Top 5 Cornerbacks: No. 1,  Darrelle Revis

These are the kinds of conversations that Darrelle Revis has prompted throughout his career.

Fan 1: “Where’s your man at? Is he out there?”

Fan 2: “Yeah he’s out there, you didn’t see him?”

Fan 1: “No, I haven’t seen him. Is he hurt? You said he was one of the best WRs in the league. It’s late in the 3rd quarter. He hasn’t done anything. What’s the deal?”

Fan 2: “He’s stuck on Revis Island.”

Fan 1: “Oh.”

That the Jets would refuse to pay the most talented player in their franchise’s history, is proof-positive why this team doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously. Apparently winning isn’t in the Jets plans. I guess it’s easier to run your team on the cheap and blame everything on your QB. 

Either way, Tampa’s power move to bring Revis in is going to pay immediate dividends. They gave up an average of over 300 passing yards last season, an atrocious number. The only player in their secondary from last year with any ability is their young Safety, Mark Barron. Bringing in a talent like Revis will accelerate his learning curve, and along with the acquisition of former Niners Safety Dashon Goldson, turns their secondary from a scrub spot into a likely strength.

We know can Revis can handle anyone, regardless of size and speed. His ability to not only cover, but essentially hit WRs with Terry McMillan style haymakers (as in Disappearing Acts) makes his skill set incomparable. It goes beyond stats honestly, but we’ll give you some stats anyway, since we know that the non-believers need something to trust.

Richard Sherman is the guy people often bring up as the next great CB. Pro Football Focus broke the two down and well, the differences are significant.

Sherman allowed 41 catches last year, or 47.1 percent of balls thrown his way, while Revis hasn’t allowed more than 49 in any season we have looked at, averaging 41.7 percent of targets to be completed in that three-year span. The edge goes to Revis, despite playing the slot frequently where receptions are often easier to come by.

If we look at yardage, again Revis has the edge, allowing an average of 481 receiving yards compared to the 634 Sherman gave up last year.

Further hammering the point home, Revis has only given up eight TDs in the last five seasons. I'm pretty sure Nnamdi Asomugha gave that much up in one game last year.  At 6’0 and 205 pounds he isn’t the biggest dude, but he plays the smartest defensive game of any player in the league. With flawless technique, perfect timing and sneaky athleticism, simply completing first downs against Revis is often an accomplishment.

With all this said, I must be noted that people are sleeping on Revis right now. He blew out his ACL early last season and isn’t quite back to full power yet. For a position that requires every one of your fast-twitch muscles to ignite, this is no small thing. It’s the only thing that can explain why he’s being pushed from his Number 1 slot.

For Revis and the Bucs, it’s all about his health. HC Greg Schiano is trying not to pump the story up too much before he has to, but their first game is against the Jets. How can Revis miss that opportunity?

From Yahoo Sports:

''He's covering receivers right now. … We had a quarterback interjected into the equation, making plays on the football, which leads to a different amount of tangling up with the receiver because now you're both trying to go for the same thing,'' Schiano said.

''We'll do that for a little bit, then we'll up him to kind of seven-on-seven team stuff. It's going to be step by step,'' the coach added. ''There are probably still several steps. But I think as long nothing pushes us back, they're going to move rather quickly.''

If he’s healthy, the Bucs will be an improved team and respectably compete in the tough NFC South. If he’s not, they won’t. It’s that simple, Revis is that important.