Updated: Apr 2
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Pro Football Focus on Twitter yesterday asked who is the best defensive back of the 2000s and had images of Richard Sherman, Charles Woodson, Ed Reed and Darrelle Revis. So yeah, Hall of Fame safety Troy Polamalu wasn't even mentioned. This caused a stern reaction from Steelers fans and deservingly so.
Along with Polamalu, Reed and Woodson are also Hall of Famers. Revis and Sherman will eventually get into Canton as well. The four players mentioned by PFF are all great players, but if you have Reed as one of the best defensive backs of the 2000s, you have to include Troy Polamalu as well. In my opinion, Polamalu should have been pictured instead of Sherman. Polamalu was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2010, while Sherman and Revis have never been honored with the award. Polamalu also has more Pro Bowls and first-team All-Pros than both Sherman and Revis.
I'd have Revis over Sherman, I think he was a better corner over a longer period and was more of a shutdown cornerback.
As far as who is the best defensive back of the 2000s, it's certainly between Polamalu and Reed. However, I'd give the slight edge to Polamalu because he could play the run like a linebacker and cover like a cornerback, along with having the knack to make game-changing plays. His natural instincts were just impeccable. Reed was more of a ballhawk, so he had 32 more career interceptions than Polamalu with 62, but he also played free safety and Polamalu played strong safety. Two completely different positions and roles, despite what people say.
PFF also had 2011 as Polamalu's best season in his career, when it clearly was in 2010 when he won DPOY. Polamalu somehow ranked ninth in the NFL in PFF grade in 2010 when he was the best defensive player in the league, so take PFF's grading with a grain of salt at times as well.