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Top 40 CBs of all time

2021 Patriots Season:
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Sun
Oct 31st

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BaconGrundleCandy

#1 Mac Jones fan
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I'm not familiar with Emlen Tunnell at #10, but the top 9 are certainly the best in the business and I believe you can make arguments for each at #1. I think Law is low at #24, but that may be homerism. His pick 6 in SB36 and his 3 picks of Manning in the AFCCG are as good as any other HoFer in the game.
Tunnell was a S. Reason I included him in my list was he was known as "offense on defense" ... Great at baiting, reading a QB's eyes and knew what was coming more often than not. 6'1 185 but was built. Stood out on the field. Could return kicks. He was a good one. I definitely need to study up on the old heads.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

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The older players on this list used to be allowed to maul receivers coming over the middle, now they can't impede a player after they are 5 yards over the line of scrimmage.. the game is quite a bit different.

Not doubting the skills of any of the players in question, just questioning how the "older" players vs. the current/newer players can be compared, there has been a significant change in the way the game is played.

They can be compared relative to their peers. It may be difficult to rank within tiers of players, but generally the best players are the ones that received the most accolades (all-pro, etc.) and were the most impressive within the norms of their own era.
 

pazrul72

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
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I haven't had time to put up stats with every player, working at an emergency hospital really chews into your free time and desire to do more work on what little you have, but at some point I would love to have years played, pro bowls, Int, Passes defensed, and FF for every player on the list. It would at least be a starting point for discussion cuz ronde barber is a huge snub and belongs on it. When I was looking at Surtain his team mate Madison has more Ints. Now was that because like in our system people avoid Gilmore so JC gets more opportunities? Maybe but its interesting to look at
 

BaconGrundleCandy

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That’s nuts.
Yep CB living among DE. Super underrated. Maybe not as underrated as Barber but two of the best nickel/CB I've ever seen. Barber was incredibly smart too.
I haven't had time to put up stats with every player, working at an emergency hospital really chews into your free time and desire to do more work on what little you have, but at some point I would love to have years played, pro bowls, Int, Passes defensed, and FF for every player on the list. It would at least be a starting point for discussion cuz ronde barber is a huge snub and belongs on it. When I was looking at Surtain his team mate Madison has more Ints. Now was that because like in our system people avoid Gilmore so JC gets more opportunities? Maybe but its interesting to look at
Barber: 47 INT, 197 PD, 15 FF, 28 Sacks, 88 TFL. Doing work behind the los and outside.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

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I love how the Jets are always the most superstar-struck team in the league and have never had a problem shelling out huge market setting deals…and let arguably the most valuable (peak) defensive player of the 20th century go to another team, despite giving Mark Sanchez two huge contracts when he wasn’t even a FA. They traded Revis for a first round pick and used it to draft Dee Milliner as his replacement…because we all know you can just replace historical outlier players with a top 10 pick.

Then they wound up overpaying for him after all…after he had just won a championship with their biggest rivals and was completely through with trying hard.
 

TheRainMaker

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I love how the Jets are always the most superstar-struck team in the league and have never had a problem shelling out huge market setting deals…and let arguably the most valuable (peak) defensive player of the 20th century go to another team, despite giving Mark Sanchez two huge contracts when he wasn’t even a FA. They traded Revis for a first round pick and used it to draft Dee Milliner as his replacement…because we all know you can just replace historical outlier players with a top 10 pick.

Then they wound up overpaying for him after all…after he had just won a championship with their biggest rivals and was completely through with trying hard.
I don’t remember Sanchez getting two contracts. That would insane.

Milliner replacing Revis was hilarious. He was a massive reach. Perfect example of why I don’t like trading superstar players for a draft pick because the team will most likely swing and miss on the replacement.

The worst part of that pick is that he wasn’t a better prospect coming out of college than Revis and he was picked 5 slots ahead of Revis. This is pretty basic s*** most teams don’t get.
 
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DarrylS

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They can be compared relative to their peers. It may be difficult to rank within tiers of players, but generally the best players are the ones that received the most accolades (all-pro, etc.) and were the most impressive within the norms of their own era.

So how do you compare a player who played in the 50's to any player today, the game is completely different??.. what Lane did then is nowhere near what a CB of today does or how the game is played. Not taking anything away from Lane and others, but it seems it would be more appropriate to break it down by decade...

Even the Pats early on in this run were able to beat up WR's, but now the rules have changed and the game is different. This argument comes up when there is a discussion of greatest QB's of all time.. often in top QB lists see Sammy Baugh, Otto Graham included in the same list as Brady, Manning etc. The game is completely different, could the best of today compete in that game of yesteryear and visa versa..
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

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So how do you compare a player who played in the 50's to any player today, the game is completely different??.. what Lane did then is nowhere near what a CB of today does or how the game is played. Not taking anything away from Lane and others, but it seems it would be more appropriate to break it down by decade...

Even the Pats early on in this run were able to beat up WR's, but now the rules have changed and the game is different. This argument comes up when there is a discussion of greatest QB's of all time.. often in top QB lists see Sammy Baugh, Otto Graham included in the same list as Brady, Manning etc. The game is completely different, could the best of today compete in that game of yesteryear and visa versa..

