Other than quarterback, a true lock-down cornerback may be the most impressive position on the football field.
Their job is simple: line up across from the other team's best wide receiver, shadow his every move, and make him a non-factor. Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets has been the league's premier cover man for several years now, grading out as the NFL's top cornerback in 2011.
"Revis Island" has been a lonely place for the league's best wide receivers, and few cornerbacks have been able to mirror Revis's level of consistency from year-to-year. For that reason, Revis will not be included in this list.
Revis is on a level of his own.
Looking ahead to 2012, we can expect the usual suspects to maintain their position among the NFL's elite. In both the 2010 and 2011 season, Antoine Winfield, Joe Haden, and Brandon Flowers have graded out as top 10 cornerbacks according to Pro Football Focus.
Like most years, several newcomers will rise to the occasion and play at a Pro Bowl level in 2012, while others will bounce back to their old form after a disappointing 2011 campaign.
Consistently great players such as Darrelle Revis will certainly be expected to play at their normal elite level, let's take a look at a few cornerbacks who hope to bounce back from a disappointing 2011 season and dominate in 2012.