Three former Mississippi State cornerbacks are making waves in the NFL to start the 2022-2023 season.
Pro Football Focus graded Darius Slay, Martin Emerson and Cameron Dantzler within its list of top NFL cornerbacks after Week 2 games concluded. Each of these three athletes had noteworthy performances over the weekend that garnered national attention and helped them shoot up in defensive rankings.
Slay was graded as the second-best cornerback in the nation by PFF after his performance over the weekend, and for good reason. The Philadelphia Eagles defensive back had five pass breakups and two interceptions as his team defeated the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night. Those numbers didn't come against just any receiver: Slay was often tasked with controlling one of the top wideouts in the NFL in Justin Jefferson, and he only gave up one catch to the former LSU standout. He will look to continue his success on defense against the Washington Commanders in the team's next matchup.
Rookie defensive back Emerson of the Cleveland Browns has not been phased by his transition to the NFL, and he was graded as PFF's No. 11 overall cornerback heading into Week 3 of gridiron action. The 6-foot-2, 201-pound athlete recorded four solo tackles and one pass defended in the Cleveland's Sunday matchup against the New York Jets. He has totaled eight solo tackles and one assist so far this season. Emerson and the Browns will look to improve their record to 2-1 on the year as they face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.
Minnesota Vikings defender Dantzler was the final former Bulldog to be included among PFF's top 20 graded cornerbacks, coming in at No. 18 overall. The third-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft has totaled nine solo tackles this season: five against the Green Bay Packers in Week 1 and four more in the team's second game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Dantzler also had one pass defended and one stuff in his most recent outing. The Vikings didn't fare well against the Eagles, but they will look to improve as they take on the Detroit Lions this weekend.