Top 5 Fantasy Rookie Cornerbacks

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The 2019 draft class has some great cornerback talent in the top 125 IDP players from this draft. I will cover the top 5 producers from a fantasy perspective.


In my top 125 IDP rookie rankings I have 30 cornerbacks. There is a good chunk that should see solid playing time. The NFL is transitioning to more pass-heavy schemes leading to teams playing base nickel and even base dime packages. These schemes call for more defensive backs than normal, whether it be an extra cornerback or safety. There are many players in the NFL now that can switch back and forth between positions making them quite valuable. Here we take a look at the top 5 rookie cornerbacks from a fantasy perspective.

1) Byron Murphy- Arizona Cardinals

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College Stats: 20 Games, 74 tackles (50 solo), seven tackles for a loss, 20 passes defended, six interceptions, two forced fumbles and a touchdown.

Byron Murphy may very well be the best cornerback from the 2019 draft. It just so happens that he landed in a great fantasy spot as well. The Cardinals have had a bit of an issue filling in the corner spot across from Patrick Peterson. Peterson is an all pro talent and teams hate throwing in his direction. This leave Murphy as the number two corner in Arizona meaning he should see a plethora of targets. Murphy showed, in his two years, to have elite ball skills with 20 passes defended and six interceptions. Murphy reads plays so well and is able to react better than anybody in the draft and never shies from contact as seen here:

With Murphy moving in across from Peterson island he should see heavy opportunities to make plays. Murphy is going to make every team regret not selecting him in the first round.

2) Amani Oruwariye- Detroit Lions

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College Stats: 38 Games, 106 tackles (72 solo), one tackle for a loss, 20 passes defended, eight interceptions, one forced fumble, and one touchdown.

The Lions have been looking for a number two corner option for a few years now to play opposite of Darius Slay. In the 2019 draft I think they found their guy in Amani Oruwariye. Onwuariye is a great cover corner in his right but Slay is an established lock-down veteran. Amani Oruwariye is a corner with great strength and size with good ball skills to match as shown by his eight career interceptions and 20 passes defended. He showcased his cover skills and ability to read routes perfectly in his game against Michigan St. in 2018 as you can see here:

Oruwariye has to beat out young but unproven Teez Tabor and veteran Rashad Melvin for the starting spot. Neither of those two can match the ability of Oruwariye and the Lions got an absolute steal with him dropping to the fifth round.

3) Sean Bunting- Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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College Stats: 35 Games, 104 tackles (72 solo), 3.5 tackles for a loss, 15 passes defended, nine interceptions, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Sean Bunting is a nice combination of height (6’1) and speed(ran a 4.43 second 40 yard dash). He seems to have a nose for the ball as he is able to come up with takeaways in a variety of ways. In his final two seasons he had at least two forced fumbles and two interceptions per season and had five interceptions in 2017. Bunting has good play recognition but it is his reaction and recovery speed that allows these takeaways to happen. Watch here the multiple ways he makes plays:

Bunting may not be the most talented corner on the board but lands in a great spot for fantasy production. The Buccaneers employed one of the worst secondaries in the NFL last season and were incredibly thin at cornerback. Bunting comes in with an instant opportunity to start as the Buccaneers spent a second round pick on him. This shows that they have faith in Bunting being a starting corner.

4) Deandre Baker- New York Giants

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College Stats: 36 Games, 116 tackles (83 solo), four tackles for a loss, one sack, 23 passes defended, seven interceptions, tow forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Baker is yet another great cover corner from the 2019 draft. He does not have quite the size as some other corners but his ball skills are top-notch. Deandre Baker was originally only a 3 star recruit out of high school but continued working on his trade and has turned into a true lock-down corner. Watch the clip here as he shows his high football IQ coming up with plays in a variety of situations and coverages:

Baker was drafted at the tail end of the first round by the New York Giants. He has a real opportunity to be targeted heavily during his rookie season as he will play across from Janoris Jenkins who is a very solid and proven cover corner in his own right. the rookie will be tested early.

5) Julian Love- New York Giants

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College Stats: 38 Games, 176 tackles (126 solo), six tackles for a loss, 39 passes defended, five interceptions, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and three touchdowns.

Julian Love has an extreme level of aggression to him. He broke up 39 passes while in college and is a very sure and hard hitting tackler. Love is the perfect size to play the slot for the Giants, a spot where the Giants have been lacking in talent. Love’s aggression shows up all over tape as you can see here:

This is the second Giants corner  in the top five but both have paths to good production. He has the strength and aggression to cover tight ends in the NFL. Love also has the ability to play outside if needed and can be the third receiver. If needed, Love could also drop to either safety position. Love’s versatility is what puts him into the top five of this rookie class.

Summary

There are plenty of talented cornerbacks coming out of the 2019 draft. These are the corners who should see plenty of targets and have ability to produce solid fantasy numbers. It is a long season and injuries happen so there is a good chance a vast majority of these rookies see the field in the upcoming season.

Check in at IDPGuys.org for our entire list of Rookie IDP Rankings. Check out the @IDPGuys and @F3Pod podcasts for all of the fantasy football knowledge you need. Follow me on Twitter @JoeyTheToothIDP. Remember…the Tooth has the taste for IDP.

 

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I have played IDP 6 YRS, fantasy for 10. Writing for the greater good of IDP, if it's not IDP it's not fantasy football.