NEPD Editor: Matthew Jones
Recently we previewed some of the wide receivers which the New England Patriots could potentially target in each round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Today, we’ll take a look at seven cornerbacks who may appeal to Bill Belichick in next month’s draft.
1. Johnthan Banks, Mississippi St.
Banks may not have the workout numbers that Bill Belichick prefers in a cornerback prospect, which could exclude him from New England’s draft board. However, they would be wise to consider adding him, as he has the length, physicality, and technique to fit as a left cornerback at the next level. Although Banks looked slow at the NFL Combine, he was consistently in-phase on wide receivers such as Cordarrelle Patterson and Alshon Jeffery in college.
2. Jordan Poyer, Oregon St.
Like Banks, Poyer didn’t perform especially well in Indianapolis, but that may be the only reason he could potentially be available for New England in the second round. Poyer is a competitive, confident cornerback whose skillset translates well to either the inside or outside at the next level. While not the tallest option, he is a quick-twitch player with strong recognition skills and impressive ball skills.
3. Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut
At this point, it appears as though Wreh-Wilson will be selected somewhere between the end of the second round and the end of the third round. Should he last to this point, New England would be wise to select him. A highly intelligent player with experience in both man and zone coverages, Wreh-Wilson has an attractive combination of size (6’1”, 195) and athleticism (4.53 in the 40-yard dash, 6.97 in the three-cone drill.)
4. Will Davis, Utah St.
Davis should be selected in the sixty-to-eighty range in April, but will likely fall to the third or fourth round. A small-school prospect, Davis nonetheless possesses incredibly refined man-coverage skills which should translate to the next level; he also posted an outstanding time of 6.52 seconds in the three-cone drill. Although Davis needs work in zone coverage and is not the best run defender, his ability to lock down outside receivers should not be overlooked.
5. Nickell Robey, Southern California*
Robey’s diminutive size (5’7”, 169 pounds) may cause teams to overlook him in the draft. A fourth-round talent who will likely be selected in the fifth or sixth round, Robey’s other numbers (4.53 in the 40-yard dash, 6.74 in the three-cone drill, 37.5” vertical leap) suggest an agile, explosive player. At Southern California, he was typically asked to play in the outside, but would profile best as a slot cornerback in the NFL.
6. Micah Hyde, Iowa
Hyde projects best as a right cornerback in a zone-coverage scheme, but he has also been projected to free safety by some draft analysts. He may fit well in New England because he is capable of playing three different spots (left cornerback, right cornerback, free safety); he could prevent Devin McCourty from having to play cornerback if Aqib Talib gets hurt, or offer a short-term replacement for Alfonzo Dennard on the right side.
7. Marcus Cromartie, Wisconsin
Marcus Cromartie hasn’t received much notice in draft circles, which is surprising considering his impressive physical tools. A Combine snub, he measured in at 6’0” and 195 pounds at Wisconsin’s pro day, running a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash and posting a 6.85-second three-cone drill. If no one has taken a chance on his athleticism by the seventh round, New England could look into drafting him as a press-man project.