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Top 10 NFL Cornerbacks of All Time Rankings

Ranking the best Cornerbacks in the history of the NFL such as Deion Sanders, Darrell Green, and many more

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By Fan Rankings | October 24, 2021 - 09:05 PM

The defensive side of the ball is filled with a difficult task each week during the NFL schedule in stopping opposing offenses from scoring. As rule changes have altered the style of play, it has even gotten more difficult for defenses to play the game without having to worry about a penalty being called. One of those positions that many consider to be the most difficult is the cornerback position in which they are key to slowing down opposing receivers and tight ends.



For NFL cornerbacks they must have all the physical tools including both speed and ability to read plays to truly play the position. On top of those tools they must be able to tackle in open space, adapt to the audible and also be able to bring down the quarterback on designed blitzes. Nonetheless, not needing each to be successful, the Top 10 Cornerbacks All-Time all had the ability to shut down opposing wide receivers and tight ends. This includes the likes of Deion Sanders, Darrell Green, Rod Woodson, Wilie Brown and Charles Woodson.

 

With that said, here is our list of the Top 10 Cornerbacks All-Time




Honorable Mention

Ty Law

Team(s): New England Patriots, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs & Denver Broncos

The former New England Patriots star was a key member of the team’s success and their success on the defensive side of the ball. During his career with the Patriots Ty Law recorded 838 career tackles, 169 pass deflections, 53 interceptions and seven touchdown returns while helping the team win three Super Bowl titles. His success showcased as he earned two First Team All-Pro honors, led the NFL in interceptions in two different seasons and was named to five Pro Bowl teams. 




Richard Sherman

Team(s): Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers & Tampa Bay Buccaneers

As his NFL continues to roll along, Richard Sherman has anchored himself as one of the top cornerbacks of All-Time and could potentially play himself into the Top 10. Sherman, who the Seattle Seahawks selected in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL draft has solidified his name as one of the games top cornerbacks year in and year out. Since arriving in the NFL, Sherman has made five Pro Bowl teams, led the NFL in interceptions, named as a First Team All-Pro in three straight seasons and is considered one of the greatest shutdown corners who was awarded the task in slowing down opposing teams best wide receivers.




Top 10 Cornerbacks

  1. Lem Barney

Team(s): Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions Hall of Famer and great, Lem Barney was as good as any player to play the game over the history of the NFL. Over his 11 NFL career, Barney raked up 56 career interceptions, 10 touchdowns and 1,077 interception return yards. During his playing days, the Lions CB was named to seven Pro Bowl teams, led the NFL in interceptions, received two First Team All-Pro honors and was the 1967 Defensive Rookie of the Year. 




  1. Mel Blount

Team(s): Pittsburgh Steelers

One of the most aggressive and feared cornerbacks of All-Time, Mel Blount made opposing receivers cringe at the thought of having to go up against him week in and week out. While his style might not transition into the rules of the modern game of football, it worked during his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Blount was a key part of the Steelers defensive units that are considered to be one if not the greatest defenses of All-Time. Blount was the 1975 Defensive Player of the Year, two time First Team All-Pro, led the NFL in interceptions and made five Pro Bowl teams. 




  1. Dick “Night Train” Lane

Team(s): Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Cardinals & Detroit Lions

It is hard to not mention Dick “Night Train” Lane as one of the greatest cornerbacks of All-Time with some debate as to how high he could land on the list of the Top 10 Cornerback All-Time list. After joining the Los Angeles Rams in 1952, Lane set the record for most interceptions in a season as well as by a rookie with 14. Over his career, Lane recorded 68 interceptions to go with 1,207 return yards and six touchdowns. His 68 career interceptions rank fourth All-Time. The Hall of Fame cornerback was named First Team All-Pro seven times, made seven Pro Bowl teams and led the NFL twice in interceptions.




