Charles Woodson- best NFL d-back ever?

Submitted by Champeen on September 18th, 2012 at 1:41 PM

*EDIT* the data came from this site.. .. which appeared to be an extremely useful site for filtering data, however, as some below pointed out, it does not appear to be complete.  :(    /*EDIT

2nd all-time in takeaways (Rod Woodson).  2nd all-time in defensive TD's (Darren Sharper).

With 29 forced fumbles, 54 INT's and 12 defensive touchdowns, and still adding to his statistics, he has a strong case.  Here is a list of top 25 takeaways all-time i compiled (note, nearest CB to him is Sanders, 20 full takeaways back)....

name pos team g ffum deftd dintc dsack tot Total
Rod Woodson S OAK 238 20 11 71 13.5 639 91
Charles Woodson CB GB 200 29 12 54 17 904 83
Ronnie Lott S NYJ 192 16 0 63 8.5 106 79
Brian Dawkins S DEN 224 36 3 37 26 1169 73
Darren Sharper S NO 205 9 13 63 7.5 954 72
Eugene Robinson S CAR 250 15 1 57 7.5 616 72
Ed Reed S BAL 145 11 9 58 6 552 69
Aeneas Williams S STL 211 12 10 55 3 657 67
Deion Sanders CB BAL 188 10 7 53 1 276 63
Dre' Bly CB SF 167 20 7 43 5 506 63
Eric Allen CB OAK 217 6 4 54 3 441 60
Ty Law CB DEN 203 7 7 53 5 845 60
Terrell Buckley CB NYJ 205 10 6 50 2 459 60
Troy Vincent S BUF 207 13 3 47 5.5 749 60
Everson Walls CB CLE 186 2 0 57 3 0 59
Darrell Green CB WAS 295 5 4 54 1 430 59
Ronde Barber CB TB 226 15 11 44 28 1174 59
Cris Dishman CB MIN 199 15 4 43 1.5 435 58
Charles Tillman CB CHI 131 28 6 30 3 731 58
Champ Bailey CB DEN 195 7 4 50 3 852 57
Nate Clements CB CIN 166 22 5 35 4.5 777 57
Sammy Knight S NYG 183 13 5 42 9 1057 55
Albert Lewis S OAK 225 13 1 42 12.5 277 55
James Hasty CB OAK 206 8 4 45 10 496 53




September 18th, 2012 at 3:43 PM ^

I dislike questions like this. We love Woodson. He was a great Michigan player and is a great NFL player. He is the only primarily defensive blahblahblahblah Heisman. All that.

But a question like this forces an honest football fan to find fault with someone great like Woodson because we're talking about GOAT. So if I bag on Woodson for not being the GOAT DB it sounds like I'm minimizing who he is, when he is probably my all-time favorite Wolverine and a great player. 

Charles is not seriously in the conversation of best all-time defensive back. As mentioned by others, he has a significant chunk of what should have been the prime of his career basically buried in irrelevancy; when GB signed him more than one smart NFL analyst thought it was a stupid move because Woodson hadn't produced significantly for a while.

I don't think most NFL pundits would even call him the best DB of his era; Champ Bailey, Ed Reed, and Troy Polamalu have all had outstanding, game-changing careers over the same time period. 

But why worry about that? Woodson was a great player at Michigan whose NFL career is HOF-worthy (isn't that enough?) and more than justifies his Heisman selection. He led Michigan to the only national championship it has enjoyed in the lifetime of virtually any person on this board. He is great. 

That's enough for me.


September 18th, 2012 at 3:56 PM ^

Was a cornerback and a quite average one at that.  He did play safety in his last year with the Lions.

He accumulated so many interceptions because he was picked on so much.  He played most of his career paired with HOF cornerbacks.  1st Night Train Lane and then Lem Barney. 

I spend many a Sunday afternoon cursing Dick LeBeau as he was burned for touchdown after touchdown.  LeBeau is a much better Defensive oordinator than he ever was a cornerback.

