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Darrelle Revis: Our pick for top defensive player in NFL

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We had a healthy debate Tuesday about which quarterback belongs atop NFL Network's "Top 100: Players of 2012." I'd roll with Aaron Rodgers, but it's a close call over Tom Brady.

With all due respect to Patrick Willis, DeMarcus Ware and Haloti Ngata, the debate about the best defensive player in the league isn't nearly as close.

New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis is a singular talent at the top of his game. Of all the great defensive players at the top of our list, Revis is the one who has done the most to define defensive football the last few years.

Revis is 'shutdown savior'
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To put it another way: The gap between Revis and the next best cornerback is far bigger than at any other position in the league. At safety, Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu are past their apex. The identity of the best pass rusher in the league changes every year. No interior defensive lineman consistently dominates, either.

Revis stands alone at cornerback. Nnamdi Asomugha has fallen off. Johnathan Joseph and Joe Haden are two rising players, but they aren't close to Revis' level yet.

Revis is the lone shutdown cornerback in a league where few players can match up against the opposition's best.

It's hard for any cornerback to make an impact comparable to quarterbacks like Rodgers and Brady. But Revis is dominating his position like no one since Deion Sanders.

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