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Top 40 CBs of all time

2021 Patriots Season:
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Sun
Sep 19th

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pazrul72

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
2019 Weekly Picks Winner
Seeing as it’s the deadest two weeks of the entire year I want to see people’s opinions about the top 40 players at each position. @BaconGrundleCandy has a proposed 10 team all time draft set up that got me thinking who would I be drafting at each position? I started to do a little research and CB is a really interesting place to start. Unlike LB where the real LT is pretty much the consensus best of the best there is a ton of variation, on the top 5 even, depending on who you ask. There is also the point of view do you go for best career or highest peak? So many different ways to answer the same question and that’s what makes this interesting. I’m not going to do QB as @Ice_Ice_Brady did a far superior job already.

I went with www.Thegruelingtruth.com/football/top-30-cornerbacks-nfl-history just as a starting point as it does not include active players then added 10 more modern CBs who will filter in somewhere, some higher then others. So not in any order these are the 40 best CBs I found to start the discussion. See someone not on it that should be? Make your case. Someone too high, too low? Have at it! I was shocked at how many of these names I had never heard of, it’s been quite the nfl history lesson.

1. Dick “Night train” Lane
2. Darrell Green
3. Mike Hayes
4. Rod Woodson
5. Mel Blunt
6. Deion Sanders
7. Willie Brown
8. Champ Bailey
9. Charles Woodson
10. Emlen Tunnell
11. Herb Adderley
12. Mel Renfro
13. Lem Barney
14. Lemar Parrish
15. Roger Wehrli
16. Ken Riley
17. Dick Lebeau
18. Aeneas Williams
19. Albert Lewis
20. Lester Hayes
21. Eddie Meador
22. Emmitt Thomas
23. Jimmie Johnson (not that one)
24. Ty Law
25. Frank Minnifield-Hanford Dixon
26. Bob Jeter
27. Bobby Boyd
28. Louis Wright
29. Pat Fischer
30. Bobby Dillon
31. Darrelle Revis
32. Richard Sherman
33. Aqib Talib
34. Charles Tilman
35. Patrick Peterson
36. Stephon Gilmore
37. Chris Harris Jr
38. Darius Slay
39. Josh Norman
40. Nnamdi Asomugha

Edit: just thought of another way to ask this. Prime Jerry Rice is the assignment, who are you putting on him 1 on 1?
 
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Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
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Great thread idea.

Admittedly I don‘t know too much about the history of the position, but just some notes:

1. I expect that when it comes to stats, you’ll see pretty big changes around 1980 and then again around 2005, based on the rule changes. Unlike most positions. modern players will have a disadvantage when it comes to stats and to some degree accolades, which are often based on stats.

2. Some of the old-time players were 2-way, and some of the well know QBs played defensive back and excelled. Sammy Baugh had, I think 14 INTs in one season as a DB. Don Hutson, arguably the best WR ever, had five years on paper (NFL didn’t always record INTs to specific players) and had 30 INTs in those five years.

3. As a Pats fan, it has been awesome to watch Law, Talib, Revis, and Gilmore. Not to take the thread off track, but I believe Bill sees huge value in a shutdown cornerback, more than most teams.
 

pazrul72

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
2019 Weekly Picks Winner
Revis is too low. In his prime, he was easily a top 10 CB. Sanders should be in the top 5 as well.
Yeah I have Revis in my top 5 as stats don’t always tell the story. In this case I just wrote that articles list 1-30 and then added 10 modern CBs 31-40. I was hoping to see other people’s list and where they ranked them or why. So who are you taking out of the top 5 for deion?
 

pazrul72

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
2019 Weekly Picks Winner
Great thread idea.

Admittedly I don‘t know too much about the history of the position, but just some notes:

1. I expect that when it comes to stats, you’ll see pretty big changes around 1980 and then again around 2005, based on the rule changes. Unlike most positions. modern players will have a disadvantage when it comes to stats and to some degree accolades, which are often based on stats.

2. Some of the old-time players were 2-way, and some of the well know QBs played defensive back and excelled. Sammy Baugh had, I think 14 INTs in one season as a DB. Don Hutson, arguably the best WR ever, had five years on paper (NFL didn’t always record INTs to specific players) and had 30 INTs in those five years.

3. As a Pats fan, it has been awesome to watch Law, Talib, Revis, and Gilmore. Not to take the thread off track, but I believe Bill sees huge value in a shutdown cornerback, more than most teams.
I want to do one of these like every other day(ish) for the next two weeks. CBs, WRs, DT, RBs, LBs, TEs, S, and DE’s. We were having an interesting discussion about at what positions the biggest drop off is And looking at it like this would be really insightful. For this list I would be absolutely fine with any of the top 10 as my CB1 the debate is really who do you like and why more then there are 2-3 names in the discussion like some other positions.
 

