It’s NFL offseason listicle time. The latest comes from Ike Taylor at NFL Network who put together what he deems to be the league’s top 5 secondaries. Two of which the Raiders will face twice this season, including the league’s number one secondary — the Denver Broncos.
Here is what Ike had to say about the secondary in Denver that makes them the league’s best.
Key contributors: CB Aqib Talib, CB Chris Harris Jr., CB Bradley Roby, SS T.J. Ward, FS Darian Stewart.
When it comes to separating secondaries, it's all about the cornerbacks. And the No Fly Zone has the total package. This group has such depth at this position; consider that Bradley Roby, who is the Broncos' CB3, could be a starter for most other NFL teams. Last season in coverage, Aqib Talib allowed a completion rate of 53 percent to opposing quarterbacks, while Chris Harris Jr. allowed 63.3 percent and Roby 73.2. I can't say enough about this trio. Talib and Harris are two of the best in the league, while Roby is the Jenga piece. As great as Denver's cornerbacks are, the Broncos' safeties also fit the bill. T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart were instrumental in the team's Super Bowl 50 run and continue to be a presence.
After the Broncos it was the Seahawks and and Giants at 2 and 3. They were followed at number 4 by another division rival in the Kansas City Chiefs.
Here is what Taylor had to say about what puts the Chiefs secondary among the league’s elite.
Key contributors: CB Marcus Peters, CB Phillip Gaines, FS Ron Parker, SS Eric Berry.
Marcus Peters is a young, premier corner who plays with a lot of confidence. I'll keep it real simple: Don't throw to his side, period. But don't be fooled, as Phillip Gaines is holding his own. Another major threat in this secondary is Eric Berry. He's one of the few safeties who can cover, hit and play free safety. I believe Berry and Ron Parker are going to have a relationship like my former teammates Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu. The former Steelers reacted by way of body language. At times, they didn't have to say anything to each other, getting on the same page with nothing more than a look. The more Berry and Parker play together, the better this unit will be.
The top five was filled out with the Atlanta Falcons — anther team the Raiders faced last season.
Those three teams — the Broncos, Chiefs, and Falcons — represented all four of the Raiders’ losses last season. They split the season series with the Broncos.
The Raiders were 12-0 against all other opponents and had one of the league’s top offenses.
Getting the better of the Chiefs — who took the division via tiebreaker after sweeping the Raiders — will be crucial to the Raiders’ hopes of making the jump from playoff contender to Super Bowl contender. That won’t be easy.