Touchdown Wire ranks Dolphins Xavien Howard as fifth-best outside CB

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Before the 2022 NFL season begins, this is the time of year when fans and media alike argue over player rankings, and who’s better than who.

This week, Touchdown Wire released their list of the top 12 outside cornerbacks in the NFL, and the Miami Dolphins were represented by Xavien Howard appearing at No. 5 on the list.

Here’s what Touchdown Wire’s Mark Schofield had to say about Howard:

“For the past few seasons, Xavien Howard has been among the top man-coverage cornerbacks in the entire NFL. His 2020 campaign put him in contention for Defensive Player of the Year honors, as he finished third behind Aaron Donald and T.J. Watt. The reason? Howard posted a league-leading ten interceptions.

While he did not produce at the same level a season ago, Howard remained a lockdown option in man coverage for the Miami Dolphins. He posted five interceptions a year ago, along with 16 passes defended.”

Being called the fifth-best outside cornerback in the league is definitely a compliment, but who’s ahead of him? A.J. Terrell of the Atlanta Falcons was No. 4, J.C. Jackson of the Los Angeles Chargers was No. 3, Jaire Alexander of the Green Bay Packers was No. 2 and their top outside cornerback was Jalen Ramsey of the Los Angeles Rams.

All of these players are extremely talented and deserve to be considered among the best in the league, but there could be some real questions about if they’re truly better than Howard.

Since entering the league in 2016, no one has had more interceptions than Howard. However, interceptions aren’t always the best indication of coverage skill because quarterbacks will often shy away from throwing at some of the more elite cornerbacks.

According to Pro Football Reference, of these players, Howard has a career passer rating against of 74.8. The only player on this list who is lower is Jackson at 46.6. With Jackson being behind Stephon Gilmore in New England for the majority of his career, he didn’t always see the top receiver on the other team like Howard has.

Still, it’s hard to be mad at a top-five ranking.

List

List of Dolphins players heading into the final year of their contracts in 2022