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Draft Preview: Corralling The Cornerbacks

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 10, 2013 – 6:00 am

Previous Draft Previews
Sorting out the inside LBs
Rounding up the receivers

There isn’t a team in the NFL who wouldn’t consider adding talent and depth to their current crop of cornerbacks. But when you play in a division that features the likes of Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford chucking the rock on 59.6% (1907 of 3201 of their teams’ snaps) of the time, talent and depth at cornerback takes on an enhanced importance.

The best time of the offseason to address the CB position – the NFL draft – will be here in a matter of weeks, so now is a good time to assess this year’s crop of talent. To maintain some sense of credible order, we’ll group the CB prospects according to the grade NFL.com has given them and include the top 15 graded players. As we did with the receivers, we’ll leave comments next to some but not all of the prospects.

Let us know what you think by leaving your thoughts in the comment section below this entry or by emailing them for inclusion in a future Monday Morning Mailbag or Pick 6.

Top of the Class

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Dee Milliner (Alabama) – The consensus top choice and a cinch to go in the Top 10.

Xavier Rhodes (Florida State) – At 6-1, 210 pounds and with his physical style of play, Rhodes will be valued significantly higher by teams who run schemes that demand such a profile from their cornerbacks (think: Jacksonville, Seattle)

Jamar Taylor (Boise State)
Johnthan Banks (Mississippi State)

Desmond Trufant (Washington) – A standout during the two practices I watched at the Senior Bowl, Trufant has the athleticism/size combo to be a starter as a rookie in the NFL. His NFL.com scouting report says he has the skill set to play either outside or nickel CB, which I like in terms of his potential to be a good fit for the Vikings. With some coaching to fine-tune some mechanical issues, Trufant could be one of the better immediate-impact CB prospects in this year’s class.

Ready to contribute
Robert Alford (Southeast Louisiana) and Leon McFadden (San Diego State) – NFL.com grades them about equally, and that’s convenient for me because both of these cornerbacks caught my eye during our Senior Bowl coverage this past February. They’re essentially the same size and they both come from lower-profile schools, but I think they could both make an impact with their teams as rookies. Their scouting reports are very similar – good in coverage (especially zone), good ball skills, fluid athletes, need to improve vs. the run.

Blidi Wreh-Wilson (UCONN) – Mike Mayock’s 5th-rated CB in the entire class.

David Amerson (NC State)
Jordan Poyer (Oregon State)

Also on the radar
BW Webb (William & Mary) – Solid performer at this year’s Senior Bowl practices.

Tyrann Mathieu (LSU) – I would rate him higher. His size is nowhere near ideal, but haven’t we learned by now that “he’s too small” should only go so far? The guy is instinctual, he plays with aggressiveness and passion, and he has a lot to prove.

Will Davis (Utah State)

Darius Slay (Mississippi State) – His teammate at Mississippi State – Johnthan Banks – is the higher-rated prospect, but maybe Slay will be the better player. He has good size at 6-0, 192 pounds with long arms, and his NFL.com scouting report credits him for having good hands and being willing to get physical with receivers and in the run game. If you don’t get a cornerback in the 1st or 2nd round, maybe this is a guy you can grab in the 3rd or 4th round and get a steal in doing so.

Tharold Simon (LSU) – How many pro prospects does LSU’s defense have? Add Simon to the long list. He has great size (6-2, 202 pounds with 32¾ inch arms) and had great production at LSU with 22 pass break ups and 7 INTs in 3 seasons.


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 47 Comments »


47 Responses to “Draft Preview: Corralling The Cornerbacks”

  1. By Parody on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    CB can wait for a double-dip in the 4th round with how deep the class is, but we could really use a guy like Mathieu, so I wouldn’t mind if we grabbed him a bit earlier.

  2. By iaVIKE on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Apr 9, 2013 | Reply

    the worst Spielman could do would be to open up these blogs and listen to some of these so called arm chair draft experts. HA!
    ———————————————————————————————————-

    So true!

