Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Sherman ‘still one of the best’ but snubbed from ESPN’s top 10 cornerbacks list

Jul 16, 2020 at 5:53 AM--

George Kittle, Trent Williams, Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, and Fred Warner. The San Francisco 49ers have been well represented in ESPN's rankings of those who are among the best at their respective positions. Writer Jeremy Fowler conducted an extensive poll involving 50 league executives, coaches, scouts, and players to compile the rankings. On Thursday, he released the list of the top 10 cornerbacks.

Richard Sherman was not on the list.

He was the first cornerback to receive honorable mention, though, indicating that he just missed the top 10.

"How smart he is makes up for the physical limitations at this stage," said one NFL executive. "If he doesn't win at the line, he can struggle with instant separators, in-breaking stuff. Or if hit vertically, can be tough to recover. But from a ball skills standpoint and football instincts, toughness, tackling, still one of the best."

Sherman's overall Pro Football Focus grade of 88.9 was the second-highest of his career and his best mark since 2012, his second season in the league. He racked up 61 tackles, three interceptions, a touchdown, and 11 passes defensed through 15 starts in 2019, according to Pro Football Reference.

Unsurprising to most, Stephon Gilmore of the New England Patriots came in at the No. 1 spot on Fowler's list. The cornerback was a popular pick among our staff, which was recently asked to identify one non-quarterback who they would pluck from another team for one season to help San Francisco win Super Bowl LV.

Byron Jones of the Miami Dolphins earned the final spot in ESPN's list of the top 10 cornerbacks.

"A voting logjam at 10 made this difficult," notes Fowler, "but Jones separated from Richard Sherman and third-year corners Jaire Alexander and Denzel Ward. The former Dallas Cowboy's man-coverage traits are among the best."

Sherman, 32, is a five-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time first-team All-Pro. He is entering his third season with the 49ers and the final year of the deal he signed in 2018.

The Seattle Seahawks made Sherman a fifth-round pick out of Stanford in 2011. He spent seven seasons in Seattle before signing with division-rival San Francisco.

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