2 interceptions, 7 forced fumbles What position group creates the most turnovers in the NFL? Defensive coordinators will tell you safeties get their share of interceptions and that linebackers and ends typically lead the league in forced fumbles (though not all are recovered for a turnover). But no one really disputes that cornerbacks rule the roost, as this list of the interceptions/forced fumble leaders since 2000 confirms. Corners led or tied for the league lead in interceptions/forced fumbles in 9 of the 12 years since the start of the millennium. The only linebacker to make the list was Terrell Suggs, whose two picks and league-high seven forced fumbles and career-high 14 sacks for the third-ranked Ravens defense make him one of the favorites for the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year award.
2 of 12Nick Wass, Charles Krupa, Bill Kostroun/AP
Reed: 8 interceptions, 1 forced fumble McCourty: 7 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles Thomas: 5 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles Reed bounced back from a relatively quiet 2009 -- at least for his standards -- with eight picks and a forced fumble in just 10 games last season. Meanwhile, McCourty burst onto the scene in his rookie year, earning an All-Pro selection and a trip to the Pro Bowl with seven interceptions and two strips. USC product Thomas made his living ripping the ball away from the offense, placing third among all corners, with four forced fumbles.
3 of 12Aaron Josefczyk/Icon SMI
9 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles Woodson won the Defensive Player of the Year award in his career season, matching the league lead with nine picks and tying a then career high with four forced fumbles. He masterfully anchored the Green Bay defense in its transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 scheme, helping the Packers finish second in the league in total defense and first in takeaways (40) and turnover margin (plus-24).
4 of 12AP
5 interceptions, 6 forced fumbles A ballhawk at the safety position, Oshiomogho Atogwe has forced 16 fumbles in his seven seasons in the NFL. He has perfected the technique: Upon tackling a runner, Atogwe grabs him with his left hand and uses his right to uppercut the ball out of the runner's grasp.
5 of 12Paul Spinelli/Getty Images
10 interceptions, 0 forced fumbles Antonio Cromartie made the first start of his NFL career in 2007 against the Colts, proceeding to pick off three Peyton Manning passes, the last of which was a memorable leaping, one-handed grab over Reggie Wayne. He would set a franchise record with 10 interceptions, despite only starting in half of the Chargers' games.
6 of 12Terrell Lloyd/Getty Images
8 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles Walt Harris earned a trip to the Pro Bowl on the strength of a career year with the 49ers. Highlighting his season, he had three interceptions in a win against crosstown rival Oakland and an interception return against Denver to help San Francisco to another win.
7 of 12Al Tielemans/SI; AP; David Bergman/SI
Law, NY Jets CB: 10 interceptions, 0 forced fumbles Sharper, Vikings FS: 9 interceptions, 1 forced fumble O'Neal, Bengals CB: 10 interceptions, 0 forced fumbles In the first of two stints with the New York Jets, Law had a career-high 10 interceptions. Meanwhile, upon signing with the Minnesota Vikings, Sharper didn't waste any time making noise, returning an interception 88 yards for a touchdown against Tampa Bay, setting the tone for one of his best seasons. O'Neal's 10 interceptions broke a franchise record that had stood since 1976.
8 of 12Simon Bruty/SI
9 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles Reed's third year in the NFL was one of the most productive seasons a defensive player has ever recorded. His 358 return yards that resulted from nine interceptions were an NFL record until Darren Sharper surpassed that total in 2009. Reed's ball-hawking abilities and offensive mindset in the defensive backfield led him to the 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award.
9 of 12Craig Jones/Getty Images
6 interceptions, 5 forced fumbles In his first year after signing a free-agent deal with the Detroit Lions, Dre' Bly forced 11 turnovers en route to his first of two Pro Bowl selections. Bly spent his first four years in St. Louis, where he played on the Super Bowl XXXIV winning team as a rookie in 1999, and has 43 career interceptions.
10 of 12Dilip Vishwanat/TSN/Icon SMI; Peter Read Miller/SI; Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Kelly, Tampa Bay CB: 8 interceptions, 1 forced fumble Little, St. Louis DE: 0 interceptions, 9 forced fumbles Freeney, Indianapolis DE: 0 INTs, 9 forced fumbles Tampa Bay cornerback Brian Kelly snared eight interceptions and forced one fumble for a Super Bowl-winning defense, playing behind defensive player of the year Derrick Brooks and Pro Bowl DT Warren Sapp in the cover-2 defense. Meanwhile, a pair of defensive ends with a nose for the football made their mark too. Leonard Little forced nine fumbles to go along with 12 sacks, and Dwight Freeney set an NFL rookie-record with nine forced fumbles while only starting eight games.
11 of 12Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
10 interceptions, 1 forced fumble Ronde Barber's 10 picks in 2001 doubles the total from his second most productive season (2005) and represents nearly more than a one-fourth of his total career output. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2001 and named first team all-NFL by the AP and Pro Football Writers Association.
12 of 12AP
9 interceptions, 0 forced fumbles In his 4th season in the NFL, Darren Sharper tallied nine of what are now 63 career interceptions. One of the most prolific defensive backs in NFL history, Sharper has matched that single season total twice, doing it for each of the three teams he's played for (Green Bay, Minnesota, New Orleans). Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You May Like
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!