  3. By VF209 on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    y did banks and taylor get skipped over

  4. By OgreBane on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    Why is there no mention of D.J. Hayden of Houston, Mike Mayock has him listed as the 3rd best corner in the draft?

  5. By Vikingsfan on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    Tyrann Mathieu is your best choce

  6. By BlueBird7 on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    Do you think Spielman would listen to either of you?

  7. By Kirk on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    This is a good draft to get a quality CB. That said, I don’t see much difference btwn late 1st round and early 4th round for grabbing a DB that we use in our defence. I would be elated if we were able to draft early safety Jonathan Cyprien to team with Smith in our division. No mention of CB – D.J. Hayden? Kid got game. Freak medical accident, but read no better chance of recurrence than anyone else. Otherwise, I like Alford, Slay, Blidi, and Banks.

  8. By Champ Henson on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    iavike and Titus – I don’t remember reading anywhere on these blogs where a person described themselves as being an “armchair draft expert”. I have noticed however, that if someone thinks out of the box they are verbally attacked. My suggestion is – if you don’t like what others are contributing simply ignore their post and keep sarcasm and verbal attacks to yourself. No one on this blog is any better than anyone else in my opinion.

  9. By Champ Henson on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    You guys realy hurt my feelings. I am a fragile little man.

  10. By BlueBird7 on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    I like what you had to say, Champ.

  11. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    Well said Champ…

    Everybody has favorites on who they would like drafted…

    _____________________________

    There are tons of players I like in the first round…I try to look at the draft…The way I think Spielman will attack the draft board…
    Or who he might pay a little extra attention also…To create some “smoke & mirrors” interest- in a player he doesn’t even have an want in the first round (Te’o ???)…

    Spielman does not overplay his hand (ever)…
    So why so much attention on Te’o ???…

    Vikings never even had H Smith in for a interview last spring…And drafted him late in the first round…Kalil was pretty much a given at the top of the draft…And Spielman still had teams guessing…To a point of gaining more picks…

    Soooo- Your all buying in on Te’o !!…huh boys ???…
    Your being set up !!!…hahahaha…

    If Spielman wanted Te’o ???…
    The whole world wouldn’t know about it… :-)

  12. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    http://blogs.twincities.com/vikings/2013/04/09/a-trio-of-vikings-in-the-pacific-northwest/

  13. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1598412-2013-nfl-mock-draft-where-each-team-should-go-with-their-round-1-pick

  14. By Carl K on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    I like Tyrann Matheu but he is a slot corner.
    I think Frazier and Speilman want to develop Josh Robinson as the nickel corner.

    The Vikings probablly want a bigger cover 2 type corner to pair with Cook on the outsides.

    Johnthan Banks, David Amerson or Blidi Wreh-Wilson with pick 52 would my target.

  15. By iaVIKE on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    Champ Henson – I don’t recall ever verbally attacking anyone on here for thinking outside of the box, except for the “vikings rule” guy who would come on here and do nothing except talk shlt about Ponder and Spielman, and talk about how bad the VIkes are going to be. Feel free to show me an example though.

    I consider myself one of those “arm chair” guys that Titus was referring to, certainly not an expert. The reason why I agreed with him is because Spielman and his staff have forgotten more about this years draft prospects than all of us on here combined will ever know. Wasn’t attacking anyone.

    Trust in Spielman!

  16. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    Agree with iaVike. If my post stung, there must be a reason. Find a mirror. Voila. There is the problem. All I was saying was that when people go beyond having fun and voicing their opinions– and start bashing and name calling our key players and screaming over the Harvin trade– that is when some bloggers need to chill and realize Spielman does this probably some 60 hours a week as a profession. Get over it!

