Vontae Davis will have chance to prove he’s NFL’s top CB

Vontae Davis ranks No. 1 among all cornerbacks in our rankings. But he’s taking on a new challenge this season in shadowing opponents’ top receivers.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Vontae Davis will have chance to prove he’s NFL’s top CB

If you look at our list of the top 10 cornerbacks in the NFL using our new PFF rating system, you’ll see the Colts’ Vontae Davis sitting in the No. 1 spot with a 93.7, ahead of Chris Harris Jr., Richard Sherman and the rest of the chasing pack.

The problem with anointing Davis as the best corner in football unequivocally is that he isn’t asked to do some of the things that the other top corners are. He hasn’t tracked receivers, and the Colts haven’t bent their defense around him the way the Seahawks do with Sherman — leaning coverage away from him to focus elsewhere.

Davis played 87.8 percent of his snaps in 2014 lined up at right cornerback — the side targeted less frequently by almost all right-handed quarterbacks — and didn’t see a single snap on the other side of the field at left corner.

Now however, the Indianapolis Star is reporting that Davis may be moved around to tackle an opponent’s best receiver, rather than simply playing one side of the defense. If Davis begins to shadow top receivers in 2015, and maintains the level of play that say him give up a passer rating of just 38.8 when targeted in 2014, then people will have to start to recognize him as one of the best shutdown players in the game — if not the best cornerback overall.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN and NBCSports.

  • JaTerrance Dwayne Young

    Are the other positions going to be released in the top 10 rankings??

  • Frank

    Why is Vontae Davis the top rated corner when only once in his past 3 seasons has he graded higher than Chris Harris (2013, and not by much)?

    • fkr

      in a league where very few players have more than three good years you have to realize that a newly top performing player has to be recognized. windows for winning are short in the nfl for exactly this reason, just look at the 49’s.

      • Frank

        Harris is a year younger and has a career track that has been pretty in line with Revis (ranking-wise, not playing style, see below). Davis has bounced up and down, more along the likes of Charles Tillman The only thing that I can think of that may factor is that Davis will play 2015 under Greg Manusky’s system, where Harris will have to adjust from a switch from Jack Del Rio to Wade Phillips?

        PFF rank with 25% snaps taken:

        Davis (since 2009) 29, 13, 39, 75, 4, and 2.
        Harris (since 2011) 22, 5, 8, and 1.
        Revis (since 2007) 30, 3, 2, 18, 1, injured (2012), 1, and 4.