The Five Best Cornerbacks Under Jim Harbaugh
Like most positions on defense, there have been some very good cornerbacks on the field over the last five years. I feel like No. 1 is pretty secure, but 2-5 is pretty tight.
1. Jourdan Lewis
Lewis is in the top spot and honestly, it's not really that close. While in Ann Arbor, Lewis played in 48 games with 30 starts and left as the most decorated defensive back under Jim Harbaugh. He recorded 133 tackles including 8.5 for loss and a sack and is the all-time record holder for pass breakups with 45. He picked off six passes and took one back for a touchdown, which is surprising because he shouldn't have been thrown at as much as he was. As a senior, he broke up a record 22 passes and finished the year as the Tatum-Woodson Defensive Skill Player of the Year and a consensus All-American. He was also a two-time Big Ten honoree and honorable mention All-American earlier in his career.
2. Lavert Hill
The second spot, on the other hand, was very contested, but I have to go with Lavert Hill. Even though Long was probably the cleaner, more effective cover guy, Hill's numbers, albeit it with an additional year, are good enough to earn the No. 2 spot. While at U-M, Hill played in 48 games and made 38 starts. He was a three-time All-Big Ten performer on various levels and was also recognized as a third-team All-American by the Associated Press. All told, he recorded 57 tackles including seven for loss. He broke up 29 passes, picked off six and ran two back for touchdowns, becoming one of just four players to do so.
3. David Long
I went back and forth quite a bit but I have Long at No. 3. The rangy corner played in 30 games with 26 starts and was a two-time All-Big Ten performer. He was named the 2018 Defensive Skill Player of the Year at Michigan and then left early for the NFL. While in Ann Arbor, he recorded 38 tackles including two for loss and half a sack. He also had 17 pass breakups up and three interceptions while being rarely targeted.
4. Channing Stribling
At No. 4, it's Channing Stribling. While at Michigan, Strib played in 47 games and made 18 starts. He was recognized once as an All-Big Ten performer and finished his career with 68 tackles including four for loss and a sack. He also picked off six passes, one which he returned for a touchdown, and broke up 22 passes.
5. Ambry Thomas
Finally, I have to give Ambry Thomas some love at No. 5. With a full year of eligibility left, he's almost certainly going to overtake Stribling on this list and could challenge Long as well. So far, Thomas has played in 39 games with 13 starts. He'd definitely pass Stribling in those two categories. He has piled up 54 tackles with 3.5 for loss. He has four picks and nine pass breakups and a kick return touchdown for good measure. If Thomas records 15 tackles, including one for loss and a sack, while picking off at least two passes and breaking up 13 others, he'll pass Stribling in virtually every category. Some of those numbers seem more attainable than others, but I think he's worthy of the No. 5 spot as things currently stand.