Great cornerbacks are essential to any spectacular defensive team. They might cover receivers for the most part, but they can also blitz and defend against running plays like sweeps and reverses.

To be successful in these plays, you need a good build for your player. Cornerbacks are a skill and attribute-heavy position. You can become too weak and make measly tackles or too slow to keep up with insanely fast receivers.

This guide will show you the best CB builds in Madden 23, including skill prioritizations and X-Factor-centered playstyles.

All Cornerback Abilities

TierSkill 1Skill 2Skill 3
X-FactorBottleneckShutdownZone Hawk
2Deep Out Zone KOShort Route KODeep in Zone KO
3AcrobatLumberjackPick Artist
YardPass AccuracyThrow PowerElusive Running Moves
99 ClubMan CoverageZone CoveragePress
  • Bottleneck – Dominantly win man press attempts
  • Shutdown – Tighter coverage & more INTs on contested catches
  • Zone Hawk – More INTs in zone coverage
  • Deep Out Zone KO – Improved reactions/knockouts in deep outside zones
  • Short Route KO – Improved knockouts in man vs. short routes
  • Deep in Zone KO – Improved reactions/knockouts in deep inside zones
  • Acrobat – Diving swats & interceptions
  • Lumberjack – Cut sticks guarantee tackles & add fumble chance
  • Pick Artist – Better catching & improved stamina on INT returns
  • Speed – Increase Speed rating by 5 points
  • Strength – Increase Strength rating by 5 points
  • Jump – Increase Jump rating by 5 points
  • Pass Accuracy – Boost all Throw Accuracy ratings to 84
  • Throw Power – Boost the Throw Power rating to 84
  • Elusive Running Moves – Boost Juke, Tackle, and Spin ratings to 84
  • Man Coverage – Increase Man Coverage rating by 4 points
  • Zone Coverage – Increase Zone Coverage rating by 4 points
  • Press – Increase Press rating by 4 points

Attribute Build – Skills

Skill Points CB

Here is the breakdown of all the LB skills and what attributes they affect.

SkillsAttribute 1Attribute 2Attribute 3
CoverageMan CoverageZone Coverage
Spectacular Catch Spectacular Catch
TacklingTackleBlock SheddingPursuit

The attribute upgrade priorities will be discussed for each build.

Bottleneck CB Build

  • Bottleneck
  • Short Route KO
  • Acrobat
  • Speed
  • Press

Physique – Agile

Bottleneck is all about going man-to-man with the receiver and also having the ability to blitz successfully. This build will revolve around executing the perfect defense against man coverage and putting pressure on the QB.

Since you are in player-lock mode, it might not look as effective because you will rely on your AI teammates to close all the openings.

With Short Route KO, you can choose to lock different opposing players. You need to read the offensive play and just look who will be slanting and shut them down.

Acrobat allows you to try and get interceptions by following these short routes.

Speed allows you to keep up with the receiver and also get to other zones as fast as possible.

Press can be changed to Man Coverage or Zone coverage. All of them are important because they are quite situational. If you get a 99 rating, you will have all three attributes at 95 anyway.

For the attribute or skill point priorities:

Tackling > Press >= Coverage > Catching > Spectacular Catch

For any defensive position, tackling is the most important attribute. However, you need to make sure you allocate a few points to the other skills and not just max out tackling at the start.

For catching, you don’t have to put as much into this build. You can maintain at least a 75 rating and max out the others.

Shutdown CB Build

Shut Down
  • Shutdown
  • Deep in Zone KO
  • Pick Artist
  • Speed
  • Man Coverage

Physique – Agile

Shutdown is built around covering man-to-man and increasing your chance to get an intercept.

You will be playing with the opposing team’s receiver for most of the game. Your goal is to shut down the receiver and increase your chances of getting interceptions.

Deep in Zone KO allows you to expand your coverage when needed. Short Route KO is also a good choice with the same reasoning as the previous build.

Pick Artist helps you improve your catches to get interceptions. Your character will be running a lot in every single play. The improved stamina will also help you keep up with the pace.

Speed or Jump are interchangeable; however, wide receivers are incredibly fast, and you need to keep up with them. Speed seems like the best option, but jump gives you an advantage in catches as WRs are usually agile with a low jump.

For the attribute or skill point priorities:

Tackling > Press >= Coverage >= Catching > Spectacular Catch

The skill prioritization is almost the same as the previous build, but you would want to become more all-around when allocating points.

Since improving your catching skill is beneficial because some of your abilities increase your chances for interception, you want to equalize Press, Coverage, and Catching skills.

Zone Hawk CB Build

Zone Hawk
  • Zone Hawk
  • Deep Out Zone KO
  • Pick Artist
  • Speed
  • Zone Coverage

Physique – Agile

The Zone Hawk CB build is more on getting interceptions in zone coverage. This is quite similar to linebackers, for which we also have the best LB build guide.

Your goal is to become a pest on the zones and try to pressure the opposing QB into making risky passes in traffic.

The build is also good for chasing receivers far into the red zone and making intercepts.

We are taking Deep Out Zone KO to make this possible. However, you can also take Mid Zone KO, as it depends on your team’s defensive schemes or playbook.

Pick Artist gives you a better chance of getting intercepts, the same as the last build.

You are taking Speed again to keep up with the wide receivers.

Zone Coverage allows you to put more pressure in the zone and fill the holes in your team’s defenses.

For the attribute or skill point priorities:

Tackling > Press >= Coverage >= Catching > Spectacular Catch

Skill prioritization is the same as the Shutdown build. The only difference in the build is the X-Factor, Deep Out Zone KO, and Zone Coverage. There isn’t much difference if your player is already at a 99 rating and your attributes are all maxed out.

That’s all for now, but while we’re on the topic, you should also check out our guide to the best RB build – it’s pretty neat!