  1. Darrell Green

Team(s): Washington Football Team

When thinking about your prototypical type of cornerback Darrell Green might not get looked at based on his 5 ft 9 inch stature in size. However, Green had the physical gift of speed and ability to play the game at the highest level year in and year out over his 20 year NFL career. Green, who was considered the fastest player during his time and also considered to be one of the fastest players to play in the NFL used his speed to make him the great he was on the field. Green was named as a First Team All-Pro in four different seasons, won two Super Bowl championships and was named to seven Pro Bowl teams. Over his career Green recorded 1,159 career tackles, 54 interceptions and six touchdowns.




  1. Aeneas Williams

Team(s): Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals & St. Louis Rams

The former Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams standout cornerback was named to the NFL in 2014. During his career, Williams recorded 795 career tackles to go along with 55 interceptions, three sacks, five forced fumbles and 13 touchdowns. Despite moving to safety later in his career, Williams was a great shutdown cornerback for most of his NFL career and was considered at the top of the list each season during each season he played the position. Williams was selected for eight Pro Bowl teams and as a First Team All-Pro three times. 




  1. Mike Haynes

Team(s): New England Patriots & Los Angeles Raiders

When thinking about the greatest cornerbacks of All-Time it is hard to not consider Mike Haynes as one of the greats based on his success on the football field. Over his career, Haynes recorded 46 career interceptions, two interception returns for touchdowns and recovered 11 fumbles. Despite the solid number, Haynes lost out on additional statistics based on his ability to shut down the opposing team’s top stars and forcing teams to not throw his direction. While this limited his statistics, his play didn’t go unnoticed earning him nine Pro Bowl appearances, named the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1976 and was named a First Team All-Pro in back to back seasons.




  1. Rod Woodson

Team(s): Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens & Oakland Raiders

If it wasn’t for his move to safety, the Pittsburgh Steelers great cornerback Rod Woodson could be debated as the top cornerback of All-Time. Woodson ranks third All-Time with 71 career interceptions and holds the record for most interceptions returned for a touchdown with 12 over his career. Woodson earned many accolades over his career including being named Defensive Player of the Year in 1993, AFC Player of the Year in 1993 and being selected to 11 Pro Bowl teams. In addition, Woodson was a six time First Team All-Pro and led the NFL twice in interceptions.




  1. Willie Brown

Team(s): Denver Broncos & Oakland Raiders

Willie Brown came along well before most of the NFL greats to follow his footsteps at the cornerback position. However, it wasn’t all easy for the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders star after having to make a name for himself after being cut by the Houston Oilers to start his career. Despite being cut, Brown didn’t disappoint becoming a full time starter for the Broncos after signing with them as a rookie. Brown recorded 54 career interceptions and two touchdowns over his career while being named a First Team All-Pro twice and First Team All-AFL three times.




  1. Charles Woodson

Team(s): Green Bay Packers & Oakland Raiders 

There was nothing the great Charles Woodson could not do on the football field on both sides of the football. On the defensive side of the ball, Woodson was one of the greatest cornerbacks to play the game and one that had a knack for the ball while also having the physical tools to shut down any of the great wide receivers to play during his career. After being drafted with the fourth pick of the 1998 NFL draft, Woodson would go on to win Defensive Rookie of the Year for the Oakland Raiders recording 64 tackles, intercepting five passes, forcing two fumbles and recording one interception return for a touchdown. Over his career, Woodson would record 65 interceptions, 11 interceptions returned for touchdowns, force 33 fumbles, recover 18 fumbles and return two fumbles for touchdowns.




  1. Deion Sanders

Team(s): Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins & Baltimore Ravens

When you think of the greatest cornerback of All-Time one name that always comes out in debate is the great Deion Sanders. The man known as “Prime Time” or “Neon Deion” had all eyes on him after being drafted fifth overall during the 1989 NFL Draft. Sanders, who was also known as a two way player in professional baseball was as good as any player to play the game of football at the cornerback position. Not known for his tackling abilities, Sanders made up for it with his ability to shut down opposing receivers while being able to make a play on any pass thrown his way. Sanders recorded 53 interceptions, nine interceptions returned for touchdowns and one fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. Over his career Sanders made eight Pro Bowl teams, was selected as an All-Pro at cornerback six times and was the 1994 Defensive Player of the Year.



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