Pro Football Focus has been taking a look at the 101 best players in the NFL from the 2014 season, and already on the list we've seen Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (90), quarterback Andrew Luck (84), and left tackle Anthony Castonzo (66). Today, PFF is revealing the top ten of their list, and another Colts player came in as one of the best players in the league in 2014: cornerback Vontae Davis, who was ranked sixth on the list.
Vontae Davis was one of the league's most dominant players in 2014, and he only got better in the playoffs. Long gone is the inconsistent and at times unreliable defender from early in his career and in his place is an aggressive, unrelenting coverage specialist, difficult to shake and extremely stingy when it comes to giving up catches.
Davis remains a little inconsistent, but those inconsistencies now come in the form of huge games rather than poor ones. Every now and again he will be virtually perfect over the course of sixty minutes of football, allowing nothing of significance while breaking up several passes sent his way.
The great news for Colts fans is that Davis is only getting better within this system. If his 2015 shows the kind of progress that this year did we could be on the verge of seeing a truly special season. Even if he just remains at the level he hit this year we are talking about one of the best players in the NFL at his position - a guy who deserves to be in the conversation with names like Revis and Sherman when it comes to best cornerback in football.
Without a doubt, Davis had a fantastic season in 2014, making the Pro Bowl and being unquestionably the best player on the Colts' defense. He didn't allow a single touchdown all year long (unless you count that Pro Bowl game - which nobody does - in which teammate T.Y. Hilton scored on him on a pass from Andrew Luck). There's a very strong argument that could be made that Davis was in fact the best cornerback in football in 2014. Not only that, Davis was crucially important to the Colts defense as well. Without much of a pass rush and with weaknesses all around (including at safety), Davis led a cornerback trio that were the strength of the defense and allowed the Colts to manufacture pass rush by sending extra rushers. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky trusted his cornerbacks to hold their own in press man coverage with an inconsistent pass rush, and Vontae Davis didn't just hold his own, he excelled and dominated.
Acquired by the Colts in 2012 for a second round pick, Davis struggled with inconsistency early in his career, as PFF noted. There was a reason why Miami traded him away, but it ended up being a great thing for Davis. Coming to Indianapolis to work with Chuck Pagano, who is known for his skills as a defensive back coach, Davis had up-and-down seasons in 2012 and 2013, and when the Colts opted to give him a 4-year, $36 million deal after the 2013 season, there were a number of fans who were apprehensive about the contract. After his 2014 season, however, it looks like a steal, as Davis emerged as one of the best players in the entire league last year. PFF ranked him number six, and there's plenty of reason to think that Vontae Davis will continue to be one of the top cornerbacks in football moving forward.