Join Date: Jan 2006
2008's Top 50 Cornerbacks
Top 50 Cornerback Rankings
By: Tony Pisano
January 12, 2009 5:29pm CST
In this article I will breakdown over 50 NFL CBs individually. I watched all 256 NFL regular season games and made extensive notes on almost every CB in the league. Based on the statistics I created, and the eyes with which I watched the games, I have created a list of the top 50 CBs, and a few extras.
1. Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland Raiders
Season Totals: 29 attempts, 4.97 YPA, 62.07 Forced INC%, 0 TDs, 1 INT
My two cents: Was this the best season every for a CB? Asomugha was only thrown at 29 times the entire season and allowed just 9 receptions. He allowed two catches (both to Tony Gonzalez) over an eight game span in the middle of the season. He allowed 144 yards receiving for the season, and 46 of those came on one play against the Chargers where he misjudged an underthrown pass to Vincent Jackson. If a CB has had a better season than this, Iíd like to see the numbers.
2. Corey Webster, New York Giants
Season Totals: 66 attempts, 3.92 YPA, 65.15 Forced INC%, 1 TD, 3 INTs
My two cents: Did Corey Webster seriously not make the Pro Bowl? I have come to terms with the Pro Bowl being absolutely meaningless, but that is just ridiculous. There wasnít an NFC CB to even come close to the level on which Webster played. He led all CBs with a 3.92 YPA, and a 65.15 forced incompletion percentage. The only TD he allowed was to Terrell Owens in a week nine victory.
3. Darrelle Revis, New York Jets
Season Totals: 72 attempts, 4.96 YPA, 51.39 Forced INC%, 1 TD, 5 INTs
My two cents: This guy really stepped up his game this season. Only Nnamdi Asomugha played the position better in the AFC. Not only was Revis one of the best coverage CBs in the league, he also picked off five passes. If this guy improves (or even stays level) the Jets have a CB they can build a defense around.
4. Charles Woodson, Green Bay Packers
Season Totals: 65 attempts, 5.69 YPA, 56.92 Forced INC%, 0 TDs, 7 INTs
My two cents: Iím amazed that Woodson seems to get better with age. I would have to imagine that this was the best season of his career. While impressive, letís forget about his seven INTs for a second. A YPA under 6, and a forced incompletion percentage over 50, is just ridiculous. Something else that should be noted is the Packers style of defense. Not only do they play mostly man-to-man coverage, but their pass rush was very weak this year. Ok, now you can remember that he picked off seven passes which led all CBs.
5. Sheldon Brown, Philadelphia Eagles
Season Totals: 63 attempts, 4.84 YPA, 44.44 Forced INC%, 0 TDs, 1 INT
My two cents: I have been calling Sheldon Brown overrated for a few years now, but he sure did shut me up this season. Among CBs with at least 40 attempts, Brown was behind only Brandon Flowers, Samari Rolle and Corey Webster with a 4.84 YPA. In a must win situation during the Eagles Week 17 game against Dallas, Brown was dominant. Brown was thrown at five times, allowed nine yards, and intercepted a pass.
6. Chris Johnson, Oakland Raiders
Season Totals: 49 attempts, 5.39 YPA, 53.06 Forced INC%, 1 TD, 3 INTs
My two cents: Where the heck did this guy come from? Who Knows Rolling Eyes After the releasing of DeAngelo Hall, Chris Johnson stepped in and dominated opposing WRs. Johnson had some of the best numbers in the NFL and if not for limited playing time he would be ranked even higher. Many people probably just looked at the box score during a Week 16 victory over Houston and thought it was Nnamdi Asomugha who shutdown Andre Johnson. While Asomugha didnít allow a catch in that game, Johnson had an equally impressive afternoon. Johnson was thrown at seven times, allowed four yards, and intercepted a pass. In fact, the four yards that Johnson allowed were the only yards yielded by an Oakland CB that game.
