Magic Number Eights: The Top NFL Defensive Backs
The defensive back position is a difficult one to rank, as so many different players at this division play this position very well.
The two different positions for a defensive back are cornerback and safety.
Cornerbacks cover the receiver so they can't catch the ball, and try to intercept the ball, while the safety plays in the backfield, doing what their title says, being a "safety."
We have seen cornerbacks have a big year one season, then completely fall down the list the next (for example, Antonio Cromartie).
It seems as though the best safeties around the league are the ones who are often injured, for example Ed Reed, Bob Sanders and Troy Polamalu.
Although, the best defensive backs aren't shown through stats, but through their play on the field.
I expect some controversy here, but I feel as though I did the best with the current top defensive backs in the NFL.
8. Adrian Wilson, Arizona
2009 Statistics: 74 tackles; five interceptions; one forced fumble; two sacks.
With Antrel Rolle's release and signing with the Giants, I expect even more out of Wilson this season.
He becomes the team's official top safety, even with the acquiring of Kerry Rhodes.
Wilson is a beast, standing at 6'3, which is big for a defensive back. He seems to be in on every play, and really is an underrated player in the league.
I love Wilson's ability to play the pass and rush the quarterback. He is a very athletically gifted player, which makes him No. 8 on this list.
7. Asante Samuel, Philadelphia
2009 Statistics: 40 tackles; 9 interceptions; one forced fumble.
Samuel is not known for being the best cover corner, nor will he rack up a lot of tackles during the season, but he is one of the best ball-hawks in the NFL.
After becoming a star at New England, Samuel signed with the Eagles to help them improve their defensive back corps, which has always been a strength of their team.
He hasn't failed to meet expectations, picking off the quarterback for a tying league-best nine interceptions.
6. Darren Sharper, New Orleans
2009 Statistics: 71 tackles; nine interceptions.
Even at age 34, Sharper is still one of the top defensive backs in the league.
He proved it last season by helping New Orleans finally catch their Super Bowl dream they have been chasing for many years.
As soon as Sharper stepped on the field for New Orleans, he became the leader of their defense.
He picked off the quarterback for a league-high tying nine times.
Hopefully the surgery he had this offseason will not affect him much, and he can return to his '09 form.
5. Ed Reed, Baltimore
2009 Statistics: 50 tackles; three interceptions; three forced fumbles.
Ed Reed continues to struggle with injuries, just like all of the top safeties in the NFL.
He missed four games last season, but was still able to put up some pretty impressive numbers.
Reed continues to be one of the top play-makers in the league with his outstanding athletic ability.
If he can stay healthy for a whole 16-game season, there is no doubt in my mind he can help the Ravens make their way to the Super Bowl.
4. Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland
2009 Statistics: 34 tackles; one interception.
A down season for Asomugha in '09, but is still one of the best cover corners in the league.
After claiming the top defensive back spot after the '08 season, he has fallen down to the No. 4 slot, which is impressive, seeing how he could easily be the best in the league.
He's one of the few bright spots on the Oakland team, but he continues to work hard week after week, and I expect him to continue his success.
3. Charles Woodson, Green Bay
2009 Statistics: 74 tackles; nine interceptions; four forced fumbles; two sacks.
The 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award winner, Woodson continues to play at such an elite level, even at age 33. He is going on to have a Hall of Fame career.
Woodson has continued to improve every season since joining the Packers in 2006, and finally got some respect by claiming the Defensive MVP last year.
He is that type of player that every coach loves to have. I love his hard work, passion for the game, and the skill is possesses is crazy.
2. Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh
2009 Statistics: 20 tackles; three interceptions.
Polamalu continues to struggle with injuries, as he missed 11 games last season.
It's funny to see how much Pittsburgh's defense struggles when Polamalu is not in the lineup. That's why he claims the No. 2 spot, even though he has missed a lot of time the past few seasons with nagging injuries.
Polamalu is arguably the best defensive player in the NFL. He's got everything you'd want in a safety. He can hit hard, intercept the ball, and tackle all over the field.
The Steelers really need him to stay healthy this season, as the loss of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and trading away receiver Santonio Holmes will hurt them enough.
1. Darrelle Revis, New York Jets
2009 Statistics: 54 tackles; six interceptions.
Nicknamed "Revis Island" after having a breakout season in '09 that made him the top defensive back in the league.
I remember seeing a chat of his on NFL.com where he claimed himself as the best cornerback in the league, and I laughed.
I had never seen much of him, so I had no idea he was that good until I started watching film of his.
Revis stopped any receiver he matched up with, and gave coaches and quarterbacks headaches throughout the whole season.
The Jets need to hurry up and give the man his money, as they do not need him holding out.
After such an impressive '09 season, we can only hope he can do what former top-defensive backs couldn't do: keep his spot at No. 1.
Next Stop: Kickers/Punters
Come check out my next position ranking in my series "Magic Number Eights," kickers and punters!