Friday, June 1, 2012
AFC East cornerback rankings
By James Walker
We have ranked quarterbacks, tight ends, receivers and other positions this offseason in the AFC East. We continue our series Friday by ranking the best cornerbacks in the division.
No. 1: Darrelle Revis, New York Jets
Analysis: There's really no debate that Revis is the best cornerback in the AFC East; indeed, he's the best cornerback in the entire NFL. Revis is one of my favorite players to watch and is well on his way to being an all-time great. His coverage is so tight that I've seen receivers give up during games. The same goes for quarterbacks, who will stop looking in Revis' direction and cut off half the field for the offense. Revis gets a lot of hype but he is deserving. He's definitely as good as advertised.
No. 2: Antonio Cromartie, Jets
Analysis: Cromartie had a down year in 2011. But his body of work is good enough to earn Cromartie second place on this list. He's still an above-average corner. New York plays a lot of man-to-man coverage, and Cromartie gets plenty of opportunities because teams prefer to avoid Revis. But last year was hit or miss with Cromartie. Sometimes he won the battles, sometimes he didn’t. Cromartie’s tackling also leaves a lot to be desired. But when it comes to athleticism and play-making ability, Cromartie is better than most corners.
No. 3: Vontae Davis, Miami Dolphins
Analysis: Davis is still somewhat of an enigma, despite entering his fourth season. There are times when you see flashes of greatness -- but there are also times when Davis lacks focus and consistency. A case can be made that no AFC East corner had a better second half of the season in 2011 than Davis. He recorded four interceptions and a sack in his final eight games. Perhaps that will provide the momentum Davis needs to play at a high level for 16 games. There's no question Davis has the tools to put it all together.
No. 4: Community pick 'em
Analysis: I was racking my brain trying to figure out who I would rank as the fourth-best cornerback in the division and couldn’t come up with an answer. For example, I considered New England Patriots corner Devin McCourty, who had a Pro Bowl year in 2010 but was horrendous in 2011. Things were so bad that McCourty was moved to safety. I considered New York's Kyle Wilson, who made good strides in his second season but is only a nickel corner. New England's Kyle Arrington had a bunch of picks but also gave up a ton of big plays last year. Sean Smith of Miami is another corner who makes and gives up plays. I also like the potential of Buffalo Bills rookie Stephon Gilmore, but he’s yet to play in the NFL. So we're going to leave this open to our AFC East community. Who would you pick as the fourth-best corner in the division?