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2015 NFL Player Rankings: Defensive Backs

Darrelle Revis

Darrelle Revis

Just like last year, Athlon Sports' 2015 NFL Preview magazine includes NFL player rankings at every position. The rankings in the magazine are provided by Dan Shonka of Ourlads' NFL Scouting Services, a company that's been in the football talent evaluation business for more than three decades.

Related: 2015 NFL Player Rankings - Wide Receivers


Seattle's quest for a second straight Super Bowl title came up painfully short, but it wasn't due to the efforts of the league's best secondary. The Legion of Boom is a big reason for the Seahawks' two-year reign (and counting) in the NFC, a group headlined by a trio of All-Pros in cornerback Richard Sherman (No. 2) and safeties Earl Thomas (No. 1) and Kam Chancellor (No. 3). Whether Sherman or Darrelle Revis is the NFL's top shutdown cornerback is up for debate, but what's not is how important Seattle's defensive backs are to the team's success. While the consecutive Super Bowl appearances should be enough to back this up, consider that Sherman (left elbow), Thomas (dislocated left shoulder), and Chancellor (left knee) each played through an injury on Super Sunday and came just a last-second Russell Wilson interception shy of beating Tom Brady and the Patriots.

Rankings courtesy of Ourlads' NFL Scouting Services

Positional Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE |OL | DL | LB | DB

2015 NFL Player Rankings: Cornerbacks

1. Darrelle Revis, N.Y. Jets

The All-Pro shutdown corner is back with the Jets on a five-year, $70 million deal after picking up a Super Bowl ring with New England.

2. Richard Sherman, Seattle

The All-Pro selection was the least-targeted cornerback in the NFL last season. One of the most competitive and rangy corners, he challenges every ball in his area.

3. Chris Harris Jr., Denver

A versatile, skilled outside corner who can also play in the slot or at safety, Harris earned a Pro Bowl invite last season thanks to his standout ball skills.

4. Vontae Davis, Indianapolis

After a trade from the Dolphins to the Colts, Davis’ career as a top coverage corner took off and earned him a Pro Bowl invitation in 2014.

5. Patrick Peterson, Arizona

After diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, he was back winning his share of one-on-one battles with the league’s elite receivers.

6. Joe Haden, Cleveland

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Haden is tough in run support and a good open-field tackler. The five-year veteran totaled 73 tackles, 20 passes defended and three interceptions in 2014.

7. Sean Smith, Kansas City

His length helps him in press coverage, and he has become more technique conscious. Due to a DUI conviction, Smith likely will be suspended for the first two games.

8. Aqib Talib, Denver

Talib earned back-to-back Pro Bowl invitations with New England and Denver, finishing last season with 16 passes defended, four interceptions and two touchdowns.

9. Desmond Trufant, Atlanta

One of the top young corners in the game, Trufant has good short-area quickness and takes a direct line to the ball with no false steps.

10. Alterraun Verner, Tampa Bay

Verner should be a perfect fit in Lovie Smith’s Cover 2. He does a good job rerouting receivers with his quick feet and reactions.

11. Rashean Mathis, Detroit

12. Orlando Scandrick, Dallas

13. Corey Graham, Buffalo

14. Byron Maxwell, Philadelphia

15. Antonio Cromartie, N.Y. Jets

16. Darius Slay, Detroit

17. Brandon Flowers, San Diego

18. Chris Culliver, Washington

19. Kareem Jackson, Houston

20. Tim Jennings, Chicago

21. Xavier Rhodes, Minnesota

22. Tramon Williams, Cleveland

23. Brent Grimes, Miami

24. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, N.Y. Giants

25. Johnathan Joseph, Houston

26. Prince Amukamara, N.Y. Giants

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27. Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo

28. William Gay, Pittsburgh

29. Lardarius Webb, Baltimore

30. Perrish Cox, Tennessee

2015 NFL Player Rankings: Safeties

1. Earl Thomas, Seattle

A defensive leader who has become a perennial All-Pro-caliber player.

2. Eric Weddle, San Diego

Consistently mentioned with the game’s top free safeties, Weddle earned his fifth All-Pro selection in 2014 and is a standout special teams player.

3. Kam Chancellor, Seattle

A cornerstone of the Seahawks’ defense as the secondary’s physical tone-setter, Chancellor played through a torn MCL in the Super Bowl.

4. Glover Quin, Detroit

A big-time coverage safety who can cover deep or play the nickel, Quin led the NFL with seven interceptions.

5. Tashaun Gipson, Cleveland

Second in the league with six interceptions, Gipson also defended eight passes and returned one pick for a touchdown.

6. Harrison Smith, Minnesota

Smith has emerged as one of the best young safeties in the league. The former Golden Domer had 92 tackles and five interceptions.

7. Devin McCourty, New England

The corner-turned-safety is one of the league’s most dependable players. McCourty is smart and athletic and has unlimited coverage range.

8. Antoine Bethea, San Francisco

After finishing with 14 passes defended (including four INTs), Bethea has been an underrated safety with the general public but not the league’s receivers.

9. Mike Adams, Indianapolis

In his first season with the Colts, Adams reached his first career Pro Bowl at age 33. He intercepted five passes and forced two fumbles last season.

10. Reshad Jones, Miami

The big-hitting safety also plays the ball well in the air. He was responsible for 80 tackles and seven passes defended along with three interceptions in 2014.

11. Jairus Byrd, New Orleans

12. Donte Whitner, Cleveland

13. George Iloka, Cincinnati

14. Malcolm Jenkins, Philadelphia

15. Reggie Nelson, Cincinnati

16. Patrick Chung, New England

17. Michael Griffin, Tennessee

18. Morgan Burnett, Green Bay

19. Robert Blanton, Minnesota

20. T.J. Ward, Denver

21. Antrel Rolle, Chicago

22. Dawan Landry, Free Agent

23. William Moore, Atlanta

24. Da’Norris Searcy, Tennessee

25. Will Hill, Baltimore

26. Calvin Pryor, N.Y. Jets

27. Darian Stewart, Denver

28. Danieal Manning, Free Agent

29. James Ihedigbo, Detroit

30. Nate Allen, Oakland