Ike's Island  

 

Week 3 cornerback rankings: Broncos' Aqib Talib rises to No. 2

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Ike Taylor is no stranger to being on an island. The former Steelers cornerback helped Pittsburgh win two Super Bowls during his 12-year career. For the second straight year, Taylor's weekly series will feature one pertinent cornerback on "Ike's Island," where he breaks down the player's on-field play and significance heading into the coming week. In addition, he lists his updated top-10 cornerback rankings and top-three CB duos.

Featured on Ike's Island this week ...

Desmond Trufant, Atlanta Falcons

Next up: at Detroit Lions, 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.

The Falcons' defense loves having Trufant back on the field. After missing 10 games last season, including the playoffs, with a torn pectoral, Trufant signed a five-year, $68.75 million contract extension in April. His presence was especially felt Sunday against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, when the 27-year-old recorded an interception and recovered a fumble (returning it for a touchdown). With good awareness and technique, Trufant hasn't missed a beat.

The question this week is: Can Trufant check Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr.? Trufant is a point guard facing small forwards in this matchup. This Lions WR tandem has seen the end zone three times in two wins, and it's up to Trufant to play big and high-point the ball when Matthew Stafford heaves it downfield. Stafford has relied on Golladay and Jones to win jump balls, which they've done up to this point. For the Falcons to win this game, Trufant must limit these big plays.

Week 3 cornerback rankings: My top 10

EDITOR'S NOTE: The lineup below reflects changes from Ike's Week 2 rankings.

RANK

1

Richard Sherman, Seahawks

Next up: at Tennessee Titans, 4:05 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Sherman was targeted seven times by Brian Hoyer last Sunday and allowed three catches for 24 yards, per Next Gen Stats. Through two weeks, he's given me no reason to move him from the top spot. In Week 3, however, the Seahawks face a more dynamic offense than the 49ers group they hosted last week. Look for the Titans to execute the play-action pass with running backs Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray (if healthy) coming out of the backfield. Sherman and the rest of the "Legion of Boom" must be disciplined on big plays.

RANK

2

Aqib Talib, Broncos

5

Next up: at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Talib continues to play at a high level in his 10th season. After giving up a touchdown to Dez Bryant in the first quarter Sunday, he had a monster game, deflecting three passes and picking off Dak Prescott in the red zone, returning it 103 yards to the house (the longest INT return TD in Broncos history). Prescott posted a 103.8 passer rating in the first 17 games of his career, but he had a passer rating of 50.3 on Sunday when Talib was targeted. Expect the veteran to have a similar performance against Tyrod Taylor and a struggling Bills offense.

RANK

3

Josh Norman, Redskins

1

Next up: vs. Oakland Raiders, 8:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Norman is getting comfortable in Washington's defense, and it's showing. Although he allowed two receptions (an average of 18 yards per catch) Sunday, Norman forced two fumbles, both recovered by the Redskins, with the "Peanut Punch" technique. The man is ballin'. Norman and the Redskins face their greatest offensive test so far in Week 3, when the 2-0 Oakland Raiders come to town. Against Michael Crabtree, Norman has to have good body control to match Crabtree's. Against Amari Cooper, the key is tackling after the catch. Norman's problem area is he's vulnerable to getting beat on deep throws, and Derek Carr is an accurate QB. He could get in trouble. But one thing in Norman's favor: Of cornerbacks targeted at least 100 times in coverage since 2015, he has allowed the third-lowest passer rating (68.7).

RANK

4

Chris Harris Jr., Broncos

2

Next up: at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Another week, another interception. Harris never takes a play off and continues to be in his prime. I feel like a broken record when talking about the "No Fly Zone," but they are the standard.

RANK

5

Marcus Peters, Chiefs

3

Next up: at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday.

The Chiefs' D has been the offense's best friend in the last two weeks, keeping the score low and opponents out of the end zone for the most part. Last time out, Peters allowed six catches for 71 yards on nine targets, and he has yet to give up a touchdown in 2017. Expect Peters to line up against Keenan Allen, who coincidentally suffered a season-ending injury against K.C. last season. He could be a problem for Peters this time around. Allen is big (6-foot-2, 211 pounds) and physical, and he has great burst on slant routes.

RANK

6

Patrick Peterson, Cardinals

1

Next up: vs. Dallas Cowboys, 8:30 p.m. ET on Monday.

