Typically speaking, sports fans tend to worry about two things – the past and the future. They’ll debate who was the greatest player of all-time, while also spending hours discussing whether or not a rookie is going to be develop into an All-Pro.
Both are fun exercises, things that keep fans engaged and the beer flowing at the local tavern. But they miss out on what is most important – the present.
Forget about yesterday. Never mind tomorrow. Let’s talk about today.
Who are the best players in the NFL right now? Who can help a team win the Super Bowl this season? Who is writing a legacy with each passing week?
Those are the questions the editors at cover32 seek to answer in this series, “Top 10 in 2014.” In the coming weeks, every position – as well as head coach, general manager and other off-field areas – will be graded, evaluated and ranked.
The series continues with a position that has become so important that it’s now home of the league’s most high-profile divas – cornerback. Having a player who can neutralize the opposition’s top offensive weapon is vital to a defense, which is why a shutdown corner garners such a hefty salary. And being one of the few players in the league who fall into this category puts guys in rarified air, a status that turns them into the game’s biggest prima donnas.
Let the debate begin!
10. Aqib Talib
Talib is an incredible talent, having snagged 23 interceptions during the first seven seasons of his career. But the fact that 2014 will see the cornerback on his third team in as many years is a sign that he brings a lot of baggage to the table. Yes, Talib can be a neutralizer – see what he did last season to Jimmy Graham – but his act of getting in trouble off the field and being high-maintenance on it eventually wears thin.
9. Brent Grimes
After six solid seasons in Atlanta, Grimes made his debut with the Dolphins in 2013. And despite some criticism from fans who had unreasonable expectations, the veteran cornerback delivered in a big way. He started all 16 games, grabbed four picks and became a cornerstone of Miami’s defense. As a result of his fine play, the Dolphins rewarded him with a four-year, $32-million deal during the offseason.