Football analysis has reached a new era in which player participation data has allowed us to analyze, predict and project wide receiver/cornerback matchups.
Though this data becomes exceptionally useful during the regular season, a thorough examination of each team's depth chart can allow us to determine strength of schedule for each wide receiver before the season even begins. Strength of schedule is one of many variables that allow us to generate rankings, projections and draft-day decisions, and WR/CB matchup data allows us to take that analysis to the next level.
For the purpose of this exercise, I've ranked each cornerback unit by focusing primarily on each team's top three corners (offenses had three wide receivers on the field for 76 percent of pass plays last season), while also considering the health, talent and pedigree of each team's additional depth at the position. I also examined teams' "shadowing" strategies to determine how tough each will be in a variety of areas, including clear No. 1, No. 2, left, right and slot wide receivers.
Once I had each cornerback unit ranked and analyzed, I took a look at each offense's 2017 schedule and determined which wide receivers will face the toughest cornerback slates this season.