7. Ron Bartell, St. Louis Rams
Season Totals: 93 attempts, 5.77 YPA, 48.39 Forced INC%, 2 TDs, 3 INTs
My two cents: People need to start taking notice of Ron Bartell. He isnít a big name and he plays on a bad team with a bad defense, but itís not because of him. Not only has Bartell played well, but he has played well while being surrounded by guys who probably shouldnít even be in the league. The Rams have already announced they have signing Bartell as a priority this offseason, his numbers show why.
8. Carlos Rogers, Washington Redskins
Season Totals: 105 attempts, 5.69 YPA, 47.62 Forced INC%, 4 TDs, 2 INTs
My two cents: Itís a shame that his playing time was cut down after the acquisition of the horrible DeAngelo Hall, and when Shawn Springs got healthy. I donít understand how the Redskins could put guys like Hall and Fred Smoot on the field before this guy. Despite being thrown at 105 times (3rd most in NFL) Rogers held his own. His low YPA and high forced incompletion percentage should earn him respect from around the league.
9. Brandon Flowers, Kansas City Chiefs
Season Totals: 66 attempts, 4.83 YPA, 34.85 Forced INC%, 0 TDs, 2 INTs
My two cents: Meet the best CB from the 2008 draft class. Brandon Flowers had a ridiculously good rookie season. His 4.83 YPA is especially impressive when you consider that the Chiefs had the worst pass rush in the NFL. Flowers is the perfect example of how overrated speed is at the CB position. Sure itís nice to be able to turn and run, but technique will always be the thing that separates good CBs from average CBs. A 4.55 40 yard-dash time means he is probably slower than almost every WR he has to cover. You might be looking at a top five CB if Flowers can continue to get better.
10. Samari Rolle, Baltimore Ravens
Season Totals: 44 attempts, 4.07 YPA, 52.27 Forced INC%, 0 TDs, 3 INTs
My two cents: Rolle only played in ten games thanks to a leg injury. He played so well in those ten games that I just couldnít leave him out of my top ten. Only Corey Webster had a lower YPA and he was one of seven CBs to post a forced incompletion percentage of over 50%. If he didnít miss those six games and played as well as he did in his ten starts, he would have been a top 5 CB without a doubt.
11. Stanford Routt, Oakland Raiders
Season Totals: 40 attempts, 5.33 YPA, 50.00 Forced INC%, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
My two cents: Stanford Routt greatly improved this season. He teamed up with Nnamdi Asomugha and Chris Johnson to give the Raiders the best CB trio in the NFL. He only had 40 passes thrown at him playing only in passing situations, so Iím not ready to crown him a great CB. Even though he was a nickel back, he still had numbers worthy of praise.
12. Kelvin Hayden, Indianapolis Colts
Season Totals: 42 attempts, 6.21 YPA, 45.24 Forced INC%, 1 TD, 3 INTs
My two cents: It really is a shame that this guy missed six games. Hayden played great football when he was actually on the field. Itís hard to judge cover two CBs but Hayden just stood out on film. Hayden allowed 261 yards and one TD on the season, 90 of the yards and the TD came against Calvin Johnson. When Hayden is healthy he is clearly the best cover two CB in the NFL.
13. Quentin Jammer, San Diego Chargers
Season Totals: 85 attempts, 5.95 YPA, 38.82 Forced INC%, 4 TDs, 1 INT
My two cents: Jammer had an inconsistent, but solid season. He got torched by the Chiefs and Falcons, but played great against the Colts and Patriots. At the end of the season Jammer ended up with some very impressive numbers. He is far from a ball hawk picking off just one pass in 85 attempts, but his impressive YPA and solid forced incompletion percentage was good enough to earn him a spot in the top 15.
14. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Arizona Cardinals
Season Totals: 76 attempts, 6.41 YPA, 43.42 Forced INC%, 4 TDs, 4 INTs
My two cents: Rodgers-Cromartie was forced into extensive action when starting CB Eric Green couldnít seem to stay healthy. Over his last eight games Rodgers-Cromartie played lights out. Letís look at his numbers over the last half of the season: 4.81 YPA, 45.83 Forced INC%, 0 TDs, 4 INTs. That is exactly what you want out of your rookies, steady improvement. If Rodgers-Cromartie can carry the momentum of his second half into next season, he should be playing in the Pro Bowl as an NFL Sophomore.
