As the years go by the NFL gets more athletic, stronger and simply better. Especially in young defensive backs. But there are some old timers who know how to get down.
10. D.J. Hayden, CB, Oakland Raiders
D.J. Hayden is obviously one of the best young defensive backs in the game. Even though he hasn’t played a single game, he still qualifies as one of the best. He has come back from a devastating heart injury which sidelined him for a significant amount of time. During his career at Houston he accumulated six interceptions in a total of 22 games (missed four games in second season due to injury). He is on the list rife the future.
9. Dashon Goldson, S, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The signing of Dashon Goldson was the second-biggest defensive move this offseason (behind Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers). He is a beast on the defensive side and isn’t afraid to tackle big running backs like Adrian Perterson and Stevan Ridley. He earned 69 total tackles this past season with the 49ers. He did manage three interceptions, and with a height of 6’2″, he should have many more to come.
8. Champ Bailey, CB, Denver Broncos
Entering his 15th season in the NFL and ninth with the Broncos, Bailey doesn’t needs to prove anybody wrong about his playing ability. Bailey only had two interceptions while deflecting nine passes in 2012. He only gave up one touchdown all of last season, and that was to one of the best wide receivers in the NFL in A.J. Green.
7. Tim Jennings, CB, Chicago Bears
Last season, Tim Jennings earned national recognition and even wins with his great vision and performance. Jennings, from start to finish, earned his place on the pedestal elite defensive players.
6. Johnathan Joseph, CB, Houston Texans
Johnathan Joseph is arguably the best shutdown corner in the game.The Texans have three superstars on their defensive team in J.J Watt, Brian Cushing and Johnathan Joseph. Joseph plays smart, has great reaction time and isn’t scared to take a hit. He left the 2012 season unscathed, and if he is able to repeat that he is in the running for best.
5. Patrick Peterson, CB, Arizona Cardinals
Peterson, being the most versatile back on this list, is very fast, very big, and very athletic. Being an LSU alum, he is the cream of the crop. He is the best at what he does. He has earned the stature of top five in the NFL.
4. Eric Berry, S, Kansas City Chiefs
Berry is a great talent and a great playmaker. I think 86 tackles proves that, and he is a undoubtedly a great player. His team had boatload of Pro Bowlers but couldn’t do anything with them.
3. Darrelle Revis, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Darrelle’s recent move to Tampa is great for him, but must so much for his former team. He left the New York Jets in such disarray that they went directly into rebuilding mode when they didn’t need to. “Revis Island” now has sunny beaches and palm trees.
2. Charles Tillman, CB, Chicago Bears
Tillman has outstanding numbers. The best by any corner in the league in years. Tillman forced 10 fumbles, had 16 passes defended and three interceptions in 2012. Tillman is natural ball-hawk and defender, which allows him to play at an elite level every Sunday.
1. Richard Sherman, CB, Seattle Seahawks
Sherman is known as one of the most trash-talking players in the NFL, but he proved that he can back up his strong lyrics on the field by leading the NFL in passes defended whilst hauling in eight interceptions. After two years of strong play, Sherman should be able to anchor one side of the field for the 2013 season.