All-Decade: Ranking the top DBs from the 2010s
The decade is coming to an end and the years from 2010-19 were loaded with talent. Here’s how we rank the top defensive backs of the decade based on how good they were out of high school.
MORE ALL-DECADE: Top QB | Top RB | Top WR/TE | Top OL | Top DT | Top DE | Top LB | Biggest flips | Programs trending up, down | Biggest busts | Ranking the No. 1s | Crazy recruiting storylines in 2010
1. Derek Stingley, Jr.
Stingley Jr. is the only cornerback to ever land at No. 1 overall in the country and he’s off to a great start at LSU. He had it all – size, length, hops, speed and a physical nature to be a great corner and he will be the No. 1 player taken at his position in the 2022 NFL Draft barring injury.
2. Jabrill Peppers
Peppers started his career in high school as a lock down cornerback and then played a hybrid role his senior year. He also could have been an elite running back in college. At Michigan he did it all for the Wolverines and he became a first-round draft pick. He’s now with the New York Giants in the NFL.
3. Vernon Hargreaves III
Hargreaves had a lot of fans on the Rivals.com staff, but I wasn’t one of them. However, majority ruled and he was the No. 2 prospect in the country his year. It’s not that I didn’t like him, I just thought his lack of size might hurt him. However he had a very good career at Florida and became a first-rounder in the NFL, so he checked all the boxes.
4. Shaq Thompson
Thompson was a safety playing in a linebackers body in high school and was the biggest hitter on this list. He went to Washington and had a very good career and became a first-rounder in the NFL. He’s still playing at the highest level as a linebacker.
5. Derwin James
James is the best safety I have ever scouted as his motor, athleticism and instincts were amazing. He could make plays third yards downfield or 10 yards in the offensive backfield. He had a great career at Florida State and became a first-rounder as expected.
6. Quin Blanding
Blanding was a very smart player with excellent ball skills and a great feel for the game. He had a stellar career at Virginia but was undrafted for some reason. He’s now with the Carolina Panthers in the NFL and he will have a long pro career.
7. Keenan Allen
Allen is more known for his wide receiver success at Cal and in the NFL with the Chargers, but he was also one of the best safety prospects I’ve seen. He committed to Alabama early and was coveted by Nick Saban, but flipped to Cal to play offense and play with his brother. He’s one of the NFL’s top players.
8. Iman Marshall
Marshall was a huge cornerback with excellent instincts and leadership and was thought to be a can’t-miss in college. His career at USC was a bit of a disappointment but he was drafted in the fourth round and is currently with the Baltimore Ravens.
9. Hasean Clinton-Dix
Clinton-Dix was a lean, slick safety with amazing ball skills and a knack for being in the right place at the right time. He had a great career at Alabama and he was a first-rounder and is still playing in the NFL.
10. Kendall Fuller
Fuller was one of the most instinctive cornerbacks I’ve covered and anticipated the quarterback’s read often before the snap. He had a solid career at Virginia Tech but an injury landed him in the third-round of the draft. He’s now with the Kansas City Chiefs.