15. Antoine Winfield, Minnesota Vikings
Season Totals: 63 attempts, 6.27 YPA, 39.68 Forced INC%, 3 TDs, 2 INTs
My two cents: Since Winfield is a very good CB I feel weird calling him overrated, but he absolutely is. He certainly didnít deserve a free trip to Hawaii. I understand that people like him because he is only 5í9Ē and willing to sacrifice his body to make tackles, believe me, I get it. We are constantly reminded of it every time he makes a tackle. He is without a doubt one of the better tackling CBs in the league, but heís not the best. Sheldon Brown, Nate Clements, and Dunta Robinson are all better tacklers than Winfield. Winfield had a great season, but it wasnít as good as people seem to think.
16. Nick Harper, Tennessee Titans
Season Totals: 85 attempts, 5.81 YPA, 38.82 Forced INC%, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
My two cents: Teammate Cortland Finnegan is getting all the praise, but I think Harper had a better overall season. Letís look at their stats side by side:
Harper: 85 attempts, 5.81 YPA, 38.82 Forced INC%, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
Finnegan: 79 attempts, 7.66 YPA, 44.30 Forced INC%, 0 TDs, 5 INTs
Harper had the better YPA by a large 1.85 margin. Finnegan did have a much higher forced incompletion percentage and more INTs, but does that mean he played better than Harper? Not if you ask me. I would take Harperís numbers over Finneganís every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Harper didnít deserve a Pro Bowl birth, but neither did Finnegan.
17. Richard Marshall, Carolina Panthers
Season Totals: 39 attempts, 4.51 YPA, 35.90 Forced INC%, 3 TDs, 1 INT
My two cents: Richard Marshall is the best CB on the Panthers roster, but he canít get any respect. He has outplayed both Chris Gamble and Ken Lucas for the last couple of years, but canít seem to stay on the field. The Panthers just rewarded Gamble with a big contract extension so I donít expect a sudden increase of playing time for Marshall going into next year. Something Marshall does need to improve on is his red zone defense. He allowed three TDs in just 39 attempts, that is unacceptable.
18. Mike Jenkins, Dallas Cowboys
Season Totals: 38 attempts, 4.34 YPA, 39.47 Forced INC%, 2 TDs, 1 INT
My two cents: I hated the way the Cowboys handled Mike Jenkins in his rookie season. Jenkins was outplaying Terrence Newman, Anthony Henry, Orlando Scandrick, and Adam Jones, but still couldnít get playing time. Sooner rather than later Iím sure Jenkins and Scandrick will be the starting CBs for Dallas, but the experience Jenkins could have gained during a heated playoff push could have been valuable to him for years to come.
19. Aqib Talib, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Season Totals: 35 attempts, 5.80 YPA, 34.29 Forced INC%, 2 TDs, 4 INTs
My two cents: I donít understand why the Buccaneers chose to keep playing Ronde Barber over Aqib Talib. Actually, I take that back, I do understand, I just donít agree. Barber has been one of the better cover two CBs over the last five or so years and a key contributor to the Buccaneers success. This year however, Barber took major steps backwards and should have been benched. When you have a first-round pick that is playing well waiting behind an aging veteran who is playing like crap, you have to put in the rookie. Not only did Talib have great numbers, he also intercepted over 11% of the passes that were thrown in his direction.
20. Asante Samuel, Philadelphia Eagles
Season Totals: 78 attempts, 6.51 YPA, 41.03 Forced INC%, 3 TDs, 4 INTs
My two cents: I would say that Asante Samuel is probably the least deserving player who made the Pro Bowl. Samuel didnít play badly, he just wasnít special. Teammate Sheldon Brown outplayed him to a ridiculous degree, yet Samuel got the Pro Bowl nod because of a couple of highlight reel INTs. Brown had better numbers across the board, save for Samuelís three more INTs. Maybe Samuel and Antoine Winfield can talk about how they stole Pro Bowl spots from two of the best CBs in the league.
