With the 2013 NFL season now more than halfway over, it's a good time to look back and evaluate which players have had big impacts for their teams. Because I'm a defensive guy, I wanted to show the cornerbacks some love, especially because it's so hard to play the position in today's pass-first NFL.
To be an elite cornerback in the NFL, you need to have mental toughness, ball skills, excellent change-of-direction ability, pattern recognition and closing speed. The top corners are the guys who not only want to take on the challenge of single coverage with no safety help against the opposition's top wideout, but also win that matchup on a consistent basis.
Here is my ranking of the top 10 cornerbacks in the NFL right now:
I love his length and his competitive demeanor. He's a very confident player, and he does a great job playing in man coverage. He can play zone, but his strength is getting his arms on receivers in bump-and-run and disrupting routes. He's also a good tackler in the open field. I think his ball skills could improve a bit, but he's a really solid player in that system, and has four interceptions this season (tied for third in the NFL).