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. In this series, Taylor 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.
Featured on Ike's Island this week ...
This is the second time Kansas City's ballhawk is being featured in this space in three weeks. I can't say enough about this kid -- he has continued to impress me. Last week, the Chiefs' defense had six takeaways vs. the Jets. Peters, who gave up two catches for 11 yards Sunday, had two picks of his own against Ryan Fitzpatrick, raising his career INT count to 12 -- and 13 if playoff games are included. Only five players since 1960 have reached a dozen picks in their first two seasons faster than Peters -- Paul Krause, Tommy Morrow, Goose Gonsoulin, Lem Barney and Everson Walls. Peters plays the ball very well and is a turnover machine, as he high-points the ball, anticipates routes and understands opposing offenses. If I am a quarterback, I am trying to see where No. 22 is -- at all times. If the QB doesn't do that, this corner will make you pay. Just ask Brock Osweiler and Fitzpatrick.
This week, Peters will be challenged by Ben Roethlisberger and Co., who struggled against a top-five Eagles defense a week ago. The good news for Peters is Big Ben has thrown at least one interception in seven straight regular-season games, the longest active streak in the NFL. But the big matchup will be Peters vs. Antonio Brown. Since the start of last season, Brown leads the NFL in receptions (160) and receiving yards (2,139). In that same span, Peters leads the NFL in interceptions (12) and is tied for the lead in passes defensed (33).
I don't entirely expect Peters to shadow Brown throughout Sunday night's contest; however, I wouldn't be surprised if he does. This week is likely to be a big challenge for Peters when lining up across from the Steelers' speedster. The last time these two faced off -- in Week 7 of last season, with Landry Jones at QB for Pittsburgh -- Brown had four catches for 99 yards on four targets vs. Peters.
Week 4 cornerback rankings: My top 10
Sherman continues to consistently be the best because he doesn't take any plays off. I've said it before in this space: Sherman's ability to make open-field tackles is essential when playing the cornerback position. Often times, corners don't have much help and Sherman shows tackling is his strength week after week. Last week on five targets, Sherman gave up four receptions for 37 yards against the rival 49ers. I don't see Sherman having any trouble against Fitzpatrick and the Jets this week.
I featured Peters in the section above, but feel the need to explain why he jumped over Arizona's Patrick Peterson in the rankings this week. The lone reason is because of Peters' ability to take away the ball, providing ample opportunities for the Chiefs' offense. Since entering the NFL last season, Peters alone has more interceptions (12) than six TEAMS in that same span. He continually challenges quarterbacks, and I'm not sure why they keep testing him.
This isn't taking away from Peterson. It's simply rewarding Peters for his play.
Peterson can only do so much to help his Cardinals get a win, and he did everything he could against the Bills last week, giving up two receptions for 24 yards on four targets. Then there was this one-handed, toe-tapping interception. This guy's weekly workload is second to none, as he is constantly checking the opponent's best receiver. The only problem is the Cardinals have ended up on the losing side twice in three games. Peterson needs some help from a struggling Carson Palmer and the offense because he is doing nearly everything he can to give them scoring opportunities.
Not only will I be watching what Peterson and the Cardinals do against the Rams, but I'm also keeping an eye on Los Angeles' secondary -- the hidden gem of the defense. The Rams, who are giving up an average of 1.3 passing TDs per game this season, will face their toughest test from a secondary standpoint. Though Palmer has struggled turning the ball over, we all know what Bruce Arians' passing attack is capable of.
Against the Bengals, Harris gave up two receptions for 13 yards on three targets. One of those receptions was a 3-yard catch from A.J. Green. I don't know what says more, the fact that he limited the Bengals' receivers to those numbers or that he was only targeted three times in that game. Either way, teams are respecting his play because they know if a QB is off target, Harris is going to pounce, as he plays so close to the receiver.
People can say what they want about this guy, but he just does his job. The hyped-up matchup against Odell Beckham Jr. was all that I expected. Beckham racked up 107 yards on 10 targets vs. Norman, so the Giants' star definitely won this battle. However, Norman didn't give up a touchdown against him and went home with a "W." So the way I see it, Norman won the war.
Talib didn't have the game-sealing pick six -- like he did in Week 2 -- but he again did his part in the Broncos' victory over Cincinnati on Sunday. He didn't fare as well as Harris against A.J. Green, giving up 56 yards on six targets, but he didn't allow any touchdowns. Talib is consistently holding down his side of the field. The only reason he slid in the rankings from last week is because those above him had bigger impacts in Week 3.
In a blowout loss to the Patriots, the leader of the Texans' secondary allowed 4 receptions for 59 yards -- 32 of those to Julian Edelman -- on six targets. Joseph is doing a good job as a cover corner and deserves a top-10 nod, but I want to see him tackle better. That will make him a complete corner.
Roby had to play well for the Broncos to win last week and he did. Giving up two catches for 37 yards -- one catch for 14 yards to A.J. Green -- as a slot corner is a good performance, knowing how much of the field he had to defend. Roby has two great corners in front of him -- Harris and Talib -- but he's made a name for himself. This week will pose an interesting matchup as this cornerback group faces Jameis Winston, who is tied for the league lead with Drew Brees with eight passing touchdowns.
DRC gave up a touchdown to Washington's DeSean Jackson last week, but I am taking into account that he is playing man-to-man coverage for the majority of the game. From being an outside-to-inside corner, DRC always has held his own. I'm keeping him in my top 10 because he's had three solid weeks, but if he gives up too many TDs, he's going to slide out.
Jones had one of those games last week -- giving up eight catches for 118 yards and a touchdown on nine targets. Against Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders specifically, Jones gave up 90 yards and a score. This was not the performance I was looking for. He's allowed a bad performance, but if he has another, off the list he goes. Just ask Darrelle Revis.