21. Al Harris, Green Bay Packers
Season Totals: 44 attempts, 7.30 YPA, 45.45 Forced INC%, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
My two cents: Harris played great football for most of the year, and then fell apart over the last four games of the season. Over his last four games Harris had an 11.79 YPA, gave up two TDs, and had a forced incompletion percentage of 31.58. Against Detroit he allowed 82 yards against John Standeford, and a TD against Calvin Johnson. At the end of the year his YPA had skyrocketed to a pedestrian 7.30.
22. Cortland Finnegan, Tennessee Titans
Season Totals: 79 attempts, 7.66 YPA, 44.30 Forced INC%, 0 TDs, 5 INTs
My two cents: Cortland Finnegan had a great start to the season, and then really went downhill over the last five games. In those five games Finnegan posted a YPA of 15.27 and forced incompletions just 26.67% of the time. He also didnít intercept a pass during that stretch. Finnegan was playing great football at the beginning of the season, so I canít be too upset about Finnegan making the Pro Bowl considering how early the voting starts.
23. Jabari Greer, Buffalo Bills
Season Totals: 47 attempts, 5.81 YPA, 42.55 Forced INC%, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
My two cents: The Bills probably have the deepest CB rotation in the NFL. Jabari Greer, Terrence McGee, Ashton Youboty, and Leodis McKelvin are all starting quality CBs. While they all might be solid, only Greer stood out in 2008. Greer missed the final six games thanks to an injury, but he played great in those first ten games. Jabari Greer is an unrestricted free agent and likely wonít be re-signed by Buffalo considering the youthful depth they have at the position. While you might not know much about Greer, believe me, you want your team to sign him.
24. Bryant McFadden, Pittsburgh Steelers
Season Totals: 45 attempts, 5.60 YPA, 31.11 Forced INC%, 1 TD, 2 INTs
My two cents: There may not have been a CB that benefited more from his teams pass rush than Bryant McFadden. His 5.60 YPA is very impressive, but his forced incompletion percentage is just over 30 and far from impressive. McFadden is an unrestricted free agent and I wouldnít be surprised if the Steelers let him walk. While I like McFadden and think he is a solid player, his low YPA is slightly misleading.
25. Antoine Cason, San Diego Chargers
Season Totals: 66 attempts, 5.62 YPA, 21.21 Forced INC%, 3 TDs, 2 INTs
My two cents: At first glance it looks as though Cason had an absolute dominant year, but he didnít. His YPA of 5.62 is great, but his 21.21 forced incompletion percentage is atrocious. Something that his numbers would suggest is that he is a sure tackler, and he is. Cason gave up 45 completions, but kept everything in front of him for the most part. I really like the way Cason played as a rookie. He didnít try to do too much and I feel he has a bright future in the league. If he can turn some of those six yard completions into incompletions, he could really turn into a dominant CB
26. Leodis McKelvin, Buffalo Bills
Season Totals: 39 attempts, 6.13 YPA, 35.90 Forced INC%, 3 TDs, 2 INTs
My two cents: McKelvin had a rough start to his rookie season, but pulled it all together by the end of the year. McKelvin played great against the Jets, Broncos, and Patriots to end the season. Over that three game stretch McKelvin had a YPA of 4.4 and a forced incompletion percentage of 50. He also didnít allow a TD during that stretch. I would imagine that the Bills would have McKelvin, Ashton Youboty, and Terrence McGee as their top three CBs next season.
27. Adam Jones, Dallas Cowboys
Season Totals: 44 attempts, 6.98 YPA, 36.36 Forced INC%, 1 TD, 1 INT
My two cents: We all know the Adam Jones story so I wonít bother telling it again or even giving my opinion on his off-the-field issues. What I will say is that the media/fans love to hate this guy and will not give him any credit for his play on the field. Like it (him) or not Adam Jones is a very good CB. Despite not playing football for a year Jones stepped up and improved the Cowboys secondary. He was only able to play in nine games thanks to what I feel was an unwarranted suspension and an unfortunate neck injury. If you want to hate Jones for everything he has done off the field you want hear a peep out of me, but please donít call him a bad football player, because it simply is not true.
