Antoine Winfield The Most ‘Complete’ Corner In The NFL?
According to pro football focus: How often do you hear Antoine Winfield’s name mentioned in the discussion of top cornerbacks in the league? He might be one of the most underrated players around, and he seems to be defying the laws of ageing by only getting better, playing his finest football over the past two seasons.
Sure, everybody loves to talk about him as the best tackling corner in the league, and announcers get a few minutes out of that every time Winfield makes his first play in the run game, but what if I was to tell you that Winfield was the best corner in the league in 2010? You’d think I was crazy, right?
That’s the level I’m talking about when I tell you he’s underrated: His 2010 season wasn’t just good, it was arguably the best season of any CB in the league – have you heard anybody talk about it in those terms?
Let me start by telling you that Winfield finished the season as PFF’s top graded cornerback. As you know, that’s a composite grade, and it includes coverage, play against the run, penalties and even blitzing. Winfield was one of only a few players to grade positively across the board, in all areas of play.
I know there are some people who are only interested in coverage when it comes to a cornerback’s play, and for those people, Winfield wouldn’t be your top guy last season. That’s not to say he had a poor year in coverage, far from it, but he wasn’t our top graded player in that regard – Champ Bailey was – and what makes Winfield special is his ability to be a force in multiple areas of the game, something very rare today.
Most Vikings fans realize what a gem Winfield has been to this team. Signing him after his buffalo days was one of the most solid moves the Vikings have made for this team. Winfield gets one year older every year but you would never guess it by his level of play. I sure hope we get several more years out of him and if he were to lose a step, we could transition him to the safety role.