Top 10 cornerbacks for 2016

Arizona CB Patrick Peterson tallied seven interceptions and 52 tackles in 2012. Jeff Curry/US Presswire

As I've previously written, it's tough to be a cornerback in the NFL -- especially in today's NFL. Offensive coordinators consistently seek out the weakest link on defense and spread those players out to create favorable matchups. The speed of the game continues to increase, and players are bigger, stronger and faster than when I played in the 1970s and '80s.

Today's cornerbacks must possess mental toughness, ball awareness, ball skills as well as the ability to close on routes and change direction. The few players who can do all of these things well are the game's elite cornerbacks. It's these players, along with rising stars, who will serve as shutdown corners for years to come.

Here is my list of the top 10 projected cornerbacks for 2016:

1. Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals

I watched him when he was at LSU and knew he was going to be a star. He's a physical specimen at 6-foot-1 and 219 pounds, and he'll be only 26 years old entering the 2016 season. Peterson has great ball skills and recovery speed, although at times he could use better technique. Plus, he offers added value as a dangerous return man.