Skip to main content

Week 6 cornerback rankings: Aqib Talib at No. 1; Steelers refine

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 ...

Johnson got out to a roaring start in Week 1 with an interception, which he returned for a touchdown, and one forced/recovered fumble. He allowed two receptions on five targets for 25 yards in coverage in that game against the Colts, earning him NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Since then, he's continued to state his case for being a shutdown corner.

In my opinion, Johnson is the only corner who can also play safety because of his size (6-foot-2, 213 pounds), athletic ability, speed and ball awareness. He trusts his instincts -- similarly to Kansas City's Marcus Peters -- which always gives him the chance to play a play. With the Rams traveling to Jacksonville this weekend, Johnson must focus on helping to stop the run. Leonard Fournette is having himself a year, while Blake Bortles and the passing game are nearly nonexistent.

Week 6 cornerback rankings: My top 10

EDITOR'S NOTE: The lineup below reflects changes from Ike's Week 5 rankings.

With Josh Norman sitting out through Week 8, I couldn't keep him in my top 10. Talib has dominated so far, allowing 10 receptions on 14 targets for 58 yards (5.8 yards per catch). He did give up a touchdown to Dez Bryant in Week 2, but countered by picking off Dak Prescott in the red zone and returned it 103 yards for a touchdown. He's still at the top of his game in his 10th season and I love it.

In the last two weeks, Sherman's been targeted a total of seven times and has allowed one catch for 12 yards. Quarterbacks respect him, period. Now on his bye week, Sherman has to feel good about what he's done up to this point.

 Carson Wentz lit up the 
 Cardinals' secondary with the exception of Peterson. He held 
 Alshon Jeffery to a pair of receptions on three targets for 26 yards. I understand where 
 his frustration is coming from -- he's in his prime and one of the league's premier cornerbacks, but his team sits at 2-3 (third in the division). If the 
 Cardinals want to get back in the win column Sunday, Peterson must have another big game against 
 Mike Evans. The two met in Week 2 of 2016, and Evans had four receptions for 49 yards and one touchdown. Although Peterson gave up a TD, he also picked off 
 Jameis Winston in the game. 

Rhodes had a "day off" against the Bears, as rookie Mitchell Trubisky didn't target him once. If it was my NFL debut, I'd avoid Rhodes, too. A huge divisional matchup against the Packers awaits the Vikings. Rhodes has faced Jordy Nelson just three times since 2014. Nelson missed the entire 2015 with a knee injury, while Rhodes was sidelined with a knee injury in their Week 2 matchup last year. In the three meetings, Rhodes has allowed five catches on 10 targets for 41 yards and recorded three passes defensed. Rhodes will see his fair share of Nelson, but I wouldn't be surprised if he spends most of his time across from Davante Adams, who is playing with a ton of confidence.

It should be a routine performance for Harris and the "No Fly Zone" against the Giants on Sunday night, as Eli Manning lost most of his receiving weapons last week. Harris likely gets a pick.

As hard as it is for me to move a Raven up the rankings, I have to give credit where credit is due. Smith is playing at an extremely high level and has yet to give up a touchdown. After giving up just one catch on one target for 3 yards to the Oakland Raiders, Smith shouldn't have a problem holding his own against Mitchell Trubisky's Bears.

Another solid week for Bouye. He held the Steelers receivers to four catches on 12 targets for 33 yards. He elevates his play by the week.

Loved watching Ramsey vs. Antonio Brown last week. Brown racked up 100 receiving yards when matching up against Ramsey but was kept out of the end zone. In addition, Ramsey got his second interception -- one of Ben Roethlisberger's five total picks on the day -- of the season. Ramsey likely faces Sammy Watkins, who's a much different play than Brown, on Sunday. Watkins hasn't been highly targeted and, unfortunately for him, that's not going to change with Ramsey and Bouye on the field.

Trufant's looking to bounce back after giving up a touchdown in his last time out. Miami ranks 23rd in passing offense and I don't see Jay Cutler and Co. improving much against the fresh-off-a-bye Falcons defense. My guess: Trufant gets his second INT of the year.

I love me some Pacman! Since returning from his one-game suspension, the veteran cornerback has been unbelievable. Jones hasn't allowed a single catch in three of his four starts and his highest passer rating allowed was 45.3 to Deshaun Watson in Week 2. Last week, Jones left the game with a lower back injury, but it shouldn't keep him off the field for an extended period of time.

ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: Tre'Davious White, Bills; Bradley Roby, Broncos; Janoris Jenkins, Giants; Darius Slay, Lions; Trumaine Johnson, Rams; Joe Haden, Steelers.


Coming off a bye, the Broncos enter somewhat of a trap game. Eli Manning lost literally all of his receivers last week and will throw to anyone who's open. Talib and Harris can't relax or get complacent against Big Blue's struggling offense.

 *Next up: vs. New York Giants, 8:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.* 

Players: A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey.

According to NFL Research, the Jaguars have the NFL's two best defenders in passer rating allowed among the 57 players who have been targeted at least 25 times this season. Bouye has allowed a 38.3 passer rating against, while Ramsey follows with a rating of 47.1 when targeted. The game is slowing down so much for the Jags duo it's like they're playing in the matrix. They face a Rams offense that's coming off its worst performance of the season, as Jared Goff threw two picks and had a 48.9 passer rating vs. the Seahawks. Similar to Seattle, expect Jacksonville's tandem to dominate Cooper Kupp and Co.

 *Next up: vs. Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. ET on Sunday.* 

Players: Joe Haden and Artie Burns.

I had them on the outside last week, but the Steelers have proven they belong here -- with injuries and poor play plaguing the previous teams in this spot ( Giants, Chargers, Redskins and Bills). In his second year, Burns' play is night and day from his rookie campaign. Watching film has slowed the game down and he understands what offenses are doing instead of going off natural ability. Through Week 5, Burns has allowed 13 catches on 26 targets for 97 yards (7.5 yards per catch) and one touchdown. The trade for a healthy Joe Haden has greatly benefited the Steelers' secondary. And this week against the undefeated Chiefs, these two can't sleep on any receiver because Alex Smith has done a great job of spreading the ball around.

 *Next up: at Kansas City Chiefs, 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday.* 

Cornerback tandems that just missed the cut: Robert Alford and Desmond Trufant, Falcons; Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes, Vikings.

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.