Top NFL cornerbacks not named Darrelle Revis - By Gregg Rosenthal
Nnamdi Asomugha, Raiders
Teams still try to throw out Darrelle Revis. They gave up going at Nnamdi Asomugha a while ago. According to Football Outsiders, every cornerback in the league the started 12 games last year saw at least double the amount of targets as Nnamdi. That's Deion Sanders in his prime type stuff. Throw in his running game skills and Oakland's lack of a pass rush and Nnamdi is still regarded as the game's best by many.
Charles Woodson, Packers
He does so much. Woodson is almost like a safety with his ability to force turnovers, stop the run, and line up all over the field. But he still covers the opposition's best receiver with ferocity at age 34. Perhaps his most amazing skill is his versatility in coverage. He can take out an 260-pound tight end or an undersized deep threat. Once thought of as a selfish player on the decline, Woodson turned out to be one of the best free signings of all time.
Johnathan Joseph & Leon Hall, Bengals
It's hard to include one without the other. Hall is steadier; you know he will be rock solid on each play. He usually takes the opponent's top receiver. Joseph (pictured) is flashier and can make more eye-opening plays. He's better in run support. Both players are very active around the ball and get a lot of passes defensed. Cincinnati gets picked on for its player acquisitions, but taking these two in the first round in back-to-back years was genius.
Champ Bailey, Broncos
Probably the best pure corner of his generation, Bailey is still among the league's ten best while on the decline. Opponents are targeting Bailey more, but he's started the 2010 season in top form. Bailey is a great combination of football smarts and incredible athletic ability, seen best in his footwork and short area quickness. He gives up more short plays than he used to, but rarely get beat deep.
Brandon Flowers, Chiefs
Not many cornerbacks are known for their tackling, but Flowers is a hitter. He's in the Ty Law mold of physical cornerbacks that know how to rough up a receiver near the line of scrimmage. Teamed with Brandon Carr and Eric Berry, the Chiefs have the makings a fine secondary for years to come.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Cardinals
DRC is proof that tackling only means so much at cornerback. The third-year cornerback from Tennessee State has been inconsistent at times as a pro, but has started to develop into one of the games stickiest defenders in the second half of last year. He's also a threat to score any time he touches the ball. And he gets his hands on plenty; only Darrelle Revis had more passes defensed in 2009. After finally bulking up this offseason (Rodgers-Cromartie went from 169 to 184), DRC has the best chance of any young player to crack into the elite tier with Revis, Asomugha, and Woodson.
Aqib Talib, Buccaneers
Off the field, Talib has been a handful. On it, he's starting to live up to his own hype. Talib has prototypical size and speed and has shut down some of the game's best receivers. He's also had some mental lapses, so he'll need to work on his discipline to take the next step.
Tracy Porter, Saints
He was a rising star even before he made Super Bowl history. Porter came out of the gates fully formed as a pro, but he's battled serious wrist and knee injuries in his short career. When he's right, the Saints trust him with their toughest assignment. That says a lot considering the next guy on this list.
Jabari Greer, Saints
If you believe the metrics - and we do - Jabari Greer was one of the top three cornerbacks in the league in 2009. Somewhat lost in Buffalo's zone defense, Greer is a perfect fit for Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' outfit. While Greer doesn't possess much flash, there simply aren't many cornerbacks who give up less receptions or yards-per-play. And that's ultimately all that matters.
Chris Gamble, Panthers
Knocked for a lack of toughness and consistency early in his career, Gamble has matured into an above average starter over the last few years. He matches up well with bigger receivers, but has a tendency to go for the big play too much.
Cortland Finnegan, Titans
Finnegan was better in 2008 then he was in '09, but he still gives the Titans a lot of options with their coverage schemes. He's in the Charles Woodson-mold of a physical cornerback that roughs up receivers near the line of scrimmage.