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Monday, January 24, 2011
No burn zone in Oakland

By Bill Williamson

The AFC West is known for its strong cornerback play and 2010 proved that it is a deep position, especially in Oakland.

According to Stats Inc., four AFC West cornerbacks -- including three Oakland Raiders -- were among the top six cornerbacks in the NFL in “burn” percentage rates (minimum of 20 targets).

Oakland clearly enjoyed strong cornerback play. Nnamdi Asomugha and Stanford Routt were tied for third place -- giving up completions on 39.4 percent of the attempts thrown their way.

Routt’s numbers are particularly interesting. He had 99 passes thrown at him, mostly because he was playing opposite Asomugha most of the year. Yet Routt only allowed 39 catches. Asomugha had just 33 passes thrown at him -- an average of just two a game. Asomugha gave up 13 catches. Routt was up to the task of playing opposite a superstar cornerback. That could earn Routt a lot of money as both he and Asomugha are free agents.

Cornerback is always a premium position in free agency. Routt’s ability to withstand a storm in 2010 will make him attractive on the open market. If the Raiders give Asomugha a huge contract, it may be difficult to keep Routt.

Kansas City's Brandon Carr and Oakland's Chris Johnson rounded out the list, each giving up roughly 40 percent of the passes thrown at players they were covering.