NFL Debate: Top 5 Cornerbacks

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NFL Debate: Top 5 Cornerbacks

Champ Bailey has long been held as the standard for cornerbacks in the NFL.

With the trade of DeAngelo Hall to the Oakland Raiders, many Raiders fans have been quick to proclaim that they have the best pair of cornerbacks in the league.

Let's just examine the top individual cornerbacks in the game today.

No. 5: Chris McAlister, BAL

  TOT SOLO AST SACK STF STFY FF BK INT YDS AVG LNG TD PD
                             
  411 377 34 0.0 4 12 1 0 23 458 19.9 98 5 131

McAlister is not your typical cornerback. He thrives on contact and doesn't get a lot of interceptions. He does get his hands on balls though with 131 passes defended in his career. His best year came in 2006 with 6 interceptions and 22 passes defended.

No. 4:  Nnamdi Asomugha, OAK

  TOT SOLO AST SACK STF STFY FF BK INT YDS AVG LNG TD PD
                             
  218 192 26 2.0 5 9 1 1 9 69 7.7 24 1 43

Asomugha is a still developing talent, and he was very slow to develop.

In his first three years in the league, he didn't have a single interception and only had 17 pass defenses. Asomugha really exploded onto the scene in 2006, grabbing 8 interceptions and 19 pass defenses. His numbers fell off last year as teams looked to exploit the Raiders' porous run defense and wind down the clock to maintain their large leads.

No. 3: Charles Woodson, GB

  TOT SOLO AST SACK STF STFY FF BK INT YDS AVG LNG TD PD
                             
  595 507 88 6.5 10 23 17 2 29 437 15.1 51 4 115

Woodson has been playing as a top corner for a long time, and he is on the down side of his career but is still an effective corner. Paired with Al Harris, he is part of a great tandem in Green Bay. His best year came in 2006 with 8 interceptions and 26 passes defended. 

No. 2: Antonio Cromartie, SD

  TOT SOLO AST SACK STF STFY FF BK INT YDS AVG LNG TD PD
                             
  68 59 9 0.0 0 0 0 0 10 144 14.4 70 1 23

Cromartie is a rare talent. Freakishly athletic, he is just tapping into his potential and should be the best cornerback in the league within a few years.

The ball just seems to be a magnet for his hands, as evidenced by the circus catch of Peyton Manning in Week 10. He is still learning the fine details of the NFL game, and needs more work on run support, but he is a corner to be feared.

Cromartie finished 2007 with a league-leading 10 interceptions as well as 18 passes defended. 

No. 1: Champ Bailey, DEN

  TOT SOLO AST SACK STF STFY FF BK INT YDS AVG LNG TD PD
                             
  649 592 57 1.0 15 30 5 0 42 428 10.2 70 4 152

While his speed is slowing, Bailey still possesses the best instincts in the game and is the closest we have right now to a shutdown corner.

Bailey also excels in the running game, which sets him apart from Cromartie. In 2005 and 2006, Bailey had a combined 18 interceptions and 44 passes defended, while piling up 152 tackles.  

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