Yahoo Sports- The decade is drawing to a close, and the NFL is currently reflecting upon 100 years of football, so it seems like a fitting time to place Richard Sherman in his rightful place among the game’s greats.
The former Seattle standout this season has been back to something like his best for the San Francisco 49ers, and he has had a huge impact on a defense that has taken important strides this year. Not only is Sherman an excellent cornerback and one of the best-graded in football right now — he’s also the best corner of the past decade.
This season, Sherman has surrendered just 227 yards into his coverage and has yet to be beaten for a pass longer than 25 yards. To put those numbers into context, rookie cornerback DeAndre Baker had surrendered 272 yards and given up 10 plays of 25-plus yards by the end of Week 2.
For a player who is peerless at avoiding being beaten over the top, Sherman has also allowed an extremely low 8.4 yards-per-catch average, a figure usually associated with slot cornerbacks who pick up a lot of underneath targets. This season, Sherman has avoided being beaten over the top but has also limited the impact on throws in front of him.
His PFF coverage grade of 89.2 with a week to play is the best mark he has posted since 2014, and it represents a big return to form for a player whose career was thrown into jeopardy with a torn Achilles a couple of seasons ago.
Richard Sherman is the best cornerback of the decade
Sherman’s coverage numbers this year match the trend of his career — he has been the most difficult cornerback to throw against since he came into the league. In this decade, only two cornerbacks have allowed a completion rate of under 50 percent (with 250 or more targets): Sherman (49.6 percent) and Darrelle Revis (49.8). They were deployed in dramatically different ways, but Sherman and Revis have undoubtedly been the two best corners of the PFF era (which began in 2006).