Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White has gone from a young player with trouble hanging onto the football a few years ago to an established big-time player in the NFL. So quickly, in fact, that it's difficult to imagine him a top-three receiver in the game. But that's where he sits.
It's also a big reason why White was a guest on "The Top 100: Players of 2011 Reactions" show last Sunday after he was voted the 24th-ranked player in the league. We wanted to discuss his ranking and wide receivers in general, among other things.
Before we get into that, let me just tell you that White is one big dude in person. After spending time with 5-foot-9 Ronde Barber a couple of weeks ago, I realized what a tough task the Buccaneers' defensive back faces against a guy White's size. When White told me Jones is even bigger, I couldn't imagine how difficult it will be for corners to match up with the Falcons' receivers this season.
Defensive backs better be physical with these guys. Being physical at the line takes us straight into White's top player at the cornerback position:
1. Darrelle Revis, Jets: "Revis is the number one cover guy in the league right now. He's strong at the point of attack â¦ He always get his hands on you. He disrupts the timing of routes. That's the biggest thing about the passing game, everything has to be on time -- precision. And he does such a good job of (disrupting timing)."
2. Nnamdi Asomugha, Raiders: "Nnamdi's the same way: He disrupts the timing. The only thing about Nnamdi, he's not as good of a ball-catcher as Revis. That's why I put Revis over him. He's not a ball-hawking guy, but you can't complete any balls over Nnamdi."
When it was pointed out that Asomugha always lines up to the quarterback's left, and that quarterbacks tend to pass to the right, it makes his job a little easier.
"Yes, but the best receiver (usually) lines up on the left side, the X-receiver. I mean, any time the quarterback stands back, he's gonna read the (whole) field. Nobody puts their best corner on the other side."
3. Champ Bailey, Broncos: "Consistency. He's been one of the top corners in the league forever. Three years ago you couldn't say he wasn't the best corner. He's always been one of the best at guys that can cover in this league."
4. Charles Woodson, Packers: He's like a wild card, not really a corner. He does it all. He's the only guy that's just a playmaker at the corner position."
Can Woodson still cover like he did when he was younger?
"He can't cover like he used to, but he does a good enough job," White explained, implying that it almost doesn't matter because of the other tools Woodson has, as well as the ability of Green Bay's other corner, Tramon Williams.
So which of these other corners -- Revis, Asomugha, Bailey, Woodson -- is Grimes most like?
"He's different from those other guys, because he's not handsy, not needing to get his hands on you to make plays. He can just sit back, kind of look back (into the pocket) and watch."