Skip to main content

Week 10 cornerback rankings: Jalen Ramsey's tactics warranted

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 a pertinent player or situation, where he breaks down the on-field play and/or 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 ...

Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville Jaguars

Competing one-on-one on the perimeter is unlike any other situation in our sport. In my experience, cornerbacks and receivers share a similar arrogance, which was displayed in plain sight in Jacksonville last Sunday. And this wasn't the first time we've seen a corner and receiver get into it on the field.

Playing cornerback in the NFL is nothing but a mind game, and Ramsey's constant banter pushed A.J. Green over the edge, prompting the Bengals receiver to lose control and start a straight-up brawl between the two teams.

The sophomore cornerback shined a light on his approach Wednesday, saying, "I lock receivers down, physically. And then mentally, I live in their mind. Get under their skin. I talk my talk.

"I told [Green] almost every play that he was weak, that he was soft. Them is straight facts. He just couldn't handle the truth. Those were facts. I told him that his time was almost up. I told him that it was easy, which it was. He had one catch for 6 yards. I was just out there spitting facts to him. And he got mad. And then people are trying to talk about the push, I mean I pushed him every single play. You can go back and look at the film, I pushed him every single play. I told him to stop putting his hand on me."

What's my take on Ramsey's tactics?

I love it. And always have. This is the exact attitude a cornerback should have, to be honest. We saw Ramsey do this at Florida State and early in his rookie season, when he challenged Aaron Rodgersand Steve Smith Sr. (a.k.a. Mr. Trash Talk himself). Ramsey's doing everything right to establish himself a shutdown corner in this league. He beats opponents physically and gets under their skin between plays. And I'm not the only one who recognizes this, as Jaguars executive vice president Tom Coughlin praised Ramsey this week for the way he played and handled Sunday's spat.

"Team comes first, and Jalen was trying not to hurt his team," Coughlin said in a statement released by the team's PR office. "While he did push his opponent -- something that happened with other players during the game -- he did not retaliate, he threw no punches, and he did not fight back. Jalen was doing what Coach [Doug] Marrone has instructed him to do -- which is to play tough, be physical and to make every play difficult for his opponent."

Coughlin said it all. Ramsey's a straight-up dawg -- which corners have to be -- without playing outside the rules. With this attitude, the kid's going to dominate for years to come.

Week 10 cornerback rankings: My top 10

EDITOR'S NOTE: The lineup below reflects changes from Ike's Week 9 rankings.

Norman, who allowed just two receptions for 11 yards vs. Seattle last week, and Minnesota's Xavier Rhodes are playing for bragging rights. In this game, it's all about which player out-performs the other. Norman must be mindful of touch passes and deep balls to Stefon Diggs.

When other members of the secondary faltered, Sherman performed to his ability against Kirk Cousins and Co., giving up two receptions on three targets for 23 yards, per Next Gen Stats. Sherman, who's allowing a passer rating of 69.1 this season, should provide similar returns this week in the desert, if he's even targeted at all.

( UPDATE: Sherman suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in Thursday's game against the Cardinals, ending his season.)

Of cornerbacks in my top 10, Peterson faced the most targets (eight) in Week 9 and had one of the more dominant performances. He gave up two catches for 24 yards and allowed a 39.6 passer rating against when targeted in San Francisco. This week should be a tougher task, as I expect Peterson to line up across Doug Baldwin. The key for Peterson is to play physical and re-route Baldwin to throw the timing off between the receiver and Russell Wilson.

With Josh Doctson finally becoming a force in Washington's pass attack, Rhodes must stay focused on deep throws and fades.

Smith's impressive campaign continues after a solid outing in Nashville. Enjoy the bye week, because Jordy Nelson awaits.

I touched on last week's ejection above, so it's on to Los Angeles. Ramsey is playing at an elite level in his sophomore season, allowing 21 receptions on 48 targets for 216 yards (10.2 yards per catch) and a 1:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. With gunslinger Philip Rivers on the other side Sunday, Ramsey could add to his INT total.

Bouye's been a huge piece of the Jags' dominant defense, as he hasn't allowed a single touchdown in coverage this season. In addition, Bouye has two picks, 10 passes defensed and 26 tackles in 2017.

Johnson, who notched his second INT of the season last week, should expect a ton of action if he's covering DeAndre Hopkins, who saw 16 targets from Tom Savage last week. Hopkins is Savage's safety blanket, so Johnson can't be caught sleeping.

Harris was decent against the Eagles, allowing two receptions for 36 yards, and you'll notice that he's the only Bronco CB left on this list. Aqib Talib had his worst outing of the year Sunday, giving up two TDs, as he was picked on by Carson Wentz all day. This week, Harris has to hold down his side of the field when Tom Brady comes to town and watch out for deep throws to Brandin Cooks.

The first rookie to crack my top 10 this season, Lattimore is ballin'. He's contributed to the improvement of the Saints' defense, allowing a 62.1 passer rating against (fourth in the league among players with 40-plus targets). He's making a good argument for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: Aqib Talib, Broncos; Jason McCourty, Browns; Adam Jones, Bengals; Tre'Davious White, Bills; Bradley Roby, Broncos; Darius Slay, Lions; Marcus Peters, Chiefs.


Players: A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey.

With the Broncos falling off in recent weeks, the Jaguars claim the top spot. This tandem has given up one touchdown reception all season, picked off opposing QBs four times and allowed a league-low 63.5 passer rating. Keenan Allen could pose a threat this week, especially on third down. The Chargers WR leads the NFL in third-down receptions (20) and yards (316). There could be some surprises in this game.

 *Next up: vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.* 

Players: Joe Haden and Artie Burns.

Coming off a bye, the Steelers head into somewhat of a trap game in Indy. T.Y. Hilton is a playmaker and any given play can be a huge one. His quarterback, Jacoby Brissett, has steadily improved and made some good decisions. Haden and Burns can't take plays off in this one.

 *Next up: at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.* 

Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has this Rams defense rolling, allowing 17 or fewer points in four straight games, and the secondary is shutting opponents down. Johnson and Webster have flown under the radar so far this season, but expect them to get more attention going forward.

 *Next up: vs. Houston Texans, 4:05 p.m. ET on Sunday.* 

Cornerback tandems that just missed the cut: Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib, Broncos; Tre'Davious White and E.J. Gaines, Bills.

Follow Ike Taylor on Twitter _@IkeSwagginU_.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.