How come no one ranked the top 5, but merely listed the best?
Baseball seems to always induce better talks like these. Part of it is the heavy reliance on stats in baseball, making it easier to rank players. How do you rank cornerbacks without popular statistics? You can look at things like passes thrown to, interceptions, tips, performances against certain receivers, but it's less black and white because people don't care about cornerbacks which makes it tougher to find these stats. It requires you actually having to watch the games, and let's face it -- with only 16 games a season, there are probably guys like Nate Clements you've only seen play twice (or at least paid attention to him). It's not like Evan Longoria, where you can watch him go up to bat 20 times a year, or do a side to side comparison of his stats vs. other 3rd basemen. Cornerbacks are not stars anymore, so the casual fan doesn't know who is good and who is not since there is no hype talk or marketing that steers them. Take David Otiz. Even if you weren't a huge baseball fan, you know that he is good based on his publicity and all-star appearances. Who the hell knows how good Rashard Mathis or Nathan Vasher are? Sportscenter doesn't talk about them. Sometimes you'll hear about them if they suck and give up big plays (casual fans in L.A./Oakland now know DeAngelo Hall for giving up big plays).
Discussion question: Is there such things as a shutdown corner anymore? Is Champ, and perhaps, Asomugha really the only ones left? With the rules regarding pass interference now favoring receivers, defenders aren't allowed to touch as much as they did in Deion's day. Also, with different defensive schemes, such as the Tampa Cover 2, one-on-one battles aren't situated as much. More zone and less man coverage makes it more interesting, albeit subjective, on who is the "best." What about big plays given up? Or things that can't be numbered like their tackling ability?
That said, I'll spark some more players that weren't mentioned and offer up a top 10. I don't have any analysis to back it up, but maybe this will stir the pot a bit.
6. Al Harris
Honorable mention: Will Allen. Asante Samuel.
Dishonorable: DeAngelo Hall.
Interesting link: http://www.sportsgamer.com/forums/nfl-c ... r-use.html