NEW YORK — Marcus Peters knows all about shutting down the opposition.
As his team’s top pass defender, Peters has helped lead the Chiefs to a 3-0 start as they are one of two unbeaten teams left in the NFL. A key part of that perfect start is Kansas City’s pass defense, which is ranked No. 4 so far this season going into Monday night’s home game against Washington.
Peters beat out Arizona’s Patrick Peterson and Denver’s Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib for the No. 1 spot among the AP’s top 10 cornerbacks. The voting was done by Pro Football Hall of Fame member James Lofton and 10 AP football writers.
Peters’ ability to force turnovers was a key factor in the voting. He has 15 interceptions in 34 career games.
“There was some criticism of the Chiefs for taking him in the first round in 2015,” said the AP’s Barry Wilner, who is based in New York.
“All he’s done is be a shutdown cornerback with ball-hawking skills and great timing.”
Peters received three first-place votes in a 10-points-to-one-point system and he placed second on three ballots and third on four ballots for 96 total points.
Peterson actually received more first-place votes (five) than Peters. But his vote was more spread out as he received one vote each for second, third, fifth and sixth place and two for ninth place for a total of 82 points.
“Peterson is incredibly athletic, has terrific footwork and draws opponents’ top receivers every week,” said the AP’s Dennis Waszak Jr., based in New York. “He still is one of the NFL’s top shutdown cornerbacks — as evidenced by the job he did on Dallas’ Dez Bryant on Monday night.”
Broncos teammates Harris and Talib followed next and were only separated by two points. Harris received 71 points and Talib finished with 69.
“Having two players on a league-wide top 10 list hardly seems fair, the Broncos can confidently stake this claim,” said the AP’s Dave Campbell, who’s based in Minneapolis.
Harris, who went undrafted, has made three Pro Bowls in his first six seasons.
“He’s not long like Talib, his college and pro teammate,” said the AP’s Arnie Stapleton, who’s based in Denver. “But he’s the only one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL who consistently plays all four CB spots during games and even plays safety like he did against the Cowboys two weeks ago.”
Richard Sherman of Seattle’s “Legion of Boom” was next with 67 points to round out the top five.
“Maybe not the shutdown corner he was a few years ago, but Sherman still is one of the elite in the game,” said the AP’s Josh Dubow, who’s based in the Bay Area.
Xavier Rhodes and Jalen Ramsey were tied for sixth at 42 points.
“Already a shutdown cornerback in only his second season. If he played elsewhere, everyone would know his name,” the AP’s Rob Maaddi, who’s based in Philadelphia, said of the Jaguars’ Ramsey. Ramsey and the Jaguars have the NFL’s top-ranked pass defense going into Week 4.
NFC East rivals Josh Norman of Washington and Janoris Jenkins of the New York Giants were next at 38 and 28 points, respectively.
Rounding out the list was Casey Hayward of the Los Angeles Chargers, who led the NFL with seven interceptions last season.
“Hayward has shown his instincts for interceptions since his college days, and nothing has changed,” the AP’s Teresa Walker, who’s based in Nashville, said of the six-year veteran from Vanderbilt.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The Associated Press is ranking the top 10 players at a different position every week of the NFL season, based on votes by Pro Football Hall of Famer James Lofton and AP football writers Simmi Buttar, Dave Campbell, Schuyler Dixon, Josh Dubow, Howard Fendrich, Rob Maaddi, Arnie Stapleton, Teresa M. Walker, Dennis Waszak Jr., and Barry Wilner. This feature will move on Fridays.