I don’t consider the question of whether or not you could transport player X to a different time and place and how they’d do. If you do that, the rankings will be incredibly modern-heavy because athletes progress over time. You’ll get absurd results. I believe player rankings should consider players only within the context of the game/environment they played in.
 

sb1

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Feels like a list like this really has to rank them in order of how dominant they were in their era instead of comparing them to others on the list
 

Actual Pats Fan

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Agreed. A great list that is well done.

Agreed.

Agreed. Should rings be part of the thought process in making the list? Guys that play great in the biggest moments? If yes, Law seems a bit low, but he is not Bailey or Sanders by any stretch.
F the rings.

Pamper and coddle Flutie like Elway, Kelly and Bledsoe were and he'd have three or more.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

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Feels like a list like this really has to rank them in order of how dominant they were in their era instead of comparing them to others on the list

Unless you want to entertain a Dwight Howard > Bill Russell argument.
 

jimnance

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The most amazing cb in nfl history has gotta be Darrell Green. I rank him #3 alltime,behind Mike Haynes and Primetime.
But the dude was 5'8". The only top cb in history who could match him speedwise was Deion. But Green was much tougher than Deion, a willing and able tackler. He shut down even big fast receivers 6-7" taller.
He was also dominant into his late 30's with no loss of speed. He was faster than any cb playing today. But the dude also knee how to use his body, get leverage on wrs and negate any height advantage.
A lot of people consider him the best of all time and he has a strong case.
 

jimnance

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Unless you want to entertain a Dwight Howard > Bill Russell argument.
Argument? LMFAO! Russell is in the convo for GOAT along with MJ and um,no one else. Howatd is not even a top 50 alltime player. As a center, hes not even top 15. Friggin joke.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

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Argument? LMFAO! Russell is in the convo for GOAT along with MJ and um,no one else. Howatd is not even a top 50 alltime player. As a center, hes not even top 15. Friggin joke.

You’re missing the point. This is exactly why I’m saying you don’t plug players into other eras when making these rankings. In the 1950s, Dwight Howard would have averaged 100 ppg with his physical superiority. Bill Russell would have been neutralized in the 1990s/2000s, if you assume he’d have the exact physical traits and skills, 50 years into the future. So yes, that’s exactly why it’s laughable to start fiddling around with comparing 40 times, physical skills, and sometimes even game skills, when comparing players decades apart. You can only fairly rank them compared to their own peers, and within their own era, and give them a universal rating based on that.
 

40yrpatsfan

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You’re missing the point. This is exactly why I’m saying you don’t plug players into other eras when making these rankings. In the 1950s, Dwight Howard would have averaged 100 ppg with his physical superiority. Bill Russell would have been neutralized in the 1990s/2000s, if you assume he’d have the exact physical traits and skills, 50 years into the future. So yes, that’s exactly why it’s laughable to start fiddling around with comparing 40 times, physical skills, and sometimes even game skills, when comparing players decades apart. You can only fairly rank them compared to their own peers, and within their own era, and give them a universal rating based on that.
Yes and no. Some of these CB's we're talking about from 30-45 years ago could lace them up today and be 1st team all-pro (assuming they were magically 25 years old). Same with guys like Gayle Sayers and Jim Brown, who played 60 years ago.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

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Yes and no. Some of these CB's we're talking about from 30-45 years ago could lace them up today and be 1st team all-pro (assuming they were magically 25 years old). Same with guys like Gayle Sayers and Jim Brown, who played 60 years ago.

You think Jim Brown would be the same player in today’s game? The defenders he played against aren‘t comparable in size or strength to the players of the 1950s. A lot of those guys needed off-season jobs to pay their bills and didn’t even train half the year. Guys were smoking cigarettes in the locker room. When you see his running style, do you really think he throws defenders around like rag dolls and can’t be tackled in 2021?

Does this look like an NFL defense of today?

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BaconGrundleCandy

#1 Mac Jones fan
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You’re missing the point. This is exactly why I’m saying you don’t plug players into other eras when making these rankings. In the 1950s, Dwight Howard would have averaged 100 ppg with his physical superiority. Bill Russell would have been neutralized in the 1990s/2000s, if you assume he’d have the exact physical traits and skills, 50 years into the future. So yes, that’s exactly why it’s laughable to start fiddling around with comparing 40 times, physical skills, and sometimes even game skills, when comparing players decades apart. You can only fairly rank them compared to their own peers, and within their own era, and give them a universal rating based on that.
Dammmmmm Bill Russell is the line you don't cross around here bub. You're asking for it now. Pow right in the kisser.

That's part of the reason I wanted different players from different eras in my fantasy fiction draft. Too tough to plug in players from different eras. Styles make fights and all that.

Some will bring up the fact that they didn't have access to our new treatment/rehab, training programs/philosophies etc but like you mentioned guys were smoking butts on sidelines and eating like ****. Who would take advantage of all the new resources and how would their bodies respond? Not to mention the overall competition isn't close to what we see today.

Some guys would work in any era imo but the majority were playing on frozen pond, on field with trees overhanging and again we saw a limited patch of players back in the day. No overseas, poc ...
 

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