28. Shawn Springs, Washington Redskins
Season Totals: 31 attempts, 5.16 YPA, 32.26 Forced INC%, 1 TD, 1 INT
My two cents: Shawn Springs just couldnít stay healthy and was only able to play in nine games. In those nine games Springs played well. Springs will turn 34 in March and has likely already seen his best years. He is still a top 20 CB when he is healthy, unfortunately he has only played one 16 game season in the last eight years.
29. Deshea Townsend, Pittsburgh Steelers
Season Totals: 30 attempts, 6.00 YPA, 40.00 Forced INC%, 0 TDs, 1 INT
My two cents: Townsend is one of the most underrated players in the league, even by his own team. He lost his starting job when he missed five games because of injuries, but I donít understand why. He outplayed both Bryant McFadden and obviously the dismal Ike Taylor. Townsend excels in short coverage which fits nicely into the Steelers blitz-happy defense. With McFadden likely to leave via free agency the Steelers better hope Townsend can bounce back and have a healthy 2009.
30. Kevin Dockery, New York Giants
Season Totals: 40 attempts, 5.53 YPA, 32.50 Forced INC%, 0 TDs, 1 INT
My two cents: Why is Aaron Ross starting over this guy? Not only did Dockery post impressive numbers, but Ross posted arguably the worst numbers in the league. Here they are side by side.
Dockery: 40 attempts, 5.53 YPA, 32.50 Forced INC%, 0 TDs, 1 INT
Ross: 81 attempts, 9.11 YPA, 19.75 Forced INC%, 4 TDs, 3 INTs
Itís not even necessary to break these numbers down, they speak for themselves. Dockery is a better CB than Aaron Ross, itís that simple. Ross is young and could still develop into a quality CB, but it he shouldnít be starting for anyone, especially the defending Super Bowl champions.
31. Andre Goodman, Miami Dolphins
Season Totals: 94 attempts, 6.96 YPA, 35.11 Forced INC%, 1 TD, 5 INTs
My two cents: Nobody is more surprised to see Andre Goodman on a best anything list. Goodman was so bad in the beginning of the year. I had Goodman on my worst starting CBs list in early October and deservingly so. I donít know what happened, but Goodman really played great football over the second half of the season. In his last five games Goodman posted a YPA of 3.58 and a 34.88 forced incompletion percentage. He also didnít allow a TD and managed to intercept four passes over that five game stretch.
32. Leigh Bodden, Detroit Lions
Season Totals: 84 attempts, 7.56 YPA, 36.90 Forced INC%, 4 TDs, 1 INT
My two cents: Leigh Bodden had an up and down year in a situation where it was nearly impossible to succeed. He was surrounded by nothing but players who likely would be cut from most AFL teams. Bodden posted average, but far from good numbers and he has to take some of the blame. His deep man coverage leaves something to be desired as evident by the 122 yards and a TD he gave up against the Packers. He was thrown at nine times and forced just one incompletion. He had as good of a year as one could hope given the situation, but needs some help.
33. Johnathan Joseph, Cincinnati Bengals
Season Totals: 53 attempts, 7.28 YPA, 39.62 Forced INC%, 2 TDs, 1 INT
My two cents: Johnathan Joseph is one of my personal favorite CBs. He is a solid player on a bad team and should be getting more credit than he does. He was only able to play in seven games this season, but played solid football. If Joseph and Leon Hall can continue to develop the Bengals can build their defense around them. Look for Joseph to bounce back in 2009 and post Pro Bowl worthy numbers.
34. Chris Houston, Atlanta Falcons
Season Totals: 96 attempts, 7.66 YPA, 38.54 Forced INC%, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
My two cents: Chris Houston played very well in the beginning of the season, but really fell apart at times. In a Week 15 game against Tampa Bay Houston was destroyed by the Buccs WRs as he gave up 106 yards and a TD. From watching Houston play all season he definitely flashes signs of developing into a solid CB. I would bet that Houston will improve on his 2008 numbers and start to get some positive attention in 2009.
