Pudge its not because its new that I don't agree with you; its because its not true. Elite is Elite!! An Elite Defensive end is so good they kill the Qb. At the defensive end position we are calling people good who are average and I don't think their's currently an elite Defensive end in the league. We have more good corners right now than Defensive ends.....
You might be missing the point Cyril. In a vacuum, Elite DE vs. an Elite corner, maybe then the DE > CB, but instead of judging things in a vacuum, let's look at the reality.
I think it goes back to a point I had in another thread in that you are holding to this notion about a DE being more valuable than a CB, yet there isn't a lot of evidence to support it other than maybe a truism that existed 15-20 years ago, but may not exist today.
You say there are no elite DEs in the league today. I would argue Dwight Freeney is an elite DE. He's a HOFer in the prime of his career. If that is not an elite defensive end, I don't know what is. What about DeMarcus Ware? James Harrison? Clay Matthews? LaMarr Woodley? Hard to buy they aren't elite pass rushers as well.
I guess it comes down to a question of who adds more value to their respective team: Tamba Hali or Brandon Flowers. I think almost universally, people would say, "Oh definitely Hali," without batting an eye because he was 2nd in the league in sacks (14.5) last year and they would look at Brandon Flowers numbers and see he only had 2 picks.
But what most of those people without a premium subscription to Pro Football Focus would be unaware of is that Flowers was targeted 102 times last year, and only gave up 51% completions and 1 touchdown.
We know that INTs are more valuable than sacks. But it's debatable that a pass defended or an incomplete pass is significantly less valuable than a sack.
Using Advanced NFL Stats Win Probability Calculator is an interesting tool...
Given the scenario of Team A having the ball at Team B's 40 yard line with 9 minutes left to go in the 3rd quarter with the score tied on 2nd & 7. Why did I pick that specific scenario, no reason, it just seemed fairly mundane which I think works for our purposes.
In that situation, Team A has a 0.57 Win Probability (i.e. 57% chance of winning that game). If they are sacked for a 7-yard loss (so now it's 3rd & 14, 8:30 left, on Team B's 47 yard line), their WP decreases to 0.52. Now an incomplete pass in such a scenario lowers the WP to 0.55.
Clearly, a sack in such a scenario is more valuable than a forced incompletion. But based off last year, the chances that Tamba Hali gets a sack in such a scenario is 2.5% based off how many sacks he had on plays when he was rushing the QB. Now the chances that Flowers forces an incompletions is about 8.6% based off the number of times he dropped into coverage and forced an incompletion.
Now you can argue that maybe it's Hali's pressure that forces the incompletion. Well according to PFF, Hali had 68 pressures last year. But we also know that PFF doesn't necessarily consider a pressure to mean when it causes an incompletion. His actual number of "real" pressures may be as low as 15.
But in order for him to have the same sort of impact on that given play (8.6% success rate), he would have to have a combined 50 sacks/pressures.
Throw in the fact that Brandon Carr on the opposite side of Flowers puts up similar numbers, and what you have is the probability that their combined 38 PDs, 3 INTs, and only allowing 46.5% completions last year probably had significantly more impact on the Chiefs defensive success than Hali's 14.5 sacks and 68 pressures.
Now in Chuck Smith and Reggie White's day, an elite DE probably did have way more impact than an elite corner like Darrell Green or Rod Woodson. But that is not the case today anymore IMHO. The passing game is way more efficient nowadays than it was back then.
Teams throw a lot more now, complete at a high percentage, throw more TDs, less INTs, throw for more yardage, and take less sacks.
That has to have some impact on the game, and I think it's making pass rushers less valuable than they were before, and corners more valuable.