View Full Version : League's top two cover cornerbacks reside in AFC West

07-05-2009, 06:00 AM
on the video Rod Woodson says Bailey is number 4......

By Bucky Brooks | NFL.com

League's top two cover cornerbacks reside in AFC West

The term "shutdown corner" was popularized by NFL spectators in the 1990s after they watched Deion Sanders neutralize the league's top receivers. The eight-time Pro Bowler was so effective in pass coverage that offenses avoided throwing the ball in his direction rather than risk an interception.

But since Sanders' initial departure from the league in 2000, the phrase has been loosely applied to any elite cornerback with the cover skills to provide game-changing plays. Those plays range from interceptions to pass breakups, and the results cause quarterbacks to pause before attempting passes in a savvy cover man's direction.

While few of today's cornerbacks truly can be considered "shutdown corners", several players possess some of the skills that made Sanders such a standout. From a gambler's mentality to Velcro-like hands, these ball hawks specialize in taking away the ball. Although they might not be able to lock down an entire side of the field, as Sanders did, their superior cover skills allow them to single-handedly alter passing games.

2. Champ Bailey, Broncos

The eight-time Pro Bowler has been one of the league's top playmaking cornerbacks throughout his 10-year career. Though he suffered through a subpar, injury-plagued season in 2008 (one interception in nine games), Bailey remains an aggressive ball hawk who specializes in jumping routes from off coverage. Because of Bailey's 43 career interceptions -- four returned for touchdowns -- it's hard to dispel the notion that he's still one of the best corners in the NFL.

3. Asante Samuel, Eagles

The big-play specialist has ascended to the top of the cornerback charts because of his outstanding ball skills and awareness. The two-time Pro Bowler has an uncanny ability to read routes, and his exceptional instincts have netted him 20 interceptions over the past three seasons. Playing in an aggressive zone-blitz scheme that ideally suits his game, Samuel is poised to continue his bandit-like ways and remain worthy of consideration as one of the league's best cover men.

4. Darrelle Revis, Jets

After just two years in the NFL, Revis has quickly developed into one of the league's top cover men with his aggressive approach. The 2008 Pro Bowler possesses a diverse skill set that allows him to excel in press or off coverage, and his ball skills are extraordinary for a young player. With Revis' best football still ahead of him, he might occupy a spot on this list for years to come.

5. Cortland Finnegan, Titans

The gritty three-year veteran has been an outstanding cover man in Tennessee since stepping into the starting lineup in 2007. The 2008 Pro Bowler makes life difficult on opposing receivers with a tough, hard-nosed style that seemingly smothers even the game's best. With superb ball skills to complement his aggressive approach, Finnegan has the all-around game that warrants his inclusion on this list.


07-05-2009, 07:18 AM
Totally missed #1 there ... obviously Asomugha, right?

No Cromartie either ... prolly shouldda kept his trap shut. Although the Dwayne Bowe thing was a scream.

07-05-2009, 01:11 PM
Totally missed #1 there ... obviously Asomugha, right?

No Cromartie either ... prolly shouldda kept his trap shut. Although the Dwayne Bowe thing was a scream.

Yeah, #1 was Asomugha... but it's difficult to be too excited about a player (even if he's playing at a very high level) when his team can't muster more than 5 wins a year in a half-decade timespan.

07-05-2009, 01:24 PM
The asssmuncher at #1

07-05-2009, 01:54 PM
Hard to compare guys at different stages of their careers. Although Asomugha is viewed as the best right now, we'll see if he is still one of the best after 10 brutal years in the NFL. I still think Champ will go down as maybe the best all around pure CB's to ever play, along with Woodson. Bailey will not only scare QB's but he also tackles better then alot of LB's. He's had all around game for years and years. Sanders HAD to be a total stud in pass defending because as strong as he was in that, he was the total opposite in playing the run. In my book, he would never be considered one of the best all around CB's to play. The best in one area, yes, no doubt about it. But have you ever seen the man try to tackle a runner in the open field, it's comedy central.

07-05-2009, 02:00 PM
Only matters on a contender means little on bad teams.