Triple Coverage

By Adam Caparell - November 06, 2007

So who's the best defensive back in the country? According to the people at the Jim Thorpe Association, there are 12 of them right now. But that number's about to change.

That's because the association who hands out the award annually given to the nation's top defensive back is ready to pare down their list of semifinalist to finalist and I was asked to help out. So from among the dozen of exceptional cover corners, bruising safeties and game changers, here's the three I went with and why.

Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas
Talib has three picks on the season and leads the Big 12 with 10 passes defended. Now that's a far cry from the 28 he recorded last season, but that's a product of teams throwing away from the future first round pick.

Craig Steltz, S, LSU
In his first year as a starter, you'd be hard pressed to find a harder hitting safety than Steltz. Wherever the ball is, generally you'll find Steltz. He's got four picks and a fumble recovery through the Tigers first nine games along with two forced fumbles and a team-leading 63 tackles on one of the top defenses in the country.

Jamie Silva, S, Boston College
The leading tackler on the Eagles, Silva have five picks and just had a career high 18 tackles in BC's loss to Florida State along with a sack, forced fumble and pass breakup despite the fact the Eagles made Drew Weatherford look like the Heisman Trophy quarterback last Saturday. But that one game not withstanding he's following up a great 2006 with an even better 2007.

The Other 9
Trey Brown, Sr., UCLA
Antoine Cason, Sr., Arizona
Vontae Davis, Soph., Illinois
Malcolm Jenkins, Jr., Ohio State
Mike Jenkins, Jr., South Florida
Kenny Phillips, Jr., Miami
Reggie Smith, Jr., Oklahoma
Julius Stinson, Sr., Wyoming
Tom Zbikowski, Sr., Notre Dame

The list of 12 semifinalists will be narrowed to three finalists Nov. 19 with the winner announced Dec. 6.

Posted by Adam Caparell at 05:01 PM on November 06, 2007

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