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Ranking the NFC South defensive backs

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
The defensive backs are next in our series of NFC South position rankings.

I'm lumping the cornerbacks and safeties together and basing my choices on the theory that cornerbacks are more important than safeties.

  1. Chris Gamble, CB, Carolina. Perhaps the only true shutdown corner in the division.

  2. Aqib Talib, CB, Tampa Bay. Talib has the potential to join Gamble as a shutdown corner, if he can build on a promising rookie year.

  3. Jabari Greer, CB, New Orleans. It feels weird to rank a New Orleans defensive back this high, but there's a reason why the Saints paid Greer a bunch of money.

  4. Ronde Barber, CB, Tampa Bay. Yeah, I know there are some people who think he's washed up. But the Bucs kept him for a reason and all those Pro Bowl trips are tough to overlook.

  5. Erik Coleman, S, Atlanta. Might be the most underrated player in the division.

  6. Chris Houston, CB, Atlanta. Some people still question Houston, but he was Atlanta's best cover guy a year ago.

  7. Tracy Porter, CB, New Orleans. Had a great start to rookie year before suffering season-ending injury.

  8. Roman Harper, S, New Orleans. Some Saints' fans will disagree, but Harper's better than a lot of people realize. He's a strong safety, who got hung out in coverage too much in the past. With better cornerbacks, he'll be a factor.

  9. Chris Harris, S, Carolina. Not a great cover guy, but he can hit and is one of Carolina's vocal leaders.

  10. Malcolm Jenkins, CB, New Orleans. I'm taking the rookie over veteran safety Darren Sharper because I think Jenkins' impact will last much longer. He may end up replacing Sharper at free safety in the future.