The way Darrelle Revis plays cornerback is different than the way, say, Asante Samuel plays it. The job requirements of the position differ depending on the defensive system.
Cornerbacks in man-to-man coverage schemes – your classic lockdown corners – need to have the speed and agility to stick with receivers all over the field. They need to be able to mirror a receiver’s every move, and they have to be able to react to the ball at the last second, as they play mostly with their backs to the quarterback.
Zone corners, on the other hand, face the quarterback. They’ll rely more on their backpedal, trying to keep receivers in front of them and then break on the ball as it’s delivered. Because they’re monitoring the backfield, they are also asked to provide run support more than a man corner.
Then there’s the slot corner – who no longer can be considered part of a sub package. The more offenses line up in three-receiver sets, the more this player’s on the field. He has to have the agility and the physicality to take on quick receivers with two-way-go options, and stick to them through traffic.
Fans should know what kind of coverage their team plays, so they can determine who the best fit from the cornerback Class of 2013 really is.