The positional rankings within the NFC West continues as we now analyze the secondary. From the Seattle Seahawks “Legion of Boom” to the revamped San Francisco 49ers secondary, there are many changes in store for 2014. And while the NFC West is filled with an abundance of Pro Bowl talent, we analyzed and selected the cream of the crop as we chose the NFC West’s Top five defensive backs. So without further ado, here is our top five defensive backs in the NFC West.
1. CB Richard Sherman (Seattle Seahawks)
Analysis: You have to give credit where credit is due and Sherman tops our list. The boastful yet talented cornerback is by far the best NFC West cornerback and arguably the best cornerback in the entire NFL. However, CB Patrick Peterson from the Arizona Cardinals has been on his heels as he tries to overtake that spot but for now Sherman holds it down and how can anyone argue? In 2013, Sherman finished with 48 tackles, eight interceptions and 16 pass break-ups as his eight interceptions ranked first among all NFC West defenders while his 16 pass break-ups ranked third. A true shutdown corner it’s no wonder Sherman tops our list.
2. CB Patrick Peterson (Arizona Cardinals)
Analysis: Is this the year that Peterson overtakes Sherman as the best cornerback in the game? I think so. A much faster athlete with the athleticism to match, Peterson should have a monster season in 2014. A player that has quickly risen among the elite cornerbacks in the game due to his ballhawking ability, do not be surprised if Peterson records his first double digit interception season. In 2013, Peterson finished with 42 tackles, three interceptions and 13 pass break-ups.
3. FS Earl Thomas (Seattle Seahawks)
Analysis: The backend of the “LOB,” Thomas continues to be the unquestioned leader in the secondary. A diminutive player who has the hitting ability and range to cover the deeper-half of the field makes Thomas one of the best safeties in all of football. From instincts to taking proper angles, Thomas continues to be the rock for the “LOB” as they remain one of the top secondaries in the NFL. In 2013, Thomas finished with 105 tackles, five interceptions, nine pass break-ups and two forced fumbles.
4. FS Eric Reid (San Francisco 49ers)
Analysis: Talk about production. Who would have thought Reid would be a Pro Bowl alternate his rookie season? But that’s exactly what happened. A vicious hitter with the range and football IQ to be counted on week one, it was Reid who emerged as the leader of the 49ers secondary under SS Donte Whitner’s tutelage. Now, as Reid enters his sophomore season look for him to have his best season yet as he can now rely more so on his instincts due to having better knowledge of DC Vic Fangio’s complex cover-2 scheme.
5. CB Chris Culliver (San Francisco 49ers)
Analysis: Sure teammate CB Tramaine Brock had a career-season last year but that doesn’t mean that another 49ers’ cornerback won’t have a big year as well. Yes, I’m talking about Culliver. A player who is coming off a torn ACL, I predict Cully to have a monster campaign as he plays in a contract year.
And while many Forever Faithful quickly point to his poor play during the Super Bowl, I can assure you he was the best cornerback for the duration of that season. Remember the play he made to clinch the season opener win against the Green Bay Packers or how about the clutch interception in the NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons? The bottom line is this kid has talent and will be proving his worth in 2014 as I predict him to have a stat line around six interceptions and 18 pass break-ups.
What are your thoughts Forever Faithful? Who do you think we left off? Start the discussion here on NinerFans.com.