Cornerback is the hardest position in the National Football League. Corners must have good starting and recovery speed to keep up with receivers. They have to be physical with receivers and disrupt the timing between them and the quarterback.
Along with speed and physicality, corners must have exceptional instincts and great on ball skills. They have to recognize when to just knock the ball away or create a turnover. Corners also have to deliver hard hits on running back and tight ends. It may have the biggest learning curve of any position.
Top 5 NFL Cornerbacks
5. Alterraun Verner (Tennessee Titans/Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
· Experience: Five seasons
· Size: 5’10” 187 pounds
· Coach: Lovie Smith
Summary: Many NFL analysts describe Verner as an up-and-coming Darrelle Revis. Verner has good starting and recovery speed. He is physical with receiver and tight ends. Verner jams well at the line of scrimmage and displays exceptional on ball skills. In his four seasons with Tennessee (2010-13), Verner blossomed as a potent cornerback. He recorded 101 combined tackles, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and three interceptions in 2010. Last season, Verner totaled 57 combined tackles, two forced fumbles, five interceptions (AFC’s co-interception leader) and a touchdown. He will be a huge asset to Tampa Bay’s secondary next season. Verner has 288 tackles, two forced fumbles and 11 interceptions in his career.
4. Patrick Peterson (Arizona Cardinals)
· Experience: Three seasons
· Size: 6’1” 219 pounds
· Coach: Bruce Arians
Summary: Peterson is more than a cornerback; he is a game changer. He is doing the same things in Arizona that he did at college with LSU. Peterson is a lockdown cornerback and an electrifying return specialist. The average corner is 5’10”. Peterson is 6’1” and is physical on and off the line of scrimmage. He excels at forcing receivers to the outside and making the quarterback beat him with a perfect throw. 2012 was Peterson’s best season. He had 55 tackles, one forced fumble and seven interceptions. Last season, he collected three interceptions and 42 tackles. As a return specialist, Peterson’s best season was in 2011. In his rookie year, he had 44 punt returns for 699 yards and four touchdowns. He set and NFL record for the most punt return yards for a rookie in a season. Peterson’s four touchdowns tied him for the most punt return touchdowns for a rookie in a season. He is a three-time Pro Bowler (2011, 2012 and 2013) and a two-time AP First-team All-Pro (2011, 2013).
3. Darrelle Revis (New England Patriots)
· Experience: Eight seasons
· Size: 5’11” 198 pounds
· Coach: Bill Belichick
Summary: He’s on the tail end of his career, but Revis Island is still a formidable opponent. His ability to use the sideline as an extra defender is a lost art. Revis is physical at the line of scrimmage and does a great job of under-cutting routes. He is a secure tackler and excels at creating turnovers. 2009 was Revis’s best season: he had 54 tackles, six interceptions and a touchdown with the New York Jets. He recorded 50 tackles, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and two interceptions last season in Tampa Bay. Revis was the AFC Defensive Player of the Year (2009) and AFC interception return yards leader (184 yards) in 2011. He is a 5x Pro Bowler (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013) and three-time All-Pro (2009, 2010 and 2011). Revis has 344 tackles, five forced fumbles and 21 interceptions in his career.
2. Joe Haden (Cleveland Browns)
· Experience: Five seasons
· Size: 5’11” 190 pounds
· Coach: Mike Pettine
Summary: Like Peterson, Haden hails from the Southeastern Conference (Florida). He’s a physical corner that plays the ball exceptionally well. Haden is a hard hitter. He delivers punishing blows on receivers and running backs. Haden doesn’t give opposing receivers a lot of cushion to use and he is a bump-n-run corner back. Cleveland fans saw Haden at his best in 2010. He had 64 tackles, one force fumble and six interceptions for 101 yards. Last season, Haden recorded 54 tackles, four interceptions (57 yards) and a touchdown. He has 13 interceptions in his career. Haden was a Pro Bowl selection in 2013. He made AP Second-team All-Pro in 2013.
1. Richard Sherman (Seattle Seahawks)
· Experience: Four seasons
· Size: 6’3” 195 pounds
· Coach: Pete Carroll
Summary: The self-proclaimed best corner in the game has earned every bit of that title in his first three seasons in the NFL. Sherman is very physical with receivers and tight ends. He can lock onto one receiver or be a rover on the field. Sherman does a great job of recognizing down and distance. He uses the sideline as an extra defender and he displays good instincts. Sherman forces opposing quarterbacks to make perfect throws. He has more interceptions (20) and pass defended (61) than any other NFL player. Sherman recorded eight interceptions last season and eight interceptions in 2012. He has 167 tackles in his career and two touchdowns. Sherman is the leader and face of the “Legion of Boom.” The nickname was given to the Seahawks secondary after its display of great pass defense in Super Bowl XLVIII against Denver. Sherman guided Seattle to an NFC title and a Super Bowl title in the 2013 season. He is a two-time AP First-team All-Pro (2012 and 2013).
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