I still remember Lem Barney's 1st game in the NFL. Pick 6 in the 1st quarter against Bart Starr and a Green Bay team that went on to win the Super Bowl.  After that, teams decided Dick LeBeau was a better guy to target.


September 18th, 2012 at 4:04 PM ^

Just to pick a contemporary, I think it would be difficult to argue Woodson is better than Champ Bailey. Woodson had a few average years in there - Bailey will retire as the most decorated CB ever, and has been excellent since the moment he set foot in the league.


September 18th, 2012 at 10:07 PM ^

IMO consistency matters but not when inconsistency is caused by consistent injury. If you think his injuries were a result of poor conditioning that's a different argument. Wow I said consistent a lot. I don't think Woodson is without a doubt better than Bailey but I don't think the reverse is true either.

Johnny Blood

September 18th, 2012 at 4:16 PM ^

I think so, but he did have a few down years in Oakland that hurt him.

However, it is without question that he is the coolest on the list -- as far as I know, he is the only one of them to have saved a guy's life and also have his own wine label.


September 18th, 2012 at 7:12 PM ^

Troy Polamalu needs to be here somewhere. The guy basically changed defense from his position. Similar to LT and Ed Reed. He's an extra linebacker and cornerback all the while playing safety.


September 18th, 2012 at 7:29 PM ^

You could make an arguement for just about everyone on this list as being the best DB in the past 25 years but, having watched all of them play ALOT I have to say Rod woodson and Deon Sanders where in a class of their own. Ronnie Lott was a punishing safety not a lock down cover guy. Rod woodson was a punishing tackler and a lock down cover and Deon was the best cover corner to ever play a game of football

 I wanted Charles to win the superbowl MVP so bad! How incredible would it be to have a college NC, the heisman, Defensive player of the year, Super bowl champion and a superbowl MVP.  Even without the MVP we won't see anyone with a better list of trophy and awards for a very long time.


September 18th, 2012 at 7:31 PM ^

But he is the greatest college defensive back of all time. Maybe even defensive player. He has the hardware to prove it. (And I doubt anyone had much tougher competition to win the Heisman either).


September 18th, 2012 at 9:28 PM ^

A point in Deion's favor: when Jimmy Johnson got him in Dallas he stuck him in a zone first defense. That's like giving Rembrandt finger paints.

Also, I'm not sure what position Everson Walls played at the end of his career in Cleveland, but at the end of his time in Dallas he was playing at safety, not corner. And for more than just a season.


September 18th, 2012 at 9:34 PM ^

Prime is the greatest cover corner ever no doubt. Chuck is close maybe top 5. I consider Lott and R. Woodson safeties. That is for Rod after Barry busted his knee.


September 18th, 2012 at 11:16 PM ^

Yes.  When combining both ability to play corner and safety, I give it to Charles, with Rod a close second.

As a shutdown corner in coverage, Primetime was probably the best. 


September 19th, 2012 at 9:52 AM ^

Charles Woodson will be a first ballot Hall of Famer, period.  He may not be the best ever, but he is in the conversation.   Primetime was overrated, great cover skills and return skills, but run support was laughable, not even remotely good.  My favorite moment was watching Marvin Harrison making Prime time look like 09-10 JT Floyd against Penn State.


September 19th, 2012 at 10:36 AM ^

Woodson is definitely a top 20 DB, but I don't know that he is even the best in his generation. Teams had/have to gameplan around Prime Time, Ed Reed, and Polamalu. These players were/are feared by opposing Offensive Coordinators and QB's alike. I don't know if Woodson has had that impact from start to finish in his career.


September 19th, 2012 at 2:44 PM ^

One thing that I don't see mentioned is the inspiring leadership that Charles brings with his game. In both our '97 championship and GB's Superbowl, teammates regularly cited things Charles _said_ as inspiring the team to win.

Those sorts of things are difficult to put on a stat sheet but are invaluable in the locker room.