7. Damarri Mathis, cornerback
With the emergence of Patrick Surtain II in the secondary, it is vital second-year cornerback Damarri Mathis take that next step in his maturity of being an outside cornerback. Everyone seems to glance at the Los Angeles Chargers game on Monday Night Football where Mathis was picked on by Justin Herbert. Despite the numerous pass interference calls, Mathis showed resolve to make one of the biggest stops in the entire game on fourth down.
Ever since that point, Mathis became more and more confident with every snap opposite of Surtain. Mathis average per target is 6.3 and per completion is just a little under 10 yards. A point of emphasis for Mathis is closing speed to wrap up wide receivers once the ball is in their hands. Mathis showed a strong closure in his rookie season and based on his preseason it seems he’s not missed a beat.
One area where Mathis will fit in is the ability to never give up a big play. Early on in Mathis’ season, it seemed like he was a corner who was susceptible to giving up the big play, but once the year closed Mathis with a strong campaign. He would register his first-ever interception.
With Vance Joseph’s aggressive defenses in terms of blitzing, it should give the defensive backs the ability to react on the ball. If there is one thing Mathis showed is he also not afraid to go after the ball and unlock that aggressive style.