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Instant Debate

Patrick Peterson, Darrelle Revis or Richard Sherman: NFL's top corner?

Who is the best cornerback in the NFL today?

It's always a hotly debated question -- between fans and the players themselves. (Just ask Patrick Peterson and Richard Sherman.) In NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of 2016," three CBs cracked the top 25:

11)Josh Norman, Washington Redskins
18)Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals
20)Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks
24)Darrelle Revis, New York Jets

So, who is the league's top cornerback heading into the 2016 campaign?

The best corner in the NFL is Patrick Peterson. The Cardinals' first-team All-Pro stud is better than Richard Sherman. And Darrelle Revis. And Joe Haden. How do I know? Peterson told me on SiriusXM Radio. And it's true. When you combine pure coverage, ball skills, playmaking ability, smarts and versatility, nobody's on his level.

Peterson said he thinks he doesn't get the credit because he doesn't talk like the other corners. (Well, he talks at least *a little bit*. But that's neither here nor there.) His teammate, Pro Bowl defensive lineman Calais Campbell, compared Peterson to Deion Sanders in his prime on my CBS Sports Network show, "Time to Schein," stressing that Peterson excels in a defense that asks the corner to do a lot. Darrelle Revis does so many things that other corners don't do. First, he runs routes better than the receivers he covers. Second, his ability to make a play on the ball while it is in the air is uncanny. That athleticism and instinct can't be taught. Third, he does a great job at baiting quarterbacks into throwing it deep, before recovering to make a play on the ball. The three best corners in the NFL are Richard Sherman, Patrick Peterson and Darrelle Revis -- and I'll take Sherman. He's tall (6-foot-3) with long arms and very good hands (he spent time as a receiver at Stanford). He's the kind of cornerback quarterbacks don't like to throw to, because they realize he's a threat to take an interception to the house at any time. He's also strong, which means he doesn't get pushed around by the bulkier receivers out there like some of the smaller corners in the league might.

And then there's this: In his five pro seasons, Sherman has 26 picks -- more than anyone else in the NFL in that span. There are a few top-tier corners, but I have to go with Arizona's Patrick Peterson. The sixth-year corner can play man coverage on any receiver and might be the only true shutdown corner in the league heading into 2016.

Darrelle Revis hasn't been dominant as of late, while 
Josh Norman and 
Richard Sherman are good route readers and great at playing zone. But I can't justify any of these three being ranked ahead of Peterson right now. 

Despite Darrelle Revis' recent injuries, I think he's still the best cornerback in the NFL. Yes, receivers get behind him a little bit more than they did a few years ago, but I think Revis' opponents still fear him. He is the smartest and strongest cornerback -- even entering his 10th season. And though his speed has been hindered by the major knee injury in 2012, his preparation is what sets him apart. I would go with Patrick Peterson. I think he is the most complete CB. He can press, play man coverage from an off position and can hold his own in a zone scheme. Also, he has the ability to make plays with the ball when gets it. Patrick Peterson doesn't have the self-promotional skills of Richard Sherman, but it's hard not to pick the Cards corner. You think about the key qualities you want in a great cornerback -- size, speed, quickness, agility, smarts -- and Peterson has them all. He also is a gifted returner; consequently, he is extremely dangerous when he intercepts passes. On top of all that, he lines up on the opponent's best receiver every week.

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