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Week 8 cornerback rankings: Marshon Lattimore's quality start

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 ...

Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints

The Saints (4-2) have gotten exactly what they expected from their 2017 first-round draft pick. Lattimore, who's battled injury through his college career and into his first NFL season, has the size (6-foot, 192 pounds), speed (4.36-second 40 time), athletic ability and confidence to succeed in this league. He's not afraid to take chances and has fared well so far, especially for a rookie. He's allowed 14 receptions on 24 targets for 126 yards (9 yards per catch), a 2:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and an 83.0 passer rating against, according to Next Gen Stats. Lattimore's early success has fueled an improving Saints D.

This week against the Bears, Lattimore will line up on fellow rookie Mitchell Trubisky's strong side. The CB will get a ton of action, because the Bears don't ask Trubisky to go through four or five read progressions. As important as handling business in coverage, tackling the running backs in the second level is a must.

Week 8 cornerback rankings: My top 10

EDITOR'S NOTE: The lineup below reflects changes from Ike's Week 7 rankings.

The Broncos' defense has been in a funk for several weeks, but Talib is ballin' in the secondary. When others faltered against the Chargers, Talib remained true to his shutdown form and allowed only one catch for 2 yards. Talib held Philip Rivers, who finished the game with a 105.1 passer rating, to a 42.4 passer rating on throws where Talib was targeted.

Against a Giants team that was down on star power at the receiver position, Sherman did exactly what I suspected he'd do: He didn't allow a single reception on three targets. This week, Sherman and DeAndre Hopkins meet for the first time since Week 4 of 2013, a game in which Hopkins wasn't targeted with Sherman in coverage. This season, Sherman hasn't been burned for a TD in coverage, but Hopkins has six receiving TDs (tied for most in the NFL). Sherman must plaster Hopkins, because Houston's rookie QB extends plays like no other.

The more the Cardinals struggle, the better this guy plays. The All-Pro cornerback gave up just one catch for 12 yards to Sammy Watkins in Sunday's loss, and he hasn't allowed a touchdown in coverage since Week 1. He's one of the most consistent cornerbacks in the league and needs this well-deserved bye.

Last week, the Vikings' defense completely dominated the Ravens and Joe Flacco, who had gone 137 attempts without a touchdown pass prior to the TD on the final play of Sunday's game. Rhodes finished the game allowing two receptions on three targets for 30 yards. This week against the Browns, we should see a similar performance, if, that is, DeShone Kizer decides to throw his way. If I were Kizer, I'd avoid Rhodes at all costs.

PLAYED THURSDAY: vs. Miami Dolphins.

As a whole, the Ravens' defense has struggled of late, but Smith's production hasn't wavered. Last week against Minnesota, Smith allowed three catches on as many targets for 19 yards. The Ravens have a chance to get the flock on the same page against Miami. However, the Dolphins' offense was looking energized with Matt Moore in at quarterback. Smith must locate Jarvis Landry, who took over this drive last week, and he can't lose the battle against Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker (*if* he plays).

Once again, Ramsey shut down T.Y. Hilton, allowing the Colts wideout to accrue 27 yards on five targets. His confidence is off the charts. Hopefully, there's not a let-down mentally or in his on-field play in the second half of the season.

Bouye, like Ramsey, is doing exactly what cover corners need to do to keep their team competitive. That's all I can ask for.

Wade Phillips' defense deserves a lot of credit for the Rams' 5-2 record. And Johnson has been on top of his game of late. I get that the Cardinals lost Carson Palmer midway through last Sunday's game, but that doesn't lessen Johnson's production (he allowed two catches on three targets for 21 yards). Johnson's improved technique and solid bump-and-run and off coverage play have put him in this position to succeed.

 *Oof!* That was a poor defensive performance by the 
 Broncos' D in 
 an all-important divisional bout. No team hasn't made the 
 Broncos look this way for years, and the locker room sure 
 felt the effects of the loss. Harris gave up 
 a touchdown to Travis Benjamin and allowed three catches for 54 yards on three receptions in the game. Harris lacked technique and got caught looking in the backfield on Benjamin's TD play. It won't get easier for Harris this week at Arrowhead. 

Haden's having himself a year. His latest contribution to the Steelers' D came Sunday when he picked off Andy Dalton. I wasn't surprised by Haden's outing because he's traditionally been solid against Green. Through Week 7, Haden has allowed 15 catches on 27 targets for 182 yards and a 1:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. It's time he gets some credit.

ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: Jason McCourty, Browns; Adam Jones, Bengals; Tre'Davious White, Bills; Bradley Roby, Broncos; Janoris Jenkins, Giants; Darius Slay, Lions; Desmond Trufant, Falcons.


The Broncos face a struggling Chiefs team that's still very capable of making splash plays. Chiefs QB Alex Smith is making his MVP case as he leads all NFL quarterbacks in completion percentage (72.4), yards per attempt (8.7), passing touchdowns (15, tied) and passer rating (120.5) this season. In the past, defenders sat on a lot of routes knowing Smith wouldn't throw deep. Now, Smith has thrown more deep passes than ever, so Talib and Harris must respect his arm.

The Broncos CBs both covered Tyreek Hill in 2016, holding him to five catches for 32 yards. Against all other Denver defenders, Hill had four receptions for 20 yards and a touchdown. I expect the Broncos to throw timing off between Smith and Hill by playing press coverage. They should also have safety help with Hill.

 *Next up: at Kansas City Chiefs, 8:30 p.m. ET on Monday.* 

Players: A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey.

The Jaguars' defense ranks in the top five in many categories, including No. 2 in pass defense, allowing 161.7 passing yards per game. The Jags, including Bouye and Ramsey, are sitting pretty heading into their bye week.

 *Next up: Bye week vs. Cincinnati Bengals in Week 9).* 

Players: Joe Haden and Artie Burns.

This pair played well against Andy Dalton and the Bengals, allowing a combined three catches on eight targets for 29 yards -- 25 of those yards coming at the hands of A.J. Green. The Steelers cornerbacks will get a ton of action Sunday against the Lions with Matthew Stafford back there slinging it. With Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay on the perimeter, Haden and Burns must watch out for the deep throw.

 *Next up: at Detroit Lions, 8:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.* 

Cornerback tandems that just missed the cut: Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes, Vikings.

Follow Ike Taylor on Twitter _@IkeSwagginU_.

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