Matt Williamson is a former scout for the Cleveland Browns and spent 10 years at ESPN as a scout and co-host of “The Football Today Podcast.”
What if you were to build the ideal player at every position? We decided to do exactly that by taking the head, eyes, arm/hands, body, and feet of a great player and assembling the ideal specimen. We also decided that you could only use one aspect of each player and that we could not double-dip. We conclude the series with defensive backs.
McCourty is the unsung hero of Bill Belichick’s defense. A former first-round pick, McCourty came into the league as a cornerback prospect, but quickly switched to safety. The reality is that McCourty can do both very well.
He can play man coverage in the slot. He can play deep center field. He can play near the line of scrimmage. McCourty is certainly talented, but his head for the game is what endears him to Belichick and allows the Patriots to use him effectively in so many ways. He is the glue to this defense.
Like Ed Reed before him, Thomas patrols the deep middle of the field like no other in the game right now. He is the great eraser of mistakes made by those in front of him in Seattle‘s defense and this unit clearly was not the same at the end of the 2017 campaign while Thomas was sidelined.
He is a special player on a Hall of Fame career path and quite possibly the most important player on the historic run this Seahawks’ defense is currently on. Thomas is a striker and has great range, but his vision of the entire field and ability to read the quarterback are what makes Thomas truly great.
A wide receiver in college, Sherman‘s ball skills are very apparent and throwing his way often results in a negative play for the offense. He has long arms and soft, but strong, hands, that he uses very well to jam receivers, especially when the ball is in the air.
Having a great pass rush in front of him and Thomas behind him for almost the entirety of Sherman’s career has allowed him to take more chances than many cornerbacks, but Sherman is obviously a terrific player in his own right and a very dangerous cover man to attack.
Ramsey is on the verge of stardom. It will be very interesting to see if A.J. Bouye or Ramsey are targeted more in 2017 in what should be an excellent Jaguars‘ defense. Ramsey is clearly athletic enough to excel as a cornerback, but also has the size to play safety. Coming out of Florida State, there was much discussion as to how to best utilize Ramsey’s wealth of talents.
Jacksonville has not employed this young man in a wide variety of ways yet, but Ramsey is certainly capable. While the talent here is overwhelming, it’s Ramsey’s size that stands out most and separates him from other talented early round picks at the cornerback position. Few noticed because it was with the Jaguars, but Ramsey finished up his rookie season extremely strong. It might not be long at all before he is the best cornerback in all of football.
Few cornerbacks excel like Harris does both in the slot and on the perimeter.
If you think about it, the responsibilities between those two alignments are very different, as is the type of receiver Harris has to cover week to week. Unlike most top cornerbacks, Harris didn’t enter the league billed as a physical freak or as an early round selection. But Harris is a master technician with great tenacity and competitiveness.
His greatest physical asset though is very sweet feet. He plants his foot in the ground and drives extremely well. Harris is also very light on his feet in terms of changing direction, while usually staying in the hip pocket of his receiver. He’s a great player.
Other entries in the series:
- Building the perfect NFL quarterback
- Building the perfect NFL running back
- Building the perfect NFL wide receiver
- Building the perfect NFL tight end
- Building the perfect NFL offensive lineman
- Building the perfect NFL defensive lineman
- Building the perfect NFL linebacker
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