Cornerbacks are often put to the test in today's NFL, with the rules of the game favoring spread offenses that can light up a defense. However, shutdown cornerbacks are still in the NFL, and quite important and valuable assets.
1. Darrelle Revis - Jets
Through elite athleticism and almost perfect technique, Revis is the definition of the shutdown cornerback. With underrated strength, he can bully wideouts in press coverage and is an excellent tackler. Revis' dominance is the essential cog to one of the better defenses in the NFL.
2. Nnamdi Asomugha - Eagles
Nnamdi struggled at times this season, but if used correctly, he still is a dominant cornerback. Asomugha is one of the best press cornerbacks of the last few decades, using outstanding size and fluidity to shut down the game's best wideouts.
3. Asante Samuel - Falcons
Samuel is the best zone cornerback in the game, and continues to be extremely productive as a defender and a dangerous ball hawk. Samuel has weaknesses against the run and can let up some passes due to his gambles, but his instincts in coverage make him an elite cornerback.
4. Champ Bailey - Broncos
Bailey is no longer what he was in his prime, but he has replaced his diminishing physical dominance with outstanding awareness for the position. He continues to put up games where he shuts down opposing wideouts. At some point his age will catch up to him, but he continues to perform.
5. Ike Taylor - Steelers
Taylor can fly under the radar, but he is capable of shutting down excellent receivers on any given day. Not a ball hawk, but he limits the best receiver, and often without a lot of help in coverage. Taylor will want to forget the Denver game, but he is a vital part of the great Pittsburgh defense.
6. Jonathan Joseph - Texans
Joseph's arrival in Houston resulted in a dramatic improvement in the Texans' defense and their emergence as a Super Bowl contending team. Joseph probably had something to do with that, displaying excellent athleticism while covering the opponent's top wideout.
7. Brandon Flowers - Chiefs
While he is a smaller cornerback, he certainly doesn't play like one. In addition to having excellent athleticism and agility, Flowers is very strong for the position and a great tackler. He is also quite savvy for a player his age, and is seldom beat.
8. Cortland Finnegan - Rams
Finnegan had a phenomenal year in Tennessee as one of the most successful cover-corners in the NFL. Finnegan is undersized, but makes up for it with agility, quickness and surprising physicality. A scrappy player with good instincts, he's great for annoying other wideouts.
9. Aqib Talib - Buccaneers
Talib has had his share of problems, but on the field, he continues to be outstanding. Talib has excellent athleticism for a cornerback of his size, which gives him the potential to cover any wideout in the NFL. Talib has been given the opportunity to turn another leaf, and perform to his potential.
10. Carlos Rogers - 49ers
Rogers had a tremendous season in San Francisco, performing well as the number one cornerback for the best defense in all of football. Rogers was an essential cog to this unit, combining savvy play with a well-rounded skill set for the position.
Joe Haden - Browns: an outstanding cornerback, Haden will be in the Top 10 for years
Corey Webster - Giants: Webster's play against prolific offenses won the Giants a Super Bowl
Antonio Cromartie - Jets: extremely fast with great height, Cro forms a great combo with Revis
Lardarius Webb - Ravens: had an outstanding first year as a starter, Pro Bowl caliber
Patrick Peterson - Cardinals: incredible athletic tools, he may find his way to Canton one day
Antoine Winfield - Vikings: his age and injuries concern, but among the best when healthy