Uptown

Standin' Pat
I loved Minnifield & Dixon. May very well be my all time duo. Straight Dawgs (no pun intended). Neither Slay or Norman belong anywhere near this list. Hell, I’d go Gilmore & Ramsey before them; no question.
 
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KontradictioN

…with that said, Cam is a great teammate.
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2020 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
Yeah I have Revis in my top 5 as stats don’t always tell the story. In this case I just wrote that articles list 1-30 and then added 10 modern CBs 31-40. I was hoping to see other people’s list and where they ranked them or why. So who are you taking out of the top 5 for deion?
Oh man. You had to ask me that, huh? Without giving it much thought, I’d probably have Woodson and Sanders switch places on that list. Even then, that’s a hard call because Woodson was actually willing to tackle even if he didn’t have the ball or coverage skills that Sanders had.
 

TheRainMaker

I'm getting my res at Dorsia
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Sanders, Law, Gilmore and Revis are too low.

How is Talib ahead of Gilmore?

Patrick Surtain should make the list over the overrated Slay and Asomugha. Asomugha had a weird reputation after having one good year in Oakland to not throw to his side. After he left Oakland, he was badly exposed.

Norman was a one year wonder.
 
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pazrul72

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
2019 Weekly Picks Winner
Sanders, Law, Gilmore and Revis are too low.

How is Talib ahead of Gilmore?

Patrick Surtain should make the list over the overrated Slay and Asomugha. Asomugha had a weird reputation after having one good year in Oakland to not throw to his side. After he left Oakland, he was badly exposed.

Norman was a one year wonder.
As I said, in no particular order. That's not my list its a combination of the linked articles list and I googled top CB of 2010, 2011, 2012, etc. Both slay and aso popped up more then others so I added them to the list though I am not sold on them being there. It just felt right to add 10 modern players. Surtain is a good add
 

Vindicate

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Gilmore has produced an incredible resume here, in the era where it is hardest for CB's to do so, against some incredible competition. He should be further up. I'd probably place him higher than most, but even still, he's better than 36th.
 

RobertWeathers

Chairman & CEO of Team Bill
PatsFans.com Supporter
Ronde Barber might need to be included on that list. 47 INTs and 28 sacks in his career.
100% agree. A huge omission.

These lists are impossible.

I can only comment on the ones i've seen and respect they were given.

As long as Lester Hayes is on this list it has some credibility in my book.

That man was a menace.
 

BaconGrundleCandy

#1 Mac Jones fan
PatsFans.com Supporter
Rough top 20

Sanders

Blount

Haynes

Bailey

Night Train

R Woodsen

Revis

Law

Brown

A Williams

Green

Barney

C Wood

Pat Peterson

Hayes

Adderley

Lewis

Tunnell

Barber

Tillman

Wherli
 

BaconGrundleCandy

#1 Mac Jones fan
PatsFans.com Supporter
Ronde Barber might need to be included on that list. 47 INTs and 28 sacks in his career.
100% agree. A huge omission.

These lists are impossible.

I can only comment on the ones i've seen and respect they were given.

As long as Lester Hayes is on this list it has some credibility in my book.

That man was a menace.
Barber actually got knocked bc he was nickel. Funny considering how important the position is today. He was borderline great doing anything though. Unbelievable tackler. Him and Tillman are two of the best to do it in that defense.
 

jimnance

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PatsFans.com Supporter
Night Train was before my time but I saw Haynes,Deion and Green. And those are the 3 best Ive ever seen.
But Revis at #31 is a freakin' joke. He should be top 7.
 

VectorPrime

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
Longevity counts so he doesn’t deserve to be called the overall best of all time but Revis for like a 3 year span might have been the best there ever was. 31 overall is a joke especially because he did what he did in an era where you couldn’t mug receivers anymore.
 

betterthanthealternative

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Are we evaluating based on:
  1. How good they were vs. the competition they played against?
  2. Or, if you take them out of time, and drop them onto a modern football field, with a full education of the modern game, how well they'd perform?
It definitely doesn't work to try to mix those two evaluation systems.

As much as I love me some of these old timers, I'd wager many of them would fall well short of the speed, lateral ability, and quick twitch that the newer players have. And Pat Fischer would be thrown out of every game with two unsportsmanlikes before half time, just doing his normal coverage routine.

Another way to look at it: If you put Revis (or Law, or Green) in a game in 1953, you could put 10 men on the DL. (Exaggeration, to make a point.)
 

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