The San Francisco 49ers gave Nate Clements an eight-year, $80 million contract in 2007, of which $22 million was guaranteed. This was the largest contract ever given to a defensive player in NFL history at the time.
Because of the empty backfield, one-running back and multi-receiver sets, teams feel it’s important to have three cornerbacks on the field a high percentage of the time, in order to match up against all the fast wide receivers.
Tramon Williams, Green Bay’s third corner, played in almost 75 percent of the Packers’ defensive plays in 2008 and had five interceptions.
The feeling around the league is that you can never have too many good cornerbacks. The key trait for this position is speed — speed to break on the ball, speed to turn and run with a wide receiver and speed to come up in run support.
In NFL draft history, only one defensive back has been selected with the first overall pick (Gary Glick by Pittsburgh in 1956). Since 1996, the highest a cornerback has been drafted is third, when Seattle took Shawn Springs. There seems to be a very good group of senior corners for this draft.