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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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