  17. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1598778-nfl-draft-prospects-guaranteed-to-be-overdrafted#/articles/1598778-nfl-draft-prospects-guaranteed-to-be-overdrafted

  18. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1595845-minnesota-vikings-2013-mock-draft-best-case-scenarios-for-all-7-rounds#/articles/1595845-minnesota-vikings-2013-mock-draft-best-case-scenarios-for-all-7-rounds/page/2

  19. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1599203-minnesota-vikings-2013-draft-board-the-pros-and-cons-of-keenan-allens-game

  20. By Blake on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    I think the way spielman loves draft picks-and look at his history- although brief-that he will make a trade on draft day for more picks

  21. By Vikings1 on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    @By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    Well said Champ…

    Everybody has favorites on who they would like drafted…

    _____________________________

    There are tons of players I like in the first round…I try to look at the draft…The way I think Spielman will attack the draft board…
    Or who he might pay a little extra attention also…To create some “smoke & mirrors” interest- in a player he doesn’t even have an want in the first round (Te’o ???)…

    Spielman does not overplay his hand (ever)…
    So why so much attention on Te’o ???…

    Vikings never even had H Smith in for a interview last spring…And drafted him late in the first round…Kalil was pretty much a given at the top of the draft…And Spielman still had teams guessing…To a point of gaining more picks…

    Soooo- Your all buying in on Te’o !!…huh boys ???…
    Your being set up !!!…hahahaha…

    If Spielman wanted Te’o ???…
    The whole world wouldn’t know about it…
    _________________________________________________________________
    I totally agree but one of the reasons I think they didn’t have Smith in for an interview is because Frazier”s staff were the coaches of the North team and he saw first hand the players he wanted to draft, but you are right, Spielman would never reveal his hand on any player he was going to draft.

  22. By MVPeterson28 on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    This is my prediction of the Vikings first 3 draft picks:
    1. Kevin Minter, ILB
    2. Robert Woods or Keenan Allen, WR
    3. Desmond Trufant

  23. By Goldvike on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    23 T. Austin 25 Xavier Rhodes or Syl. Williams

  24. By Tony dawn on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    Seattle is still getting revenge for Hugh and the pill hope someone else irritates them soon we need vetran ldrship and number 25 pick this year in what is probally a very weak draft will not be a game changer and more than likely not even a starter

  25. By VikingsYear on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    I really hope whatever corner we do take can be an instant starter since that position has been killing us and we need to bring Winfield back period! he has been our best corner ever since he came to Minnesota and even when he broke his hand he still played in the playoff game abnd he will be 36 come on minnesota why did you even release him. PAY THE MAN!!

  26. By john61 on Apr 11, 2013 | Reply

    1st CB, 2nd LB,3RD WR , 4TH DT, 5TH WR, 6TH SS, REST BEST PLAYER,

  27. By FLviking on Apr 12, 2013 | Reply

    I think Manti Te’o and Keenan Allen should be our first round picks. Being a Notre Dame fan I have had the opportunity to watch all of Te’o’s games in college. The guy is a beast and had one bad game in his whole college career against Alabama. I think its funny everyone is writing him off. He is quick to the ball (despite his 40 time) and has hands. I don’t know if he’ll still be around when were on the clock but if he is that would be a phenominal pick. I said the same thing about Rudolph and Smith from Notre Dame, they seem to be working out ;-)

  28. By +ULFBERH+T on Apr 12, 2013 | Reply

    I think they released Winfield so they would have more money to dangle for Jennings… As much as I would like to express the greatest appreciation for Winfield, I think the business hacks are working toward giving us something to cheer about in 2013 and beyond. Peterson felt kicked in the stomach over Harvin, as long as he was not kicked in the wallet, right? He could have volunteered some of his riches to keep his friend on the team, but who would? (Brady perhaps: for good linemen)

  29. By +ULFBERH+T on Apr 12, 2013 | Reply

    Draft the BEEF! We made a seven game turnaround after drafting OT first. We had the best D, when Pat Williams was run stuffing. The huge win dropoff happened when he left. You can always line up Rudolph split out, he already has good timing with Ponder. Ponder just needs consistent protection. More OT Beef for jumbo formations please!

  30. By artificialturf on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply

    If a quality NT is there in the first 2 picks…but if Xavier Rhodes is there, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Vikes take him. Also there may be several WR to develop taken in the later rounds. I think Simpson will have an entirely different kind of year this year!

