A top 5 cornerback is considered among the most prized possessions a coach and a franchise could have. There is a certain luxury and confidence that stems from knowing that you have a corner that can cover even the most elite receivers (Calvin Johnson possibly excluded). For the past few years now, the only corner that has received enough attention to be considered a household name is Darrlle Revis (with Champ Bailey coming close the years prior to Revis’ emergence).
There are numerous players at the position who do just as much for their teams as Revis’ does for the Jets. Let’s take a look at some of the more unheralded talents at corner.
5. Charles Tillman – Chicago Bears
Other players not on this list may have better pure coverage abilities, but there are two aspects to Tillman’s game that elevate him above those others: his tackling, and his ability to force fumbles. Last year, he notched 99 total tackles – linebacker numbers. In addition, he caused 4 fumbles (better than most LB’s), a sack, and returned two of his three picks for touchdowns. Tillman’s career numbers for Forced Fumbles are at an astonishingly high 28, and you can be sure that each one of those goes very far in helping his team to win games.
4. Carlos Rogers – San Francisco 49ers
Carlos Rogers never fully materialized in Washington. After many years of mediocre play, he went to San Francisco and, under Jim Harbaugh, flourished, instantly turning into the player Washington had hoped for so many years ago. Rogers, along with former first-round disappointment for the Bills Donte Whitner, carried his previous experience to help lead the defense on a team that went 13-3, notching 44 Total Tackles to go with 6 INT’s, 18 Passes Deflected, and a touchdown. He should be able to play at a high level for at least another two to three years.
3. Ladarius Webb – Baltimore Ravens
Webb looks to continue his ascension to one of the more dominant CB’s in the league, replacing the void left by Chris McAllister many years ago. In just his third year, Webb held his own and then some, amassing 67 Total Tackles, in addition to a sack, 5 INT’s, 1 TD and 20 Passes Deflected. Incredibly, Webb has yet to hit his ceiling, and shows no reason why he shouldn’t be primed for a very successful 2012.
2. Jonathan Joseph – Houston Texans
Joseph is to 2012 what Nnamdi Asomugha was to 2010. He doesn’t have flashy stats, but that’s because quarterbacks have learned not to throw his way. Despite this, he still managed to tally 44 Total Tackles, and 4 picks to go with 15 deflections. Coming to the team from Cincinnati, Joseph is a huge reason for the defenses successes last year, and he may be the best pure cover corner in the game today.
1. Tramon Williams – Green Bay Packers
A lot has been made about the Packers having the worst passing defense in the league, and as such, it may prove controversial to put a corner from the team as the best on this list. However, the fact is that Tramon Williams is the best player by far in a mediocre secondary. What makes him so valuable is his versatility. Dom Capers likes to shift his players all around the field, Clay Matthews notwithstanding. Tramon will line up in any position he’s asked to, and do his job admirably. In 2011, he posted 64 Total Tackles, along with 4 INT’s, 1 TD, and 22 deflections. This is coming off of a 2010 season that saw him record 57 Total Tackles, 1 sack, 6 INT’s and 20 deflections. Entering his 7′th season, Williams is in his prime and stands as the most impressive corner this side of Darrelle Revis.
What do you think? Incensed that we left someone off the list? Can’t believe such-and-such is on there? Sound off on the boards!
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