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Ranking the 10 Best Cornerbacks of All Time

Best Cornerbacks All Time

Cornerbacks are one of the tricky positions in the NFL as they stay on edge. One mistake can turnaround the games in the blink of an eye. They have to stop the football’s fastest players. Besides they also need to play according to the rules sometimes that are not in their favor. As the NFL keeps evolve, over the years, hundreds of cornerbacks enlisted themselves in the history of the NFL. Therefore, making the list of 10 best cornerbacks of all time gave me a hard time as I had to pick the best cornerbacks ever out of the hundreds.

After days of research and analysis, finally, I came out with a list of the top ten cornerbacks who contributed to their teams heavily and entertained the fans during their long successful careers.

#10. Willie Brown

Willie Brown

Oakland Raiders Willie Brown (24) in action vs Minnesota Vikings at Rose Bowl Stadium. (Photo by Walter Iooss Jr. /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

Active: 1963-78

Teams: Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders

Awards: 3 times Super Bowl champion, five-time AFL ALL Star, four Pro Bowler, and more.

Willie Brown is considered the father of bump and run coverage, who was a football coach, executive, and one of the top cornerbacks of all time. During his career from 1963 to 1978, Brown played for Broncos and Raiders, where he spent 16 seasons and played 204 NFL games in total. 

However, Brown was not successful during his four seasons in Broncos, but he became an established star within those four years. So, while he signed up with the Raiders, Willie Brown already became a cornerback expert. With his outstanding abilities, Willie got all the achievements in 12 years of playing in Oakland. Moreover, he was speedy, mobile, and aggressive with ultimate determination and a sharp football sense. Eventually, Brown became a key player in the cornerback position as well as overall playing for Oakland Raiders.

Willie’s top achievements include playing in four Pro Bowl games, five all start games, named for the all-league team and all NFL teams. During 16 years of his career, Willie Brown completed 54 passes, ran 472 yards with two touchdowns.

#9. Darrell Green

Darrell Green

Darrell Green (Photo by

Active: 1983-2002

Teams: Washington Redskins

Awards: 2 times Super Bowl champion, seven Pro Bowler, and more.

Darrell Green was known for his speed and longevity, who spent all his career with Washington Redskins from 1983 to 2002. He showed his class in the rookie season, where he played 16 games and started all of those NFL matches. With all the tremendous performance in a rookie year, Darrell Green was announced as the Associated Press NFL Rookie of the Year Award. 

As the seasons went by, Green developed himself as a premier cornerback and maintained a steady performance through the 20 seasons with Redskins. Green holds a record for the interception through the straight 19 seasons. However, Green has 54 interceptions for 621 yards while recorded 6 touchdowns in total. 

Green appeared in four NFC championship games along with three Super Bowls appearances, in which his team won two of them. Darrell Green kept his speed till the retirement in his 40s.

#8. Charles Woodson

Charles Woodson

Charles Woodson #21 of the Green Bay Packers runs for a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Active: 1998-2015

Teams: Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers

Awards: One Super Bowl champion, Nine Pro Bowler, and more.

Charles Woodson could be inducted into the hall of fame as he is named as one of the finalists in 2021 as his career is filled with performance memories. Woodson is a two-way player who played for both defense and offense. 

Woodson started his career with Oakland Raiders in 1998, then joined the Packers in 2006 and went back to Raiders again in 2013, who then retired in 2015. Throughout his 18 long years of career, Charles had some remarkable achievements, which included one Superbowl winner, nine pro bowl, and more. Furthermore, he had 65 career interceptions, and he also performed well just right before retirement at the age of 39. 

However, Charles Woodson has a great contribution to Raider’s Superbowl winning as a cornerback. 

#7. Darrelle Revis

Darrelle Revis

Darrelle Revis #24 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs with the ball against the Arizona Cardinals. (Photo by Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images)

Active: 2007-2017

Teams: Jets, Buccaneers, Patriots, and Chiefs

Awards: One Super Bowl champion, seven Pro Bowler, and more.

Unlike other players, Revis was not stable with a team or two, and changed the teams 11 times. However, he may not have lucrative achievements like other best cornerbacks in the NFL, but the number tells the true stories. 

Darrelle Revis is a seven-time pro bowler who has bagged a Super Bowl too. However, he was a deadly defender with a combination of physical and speed, who could stop any No. 1 receiver. Revis will be eligible to be enlisted for the Hall of Fame in 2023. Within the short span of his career, Revis finished it as memorable with 29 interceptions, and most of them came while playing with Jets.

#6. Mike Haynes

Mike Haynes best defensive cornerback of all time

Cornerback Mike Haynes #22 of the Los Angeles Raiders in action circa mid 1980’s during an NFL football game at the Los Angeles Coliseum. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Active: 1976-89

Teams: Patriots and Raiders

Awards: One Super Bowl champion, Nine Pro Bowler, and more.

Haynes was quick and speedy at that time, which made him a defensive cornerback of all time. In his rookie season, he had an exceptional start with 8 interceptions in 608 yards. In the same year, the Patriots’ first touchdown came from Mike Haynes too. All his performances in rookie season landed him to the Pro Bowl invitation.

However, Haynes joined the Raiders in 1983 and gained his only super bowl victory in 1984. He played 7 seasons with the Raiders before gone for retirement, where he added 18 interceptions, which summed up a total of 46 interceptions and returned for 688 yards along with two touchdowns. Haynes was added to the Pro Bowl team for nine seasons out of 15 seasons.