  31. By peever on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply

    winfeild signed with seahawks…nice guy and good tackler..but no qb was ever afraid to throw his way….moving on..lets get a true shut-down guy who can make some interceptions…..vikes been lacking interceptions since sharper,williams,thomas…

  32. By peever on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply

    last year was a wasted draft..but one that had to be…..time to move forward……..db IS the greatest NEED truth be told…….then lb…….wr…….and yall can stop the teo talk……will be LONG gone by pick 23

  33. By MVPeterson28 on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply

    With Winfield going to Seattle, the Vikings need to get a cb early(1st round no later than the 2nd) Period.

  34. By MVPeterson28 on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply

    I think Xavier Rhodes will be there, if not they could take Desmond Trufant or Jamar Taylor.

  35. By chris martineau on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply

    I think we put webb.as a receiver, draft another wide out, cbm and go after freeny

  36. By BitterTrentDilfer on Apr 14, 2013 | Reply

    Rhodes won’t be there at 23, man I wish he would be but unlikely. Trufant is the pick if he’s there. If we can get Olgetree and Trufant with the first two picks we’ve done well. My top wishes based on availability would be Austin, Olgetree first – Rhodes, Olgetree second – Trufant, Olgetree third – Eifert, Olgetree forth.

  37. By TampaNorseman on Apr 14, 2013 | Reply

    Given the departure of Winfield I do believe the Vikings will draft a Corner with one of the two 1st round picks. I think they go Trufant or Taylor. I hope the Vikings have the smarts to pick up the Safety Cyprien to pair with Harrison Smith. 2nd round should be WR Dobson from Marshall and 3rd round MLB Bostic from Florida. DT Jenkins from Georgia will fall hard and we could snap him up in the 4th and hopefully make another FAT Pat out of him.

  38. By TrueBeliever on Apr 14, 2013 | Reply

    I agree with BitterTrent with modifications: #23 Ogletree (or Brown if Ogletree is gone); #25 Trufant (instant starter now that Winfield is gone). If either of the obove options are not available then shift to wide receiver in this order: Hopkins, Allen, Hunt.

  39. By steve on Apr 14, 2013 | Reply

    we can get minter in the 2nd round at 52 – most teams don’t want a 5,11″ mlb

    see what happens in draft if Olgetree and Werner are there take them if not trade for 1st rounders in 2014 while getting a 2nd or 3rd rounder in 2013 for the 23rd and 25th pick.

  40. By Morton127 on Apr 14, 2013 | Reply

    I agree that the CB’s are deep here but certain guys fit the best. I like Trufant and Banks (Rhodes and Milliner will be gone). If Trufant is there at 23 you take him. If not got BPA 23 & 25 and then get back in the mix of the early to mid 2nd round for Banks.

  41. By nzviker on Apr 14, 2013 | Reply

    hey can somebody tell me what was wrong with the choices that “TampaNorseman” came up with??? are they not solid choices? seem out of the box to me…….

  42. By Po Vang on Apr 14, 2013 | Reply

    Tyrann Mathieu is your best choice since all of the corners on top of him will be drafted already and its his passion for the game that will make him improve a lot quicker and he will prove everyone wrong, just believe in this kid
    my draft would be:
    Pick 23: manti te’s, Pick 25: CORDARRELLE PATTERSON/keenan allen/ I HIGH DOUBT tavon austin pick 52:Tyrann Mathieu/sylvester williams pick 83: Tyrann Mathieu/ DT

  43. By aussie61 on Apr 21, 2013 | Reply

    I think we take 23.CB 25. WR.2nd rd ILB.Then DT and after that BPA.
    With Antoine gone we need a starting CB.All this talk about moving Webb to WR is smoke to confuse people,not sure they really want/get Teo.Have read reports Teo doesn’t get past Bengals if he’s there when they pick,but that could be smoke too?
    Looking forward to Thursday night!!

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