Law helps Patriots set the bar

Updated: August 3, 2004, 4:13 PM ET
By Todd McShay | Scouts, Inc.
A great set of cornerbacks makes up for a lot of sins. Not only can a top cover tandem help make up for a lack of a pass rush by allowing the unit to blitz more, it also can help bolster a run defense by allowing for more eight-man fronts with a safety cheated up closer to the line of scrimmage, essentially as a fourth linebacker.

More cornerbacks on average (4.3) have been selected in the first round and in the first day (12) of the last three drafts than any other position on defense. Furthermore, with many stud cornerbacks up for free agency this past offseason, the league experienced a carousel at the position.

The importance of the position was highlighted in the recruiting process and the money spent to sign or re-sign top corners such as Champ Bailey (Broncos), Fernando Bryant (Lions), Chris McAlister (re-signed, Ravens), Shawn Springs (Redskins), Bobby Taylor (Seahawks), Troy Vincent (Bills) and Antoine Winfield (Vikings).

With so many new faces from the last few drafts and following an offseason with such tremendous turnover at the position, here's a look at the teams that are best equipped at the most critical position on defense.

Todd McShay

ESPN Senior Writer