Two CBs from B1G make PFF's top-10 best players in CFB list
Pro Football Focus makes a top-101 players list before every college football season. For this year’s group of 101, two Big Ten cornerbacks made the list comfortably, inside the top-10.
No. 7 Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
“The top-graded cornerback in the nation last year at 88.5, Lewis broke out by leading the FBS with 15 passes defensed while surrendering only 36.7 percent of his targets to be completed, good for fifth-best,” said Steve Palazzolo, via profootballfocus.com. “Perhaps most impressive was his ability to maintain his strong play from start to finish in 2015, despite facing 90 targets, 10th-most in the nation. He’s excellent at staying “in-phase” with receivers when playing press coverage and he does a nice job of reading the receiver’s hands to make plays on the ball.
“Lewis will get too physical at times, but it’s that kind of tenacity that allows him to hold about against bigger receivers. He added strong play against the run at 80.1 (19th in nation) and he missed only four of his 53 tackle attempts. It’s unlikely Lewis will see another 90 targets next season as opposing offenses will likely look to avoid him much more than they did in 2015.”
No. 9 Desmond King, CB, Iowa
“King finished third overall among cornerbacks at 87.2, behind only Lewis and first round pick Jalen Ramsey,” Palazzolo said. “He has excellent ball skills, as evidenced by his eight interceptions that tied for second in the nation to go with 12 passes defensed that tied for seventh.
“King has a good feel for playing zone, often peeling off his coverage to make a play on the ball. He’s also one of the best tackling corners in the nation as he’s missed only five of his 138 tackle attempts (one out of every 27.6 attempts) and his 84.5 grade against the run ranked third in the nation in 2015.”
After Lewis and King in the top-10 came Jabrill Peppers, from Michigan at No. 16. Illinois’ Dawuane Smoot rounded out the top-20.
Palazzolo’s entire list and stat-filled descriptions of each player can be read here.