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 ...
I'm not gonna to lie ... I wasn't high on White heading into the draft. I felt like he had the athletic ability and ball skills, but I didn't think he tackled well enough. Four weeks into his debut season, though, the Bills rookie is proving me wrong. He has been spectacular early, looking like one of the best young cornerbacks in the league. He earned NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month honors for September after recording 16 tackles, seven pass deflections and one interception through the first three games. White allowed four receptions for 18 yards against the Falcons last week -- granted, that stat line was aided by Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu leaving the game with injuries -- while also recovering a fumble and returning it for his first touchdown in the NFL. It's also notable that White hasn't allowed a touchdown in coverage this season despite having played the last two league MVPs -- Cam Newtonin Week 2 and Matt Ryanin Week 4. If White keeps this up, don't be surprised if he claims the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
Playing comfortably in off coverage, White plays a lot like Marcus Peters. The LSU product is great at seeing route combinations develop, having the instincts to jump a route and covering receivers. He'll need to continue his high-caliber play this week when the Billshead to Cincinnati. The Bengals' offense has improved immensely after the firing of former OC Ken Zampese -- going from a 4.5-point average in their first two games to 27.5 points in their last two. A.J. Green has recorded a touchdown in each of the Bengals' last two contests and will be the toughest receiver White has faced to date. (Again, Julio left the game in the first half against the Bills, so that doesn't really count.) Green doesn't necessarily look like a physical receiver, but he's as strong as an ox. It'll be important for White to play close in order to contend jump balls and tackle after the catch.
Week 5 cornerback rankings: My top 10
I really had to evaluate where to put Norman after Monday night. According to Next Gen Stats, he allowed one catch on one target for 21 yards before exiting the game with a rib injury. NFL Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that Norman has a rib fracture and small damage to his lung lining, but is not ruled out to return when the Redskins, who have a bye this week, take the field in Week 6. I'm keeping him here at least another week (or until we know he is out), because let's face it, no one has played better.
*(**UPDATE:** Norman is out four weeks with rib and associated lung issues, NFL Network Ian Rapoport reported Friday.* </content:power-ranking>
The "No Fly Zone" is back to 2015 form after a slight dip a season ago. Talib balled out again against the Raiders, allowing three catches on three targets for just 13 yards. I was afraid that Talib would lose a step in his 10th season, but I've seen nothing of the sort.
I was happy to see Sherman bounce back from losing his temper in Week 3. It was a far better performance penalty-wise for Sherman against the Colts, as he was called for one defensive holding penalty. More importantly, he didn't give up a single catch in the game. Look for Sherman to line up across from Sammy Watkins at the L.A. Coliseum. Sherman must play physical and keep Watkins from making the big play.
Since giving up a touchdown on a broken play in Week 1, Peterson has been exceptional. The six-time Pro Bowler -- this is his seventh season in the league -- allowed just 60 yards in four games. Sunday, he faces Alshon Jeffery, who's been mediocre so far in Philly. Peterson should dominate this matchup.
Rhodes continues to be a shutdown cornerback for the Minnesota Vikings. In last week's loss to Detroit, he allowed two catches on five targets for 41 yards, keeping Matthew Stafford and Co. at bay. If it weren't for Minnesota turnovers, the Vikings would have come out with a win at home. Rhodes and the Vikings' defense are Mitchell Trubisky's first-ever NFL opponent. Look for the boys in purple to smother the rookie.
Another game, another interception. Bouye, who notched his second pick of the season Sunday, has been nothing short of amazing for the Jaguars' defense in his first year. The loss to the Jets wasn't on Bouye and the secondary, as the team struggled to stop the run. Bouye allowed four receptions on seven targets for 55 yards. This week, if the Jags want a shot at beating the Steelers, Bouye must slow down Antonio Brown.
He's been unbelievable so far. Through Week 3, Smith gave up six catches on 13 targets for 66 yards, had one interception and allowed a 29.6 passer rating against. He followed that up by holding Antonio Brown to 34 yards (his fewest yards in a game since Week 6 of 2015). Even though he's a Raven, Smith deserves to make this list. He'll be tasked with containing Amari Cooper this week. Luckily for Smith, Cooper has had butter fingers and won't have Derek Carr under center.
Ramsey is on his way to proving he can be elite. A quarter of the way through the season, quarterbacks have a 23.4 passer rating when targeting Ramsey in coverage. He gets an opportunity to take his game to the next level this weekend at Heinz Field.
The Falcons' CB1 gave up just one reception (to Buffalo's Jordan Matthews) last week. It just so happened to be a touchdown, which prompted Trufant's drop here. There were worse performances (i.e. Marcus Peters' "hella weak" outing), but Trufant's touchdown was a costly one.
ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: Marcus Peters, Kansas City Chiefs; Tre'Davious White, Buffalo Bills; Bradley Roby, Denver Broncos; Janoris Jenkins, New York Giants; Darius Slay, Detroit Lions; Casey Hayward, Los Angeles Chargers; Trumaine Johnson, Los Angeles Rams; Adam Jones, Cincinnati Bengals; Joe Haden, Pittsburgh Steelers.
WEEK 5 CORNERBACK DUOS: MY TOP THREE
These guys are playing at an extremely high level, and it helps that the Broncos' front seven is regularly getting after the quarterback. In a big divisional win over the Raiders, Talib and Harris allowed six receptions on seven targets for 47 yards combined. That's exactly the kind of performance they wanted heading into the bye week.
*Next up: Bye week (vs. New York Giants in Week 6).* </content:power-ranking>
This pair is playing with a boatload of confidence. They trust their instincts and are consistently shutting down opponents. The Jaguars' run defense was poor against the Jets, but this tandem didn't allow much in the secondary. The Steelers boast the best passing attack the Jaguars will likely face all season, with Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster. The Jaguars don't normally travel, but I think this week will be an exception. The 6-foot-1 Ramsey is likely to match up against Bryant because of his height, putting Bouye against Brown.
*Next up: at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.* </content:power-ranking>
The Bills boast the No. 1 scoring defense in the league through Week 4, giving up one touchdown while picking off six passes and allowing a 64.1 passer rating against. With the lone touchdown allowed by safety Micah Hyde in Atlanta, cornerbacks White and Gaines have impressed week in and week out. Both are first-year Bills, as White was the team's first-round draft pick back in April while Gaines arrived in the preseason via a trade with the Rams. Next, this duo faces a Bengals team that ranks No. 18 in passing offense but one that has improved over the last few weeks. White and Gaines will have their hands full.
*Next up: at Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.* </content:power-ranking>