NFL

Are There Any White Cornerbacks in the NFL?

One interesting phenomenon in the NFL is the lack of white players playing cornerback. Caucasians are obviously well-represented in the NFL, and the league has 64 starting cornerbacks (not to mention nickel corners who come off the bench). So are there any white cornerbacks presently playing in the NFL?

Recent top cornerbacks in the NFL

The past few years have seen a boom in the amount of insanely talented cornerbacks. These players can change the outcome of a game by shutting down the other team’s best player. Below are a few examples of top cornerbacks in the NFL over the past decade. They rank high in both skill and popularity.

Richard Sherman

The outspoken Richard Sherman was a fixture with the Seattle Seahawks for several years before going to San Francisco. The brash Sherman is also one of the league’s more intelligent and thoughtful players. And Sherman is one of the biggest community activists in the NFL.

Darrelle Revis

The quietly effective Darrelle Revis was the league’s best cornerback with the New York Jets earlier this decade. After stints in Tampa and New England, he’s now retired. Revis’ ability to blanket the other teams’ best receivers was legendary.

Patrick Peterson

The Cardinals’ cornerback has 24 interceptions up to this point in his career. He’s also never missed a Pro Bowl, nabbing eight selections in eight tries. Peterson is always a threat to run an interception back for a touchdown with his incredible speed.

Jalen Ramsey

Known for being one of the league’s biggest trash talkers, Jalen Ramsey can certainly back it up. After early success with the Jacksonville Jaguars, he fell out of favor with the team this season and requested a trade. He ended up in Los Angeles with the Rams. 

What is one thing all these cornerbacks have in common? They’re all African American. It points to a curious trend of few cornerbacks in the NFL being white. 

Prominent white cornerbacks in NFL history

The last well-known white cornerback was Jason Sehorn, formerly of the New York Giants. Sehorn played with the Giants from 1996 to 2002. Sehorn had two incredible seasons in 1996 and 1997 before tearing his ACL returning a kick in the 1998 preseason. He was never the same player after that. He logged one year with the St. Louis Rams in 2003 at safety but was out of the league shortly thereafter. 

Sports Illustrated, however, pointed out that Sehorn wasn’t truly the last white cornerback. Here’s what it had to say

“To be fair, though, calling Sehorn the last of the white cornerbacks means ignoring the dozen or so snaps Dustin Fox played for the Eagles and the Bills in 2006 and ’07. It means overlooking Ethan Kilmer’s single magnificent snap as a corner for the Bengals in ’06, and it completely neglects another member of the Cincinnati secondary that season, the real Sehorn – the last white player to start a regular-season NFL game at the position.

(For the record, the tight-knit cornerback fraternity seems to respect Patriots receiver Julian Edelman for the spot duty he pulled over 13 regular-season games in ’11).”

So while it’s clear that not many players at the position are white, does that mean there are currently zero white cornerbacks in the league? 

Are there any white cornerbacks in the NFL right now? 

There are currently no white cornerbacks in the NFL. It’s unclear why there are no white players at the position, as essentially every other position has white players.

It’s a mystery, but Sehorn was the last prominent white cornerback, with very few others sprinkled throughout the years in the interim between Sehorn’s retirement and now. Julian Edelman’s stint as a nickel corner represents the last one.

The website Thank God It’s Saturday compiled a somewhat satirical countdown list of college football’s greatest white cornerbacks in the “hopes” of another one reaching the NFL. It’s a subject that comes up every few years and makes the rounds among fans and media. 

The NFL is a “win-now” league. Every team is trying to field the best possible team it can. If a white cornerback appeared tomorrow who was qualified to start for one of the league’s 32 teams, rest assured the player would get signed.