Wide receiver matchups against cornerbacks is one of the most popular fantasy football topics we cover here at PFF — and for good reason. Understanding who a wideout is going to line up against is a huge advantage versus those who still use fantasy points against to gauge matchup strength.
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In most instances, wideouts will see coverage from multiple corners in a given game. Shadow coverage — where the corner actually tracks the receiver across the formation — isn’t nearly as common as many think. There are multiple reasons why, but one of them has to do with whether or not the corner is actually capable of shadowing.
With that in mind, I wanted to take a look at the top corners in this year’s draft class to see if any of these rookies were asked to shadow at the college level. We can then use this information and the player's landing spot to speculate on whether the corner has the chance of being used as a shadow in the NFL. For this study, I looked at the first- and second-round picks, which was a total of nine players. Of that group, five corners did not shadow in 2019 — both Ohio State corners, Jeffrey Okudah and Damon Arnette, along with Noah Igbinoghene, Trevon Diggs and Kristian Fulton.
So that leaves us with C.J. Henderson, A.J. Terrell, Jeff Gladney and Jaylon Johnson. None of these guys were every-week shadows, which isn’t surprising at all. However, all four were asked to shadow in matchups against higher-profile wideouts. So let’s break these down one-by-one.