SBNation.com's Ryan Van Bibber has released his 2012 cornerback rankings for the NFL; and he seems to like what the Dallas Cowboys have done to overhaul one of 2011's weakest position groups.
The Cowboys slide into the rankings in the fourth slot, behind the New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens and division rival Philadelphia Eagles. Now, I'll easily give credit to the Jets tandem of Revis and Cromartie, and if there was a corner I would've given up draft picks for it would have been restricted free agent LeDarius Webb of Baltimore; I do question Philly's ranking as the third best.
Nnamdi Asomugha proved that he had limitations I argued vehemently with JimmyK and ESPN's Dana Jacobsen on Twitter last summer; he was never asked to do anything but cover the backside receiver and never traveled with his man across the field. Not saying he wasn't elite at what he did, but I was saying he wasn't anywhere near Revis' level nor was he going to be the next, versatile Charles Woodson. Dominique Cromartie didn't play that well, either, but looking towards 2012, Philly's defensive coordinator should have tweaked their scheme to allow both to play press coverage; much like what we expect to see in Big D.
As for Dallas, there's a lot of "looking forward" to their ranking too.
Make the jump...
Brandon Carr will be lining up on the left side for the first time in his career and ball hawking rookie Morris Claiborne is, well, a rookie. Press coverage on the outside should place less of a burden on slotman Orlando Scandrick and hopefully let him prove he was worth the extension he signed in 2010.
Here's van Bibber's take on the group:
Best Player: Brandon Carr
Visions of Eli Manning throwing practice reps against the secondary no doubt influenced Dallas' offseason plans. Not only did the Cowboys sign a legitimate No. 1 corner in free agency in Carr, they drafted one as well, trading up to the sixth pick for Morris Claiborne. Orlando Scandrick looks like a lock in the slot role. Disgruntled Mike Jenkins could be dealt during training camp. If they can find a path to appeasement, keeping Jenkins gives them even more depth.
NFC East rival and the Super Bowl champion New York Giants came in 11th, while the bottom-feeding Washington Redskins ranked 26th. I guess Ryan agrees with Jay Cutler that he'd still target DeAngelo Hall each and every time, too.
What are your thoughts on the rankings? Are the Cowboys too unproven to be this high? What could a Top 5 CB group mean to this defense? Let us know in the comments.