35. Chris Gamble, Carolina Panthers
Season Totals: 106 attempts, 6.79 YPA, 31.13 Forced INC%, 2 TDs, 3 INTs
My two cents: Chris Gamble probably had his best season as a pro, and it wasnít that impressive. Gamble finally had a season where he played average football, and the Panthers rewarded him with a long term contract. Only Charles Tillman was thrown at more times than Gamble and he had flashes of playing well. Gamble was third in the NFL with 16 unforced incompletions. That means 16 times Gamble was beat on passes that were incomplete. I fully expect Gambleís YPA to flirt with the 8.50 mark next season.
36. Chevis Jackson, Atlanta Falcons
Season Totals: 32 attempts, 6.28 YPA, 37.50 Forced INC%, 0 TDs, 1 INT
My two cents: I wish the Falcons would have played Chevis Jackson a little more than they did in 2008. I would have liked to see him and Chris Houston playing on opposite sides of the field for a couple of games. Jackson was only thrown at 32 times so his sample size is too small to get a real feel for where he is at as a player. From these numbers, and from what I saw, Jackson looks to be on the right path to success. Hopefully he will win the starting CB job opposite Houston next season.
37. Marcus Trufant, Seattle Seahawks
Season Totals: 93 attempts, 7.88 YPA, 43.01 Forced INC%, 6 TDs, 1 INT
My two cents: Marcus Trufant has been one of the better CBs in the league since he was a first-round pick of the Seahawks in 2003. His YPA was way too high and his six TDs allowed are unacceptable, but he did have a 43.01 forced incompletion percentage. That usually means that he wasnít giving up many short passes, but continually got beat deep. The Seahawks pass rush wasnít there to help out their secondary like it has been in past years, and the porous numbers that Trufant, Kelly Jennings, and Josh Wilson put up is no coincidence.
38. Rashean Mathis, Jacksonville Jaguars
Season Totals: 59 attempts, 7.41 YPA, 40.68 Forced INC%, 4 TDs, 4 INTs
My two cents: Rashean Mathis was playing below his capabilities before an injury cost him the last four games of the season. Sure he had four INTs and had a forced incompletion percentage of over 40, but he also allowed 7.41 yards per attempt and gave up four TDs. The Jaguars need to find him another capable CB to play on the other side of the field. Drayton Florence and Brian Williams just arenít getting the job done.
39. Dwight Lowery, New York Jets
Season Totals: 84 attempts, 7.32 YPA, 35.71 Forced INC%, 8 TDs, 1 INT
My two cents: I feel bad for Dwight Lowery because he is playing in the wrong system. He doesnít have the skills needed to play in a mostly man-to-man defense. I feel like he could excel in a cover two scheme, but he was abused as a rookie for the Jets. It got so bad that the Jets brought in Ty Law off the streets to take playing time away from Lowery. His numbers arenít hideous, but his eight TDs allowed led the entire NFL and he was outmatched in many games. If the Jets continue to run their current defensive scheme, I have little confidence that Lowery will improve on these numbers.
40. Leon Hall, Cincinnati Bengals
Season Totals: 103 attempts, 7.79 YPA, 34.95 Forced INC%, 5 TDs, 3 INTs
My two cents: There may not be a more inconsistent CB in the league than Leon Hall. He was thrown at nine times and gave up 188 yards and two TDs against the Ravens in Week 13, but only gave up 16 yards in six attempts against the Steelers. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for Hallís success and failure. It would make sense if he was getting destroyed by good competition and shutting down bad players, but that just isnít the case. Hopefully Hall is just going through some growing pains and will eventually have more good games than bad.
41. Fabian Washington, Baltimore Ravens
Season Totals: 68 attempts, 7.22 YPA, 33.82 Forced INC%, 7.22 YPA, 2 TDs, 1 INT
My two cents: Fabian Washington isnít a bad CB, but a team can never be satisfied with him as a starter. Washington is arguably the fastest player in the league but lacks the technique needed to be a quality CB. The Ravens have one of the better pass rushes in the league which helps mask just how average Washington really is. I would be surprised if the Ravens donít try to add at least one more CB this off-season.
