true difference-makers in this group, but it is a collection of consistent veterans. If Campbell can improve and stay healthy, they could make a push around the top 20. It is just hard to imagine them climbing much higher than that. 

29. Arizona Cardinals

CB1: Max Melton CB2: Sean Murphy-Bunting CB3: Garrett Williams* FS: Budda Baker SS: Jalen Thompson

INGLEWOOD, CA – NOVEMBER 13: Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker (3) runs up field after an intercepting a pass during the NFL game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams on November 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

The Cardinals tried this offseason to upgrade their secondary through free agency and the draft. Arizona signed Sean Murphy-Bunting in free agency after he had an inconsistent season with the Titans. The veteran has just two career seasons with a PFF grade above 61.0 and has struggled giving up touchdowns in his career (19 on 318 targets). He will be joined by 2024 second-round pick Max Melton on the outside. Melton isn’t overly big or athletic, but he’s a solid zone corner who may have to move to slot at the NFL level. 

Arizona also returns three players from last year’s defense. Garrett Williams saw inconsistent time on the field as a rookie but was primarily used as a slot corner. Quarterbacks completed 72.4% of their passes against him, which will need to change for this group to climb the rankings.

The strength of this unit is the safety duo of Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson. Both players finished with a PFF grade above 64.0 and a coverage grade above 63.0. Thompson (four pass breakups and four interceptions) is the better cover player of the two and moved between safety and the slot last season. Baker is at his best moving between deep coverage and being a box defender, which makes this a strong, complementary pairing.  

30. Indianapolis Colts

CB1: JuJu Brents CB2: Jaylon Jones CB3: Kenny Moore* FS: Nick Cross SS: Julian Blackmon

The best player in the Colts secondary is veteran slot corner Kenny Moore. He posted career-best marks in PFF grade (77.4) and coverage (79.3) in 2023 while generating three interceptions. Moore is a strong run defender as well but needs the team around him to step up.

JuJu Brents flashed excellent potential in his first season but was limited to just 497 snaps. He had five pass breakups and an interception but allowed a 109.1 passer rating against and 14.2 yards per reception. He has all the tools to be an above-average NFL cornerback, but he will need to stay on the field to properly develop. Jaylon Jones will return as the other outside cornerback after seeing consistent playing time as a seventh-round rookie in 2023. He allowed a 54.4 completion percentage in his first year but surrendered six touchdowns. 

The Colts also have solid, but mostly unproven safeties. Julian Blackmon put together his first healthy season since 2020, finishing with a 68.3 PFF grade. He had a career-high four interceptions and finished fourth on the team in tackles (88). He will be joined by Nick Cross, a 2022 third-round pick who has elite athleticism but has struggled to see the field. Cross has just 414 career snaps played and has struggled with consistency when on the field. He will be counted on heavily in his final year. 

Can the Colts be a top-25 secondary? Of course. But they will need young, inexperienced contributors to take a big leap in 2024. 

31. Las Vegas Raiders

CB1: Jack Jones CB2: Jakorian Bennett CB3: Nate Hobbs* FS: Marcus Epps SS: Tre’von Moehrig

For the Raiders to climb the rankings, they need a fully healthy season from Jack Jones at corner. Jones was brought over from the Patriots partway through the season and performed well, posting an 81.4 PFF grade during his time with Las Vegas. However, he has yet to play 500 snaps in a season. He can be an elite cover corner, but he needs a much larger sample size for him to hit that outcome. 

The rest of this group is good, but not great. Returning contributors Jakorian Bennett (42.4 PFF grade) and Nate Hobbs (69.0 PFF grade) each allowed more than 16.0 yards per completion last season. They combined for seven pass breakups and an interception but allowed four touchdown receptions.

The Raiders also need more from their safeties. Both Marcus Epps (65.4) and Tre’von Moehrig (70.2) had solid PFF grades, but neither player has truly become a top-level starter. There is still hope for the hyper-athletic Moehrig though, especially since he showed he can disrupt in the passing game with three interceptions last season.

32. Washington Commanders

CB1: Benjamin St. Juste CB2: Michael Davis CB3: Mike Sainristil* FS: Percy Butler SS: Jeremy Chinn

The Commanders secondary is a collection of interesting pieces that are coming off inconsistent play in 2023. 

Benjamin St. Juste showed the ability to make plays in the secondary last season (13 pass breakups and one interception) but allowed a 68.0% completion percentage and gave up four touchdowns. Washington is hoping that a change in scenery can bring out better play from veteran cornerback Michael Davis after he allowed nine touchdowns in 2023 with the Chargers. Davis was much better in 2022 (72.7 PFF grade), so the ability is there. 

At safety, the Commanders will pair Percy Butler with a reclamation project in free agent Jeremy Chinn. The Panthers attempted to convert Chinn into a “do-it-all” player on the defense, moving him between safety, linebacker and the slot over the last two seasons. The Commanders could have an impact player if they can go back to the formula (safety and slot snaps) that led him to a second-place finish in the 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

The final spot will come down to 2023 second-round pick Quan Martin (65.4 PFF grade) and 2024 second-round pick Mike Sainristil. Sainristil is especially interesting. He is a slot-only cornerback who was stellar with Michigan during the last two seasons. He generated six interceptions in 2023, finishing with an 81.4 PFF grade.

The Commanders have a bunch of upside in their secondary, but they will need several players to bounce back to hit it. That isn’t always the best bet to make, but it could create an extremely good unit of all the pieces that come together.

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