What Does A Cornerback Do In Football?

What Does a Cornerback Do in Football

A cornerback is a defensive player in football. The cornerback guards against the offensive team, in particular, any player that may catch the football on the offense, such as the wide receivers, tight ends, or running backs. The cornerback is one of three positions considered to be defensive backs (DB), the other two being the free safety (FS) and the strong safety (SS).

On the Field

Most of the time, cornerbacks line up opposite of wide receivers on the offense and guard them to prevent a completed pass. It can be a challenging position to play as it can be very hard to guess where a receiver or tight end may go to catch a pass. Cornerbacks line up in what is called the secondary (as in the second line of defense). If an offensive player can get past the secondary, they will most likely score.


Cornerbacks work to create turnovers on the field and break up passes. They step in wherever needed to stop the offense, whether that be making a tackle or trying to deflect an incoming pass. Cornerbacks should be large in size but also light on their feet. Being a cornerback means having many versatile roles, which is why it is one of the most challenging positions to play on any football team. Cornerbacks should be natural leaders of the defense and be able to decide their next move after taking a quick glance at the field. Additionally, cornerbacks should be capable tacklers in the event a running back gets through the first line of the defense or a receiver finds themselves open downfield.


How much do NFL cornerbacks make?

In the NFL, the average annual salary of 18 cornerbacks is over $10 million. The highest paid cornerback as of 2021 is Jalen Ramsey, who has an average annual salary of $20 million. The reason cornerbacks make so much money is due to the fact they typically guard wide receivers, who are some of the most dangerous and highly paid offensive players. As the NFL has evolved into more of a "pass-first" league over its history, an elite cornerback has become a highly valuable asset to teams.

Who are the best cornerbacks in NFL history?

The NFL has featured more than its fair share of shutdown cornerbacks, however some inevitably stand above the rest. Top cornerbacks in the NFL include Darelle Revis, Deion Sanders, and Richard Sherman. Each of these cornerbacks possessed the ability to silence even the most elite of wide receivers, keeping their teams in the game on a regular basis. Deion Sanders is a Pro Football Hall of Famer on account of his prowess at the position, and it is more than likely that Sherman and Revis will one day join him in football immortality.

What is the difference between cornerback and safety?

Cornerbacks and safeties are both classifications of defensive backs in American football, although they have slightly different roles. Cornerbacks are more frequently tasked with guarding wide receivers one-on-one, and therefore will line up on the outside edges of the field. These players need to be extremely fast and capable of making sharp turns to effectively defend receivers. Safeties on the other hand, more commonly play the middle of the field and are responsible for making adjustments where needed. This can include making tackles against the opposing tight ends, running backs, receivers, or even the quarterback. This position can be used in varying ways depending on a team's defensive preferences and what type of offense they are playing against. Safeties can frequently find themselves as the last line of defense and must be reliable tacklers. They are typically vocal leaders on the defense and have a strong understanding of defensive concepts that allow them to be successful in multiple spots on the field.