42. Terrence Newman, Dallas Cowboys
Season Totals: 65 attempts, 7.88 YPA, 33.85 Forced INC%, 2 TDs, 4 INTs
My two cents: I like Terrence Newman, but he is no longer an elite CB. I have heard that Newman played great football once he returned from an injury, so I decided to take a closer look.
After returning from his injury in Week 11:
48 attempts, 7.58 YPA, 41.67 Forced INC%, 0 TDs, 4 INTs
Those numbers are not at all impressive and not evident of an elite CB. He allowed over 65 yards three times after week 11 and one of his four INTs was basically a last second heave by Eli Manning against the Giants. He was destroyed by the Steelers, Giants, 49ers, and Eagles over that seven game stretch, and played well against the Seahawks, Ravens, and Redskins. If youíre impressed with that, then you are easily impressed.
43. Mike McKenzie, New Orleans Saints
Season Totals: 30 attempts, 7.07 YPA, 33.33 Forced INC%, 1 TD, 1 INT
My two cents: Mike McKenzie missed nine games this season including the final seven with an injury. McKenzie is still a good player when he is healthy, but one full season in seven years isnít very promising. The Saints seem to be content with going forward with Usama Young and Randall *** as their future CBs. I would be surprised if McKenzie was back in New Orleans next season, and would be even more surprised if a team didnít sign him to be their starting CB.
44. Rod Hood, Arizona Cardinals
Season Totals: 83 attempts, 7.72 YPA, 33.73 Forced INC%, 8 TDs, 1 INT
My two cents: Rod Hood played well at times, but overall did not have a great year. His eight TDs allowed were the most in the NFL (tied with Dwight Lowery and Ellis Hobbs). Hood is likely better suited as a nickel back, but is the best option the Cardinals have to start opposite the emerging Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Hood has the ability to be a solid CB and played well at times, but his bad games were REALLY bad. In the season finale Hood allowed 127 yards and a TD against a bad Seahawks passing game. He needs to eliminate games like that if he wants to be considered a solid CB.
45. Eric Wright, Cleveland Browns
Season Totals: 77 attempts, 8.10 YPA, 32.47 Forced INC%, 4 TDs, 2 INTs
My two cents: While his numbers may not show it, Wright has the skills and ability to become one of the better CBs in the league. Wright has absolutely no help on defense as the Browns have no pass rush, and an ordinary secondary. Wright dominated the Giants in a Week six win. Wright was thrown at seven times and allowed just 17 yards, intercepted a pass, and forced five incompletions. If the Browns can get Wright some help, he has the ability to be a top 15 CB.
46. Will Allen, Miami Dolphins
Season Totals: 80 attempts, 7.64 YPA, 32.50 Forced INC%, 1 TD, 3 INTs
My two cents: Will Allen is another player you can get away with starting, but you are constantly looking for a better option. Allen is a solid, but unspectacular player who just seems to do the bare minimum to keep his job. He is probably better suited to be a third CB, but is solid enough to start on most teams.
47. Fred Bennett, Houston Texans
Season Totals: 58 attempts, 7.88 YPA, 31.03 Forced INC%, 3 TDs, 2 INTs
My two cents: Fred Bennett had a great 2007 season, but fell off in 2008. Bennett lost his starting job to Dunta Robinson and Jacques Reeves, but he shouldnít have. Bennett is the best CB on the Texans roster, which isnít saying much, but it should be enough to earn a starting job. The bottom line is that Bennett, Reeves and Robinson give the Texans nothing but mediocrity at the CB position.
48. Jacques Reeves, Houston Texans
Season Totals: 96 attempts, 7.93 YPA, 32.29 Forced INC%, 2 TDs, 4 INTs
My two cents: Jacques Reeves was average in Dallas, and he was average in his first season as the Texans starting CB. Only six CBs were thrown at more than Reeves and there was a reason he was targeted that many times. Reeves seems to be average in every level of coverage and really shouldnít be starting in this league. He wasnít even a good third CB for Dallas in 2007, Iím not sure why the Texans felt he could be their CB1.
