Charles Tillman be a Hall-Of-Famer? It may be time to start opening up to the possibility. Tillman has been among the leagues most underrated players over his entire career. But his strong 2011 campaign started to give him some publicity, and he has followed it up with an incredible start to the 2012 season.
While his number may not be overwhelming he has been one of the most consistent corner backs in the league since the Bears drafted him in 2003. As a staple in the Bears Cover 2 scheme, Tillman has done nothing but perform as an elite corner. From his incredible play against Randy Moss during his tenure in Minnesota to his most recent showing against Calvin Johnson, Tillman has been as consistent as they come.
Not only can Tillman consistently matchup against a teams No. 1 receiver, he can matchup against a No. 1 reciever AND force him into costly mistakes.
Tillman is the best player in the NFL at forcing fumbles. Since the 2003 season Tillman has forced an incredible 31 fumbles. That puts him at No. 18 all-time, and he should be around for a while longer. The all-time leader is Jason Taylor at 47, and at the rate Tillman is going this season he could approach the upper 30's.
It's not just forced fumbles either, Tillman has 32 career interceptions. No small feat in the Bears Cover 2 scheme where Tillman is only playing man-to-man part of the time. He has a knack for baiting quarterback and forcing recievers into mistakes with his physicality allowing him to get in position to make a play on the ball. He's not going to get near the all-time mark of 81, it wouldn't be out of the question for Tillman to approach the 50 interception mark.
50 career interceptions and over 50 forced fumbles would put Tillman in a group by himself.
Tillman is also an exceptional tackler, something that is very underrated at the corner back position. He is arguably the best tackling corner in the NFL. That can be evidenced by his 749 career tackles. There is no doubt he will reach the 1000 tackles mark.
This season has been a sort-of coming out party for the player affectionately known as "Peanut." And it's been a long time coming for the Bears stellar corner. As he continues to get the recoginition he has long deserved Tillman is continuing to prove himself among the NFL's elite.
With his play thus far this season, he has thrust himself into the Defensive Player of the Year and MVP talks. He is almost a lock to bring home the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for October. It's been just plain enjoyable to watch Charles Tillman play this season and I hope he continues to dominate like he has.
It's a bold statement to say that Tillman will make the hall of fame, but at the rate his career is going he should definitely be in the discussion.