No. 15: Jets CB Darrelle Revis

Would Hall of Famer Jerry Rice manage to escape from "Revis Island"? MATCHUP GALLERY ESPN.com Illustration


ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine sought a list of the 20 current players who a 20-member Pro Football Hall of Fame panel and ESPN's John Clayton believe could excel in any era of the NFL.

Or, to put a finer point on it -- when Mike Ditka looks at today's player, whom does he want lining up next to him ... or across from him?

Which of today's players did our group of Hall of Famers deem really old school?

The playing days for our 20-member Hall of Fame panel spanned the '60s (Jim Brown) to the turn of the century (John Randle).

We'll present four players a day, culminating with our top four on Friday, Jan. 27.

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FLOYD LITTLE: He's one of those players who comes once in a lifetime. He's like a Champ Bailey in the early stages of his career. He's like a [ex-Raiders stars] Willie Brown, who's in the Hall of Fame, and the Nemiah Wilson. Darrelle Revis could play with any of them. I think his greatness is a combination of a lot of skills: his ability to defend and his ability to tackle. The way he plays today is how players played yesterday. That's what I respect him. They can run with you. They can cover you. They really break on the ball. He has a great sense of timing, too. He has a clock in his head and when the ball is in the air, he doesn't need to look at the receiver to turn around, they know when to turn around. That's an advantage that he has and that's what makes him a great player.


JAMES LOFTON: Sometimes the promotion of "Revis Island" can enhance or even supercede someone's image. When you watch this guy play, how is he able to move the receiver off his spot? It's like Superman strength. Darrelle Revis has that same type of strength. When he puts his hand on a receiver, the receiver that is headed there ... is now over there. It's really slight and really subtle, and he's not pushing off, but he's just so strong and compact, he just moves them off their route.


JOHN RANDLE: When you watch him, he's a quiet killer. Like a sniper because he's drawing attention to himself, but you know that receiver is not going to have a good game. That receiver is shut down. The quarterback looks out there and goes, "Well, my No. 1 is down. Let's look to my No. 2."


ROGER WEHRLI: Darrelle Revis has got all the skills and plays a tough, hard-nosed bump-and-run style a lot of times. I ranked him No. 1 because he's a little more physical than anyone else in the league.



Now considered to be the best cornerback in the NFL, Revis admitted his rookie season provided many challenges.

The toughest moment was just trying to get adjusted to the NFL, learning how to be a professional. That was probably the toughest thing, because it's totally different than college, working hard and striving to be the best you can be, on and off the field. Your head is just spinning, being a rookie and trying to adjust to NFL life. That's what my rookie year (2007) was like.



Darrelle Revis is the perfect coverage corner. He can blanket a receiver from the line of scrimmage until the end of the play. What puts him over the top is how physical he is. Revis is a great tackler and would have fit well in the 1960s and 1970s when defenses didn't use nickel defenders and stayed in base defenses the entire time. He's on an island of great cornerbacks such as Mel Blount, Michael Haynes and Lester Hayes.

CLAYTON ON HALL OF FAME CHANCES: If he remains the best cornerback of his era, he should make it.

John Clayton, a recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's McCann Award for distinguished reporting, is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Follow Clayton on Twitter @ClaytonESPN



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Additional reporting by ESPN The Magazine's Morty Ain, Louise Cornetta, Amy Parlapiano and Alyssa Roenigk.