Top 10 NFL Free Agent Defensive Backs
Over the last decade, the NFL has steadily evolved into a passing league. While most of us still like to see teams use the ground game to dominate their opponents, there are guys like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers (just to name a few) that love to sling it around.
With so many rule changes giving offensive players even more of an advantage, the game has become even more difficult for players in the secondary. The list of "shutdown corners" in the NFL has shrunk more and more every single year.
Looking at the long list of available free agents on the defensive side of the ball, I wanted to focus on the guys that have arguably the toughest job in the game: stopping elite passing offenses.
Just missing the top 10 list were Roman Harper and Quintin Mikell.
10. Ike Taylor
Taylor has spent his entire eight-year career in Pittsburgh, and it would seem strange that he would want to leave.
His ability to shadow receivers and help in run support has allowed the Steelers to be more creative up front.
9. Dawan Landry
Landry's 111 tackles were fourth-most for a safety in 2010. The Ravens had high expectations following his exceptional rookie season, but he was beaten over the top too often after that.
He had a bounce back season last year and will look to improve on that this year, even if the Ravens can't afford to keep him.
8. Michael Huff
Last year, Huff had his best season statistically at free safety for the Raiders with 77 solo tackles, four sacks and three interceptions.
Oakland is already prepared to lose their best player, who also happens to be in the secondary. Last year, they had one of the best tandems in the league, but they could be in trouble if they lose Huff too, especially with a guy like Philip Rivers in their division.
7. Chris Carr
Carr was a pleasant surprise last season filling in for the injury plagued Ravens. After finally getting his share of playing time, Carr forced three fumbles and grabbed two interceptions for Baltimore in 2010.
The Ravens are another team that is faced with making some big decisions with players in the secondary. While he isn't a star, they should be able to keep Carr as long as he gets the playing time that he desires.
6. Carlos Rogers
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I don't think anyone expects Rogers to be back in Washington, which is understandable since Carlos himself said as much.
Rogers said he was looking forward to playing the Redskins twice this year. That alone not only tells you he is leaving, but he wants to play for another team in the NFC East.
My guess would be the Cowboys or the Eagles, and he would fit in nicely with either one of them.
5. Brent Grimes
Grimes was one of the biggest breakout players on defense last season in the NFL. His five interceptions and NFL-best 23 passes defended landed him a spot in the Pro Bowl for the Falcons.
Atlanta has really improved their defense over the last two seasons, and Grimes' play is a big reason why. The Falcons would be wise to invest in him, considering they face Drew Brees and Josh Freeman twice in the competitive NFC South.
4. Brandon Carr
Now going into his fourth year in the league, Carr is poised to have a monster year.
Kansas City has really built a solid defense over the past few years, and Carr is surely in their plans for the future. In March, the Chiefs tendered Carr's contract, which means if a team wants him, they will have to give up a first-round draft pick.
Having Carr in the secondary with Eric Berry could be a dynamic duo for years to come for the fans at Arrowhead.
3. Antonio Cromartie
After gaining a lot of buzz for his coverage skills in 2007, when he intercepted 10 passes for the Chargers, Cromartie added three more last year to go along with 17 passes defended.
It would be unfair to compare him to Darrel Revis because they are not even close to the same player. The very presence of Revis on the other side of the field puts an even bigger target on his back.
All in all, Cromartie had a very solid season last year for the Jets, but he could be a cap casualty, especially since he stated earlier this week that he doesn't believe in "hometown discounts."
2. Johnathan Joseph
In 2009, the duo of Joseph and Leon Hall was arguably the best in the NFL. After they regressed last season in Cincinnati, they will look to return to form as Joseph could be hit with the franchise tag.
Hall will be in the final year of his contract, so he will be looking to perform at his best.
Joseph is physical, aggressive and good in any defensive scheme. If the Bengals do give him the franchise tag, Joseph has said that he will sign it on the first day.
See, it's not all bad news for Bengals fans.
1. Nnamdi Asomugha
This is the one everyone will be watching. Nnamdi is widely considered to be the biggest of all free agents this year, and for good reason.
The Raiders corner was thrown at just 27 times last season, and did not give up a single touchdown. He has had four All-Pro selections since 2006 and is arguably the best corner in the game today.
Personally, I think he is slightly better than Revis, but to believe that they could soon be teammates would be mind boggling.
He has been rumored to be looking at so many teams, but one thing is for certain. He wants to play for a Super Bowl contender.