In a league where quarterbacks are shattering passing records seemingly every season, and in which pass defense -- by dint of strict contact rules -- has never been more difficult to play, the value of a capable cover cornerback is undeniable. This past offseason, three young cornerbacks -- Cleveland's Joe Haden, Arizona's Patrick Peterson and, of course, Seattle's Richard Sherman -- were recipients of lucrative, long-term contract extensions to continue to serve as cornerstones of the defenses for the franchises that originally drafted them. Those who excel at the position are paid handsomely -- and deservedly.
Less than two weeks from now, the Patriots and Seahawks will face off in Super Bowl XLIX, a game that will feature both Sherman and Patriots standout Darrelle Revis, the two first-team All-Pro selections for the 2014 season at cornerback. And while there are other highly skilled and productive cornerbacks throughout the NFL, Revis and Sherman set the bar for cornerback play, even if their work, stylistically, is very different.
Here's a look at what makes each of them so good and my take on which one would be the better fit for most NFL teams.
It's not hard to find Sherman before the snap: He almost exclusively aligns to the left side of the Seahawks' defense. Sherman has played 928 defensive snaps this season, aligning on the wide left side on 847 of them (91.3 percent);