Editor’s Note: The 33rd Team’s Greg Jennings discusses the toughest defensive back he ever played and what modern active players remind him the most of his toughest opponent.
The toughest defensive back I have ever faced was Darrelle Revis because of his level of awareness, savviness, understanding and insight, along with his physicality. More than anything, it was his patience at the line of scrimmage. As a receiver, we all assess the corners across the line of scrimmage from us, and the first assessment is: Can I get him off with my first move?
If there is no concern that he can get his hands on me, I’m good. I don’t care who it is. But when you have a defensive back that is patient and physical like Revis, it becomes a tough chess match.
As far as modern comparisons to Revis, I would say Stephon Gilmore. He shows an extreme amount of patience at the line of scrimmage, awareness of route concepts, and he just knows what opposing receivers are trying to do. It’s hard to get open on guys like Gilmore with his patience and length.
There are a lot of great corners now. Obviously, Jalen Ramsey is the best in the game. Ramsey plays with such a high level of confidence and a disregard for if you beat him. If you beat him, he’s going to just line back up and run the next play.
I also love watching Xavien Howard. Howard shows physicality and length with ball skills and patience at the line of scrimmage. When you combine all of those traits together, you have a very dynamic cornerback.
I also appreciate guys like J.C. Jackson and Denzel Ward as well. There are a lot of talented corners right now in the NFL.