Steve Wyche: Allows you to play 10-on-10
Years ago, when he was the secondary coach of the Atlanta Falcons, I bumped into Emmitt Thomas, who had just come from watching Darrelle Revis' workout. Thomas said if it was up to him, he'd draft Revis because the kid was going to be the best cornerback -- if not player -- in the NFL. Thomas nailed it, although the Jets got Revis and Atlanta selected defensive end Jamaal Anderson in 2006. Whoops. Revis doesn't have great stats since teams stay away from him. With Revis not being targeted, that means the receivers he covers aren't involved either. That's impact. Revis turns games into 10-on-10 matchups. Some people will argue that diminishes his presence because he's not returning picks for touchdowns or forcing turnovers, which is true. But if one defender -- not two -- can semi-restrict what an offense does and force offensive coordinators to scheme passing games around him, that player is special.
Jason la Canfora: Stats don't tell whole tale
He was dinged up plenty last season and not quite himself, but Darrelle Revis hasn't even entered his prime. He is the best shutdown corner in the game. He is younger than Nnamdi Asomugha, and I dare say he makes more plays on the ball than Asomugha, though neither gets many thrown their way. If you get one man to cover the best receivers in the world, I'm more than happy to make them come to Revis Island. He's a vital cog, and Rex Ryan couldn't be nearly as ambitious with his defenses without Revis.
Charles Davis: Conversation comes down to two
Last time I answered this question, I selected Nnamdi Asomugha, but after spending some time this offseason reviewing tape, Darrelle Revis gets my vote. Both are the full package, and neither will have interceptions as a point of pride, considering teams do their best to avoid throwing in their direction. In watching Revis, I saw the full array of skills on display. From understanding how a receiver's split and alignment dictate his options to a level of concentration on a wideout that allows him to anticipate cuts and when the ball is coming his way. He also has the ability to tackle, both in coverage and in the run game. "Revis Island" is not just a marketing statement.
Vic Carucci: Alters opponent's game plan
How can there be any other pick here besides Darrelle Revis? There are other cornerbacks who do an excellent job in coverage, such as Nnamdi Asomugha, who discourages quarterbacks from throwing his way. There are other cornerbacks that are tremendous ball-hawks, such as Asante Samuel. Revis excels in both areas. And he succeeds while dealing with the immense pressure of spending practically every game on "Revis Island" because of the Jets' frequent blitzing. He can single-handedly dictate an opponent's approach to the passing game due to the fact that offensive coordinators are conflicted by finding ways to attack the secondary while looking to avoid the equal danger of challenging him.