<
>
Get ESPN+

The best NFL defensive backs in every category

ESPN Illustration

Look around the NFL right now, and it's hard not to see a ton of defensive backs playing at a very high level. Just this past weekend, we saw Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor match up with Rob Gronkowski, Chiefs DBs Marcus Peters and Eric Berry make two ridiculous plays to stun the Panthers, and Giants second-year safety Landon Collins snag his fourth interception in his past three games. Earlier in the year, Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes made Odell Beckham Jr. disappear on national TV. And don't even bother trying to throw on the crew in Denver, a lockdown unit with safeties who bring the hammer.

With DBs emerging all over the place, let's run through the best of the best in all the areas that matter: ball skills, range, press coverage, versatility, run defense and more.


Best overall cover corner

Aqib Talib, Broncos

The reason I'm putting Talib at the top starts with his ability to challenge receivers. He's going to compete, and he's very physical in press-man, attacking the chest plate of receivers and using his quick hands to re-route and then stick to the hip. He's super aggressive.

But we also have to focus on the rest of his game. Talib can play off-man, too. He has a smooth pedal, and he isn't afraid to let receivers eat up his cushion. Why? Because it puts him in a position to drive on the ball. And his closing speed shows up on the tape. He can suck up the distance to the receiver at the break point.