Is Jonathan Joseph an elite cornerback?
When the term elite cornerback is thrown around by analysts, the same names come up: Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets, Nnamdi Asomugha of the Philadelphia Eagles and Champ Bailey of the Denver Broncos. Each of these players has shown that they can compete at an elite level and can take away the best receiver for the other team consistently.
The Houston Texans have a player that is not discussed as often on the national scene as the aforementioned players but deserves to be categorized with them. Jonathan Joseph is a great corner that has the ability to take over games.
Joseph started his NFL career as the 24th overall selection by the Cincinnati Bengals out of the University of South Carolina in 2006. He has recorded at least one interception in every season after his rookie year. In 2009, he was able to bring down six interception for a career high.
After a solid start to his career with the Bengals, he was signed by the Texans to a five-year deal worth $48.75 million. The Texans signed him to be the cornerstone of their secondary. With the addition of Wade Phillips as the defensive coordinator, the Texans have a had a complete turnaround defensively. The 2010 Texans defense was #29 in points and #30 in yards. The following year with the addition Joseph, the team improved to #4 in points and #2 in yards. Obviously the addition of Joseph was not the sole reason for the improvement, but he became the anchor of the new Texans secondary.
Joseph has had one more year in the league than Revis but both do have the same number of interceptions. True he has played one more year but Revis is considered by many to be the best corner in the league. Asomugha has played longer in the league and only has 14 interceptions and most of those came in 2006 when he had eight. In actuality, Bailey may be the best corner on this list as he has consistently been a good cover corner and has made 50 interceptions in his career since 1999.
All of these corners are great players and all of them make a difference for their respective teams. Joseph has had a strong career and should be mentioned nationally along with these others players. I believe that this will be the year that Joseph cements himself as one of the elite.
Joe serenka, Houston Texans Blogger, follow him on Twitter @Texansblogster