Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Poll: AFC North's best cornerback
By Jamison Hensley
Statistically speaking, no one played better pass defense than the AFC North last season. The Steelers, Ravens and Browns all ranked in the top four against the pass, and the Bengals were a more-than-respectable No. 9 in the league.
A major reason why this division has been successful in shutting down passing attacks has been the play of the cornerbacks. But who is the best cornerback in AFC North? That's what is up for debate in this week's poll.
Here are the candidates for best corner in the division:
Joe Haden, Browns: He led the Browns with 19 passes defensed, which ranked ninth in the NFL and fourth in the AFC. His 37 passes defensed since the start of the 2010 season are tied for third-most in the NFL. Haden, though, is facing a possible four-game suspension for a failed drug test.
Leon Hall, Bengals: An Achilles injury that limited him to nine games last season showed Hall's impact on defense. In the first nine games with Hall last season, the Bengals gave up eight touchdown passes. In the final seven regular-season games after Hall's season-ending Achilles injury, they allowed 12 touchdown passes.
Ike Taylor, Steelers: His 20 passes defensed led the NFL's top-ranked pass defense and finished tied for first in the AFC North. It was his most pass breakups since the 2005 season. The one smudge on a strong season was giving up an 80-yard winning touchdown to Demaryius Thomas in an overtime playoff loss in Denver.
Lardarius Webb, Ravens: He led the team with a career-high five interceptions, which was tied for third in the AFC. Webb also picked off three passes in the playoffs. His 20 passes defensed were tied for first the AFC North.