Yesterday, when Darrelle Revis retired, minds split in separate directions. First, a reflection of Revis’ Hall of Fame placement needs thought. Granted, we all know that he will stand on the stage in Canton, immortalized for eternity. However, did the seven-time Pro Bowl accomplish enough to merit first ballot status? In addition, which active corner will fully assume the role of the best shutdown corner in the game? Given that Revis’ skills declined rapidly, players began to argue over the crown a while ago. To answer the first ballot and active successor questions, FPC editors Kelly, Ray, Schyvinck, and Barrientos gather to debate.
Andrew Kelly (Rams Managing Editor)
Revis is a difficult case when deciding if he will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He was, without a doubt, the best cornerback in the league for multiple seasons. “Revis Island” was a term uttered by fans, players, and children who longed to be like the lockdown corner out of New York. However, Revis’ time at the top was much shorter than that of other first-ballot inductees. Joe Thomas, another candidate for the 2023 class, will be an almost definite first ballot Hall of Famer because of his sustained greatness over a period of years. Meanwhile, Revis played just 11 seasons in the NFL and was at his best for what, seven of those? So no, Revis not a first ballot Hall of Famer despite his supreme greatness at the peak of his play.
The “next Revis” is Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Rhodes, much like Revis, consistently shuts down the man that is lined up across from him. However, what puts him on a “Revis level” is that he often shadows the top receiver of the opposing offense and is still able to play lockdown man coverage on a regular basis. In a 2017 season where Rhodes faced the likes of Antonio Brown and Julio Jones the stud corner allowed just two touchdowns the entire year in his coverage. “Revis Island” may be shut down but NFL quarterbacks and receivers better stay sharp when facing Minnesota because there is often plenty of “Rhodes Closed” up north.
Brandon Ray (Bills Managing Editor)
With Revis officially putting his playing days behind him, the next big question is deciding whether he is a first-ballot Hall of Fame player. There is a reason why in his prime he owned his own “island”. One of the best shutdown corners, and arguably the best at one point in his career. He has been to the playoffs, the Pro Bowl, and has himself a Super Bowl ring.
Revis is a first-ballot HOF, or at least he should be. What could hurt him though when he is eligible is the production he had after being a part of the 2014 New England Patriots Super Bowl team. It should not keep him out of the HOF class, but there could be questions surrounding him.
With Revis hanging up his cleats, another question is finding out who could take the reins as a true lockdown corner for the future of the NFL. Be on the lookout for Jalen Ramsey. He has already made an impact for the Jaguars defense and his ceiling is still very much high. With his athleticism and ability to lock down relievers, Ramsey even has the potential to become a more efficient lockdown defender than Revis.
Jake Schyvinck (Packers Managing Editor)
At this point, based on the group of eligible players for 2023, it looks like Darrelle Revis will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. If they retire, Antonio Gates and Adrian Peterson will join Revis, Joe Thomas, and Jason Witten as likely names. At this point, Thomas, Revis, and Peterson are the top names of the group. There will likely be a carryover from previous years, but right now, Revis looks like a safe bet. His stats will not look out of this world compared to others in his era, but if you look at him on film, he is one of the best cover corners in a long while.
With Revis retiring, eventually someone will rise to become the top shutdown corner in football. Others are rising around him, but I think that spot is Jalen Ramsey’s to take. He already has established himself as one of the best young corners in the game. Also, he’proved he can hang with the top receivers in the league. His showdowns with Antonio Brown show that. Ramsey’s technique combined with his physicality at the position shows that if anyone can grab the “title”, he could.
Sergio Barrientos (Jaguars Managing Editor)
For a large portion of Darrelle Revis’ 11 year career, there was only one half on the field for opposing offenses. Revis would completely take away one side of the field by blanketing the opponents’ best receiver. The athleticism and intelligence that Revis demonstrated on the field made him one of the best cornerbacks ever. He was tremendously respected by his teammates and feared by his opponents.
The Hall of Fame voting committee because of the respect he has garnered should vote in Revis easily. Revis will be a first time ballot Hall of Famer. Jalen Ramsey of the Jacksonville Jaguars is already the NFL’s premier shutdown cornerback. Look for him to continue his dominance throughout his career. If Ramsey’s talented Jaguars team is able to win a championship in the next few seasons, Ramsey should be an absolute shoe-in for Canton when his time comes.
— Full Press NFL (@FPC_NFL) July 18, 2018