NFL's top CBs of 2012

Sherman leads grades with Hayward leading the slot CB list

Updated: August 28, 2013, 9:40 AM ET
By Sam Monson | Pro Football Focus

Charles Tillman and Richard ShermanUSA TODAY Sports, Getty ImagesCharles Tillman and Richard Sherman were the cream of the NFL cornerback crop in 2012.

Last year at Pro Football Focus, we graded some spectacular performances. To give you a glimpse of what really stood out, we're highlighting the top 10 players in every NFL position group during the 2012 season and how they project in 2013.

Below are the top 10 cornerbacks, along with the top five slot corners, which include a couple of breakout rookies as well as a couple of bounce-back veterans who had stellar 2012 seasons. (Note: More information on Pro Football Focus' grading system can be found here.)


Sherman

1. Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks
2012 grade: plus-22.4

Analysis: With no Darrelle Revis for the 2012 season, the door was thrown open to a stable of young candidates to see if any could stake their claim to the crown, and Sherman looked more than up to the task. He wasn't asked to track receivers or cover the slot the way Revis is, but on an island, Sherman was every bit his equal last season.

Trending: Sherman hit the ground running as a rookie in the NFL when he saw time in 2011, but last season was a big step forward. Is there much more room left to grow? Maintaining this level of play will be reason for praise.

• Senior analyst at Pro Football Focus
• Contributes regular columns to ESPN Insider