Top 100 Players by Position: Cornerbacks

Movie Quote of the Day:

“We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars. Now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.”

– Cooper, Interstellar (2014)

NFL analysts, experts, players, etc. have been releasing their own rankings for the top players in the NFL. The NFL Network just released their Top 100 that is voted on by the players. Also, Mike Miller at Bleacher Report has been coming out with his own rankings of the Top 1,000 players in the NFL.

I decided to create my own version of this, but I’m going to put it together by position (except punters and fullbacks because nobody cares about them) and it’ll only be 100 players. I’m not even sure I can name 1,000 people that I know in the real world let alone the NFL. I’m also going to add honorable mentions and what I like to call the “Rising Star” of each position. Another thing I added when creating these lists is that the players have to currently be on a team. No free agents.

It’s the second to last day of my player rankings and the position is cornerbacks. For those who don’t know what a cornerback is, they’re in the defensive backfield. They’re found near the sideline covering wide receivers, sometimes on the line of scrimmage for man-to-man coverage, and sometimes playing deeper in zone coverage. In today’s NFL I think the best thing to have on a football team, besides a franchise quarterback, is a lockdown corner. However, a great pass rusher is pretty close too. Similar to wide receivers, there’s such a surplus of quality corners in the NFL that they get buried and most don’t get enough recognition. Here’s my list:

Rising Star: Desmond Trufant, Atlanta Falcons

2014 stats: 61 total tackles, 16 pass deflections, and three interceptions

Trufant

Trufant has only been in the league for two seasons, but he’s a cornerback on the rise. Trufant has 131 total tackles, 33 pass deflections, and five interceptions in his career. He had a great rookie season. Pro Football Focus and the Pro Football Writers of America named Trufant on the 2013 All-Rookie Team. Pro Football Focus named him as the 2013 Defensive Rookie of the Year. The Pro Football Writers of America also put him on the All-NFC Team last season. I’m not saying Trufant will reach star status tomorrow, but keep an eye on him in the future.

Honorable Mention: Chris Harris Jr., Denver Broncos

2014 stats: 54 total tackles, 17 pass deflections, three interceptions, and one forced fumble

Harris

Everyone wants to talk about Revis, Sherman, etc. as the best cornerbacks in the NFL, but Chris Harris flew under the radar last season. He had a breakout season, and no one has probably ever heard of him. The former undrafted free agent made the Pro Bowl and was named Second-team All-Pro last season. He has 252 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, 50 pass deflections, and ten interceptions in his four-year career. I have to see another similar year from Harris before I can put him higher on this list.

Top 5 Cornerbacks:

Davis

5. Vontae Davis, Indianapolis Colts

2014 stats: 42 total tackles, 18 pass deflections, and four interceptions

Davis is another player that flies under the radar. Other than huge NFL fans that follow the league very closely, no one probably knows who he is. The former first round pick was traded to Indianapolis in 2012. He’s really emerged as an elite corner since getting to Indianapolis. Davis earned a spot in the Pro Bowl last season. He has 287 total tackles, two sacks, 70 pass deflections, 17 interceptions, and three forced fumbles in his career. People need to start paying attention to him.

Haden

4. Joe Haden, Cleveland Browns

2014 stats: 73 total tackles, 20 pass deflections, and three interceptions

I wanted to put Joe Haden higher because I don’t think he gets the respect that he deserves. However, I don’t think he’s as good as the other players that are listed higher on this list, but he’s still a lockdown corner. Haden has 307 total tackles, 87 pass deflections, 16 interceptions, and four forced fumbles in his five-year career. The former top 10 draft pick has also made two Pro Bowls (2013 and 2014), and was Second-team All-Pro (2013).

Peterson

3. Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals

2014 stats: 50 total tackles, seven pass deflections, and three interceptions

Peterson made his presence known as a punt returner when he first entered the NFL, breaking numerous records as a rookie. However, he’s developed into an elite corner as well. He’s only been in the NFL for four seasons, and has made the Pro Bowl every year (2011-2014). The former top five draft pick is also a 2x First-team All-Pro (2011 and 2013). Peterson has 206 total tackles, two sacks, 15 interceptions, and 48 pass deflections in his career.

Sherman

2. Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks

2014 stats: 57 total tackles, eight pass deflections, and four interceptions

Sherman is probably best known for his trash talk on the field. As much as I don’t like him, I’ll admit that he can back it up. According to Football Perspective, Sherman played 552 snaps for Seattle, but was only targeted 65 times (11.7 percent of the time). Despite the lack of action, Sherman still had a pretty good season. He’s a 2x Pro Bowler (2013 and 2014), 3x First-team All-Pro (2012-2014). He also has 224 total tackles, 24 interceptions, five forced fumbles, and 65 pass deflections in his four-year career.

I don’t have Sherman at the top spot because of the fact that Sherman only plays on one side of the field during the entire game. He doesn’t follow receivers around the field. I think that that’s kind of a big deal when evaluating corners. I don’t think he’s as “lockdown” as people make him out to be. My definition of a lockdown corner is following a wide receiver all over the field, and containing or shutting down his talent. Not that I don’t think Sherman couldn’t do it, but he hasn’t done it yet.

Revis

1. Darrelle Revis, New York Jets

2014 stats: 47 total tackles, 14 pass deflections, and two interceptions

“Revis Island” emerged again last season for the first time since 2011, after tearing his ACL in 2012 and having a down year in 2013. Revis played in 606 snaps last season and was targeted only 79 times (13 percent of the time), according to Football Perspective. Revis has 391 total tackles, 23 interceptions, six forced fumbles, and 123 pass deflections in his career. The former first round pick is a 6x Pro Bowler (2008-2011, 2013, and 2014), 4x First-team All-Pro (2009-2011, and 2014). Revis was also the AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2009.

It kills me to have a Pitt guy at the top spot, but I can’t deny his talent. Revis is the best cornerback in the NFL, in my opinion. He is a true lockdown corner. He follows opposing receivers all over the field and sticks to them like glue. He’s not responsible for just one side of the field.

All stats from: http://www.nfl.com/stats/player
Tomorrow: Quarterbacks

Thanks for reading

Shane Price
Follow me on Twitter – @priceisright53

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