Elite cornerbacks can take the opposing team's top receiver out of the picture, limiting the quarterback's options and giving the defenders up front more time to make a play. But a below-average corner can be a defense's worst nightmare. Poor play at the position can prove extremely costly and usually winds up costing defenses a lot of yards. In the 31st installment of the Draft Dose series, PFW looks at five teams in need of a cornerback:
San Francisco does not have a shut-down corner on its roster and could be in the mix for LSU CB Patrick Peterson with the No. 7 selection in this year's draft. The 49ers spent $80 million on CB Nate Clements in 2007, but he has lost a step and is now better suited for more of a slot-type role. CB Shawntae Spencer is serviceable, but had a lot of breakdowns last season.
Houston finished at the bottom of the league in passing defense last season, surrendering 267.5 yards per game though the air. CB Kareem Jackson started all 16 games, but struggled at times and saw his playing time reduced late in the season. CB Glover Quin didn't live up to expectations after a strong rookie season and CB Jason Allen, who was claimed off waivers after being let go by the Dolphins, struggled with deep coverage. Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara could be available at No. 11.
Even with Pro Bowl CB Nnamdi Asomugha on the roster, Oakland was in need of a cornerback last year. Considering the Raiders are not expected to spend the money needed to keep their top player in town, it's safe to say a cornerback or two could be added. Stanford Routt started 15 games but was picked on plenty.
The Steelers' top corner, Ike Taylor, is set to become a free agent and could leave Pittsburgh with a big hole to fill. The other starting cornerback, Bryant McFadden, played well in run support but has not been able to match up with elite receivers. CB William Gay is an effective No. 3, but the Steelers don't want to move him from that spot.
Pro Bowl CB Asante Samuel was productive all season, but the play opposite him was another story. Ellis Hobbs' neck injury, which is expected to force him into retirement, left the team without a second dependable, every-down corner. CB Joselio Hanson played well as the nickel back but CB Dimitri Patterson was ineffective and 2010 fourth-rounder Trevard Lindley was a disappointment.