The New England Patriots employ a unique grading scale that tops out at 9.0. A player, whether a draft prospect or free agent, receives a 9.0 mark when the team projects him to have uncommon production near a Hall of Fame level. The adjective synonym for a 9.0 is "rare." On Wednesday night, less than 24 hours after seeing their top free agent sign with their top conference rival (cornerback Aqib Talib to Denver), the Patriots added a rare chip.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis isn't just the best player at his position in football -- given the premium of cornerbacks and the multitude of ways he can be used within a defense -- but he is arguably the best defensive player in football. Signing him to a one-year, $12 million deal is an impact arrangement. What makes Revis so good? And what will his impact be on the Patriots' defense from a performance and schematic standpoint? Let's take a look at each question individually.
Revis' skill set
What makes Revis such a terrific player? There's a lot to it. He has exceptional reactive athleticism that allows him to match and mirror opposing wide receivers in man coverage. He has the hip fluidity to adjust to routes while keeping leverage, all the while maintaining vision of the quarterback's progression. He has good size (5-foot-11, 198 pounds) and long arms to extend and press at the line of scrimmage. Revis possesses a standout ability to jam opposing wideouts and stay square at the snap, without opening the gate to let receivers run free.