No. 4: Cornerback Stephon Gilmore
New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore may not have been the first name who popped into some fans’ heads when speaking of the top corners in the league going into the 2019 season, but ask his peers about the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and you will see a tremendous amount of respect for the Patriots’ cornerback.
Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Mike Daniels, speaking on the NFL Network’s Top 100 players said this about Gilmore’s interception and overall play in the Super Bowl against the Los Angeles Rams:
"He had his mind-set that y’all are not going to be getting into the end zone today. It’s not happening today. That snatches your soul, because that lets you know there’s nothing we can do. We had it; they took it from us."
Gilmore may be overshadowed by more boisterous, popular or flashy corners like the Rams’ Jalen Ramsey, Denver’s Chris Harris Jr., Arizona’s Patrick Peterson or even San Francisco’s own, Richard Sherman, but the three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro has thrived in the Patriots’ system with the versatility to play predominantly single-man coverage or disguise a zone on occasion.
Adding him to the 49ers secondary as a complement to Sherman (or his eventual replacement) along with the Niners’ dominant defensive front would truly be something to see.