The Big Four (plus one) Cornerbacks

Tony Pisano analyzes the four cornerbacks that most people consider to be the best in the league. He also tries to bring one unnoticed cornerback into the spotlight.

| 3 years ago

Tony Pisano analyzes the four cornerbacks that most people consider to be the best in the league. He also tries to bring one unnoticed cornerback into the spotlight.

The Big Four (plus one) Cornerbacks

petersonWho is the best cornerback in the NFL? Which cornerbacks are hurting your fantasy receivers week after week? It seems that casual fans have a “big four” when talking about the best cornerbacks in the league. Those four are Richard Sherman, Darrelle Revis, Joe Haden and Patrick Peterson. Regardless of how they are actually performing on the field, they seem to always be considered the top four in the league. In this article I will break down how all of the big four are not only doing this year, but how they have done since 2012. I have also added a cornerback that people better start paying attention to. Not only has he been elite this year, he has been elite since 2012.

Patrick Peterson

2014 2012-2014
Targets: 72 Targets: 257
Catches allowed: 44 Catches allowed: 142
Yards allowed: 609 Yards allowed: 1968
Yards per target: 7.91 Yards per targets: 7.66
TDs allowed: 8 TDs allowed: 21
INT per target: 2.8% INT per target: 4.7%
QB rating against: 113.7 QB rating against: 89.9


I am always confused when I see his name brought up amongst elite cornerbacks in the NFL. Peterson has allowed 21 TDs since 2012 which is more than double of that of Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis combined. His YPT average of 7.91 is also unacceptable for someone thought of as an elite cornerback. Not only is Peterson the worst cornerback on this list, he isn’t even a top 20-25 cornerback in the league. You should be excited if your fantasy receiver is facing Peterson, just ask Julio Jones owners.


Richard Sherman

2014 2012-2014
Targets: 51 Targets: 214
Catches allowed: 23 Catches allowed: 98
Yards allowed: 329 Yards allowed: 1384
Yards per target: 6.45 Yards per target: 6.47
TDs allowed: 1 TDs allowed: 5
INT per target: 5.9% INT per target: 8.9%
QB rating against: 48.6 QB rating against:  41.6


Probably the most hated player in the NFL that doesn’t play quarterback for the Cowboys. Sherman is loud, obnoxious, cocky, and the best cornerback in the league. People have a problem separating the first three statements from the fourth. The nonsense that he doesn’t face elite competitions is just that, nonsense. Teams try their best to keep their elite receivers away from Sherman; a treatment no other cornerback in the league gets.

To read the entire article, please login or sign up for a PFF Membership

Not a PFF member? Compare our membership features here.

  • VJ

    The “best” receiver Chris Harris has covered this year is Dwayne Bowe. Harris is a top #2 but he isn’t even #1 on his own team. He also often covers slot – where he’s elite and why his YPT is so low. He may be in discussion for top 10 overall right now, but until he shuts down the top receivers like Revis Sherman and Haden you can’t just compare the stats headsup. Harris has versatility, playing well inside and out but at 5″10 he’d get shredded by the likes of Megatron Julio Dez etc. in man.

    Alterraun Verner (5″10) was also a top rated coverage CB by PFF last year, even compared to Revis as shutdown” ( But he played #2 / slot in zone-heavy Titan’s scheme and benefited from a good rush. This year in TB as a “#1″ with a weaker rush he’s been exposed as just merely average against top competition.

    • skeptic

      Hmm . . . been watching Harris all over the field all season. In fact, he has been moved around the formation all this season as well as most of last season. As for covering ‘elite’ receivers, I seriously doubt your contention. Why? Every practice he goes up against Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, (last 3 years) Eric Decker, and Wes Welker. In other words, he goes up against top quality or quality guys all the time. This is probably why he has been able to develop and optimize his skill set so exceptionally. In fact, this situation in Denver bodes well for the continuing development of Bradley Roby and Kayvon Webster. It may also benefit Aquib Talib in that in-house pressure to compete against receivers of this quality (thrown to by PFM) will force him to develop and maintain his game.