Positional Reviews: Cornerback ... These Guys Are Good, But Not Elite

Terrell Thomas (24) of the New York Giants breaks up the pass intended for Jeremy Maclin (18) of the Philadelphia Eagles at New Meadowlands Stadium on December 19 2010 in East Rutherford New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

When it comes to our review of the cornerback position for the 2010 New York Giants the headline says it all. If you think either Corey Webster or Terrell Thomas is an elite NFL cornerback you can start getting ticked off right now. And go ahead and start framing your argument. They aren't, and if you think they are you are using your heart and not your head to make that determination.

I love both guys, and I think both are quality professional football players. I don't think, however, that either of them is an elite, shut-down corner. Neither of them is a guy opposing teams game plan to stay away from, and I haven't seen any evidence that NFL quarterbacks have the least fear of throwing the ball at either guy.

Let's go to the numbers, shall we? And we will keep this discussion to Thomas, Webster and third cornerback Aaron Ross. There were a whole lot of other guys who rotated on and off the roster this year as extra corners, but none who played enough to really be worth discussing.

Corey Webster: Using the Pro Football Focus numbers, Webster was the highest-rated Giants' cornerback in 2010 with a grade of +0.5 overall. That's a pretty average score, and it placed Webster 35th out of the 68 cornerbacks in the league who played at least 50 percent of his team's snaps. Right smack in the middle of the pack -- pretty much the definition of average. It certainly is not the definition of elite. Quarterbacks had a rating of 87.2 throwing in Webster's direction. Throwing in the direction of Philly's Asante Samuel quarterbacks had a ridiculous 31.7 rating. Against Green Bay's Tramon Williams? A 48.3 rating. Those are elite numbers.

Webster did set career highs with four interceptions and 52 tackles, I will give him credit for those accomplishments. At this point, though, CWeb remains a guy who had a great 2007 playoff run and a great 2008 season. Other than that he has been a good player, but nowhere near anything special. Or, anything for opposing offenses to fear.

Overall Grade: Kwillie

Terrell Thomas: After a 2009 season that saw Thomas take advantage of Aaron Ross' injuries to establish himself as a starting cornerback, there were hopes that in 2010 he would take a step into that elite category. It didn't happen. Thomas did equal his 2009 production with five interceptions, and made a career-high 101 tackles. He was not as consistent in coverage, though. A year ago, PFF ranked Thomas eighth in the league among cornerbacks (+12.6). Purely against the pass, TT was +8.9 and quarterbacks had a 71.3 rating throwing toward him.

Fast forward to 2010 and Thomas ranked 45th in the league among corners who played more than 50 percent of his team's snaps at -1.4 overall, a huge dropoff. Purely against the pass he was -8.5 and quarterbacks had an 87.1 rating throwing toward him.

What happened? I really don't know, but this season was a step backward for Thomas.

Overall Grade: Kwillie

Aaron Ross: The best thing Ross did this season is make it through most of the season with a major injury. He did play in 15 games this season after getting into just four a year ago. He really didn't play well, though. PFF ranked Ross 82nd among corners who played at least 25 percent of his team's snaps with a -6.5 grade. Quarterbacks had a 104.9 rating throwing in his direction. Maybe Ross is not a perfect fit as a nickel corner in the slot, but he has to be better than he was.

Overall Grade: Kwillie

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