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Breakout Cornerbacks For 2022

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It’s that time of the year when we start to look at breakout candidates for the defensive side of the ball. Here are a few possible breakout cornerbacks!


Let me begin by explaining what I believe a breakout candidate is. To me, a breakout candidate is someone I expect to take a larger leap in their production than we saw last season. It could be a one-year wonder or someone who can fill a roster spot for a decade.

I fully understand that some of the players listed in this article may have already “broken out,” but that doesn’t mean they can’t outperform any previous season. Use this information as you wish!

J.C. Jackson, CB, Los Angeles Chargers

IDPGuys Positional Rank: 3

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Jackson finished last season with 58 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 23 passes defended, 8 interceptions, 2 tackles for loss, and 1 touchdown. He is one of those guys we could consider as a player who has already broken out. Here’s the thing a lot of people don’t realize.

Jackson has never seen more than 84% defensive snaps in a season. Now, he’s going to play in the pass-happy AFC West! It’s also likely that Jackson will see a nice bump in his snap percentage. In cornerback-required leagues, he could help launch fantasy managers to the playoffs — and beyond.

I’d be comfortable taking Jackson later in dynasty or even redraft leagues, as I believe he will be a consistent play every week. As long as he’s healthy, there is potential for DB1 production every time he steps on the football field. Personally, I feel like Jackson could be a steal in IDP best-ball leagues. Hd is my favorite of these breakout cornerbacks.

Patrick Surtain II, CB, Denver Broncos

IDPGuys Positional Rank: 6

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Patrick Surtain II was a highly touted prospect coming out of Alabama. Denver drafted him ninth overall in the 2021 NFL draft, and he proved to be worth that pick! Surtain stacked up 58 tackles, 4 interceptions, 14 passes defended, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 touchdown. He also missed a couple of games due to injury.

It is largely expected for Surtain to become the Broncos’ top man in the cornerback room for 2022. Again, he will be playing in the loaded AFC West. It’s easy to expect that he will see a jump in his playing time going into his second season in the league. Surtain is another guy I’m taking late in any IDP format that can give you a DB1 season.

Jaycee Horn, CB, Carolina Panthers

IDPGuys Positional Rank: 35

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Jaycee Horn was the first cornerback taken in the 2021 NFL draft, eighth overall by Carolina. Unfortunately, we barely got to see him play last season. Horn totaled five tackles, one pass defended and one interception in the three games he played in.

I’m not sure if you’re noticing a trend here my dear reader, but Horn will also be playing against teams that like to throw the ball in the NFC South. According to reports out of Carolina, he is now a “full go” for 2022. Having Horn back will be great for the Carolina defense. Like all of the breakout cornerbacks I will name in this article, he is a guy I’m comfortable targeting late in all FFIDP formats.

Jeff Okudah, CB, Detroit Lions

IDP Guys Positional Rank: Unranked

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It’s odd, Jeff Okudah has basically become an afterthought to most people. He’s probably out on the wire in most dynasty leagues after injuring his Achilles at the beginning of 2021. Oh yes, that dreaded word, Achilles! It seems like players are starting to return from these types of injuries more and more lately.

I trust Okudah to bounce back for the Lions in 2022. He should help solidify that hideous secondary we saw last season. As of now, the word is that he should be ready to go by training camp. That could change as time passes. Okudah is likely going to be an easy buy low and may end up being a nice DB2 contributor for FFIDP managers.

Detroit is one of those teams that are on the rise in the NFL, but they aren’t quite there yet. Still young and inexperienced, the defense will likely see a decent amount of action. Okudah will be tested early and often by opposing quarterbacks. Take a shot at him becoming another of the breakout cornerbacks!

DJ Reed, CB, New York Jets

IDPGuys Positional Rank: 9

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I’ve had the pleasure of having DJ Reed on my roster in some of the deeper and true position leagues I’m in. He’s certainly a player I’ve trusted enough to spend a late draft pick on and use him as a DB or CB option almost weekly. In 2021, Reed racked up 78 tackles, 1 fumble recovery, 10 pass defenses, and 2 interceptions.

During free agency, he signed a deal to become a member of the New York Jets! I expect Reed to secure a starting job for them in 2022. The AFC East should be a competitive division this season. Don’t hesitate to give him a spot on your roster! I believe we can expect weekly DB2 production from him.

Conclusion

These are just a few of the players that could end up having huge seasons, as the NFL transitions into a pass-heavy league. I think it’s highly likely we will see cornerbacks become more valuable to FFIDP managers. That means every season we should have new and exciting breakout cornerbacks to talk about! I would even start to consider taking rookie cornerbacks in dynasty drafts now.

My process is different than others, and not everyone likes it. I don’t always use data to prove my point, but it works for me and I haven’t let myself down yet! I definitely try to improve every season though. Thank you for taking the time to read the first breakout cornerbacks article!


Thank you for reading! You can read all my work on my IDP Guys Author Page. Follow me on Twitter at @ZMagsIDP — I always enjoy chatting about all types of fantasy football with the Twitterverse. Please subscribe to IDPGuys.org for all your fantasy football needs, and check out our customizable IDP scoring tool! Also, don’t forget to order the IDP Guys Rookie Magazines — both offense and IDP — for your league drafts. As always, Live Long and Prosper!

Zach Magley

Father of two beautiful girls. Anything and everything IDP. 4 championships won in 2021. I strive to help my readers win fantasy football championships. IT DRIVES ME! Looking forward to the 2022 NFL season!
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