Corner Backs to the Wall - CJ Henderson

IDP – Rookie (Corner) backs against the wall

Part 2 of our IDP rookie series takes to the chain pulling, trash-talking, pick-sixing, deep field territory occupied by cornerbacks.

Note: Before we go any further it is always worth noting that CBs are generally only ever worth drafting in leagues with a specific CB designation. Should your league use the DB designation, your aim should almost always be to draft safeties.

Jeffrey Okudah & C.J. Henderson

Okudah and Henderson are undoubtedly the best CB prospects from the 2020 draft. Sitting a tier above their fellow rookie classmates. Should the fellow top 10 picks live up to their immense potential, fantasy managers may be forced to look elsewhere. True shutdown corners force Quarterbacks to look the other way and become less involved. Less involvement = less points.

What can I say? Okudah is a true generational, pro-bowl ready cornerback. It provides Detroit with an instant upgrade from the recently departed Darius Slay. With an almost perfect NFL physique, a football IQ off the charts and the instinct to back it up, Okudah will frustrate NFC North pass-catchers and Quarterbacks alike.

Davante Adams-aside, the NFC North lacks any true stud wide receivers that can truly test Okudah’s mettle. Do not be surprised by a small stat-line from rookie Okudah. As Rodgers, Cousins and Foles look towards the other side of the field.

Henderson provides Duval with a successor for former 1st round pick Jalen Ramsey and almost instantly validates trading away the mouthy corner. Having also lost AJ Bouye in free agency, Henderson will stroll into the Jacksonville cornerback room and straight to the top of the depth chart.

Having lost DeAndre Hopkins to the NFC West, the division appears to lack any scary pass-catchers. Look closer though and A.J. Brown, Ty Hilton, Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks will certainly test Henderson’s NFL chops and provide the Florida Gator with the opportunity to validate his high draft capital.

Trevon Diggs

Diggs was a key pick in Jerry Jones’ highly lauded 2020 draft class. Drafting with ruthlessness befitting his ‘Bond villain’ million-dollar yacht location, the ‘Boys snagged the hugely rated talent in the 2nd round. Joining future superstar 1st round choice CeeDee Lamb. Diggs looks to usher in a revamped Dallas roster that needs to improve on a poor 2019.

Having begun his Alabama career at wide receiver (like his Buffalo Bills brother Steffon). Diggs displays a slight rawness to his game as he learns the intricacies and nuances of the position. However, NFL coaches will be aching to sculpt his natural ability into a stud cornerback.

The Crimson Tide product will be paired with IDP favourite Chidobe Awuzie. He will be thrown headfirst into his NFL education taking on the NFC East pass-catchers. A great 2019 with 37 tackles, 3 interceptions and 8 passes defended speaks volumes for Diggs football IQ.

Couple a weak Quarterback schedule against Daniel Jones, Dwayne Haskins and Cason Wentz. With the speed, size and great hands you expect from a receiver convert. We could see Diggs become the first rookie to be celebrating a pick-six.

AJ Terrell

Following the running theme of instantly starting CB rookies. Atlanta continues to demonstrate just how big a need cornerback was for many NFL teams.

After upgrading the offensive line in the draft and adding a running back and a tight end in free agency. The Falcons secondary was in major need of some love. Though the free-scoring Matty Ice, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley offence have been impressive. The shootout nature of the 2019 Falcons can be largely blamed on a sub-par secondary. Enter AJ Terell.

The Clemson Tiger followed a spectacular 54 tackle, 3 interception 2018 with a solid 2019 final college campaign. Sadly Terrell was embarrassed in front of the nation by LSU’s all-conquering offence, which do doubt sent red flags to all 32 front offices.

His lesson in coverage by LSU will have divisional pass-catchers lick their lips. Yet in IDP, a rookie corner targeted by opposing offensive coaches can become a potential goldmine. The aforementioned Chidobe Awuzie racked crazy numbers in his rookie season. Recording tackles and picks buoyed by an increased workload.

4.49 speed, a 6’1” frame and a penchant for tackling. It could see the lesser-talented Terrell put up higher numbers than his rookie contemporaries.

Kristian Fulton

How do you replace one of the most dominant IDP players of the last few years? Following Detroit, Jacksonville and Dallas’ lead, Tennessee decided to take a chance on rookie Fulton rather than overpay their veteran Logan Ryan. The LSU product will be delighted to test his mettle in the AFC South’s more CB friendly landscape.

Another specialist in coverage, Fulton could be another rookie for whom the stat line does not tell the full story. The latest product from the famed Louisiana DBU. Fulton bid farewell to college football with 32 tackles, 13 passes defended and 7 interceptions.

Like fellow rookie Terrell, Fulton’s draft stock was hurt by poor nationally televised games against Texas and Clemson. Scouts were less than impressed with his 50/50 skills. Which could put him in the crosshairs for Tannehill, Minshew and Deshaun Watson.

The new Titian is quick, tall and a solid tackler. His record of high passes defended displays tremendous football IQ and ball tracking skills. In a Hopkins-less AFC South, Fulton could genuinely become one of the highest-scoring rookie CBs.

So that’s the Cornerbacks covered. No pun intended. 

-Dre @lil_carat

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