Cornerback is one of the most important positions in all of football. If you have bad corners, it will change the total outcome of the game as teams will pass on you early and often. If you have good corners, nobody will pass on you and if you can stop the run, you are in great shape to win. Many teams with good corners are also among the leagues elite. Here is my list of who I think are the top ten cornerback tandems in the league.
1. Asante Samuel, Lito Sheppard Eagles: Many considered Samuel one of the top free agents this year. When the Eagles signed him to pair up with Sheppard, offensive coordinators in the NFC cringed. Both Samuel and Sheppard are among the elite corners in the game and have proven track records. Plus Sheldon Brown in the nickel, is not too shabby himself and would be a starter for most teams in the league.
2. Al Harris, Charles Woodson Packers: Harris and Woodson may be older then most of the corners on the list, but that doesn’t mean that they still can’t play. Harris got more national attention, but Woodson had the better season as he had 4 and 9 pass deflections. Harris excels in the bump and run which is why he struggled against a much taller receiver in Plaxico Burress. This tandem though should fair well again this season in a division with a weak passing game.
3. Antonio Cromartie, Quentin Jammer Chargers: When talking about the best corners in the league, Cromartie is one of the first ones mentioned. Last year he led the league with 10 interceptions but a good part of that was because Jammer was so good. Jammer last year shut down most of the receivers that came his way and that was a main reason why he only had one interception. With Cromartie still developing and Jammer in his prime, the Chargers are a scary duo.
4. Champ Bailey, Dre’ Bly Broncos: Heading into last season, this tandem would have been on top of everybody’s list. Many feel that Bailey is the best corner in the league and Bly is among the top 15. But last year Bailey had an average year and Bly would’ve had a hard time covering a baby with a blanket. Bailey went on to have 84 tackles and 3 interceptions but a mediocre season for Bailey is a career best for pretty much anyone else.
5. Terence Newman, Pacman Jones Cowboys: Newman actually had a very good year last year as he had 50 tackles and 4 interceptions. Those numbers are why the Cowboys gave him the contract they did. Jones may not have played a down in the league for a year, but he was becoming an elite corner in the league before his suspension. If his progress continues, Dallas could have a very good secondary but if he fails, they could always use first round draft pick Mike Jenkins. The Cowboys could have a very good secondary this year, now they just have to do something about Roy Williams.
6.Nnadmi Asomugha, DeAngelo Hall Raiders: This duo could be at the very top of this list next year is everything goes as planned in Oakland. Many think that Hall is the better corner, but it is acutally Asomugha as many see him as a top 5 corner in the league. Hall has the potential to be great, but as of now he gambles on to many plays and that doesn’t work out most of the time. With this duo and Michael Huff and Gibril Wilson at safety, the Raiders could have one of the best young secondaries in the league.
7. Marcus Trufant, Kelly Jennings Seahawks: Trufant has been one of the best corners in the league ever since he was drafted in 2003. He continued his success with a career best 7 interceptions last year. Jennings is a young corner who improved throughout the course of the season as he had 12 pass deflections. With Trufant in his prime and Jennings improving, this tandem could be even higher next year.
8. Ken Lucas, Chris Gamble Panthers: This duo was much higher around year ago, but both players have started slipping a little. Lucas had a solid season with 13 pass deflections and 2 interceptions. While Gamble ended the year with 6 pass deflections and 1 interception. The Panthers also have young defensive back Richard Marshall who when he played, was the best out of all of them, don’t be surprised if he takes a starting spot this year.
9. Ronde Barber, Phillip Buchanon Bucs: It’s hard to believe but Ronde Barber is still playing at a high level. Last year Barber had 14 pass deflections with 2 interceptions. Buchanon had lots of balls thrown his way due to Barber’s play but held his own with 10 pass deflections and 3 interceptions. With first round pick Aqib Talib developing and two young stars in Tanard Jackson and Jermaine Phillips at safety, the Bucs could have one of the best secondaries in the league in a few years.
10. Charles Tillman, Nathan Vasher Bears: If not for injuries, this tandem would be much higher. Tillman played very well last season as he had 13 pass deflections and 3 interceptions. While Vasher only played 4 games this season and had 1 interception. Look for this duo if healthy, to be much higher on the list next year.