49. Randall ***, New Orleans Saints
Season Totals: 77 attempts, 7.42 YPA, 31.17 Forced INC%, 3 TDs, 0 INTs
My two cents: The Saints seem to love signing CBs who donít belong in their defensive scheme. They signed Jason David last year which turned into a disaster, and this year they signed Randall *** from New England. Both David and *** went from playing mostly zone coverage with their former teams, to mostly man coverage with the Saints. *** was able to handle the transition better than David, but still wasnít great. Maybe some more time in this system will improve Gayís numbers, but I wouldnít count on it.
50. Terrence McGee, Buffalo Bills
Season Totals: 101 attempts, 8.16 YPA, 29.70 Forced INC%, 1 TD, 3 INTs
My two cents: I decided to put Terrence McGee at number 50 for how well he played before his injury. He obviously rushed himself back as evident from the disaster which was the Dolphins game in Week eight. McGee was thrown at 13 times, 12 of those passes were completed, and he allowed 212 yards (most by any CB this season). McGee is better than that, but the game still happened. If McGee wasnít ready to play in the game, then he should have watched it from the sideline. There is no reason to rush back from an injury if it means your team will suffer. While many people may consider it a heroic effort, I consider it selfish. I have little doubt that McGee will bounce back in 2009, but with Leodis McKelvin emerging, McGee likely wonít be the Bills CB1.
Five Big names left off the list
Antonio Cromartie, San Diego Chargers
Season Totals: 88 attempts, 11.14 YPA, 13.64 Forced INC%, 4 TDs, 2 INTs
My two cents: And the award for worst starting CB in the NFL goes tooÖ Antonio Cromartie! Cromartie had the worst YPA of any CB with at least 45 attempts, and had the lowest forced incompletion percentage of any CB in the league. Only one CB gave up over 825 yards this season, and that was Cromartie with 980 yards allowed. I think people knew he had a bad season, but I donít think people understand just how bad it was.
Nate Clements, San Francisco 49ers
Season Totals: 96 attempts, 8.19 YPA, 26.04 Forced INC%, 7 TDs, 2 INTs
My two cents: Not only did Clements have horrible numbers, but he was also second in the league with 17 unforced incompletions. Clements was one TD allowed away from the league lead and only managed two INTs in 96 attempts. Clements has not lived up to the ridiculous contract the 49ers gave him a couple years before. Clements is actually a good CB in short coverage, but is horrible just about everywhere else. If the 49ers can get an actual pass rush Clements could be an average CB.
Ronde Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Season Totals: 71 attempts, 10.48 YPA, 19.72 Forced INC%, 6 TDs, 4 INTs
My two cents: Ronde Barber has been one of the better CBs in the league for years, but that seems to be over. Barber had some of the worst numbers in the league this season and should have lost his starting job to rookie Aqib Talib. A double-digit YPA and a forced incompletion percentage under 20 is bad enough to not earn a roster spot.
Champ Bailey, Denver Broncos
Season Totals: 20 attempts, 10.75 YPA, 30.00 Forced INC%, 1 TD, 1 INT
My two cents: Champ Bailey missed seven games in the middle of the season and returned for the Broncos final two games. He probably should have just called it a year and not returned against the Bills and Chargers. Bailey was thrown at six times, gave up six completions, and 109 yards in the last two games (both losses). Bailey was only thrown at 20 times this season and is still one of the better CBs in the league despite his horrible finish.
Charles Tillman, Chicago Bears
Season Totals: 110 attempts, 7.15 YPA, 22.73 Forced INC%, 2 TDs, 3 INTs
My two cents: Despite missing a game Tillman was still thrown at more than any other CB in the league. Itís hard to judge CBs who play mostly zone, but it was clear Tillman didnít have the year he is capable of. His 25 forced incompletion in 110 attempts is unacceptable. He allowed a league leading 69 receptions and also benefited from 16 unforced incompletions. Tillman hit a new low in a game against Minnesota where he was targeted six times, gave up five catches, 137 yards, and a TD.