Nnamdi Asomugha is a fan favorite and arguably the best player on the Raiders defense.
Many consider him as: a shut-down corner, the best in the league, and maybe even the best ever.
But I have to disagree. Nnamdi may even be considered a draft bust. As he was drafted to play free-safety not corner. A dominant safety like Ed Reed, Brian Dawkins, or Troy Polamalu are far more influential than a dominant corner like Nnamdi Asomugha, Charles Woodson, or Darrelle Revis.
But that is beside the point. Nnamdi failed as a safety and now he is a corner.
As a corner, with his safety background, he has a lot of upside. Safeties see the whole defense and offense in front of them. So they are required to understand nearly every aspect of the game: all defensive assignments, how to read the O-line, how to read the QB and how to read receivers.
Nnamdi has a far greater understanding of the game than most corners, because he is a safety at heart, that is what makes him great.
Nnamdi also went to Cal Berkley so he's obviously no dummy.
Nnamdi is also very physical and as far as corners go he is among the best open field tacklers. Because of this he is great at jamming receivers at the line scrimmage as well as helping in run support.
The best shut down corner? This Nnamdi is not, he may be one of the smartest best tackling corners but he is not the best shutdown corner.
Nnamdi only plays one side of the field. Specifically, he plays the defensive right exclusively. This gives him a huge advantage.
Most of the NFLs' QBs are right-handed. So Nnamdi is almost always on the QBs blind side.
Defenses also tend to put the best pass-rusher on the defensive right, the QBs blind side. Because of this the QB is often flushed to the defensive left, away from Nnamdi.
Right handed QBs are also far more comfortable rolling out to the their right, the defensive left, and throwing to their right. Again away from Nnamdi.
Real shut-down corners like Charles Woodson, Champ Bailey and Darrelle Revis are all able to play the entire field. The three fore-mentioned corners can adjust to offensive tendencies. If an offense tends to throw to the wide side of the field, which is very common, they can adjust by switching sides. They can also mirror the other team's No. 1 receiver.
Nnamdi on the other hand can't or at least doesn't.
Rather than him adjusting to the offense, the offense adjusts to him. Teams move their best receiver away from Nnamdi successfully taking Nnamdi out of the game and leaving him on an island with second rate receivers.
For all we know if Nnamdi was taking out of his comfort zone and moved to the defensive left side he would be made vulnerable.
Stanford Routt was able to play in place of Nnamdi on a few occasions and no one really noticed the difference. Because the corner on the defensive left, Chris Johnson, continued to get picked on.
In case you didn't know Stanford Routt is the Raiders often exploited nickel corner. Funny how no one passed his way when he was playing in Nnamdis' spot.
But it does make sense. When teams gameplan for the Raiders they find ways to get their No. 1 receiver the ball away from Nnamdi. Either by playing their No. 1 against the defensive left or in the slot.
Nnamdi may be a fraud as the leagues' No. 1 shut-down corner. His greatness may be a hoax, a lie and just smoke and mirrors. All who believe Nnamdi is the greatest, as advertised, may just be the victims of a scam by a deceitful Al Davis.
If Nnamdi wants to be considered the best he needs to up his game and increase his versatility.
We all know he is good against the run and he has the defensive right locked down. But lets see him cover the slot, move to the left side, or mirror the other teams best receiver.
If Nnamdi is incapable of such tasks. Then the Raiders may be better off trading him before the whole league learns the secret of our "best players" limitations.