Friday, August 7, 2020

AFC East: The NFL’s Best Secondary?

Plenty of fans and pundits like to compare the divisions in the NFL. The AFC East is often ridiculed for the lack of success of the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets allowing the New England Patriots to win it every year.

However, one area the AFC East seems to excel in is the strength of the division’s secondary. With two AFC East cornerbacks and one AFC East safety in the 2020 Pro Bowl, does the AFC East have the league’s best secondary?

In March 2020, Miami Dolphins acquired former Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones through free agency. He will now go into a cornerback room alongside Xavien Howard. Both cornerbacks made the 2018 Pro Bowl and are also two of the three best paid corners in the NFL, behind new Philadelphia Eagle Darius Slay.

Oct 14, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins corner back Xavien Howard (25) reacts to retrieving a fumble during the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Miami also drafted cornerback Noah Igbinoghene late in the 2020 first round. He could also add to a very stacked Miami cornerback room and as a former wide receiver in college, he has the potential to move into the safety position.

Safeties Eric Rowe and Bobby McCain both showed potential last year to become great defensive backs for the franchise.

On the 16th of July, New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore was announced as a member of the Madden 21 99 Club. This is after he was named Defensive Player of the Year for an impressive 2019 season.

Gilmore after winning Defensive Player Of The Year.

The Patriots also have the McCourty twins, with Devin at safety and Jason at corner. Devin is a two time Pro Bowler and Jason has 18 career interceptions.

The Buffalo Bills appear to back to the old days with play off appearances in the past three seasons. They also have one of the league’s best corners in Tre’Davious White. White made the Pro Bowl in 2019 after six interceptions in the regular season.

The Bills also have former 2017 Pro Bowler Micah Hyde at safety who is the ninth best rated safety in Madden 21.

White and Hyde celebrating for the Bills against the Dolphins.

The New York Jets would have been another mention if they hadn’t traded away Jamal Adams to the Seattle Seahawks. They are the weak link in this division.

For me, the other divisions that can battle with the AFC East are the AFC West and NFC West.

The AFC West has Super Bowl Champion Tyrann Mathieu from the Kansas City Chiefs and Derwin James of the Los Angeles Chargers at the safety position, the latter who will hope to have a bounce back year in 2020 after an injury hit 2019.

Mathieu holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl 54 in Miami.

The Los Angeles Chargers also have Casey Hayward at corner.

Whilst the AFC West is the AFC East’s nearest competitor for safety talent, the NFC West is a great division for cornerback talent.

The Los Angeles Rams have three time Pro Bowler Jalen Ramsey, the Arizona Cardinals have eight time Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson and the San Francisco 49ers have five time Pro Bowler Richard Sherman.

Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson whilst Sherman was at Seattle.

The aforementioned Jamal Adams has moved from the AFC East to the NFC West. The new Seattle Seahawk is a great addition to the division.

In conclusion, the NFC West cornerback room is arguably just as good as the AFC East and the AFC West safety room is just as good as the AFC East. However, neither of the two West’s have strength at both cornerback and safety unlike the AFC East and this is why the AFC East is the division with the best secondary in the NFL.

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