A No.1 cornerback in the NFL is traditionally defined as the player who is tasked with lining up against an opposing team's top receiver. That means the top corner is typically reserved for a club's most elite pass defender. And as the title suggests, there is usually only one on every roster.
But after acquiring both cornerback Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib this offseason, the Rams are in a unique predicament. They feel like they have two.
"There's really no limitations for what these guys have the ability to do," head coach Sean McVay said last week. "They will clearly make us better on the backend [and] I'm glad they are on our team."
Check out photos of Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib being introduced as Los Angeles Rams
Talib, 32, and Peters, 25, have both been named an All-Pro, and have each been selected to multiple Pro Bowls. Since 2015, no player has more interceptions than Peters (19). Talib has 34 career interceptions and is the active leader in interceptions returned for touchdowns (10).
That's why the Rams see both as fully capable of matching up with the best wideouts in the league.
"Any time you get two new players it's pretty exciting," defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said of the cornerback duo. "But when you get two really, tremendous players that have proved that they can play really well in this league, I think it's really special."
And with two elite players, McVay doesn't feel the need to designate one as a top cornerback over the other. Instead, Los Angeles will likely stick to playing the corners on a side rather than a particular matchup with a receiver.
"These are both players that have the ability to do that," McVay said. "I think it's rare that you have a combination where you have one of each on both sides. So I don't necessarily think you feel accustomed to doing that."
"I think you feel like regardless of who they're matched up against, you feel very confident in their abilities and those will be things that we'll evaluate," he continued. "But I think going into it, we feel like we've got two No. 1 corners, and they won't need to do that unless there's a specific matchup."