Ranking the NFL’s top 10 slot corners in passer rating allowed: Rams’ Cobie Durant and Dolphins’ Jalen Ramsey make the list

2M6KB0A INGLEWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 25: Los Angeles Rams cornerback Cobie Durant (14) gets a interception with 84 yard interception during the Denver Broncos vs

  • Cobie Durant sits alone at the top: The 2022 fourth-round pick played just 281 snaps on the season, but 258 of those snaps came in the last six weeks of the season. Primarily working from the slot, Durant posted a 74.3 coverage grade.
  • Rachad Wildgoose not far behind: On just 196 total snaps, Wildgoose allowed under 100 yards and zero touchdowns in his first season with actual playing time.
  • Tyler Hall ready to replace Nate Hobbs in the slot: On the season, Hall allowed under 50 yards in coverage while breaking up four passes and not giving up a single touchdown.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Last week, we looked at the top 10 corners in NFL passer rating allowed from an outside alignment. This week, we are looking at the same but from a slot alignment, a role that is becoming increasingly important in football.

Here are the 10 best among qualified corners that had 100 or more coverage snaps when in the slot. 

1. Cobie Durant, Los Angeles Rams

  • NFL passer rating allowed: 48.7
  • Slot coverage snaps: 104

Durant started off his career on the right foot in Los Angeles last season as a rookie. The 2022 fourth-round pick played just 281 snaps on the season, but 258 of those snaps came in the last six weeks. Primarily working from the slot, Durant posted a 74.3 coverage grade.

His best performance was against the Denver Broncos in Week 16, as he finished with a career-high 94.7 PFF grade. Durant played some in the slot as well as on the outside in that outing, in which he allowed just two receptions for 13 yards and also managed to snag two interceptions. With Jalen Ramsey departing to Miami, Durant will have his opportunity to shine in 2023.

2. Rachad Wildgoose, Washington Commanders

  • NFL passer rating allowed: 56.5
  • Slot coverage snaps: 114

The former sixth-round selection has played sparingly to this point in his young NFL career. Last season, he saw his most work, manning the slot role at times for the Commanders. Though he only started in three games, Wildgoose showed some flashes.

He had a two-week stretch against Tennessee and Chicago where he posted back-to-back 79.9 and 77.7 coverage grades. In those outings, Wildgoose was targeted three times and allowed just one catch for 10 yards while breaking up a pass. On just 196 total snaps, Wildgoose allowed under 100 yards and zero touchdowns in his first season with actual playing time.

3. Tyler Hall, Las Vegas Raiders

  • NFL passer rating allowed: 58.7
  • Slot coverage snaps: 122

Hall was an undrafted free agent in 2020 and hasn’t really found a steady place to call home since. However, that may have changed, as he had a silent breakout year in Las Vegas with an 86.9 PFF grade last season on 218 snaps. He didn’t appear in a game until Week 11, but his snap count picked up steam from that point forward.

Hall performed phenomenally against San Francisco in Week 17, as he was targeted twice and broke up both passes. That led him to a career-high 90.4 coverage grade, which is elite. On the season, Hall allowed under 50 yards in coverage while breaking up four passes and not giving up a single touchdown. The Raiders may have found their new slot corner as Nate Hobbs transitions to the outside.

4. Tavierre Thomas, Houston Texans

  • NFL passer rating allowed: 59.0
  • Slot coverage snaps: 209

Thomas shared the slot role in Houston with veteran Desmond King II. If you look at coverage grades, they will tell you he performed better as well. Over the past two seasons, Thomas posted 76.1 and 75.0 grades in that department — marks that King has not hit since 2018.

He started to get more playing time down the stretch, as he started in six of the last 10 games. Thomas has improved greatly after seeing limited snaps in three years for Cleveland. Now, new head coach Demeco Ryans gets to build his young defense in Houston, and Thomas might be his guy in the slot moving forward.

5. Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore Ravens

  • NFL passer rating allowed: 60.4
  • Slot coverage snaps: 127

Humphrey is the only guy to make both lists from an outside and a slot alignment. Humphrey has transitioned to the outside after starting his career mainly from the slot. He can still thrive in that role, as he didn’t allow a touchdown and grabbed an interception in slot coverage a season ago.

Humphrey excels in man coverage and has the ability to stick with shifty slot receivers. It is hard to find a better corner from a slot alignment, as Humphrey has the experience and consistent performance to back up that statement.

6. Bradley Roby, New Orleans Saints

  • NFL passer rating allowed: 61.6
  • Slot coverage snaps: 189

The 31-year-old veteran has shown he can still play and not be a total liability in coverage. Although last season was the lowest-graded season of his career, he still showed some promise. He allowed just one touchdown pass all season but also got his hands on the ball with five total pass breakups.

Contributing 628 snaps is impressive at his age. The former first-round selection back in 2014 has had a great career and will likely see his snaps dwindle moving forward. However, he adds a veteran presence to the secondary room that you simply cannot quantify.

7. Essang Bassey, Denver Broncos

  • NFL passer rating allowed: 62.8
  • Slot coverage snaps: 126

Bassey was a rotational corner for the Broncos last season, helping his teammate, K’Waun Williams, who is next on this list. He played just 222 snaps last season, but 173 came from a slot alignment. On 126 of those snaps, he dropped into coverage, where he was targeted 16 times and allowed eight receptions for 73 yards.

Bassey did not allow a touchdown from a slot alignment, and his 15.8 snaps per reception ranked first among the qualified corners. Although he isn’t a projected starter, he has proven to be a more-than-solid rotational piece in the secondary and a plus player in special teams.

8. K’Waun Williams, Denver Broncos

  • NFL passer rating allowed: 74.4
  • Slot coverage snaps: 342

Williams had the most coverage snaps from the slot of the corners that made this list. He also did not allow a touchdown from that alignment. Against Jacksonville in Week 8, he put forth his best performance of the season, posting a 90.8 coverage grade. He was targeted three times and delivered a pass breakup and an interception against Trevor Lawrence.

The soon-to-be 32-year-old offers that veteran presence we have talked about to a young secondary in Denver, led by superstar Patrick Surtain II. Assuming Bassey doesn’t take over the slot role, Williams will have a solid young player to rotate with him once again.

9. Rasul Douglas, Green Bay Packers

  • NFL passer rating allowed: 75.9
  • Slot coverage snaps: 114

Douglas really has hit his stride in Green Bay after struggling to find his footing in Philadelphia and Carolina. He typically plays on the outside, but he performed well from the slot last season. He also did not allow a touchdown from a slot alignment in 2022.

Douglas has put up back-to-back career-high coverage grades in Green Bay — 77.2 and 71.5. He has also had some phenomenal ball production since joining the Packers, totaling nine interceptions and 14 pass breakups over the past two seasons. Douglas and teammate Jaire Alexander have solidified themselves as one of the best corner tandems in the league.

10. Jalen Ramsey, Miami Dolphins

  • NFL passer rating allowed: 79.7
  • Slot coverage snaps: 136

Ramsey has been one of the best since he was drafted by Jacksonville in 2016. A true jack-of-all-trades, Ramsey has been able to perform at the highest level both on the outside and in the slot. Operating what was called the “star” role in Los Angeles, he played much more from a slot alignment for the Rams than he did for the Jaguars.

Talk about ball production… Over the past two seasons, Ramsey has had eight interceptions and 26 pass breakups. The underrated part of his game is his ability to stick his nose in the run game, which is vital for any corner in the slot, as they are much closer to the box. He had a career-high 91.8 run defense grade a season ago. Now, the question is where will defensive coordinator Vic Fangio value him in Miami? My guess is likely on the outside but regardless, Ramsey paired with teammate Xavien Howard is going to be an elite duo for the Dolphins.


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