#5. Ronnie Lott

Ronnie Lott

NFC Playoffs, San Francisco 49ers Ronnie Lott (42) in action, returning interception vs Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco, CA 1/6/1990 (Photo by Mickey Pfleger/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

Active: 1981-1995

Teams: 49ers, Raiders, Jets

Awards: Four Super Bowl champions, ten Pro Bowler, and more.

Lott is famous for his hard-hitting style as he played at both rights and left cornerbacks. With his extreme playing styles and skills, Ronnie Lott was invited for 10 Pro Bowl to play at three different positions, including strong safety, cornerback, and free safety. However, he has been seen as very comfortable playing in at free safety position. 

In his Rookie NFL season, Lott’s performance helped the 49ers to win the Super Bowl XVI, and fans bowed him as the best cornerbacks in NFL history. He kept his good performance over the next four years but fell in injury in 1986 while playing in the free safety position and missed the final two games of the season. However, he still led the season with 10 interceptions and 77 tackles. Throughout his career from 1981 to 1994, Lott completed 63 interceptions and led the league twice.

Roonie Lott was a complete package, who completed 1,000 tackles by the year 1993. Nevertheless, his most success came out in his ten seasons with 49ers, where Lott won four bowls and eight NFC Western Division. 

#4. Mel Blount

Mel Blount best cornerback in NFL

Active: 1970-1983

Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers

Awards: Four Super Bowl champions, five Pro Bowler, and more.

Mel Blount was the best cornerback in NFL in his era, and he was the reason why the Steelers dominate the NFL in the 1970s. Furthermore, Blount was the combination of speed, perfect size, and quickness, along with the toughness and mental ability to imply any tactics to favor the receivers.

At his college level, Mel Blount played for both cornerback and safety positions. However, he was picked by the Steelers in 1970, but became a starter from 1972, in which he showed his excellency as no opposition could complete a single touchdown.

In his 12 years of actual playing career, Blount won four super bowls and was named for the All-AFC Pro Bowl football team five times. Blount finished his career with 57 interceptions while returned for 736 yards, which has two touchdowns too.  

#3. Dick “Night Train” Lane

Dick Lane best Rams cornerbacks of all time

Dick “Night Train” Lane. (Photo By Arizona Cardinals)

Active: 1952-1965

Teams: Rams, Cardinals, Lions

Awards: Seven Pro Bowler, Seven first-team All-Pro, and more.

Dick Lane did not have a fancy college football record as he was called for military service in 1947 after playing one year with Scottsbluff Junior College. However, he returned in 1952 and looking for a job. Somehow, he managed to join Los Angeles Rams, and in his rookie season, he showed an exceptional performance by intercepting 14 passes in 12 games; who also considered a devastating tackler as well as one of the best Rams cornerbacks of all time.

Night Train’s exceptional speed, outstanding agility, and sharp determination to grow to get him the ultimate kickstart with the NFL. 2 years later, he joined with the Cardinals, where he improved himself to take chances on the field instead of taking risks. After playing six years with them, Dick Lane began with Lions, where he built himself as one of the greatest cornerbacks of all time.

Dick Lane’s career ended with seven pro bowl invitations, 68 interception, and returned for 1207 yards.

#2. Rod Woodson

Rod Woodson best NFL cornerbacks of all time

AFC Playoffs, Pittsburgh Steelers Rod Woodson (26) in action, rushing vs Denver Broncos, Denver, CO 1/7/1990 (Photo by Andy Hayt/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

Active: 1987-2003

Teams: Steelers, 49ers, Ravens, Raiders

Awards: Eleven Pro Bowler, one Super Bowl Champion, and more.

Rod Woodson was a versatile football player in his college football who played as a wider receiver and running back on offense, also played as safety and cornerback on defense. When Steelers drafted Woodson in 1987, he became the “triple threat” for other teams. As the years went by, Woodson became more and more furious and earned Pro Bowl honors by the third year of his NFL career. 

In addition to that, in the 1992 NFL season, he did 100 tackles and also collected six sacks. In the next season, he did even better than 1992 and was recognized as the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. However, Rod completely played 17 seasons and recorded 17 interceptions and 1483 yards of return.

Due to his fierce performance, Woodson was announced as the player for the 1990’s all decade team. However, he was included in the Pro Bowl roster 11 times, which surely makes him another best NFL cornerbacks of all time.

#1. Deion Sanders

best cornerbacks of all time Deion Sanders (21) in action

Atlanta Falcons Deion Sanders (21) in action, returning interception vs Green Bay Packers at County Stadium. (Photo by Damian Strohmeyer /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

Active: 1989-2005

Teams: Falcons, 49ers, Cowboys, Redskins, Ravens

Awards: Eight Pro Bowler, two Super Bowl Champion, and more.

Deion Sanders played for the Atlanta Falcons in his rookie season in 1989 and became the talk of the topic while he returned 68 yards punt for a touchdown in the first-ever game of his NFL career. Since then, he continued playing more furiously for the rest of the 14 seasons with five different NFL teams. Among all the teams he played, he played more time with Dallas Cowboys as he signed up a lucrative deal and became the highest paid cornerbackson that time.

However, in total, Sanders completed 53 interceptions, which includes the five interceptions that were done when he came back to the field after a three-year pause or retirement. Later in 1990, Sanders was added to the NFL’s ALL-Decade team.

During his career, Sanders won two super bowls and became a sight pro bowl starter. With all these steady performances with different teams, Deion Sanders is considered the best cornerback of all time.

If you were looking for the answer to the question, who is the best cornerback in the NFL? You should know your desired answer by now.


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