After allowing a touchdown in Week 1, Peterson returned to his All-Pro self in Indianapolis. He gave up two receptions for 20 yards -- including one 16-yard catch to T.Y. Hilton -- and allowed a 52.1 passer rating against. This week, Peterson is tasked with covering Dez Bryant, who has scored a touchdown in each of their two career meetings. They are both big, fast and physical. With Dez getting the best of Peterson in the past, will the tables turn in 2017?

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7

Xavier Rhodes, Vikings

1

Next up: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.

My hat's off to Rhodes for the way he played against the league's best receiver, Antonio Brown. Rhodes held Brown to three receptions for 28 yards on eight targets and allowed a 47.9 passer rating against. Not bad, not bad at all. Rhodes turns right around to face Mike Evans, the most-targeted player in the NFL since 2016 (182 targets). Rhodes' rebounding skills had better be decent, because this matchup is going to be a basketball game.

RANK

8

Bradley Roby, Broncos

2

Next up: at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Roby is as consistent as they come, giving up eight catches for 65 yards on 15 targets and a 0:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio through two games. Denver chooses to do more nickel packages because they want (and need) Roby on the field. It shows his value to this stout defense.

RANK

9

A.J. Bouye, Jaguars

6

Next up: vs. Baltimore Ravens, 9:30 a.m. ET on Sunday in London.

After being third on this list a week ago, Bouye fell because the others were simply better. Bouye still had a decent performance, giving up five catches for 105 yards on eight targets. It was by no means his best day, but he didn't give up a touchdown. Nonetheless, he still deserves to be among the top 10.

RANK

10

Jalen Ramsey, Jaguars

NR

Next up: vs. Baltimore Ravens, 9:30 a.m. ET on Sunday in London.

Ramsey fell out of my cornerback rankings after Week 1, but when you give up one reception for 4 yards on three targets, you move back up the ladder. Ramsey and the Jags' secondary should continue to do well against the Ravens this week, as Joe Flacco has only thrown 51 total passes in his first two games. Ramsey and Co. must be ready to tackle if Baltimore relies heavily on the run game.

ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: Darius Slay, Detroit Lions; Desmond Trufant, Atlanta Falcons; Casey Hayward, Los Angeles Chargers; Trumaine Johnson, Los Angeles Rams; Vernon Hargreaves, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Adam Jones, Cincinnati Bengals.

Week 3 cornerback duos: My top three

RANK

1

BRONCOS

Players: Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib.

Everyone wondered what the "No Fly Zone" would look like without T.J. Ward. We got our answer on Sunday, when the Broncos showed out against Dak Prescott and the Cowboys. And although Dez Bryant scored on Talib early, No. 88 wasn't able to generate much more (seven catches for 59 yards on 16 targets). The secondary took away the passing game, and I love that this CB duo always has a chance to take a pick to the crib -- as if just getting an interception isn't enough. Talib's 103-yard INT return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter helped put Denver in great position heading into Week 3 -- with wins over two viable opponents ( Chargers in Week 1; Cowboys in Week 2). This week against the Bills, receiver Zay Jones will learn real quick what it's like going against two All-Pro corners. Welcome to the NFL, kid.

Next up: at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.

RANK

2

BUCCANEERS

NR

Players: Vernon Hargreaves and Brent Grimes.

Like I pointed out in August, the Bucs cornerbacks have one of the most ideal practicing situations, as they go against two high-caliber players in Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson. We saw the result of that in Tampa Bay's first time out, when Hargreaves and Grimes allowed nine catches for 112 yards combined. I chose to place this duo above the Jags -- who are both in the top 10 -- because they haven't given up a single touchdown yet. I realize they've played one game less than everyone else, but their only game performance warrants them being in the No. 2 spot, in my eyes. The Bucs' duo faces a tougher passing attack this week but should be just fine, no matter who's starting at QB for Minnesota.

Next up: at Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.

RANK

3

JAGUARS

1

Players: A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey.

The score of Sunday's game didn't tell the tale of the tape of how well the secondary played. Bouye and Ramsey didn't allow a touchdown in coverage to Marcus Mariota and played well against a solid WR group. Bouye did allow 105 yards, but as I pointed out several times last season, I'm OK with yardage as long as a touchdown doesn't come with it. And Ramsey was dominant in coverage in this game. This weekend's bout with the Ravens will be a defensive battle, to say the least. Expect the Jags' CBs to shut down the Joe Flacco-led Ravens offense.

Next up: vs. Baltimore Ravens, 9:30 a.m. ET on Sunday in London.

Cornerback tandems that just missed the cut: Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple, New York Giants; Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward, Los Angeles Chargers; Robert Alford and Desmond Trufant, Atlanta Falcons.

Follow Ike Taylor on Twitter @Ike_SwagginU.

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