Position Rankings: The Cornerbacks

Who will be ranked #1 in my cornerback rankings.

Who will be ranked #1 in my cornerback rankings.

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

If you have read any of my previous work, you know that I have been giving you my thoughts on individual players in this years draft up to this point.  Over the past few months though, I have watched many players and have been jotting down notes for them as well.  I know that many of us like to see mock drafts and player rankings, so today I thought I would give you my rankings and some brief thoughts on the cornerbacks that I have had a chance to watch throughout this draft process.  I started with cornerbacks because for me, this is one of the longer positions to watch.  If possible, I like to watch their full game instead of just cutups.  I like to see how they react when the play does not go their way and if I can pick up anything else in regards to technique or effort when they are not necessarily involved in the play.



1.  These rankings are for players I have had a chance to watch, so if there are players missing you feel should be ranked, it could be because I have not had a chance or found enough tape to feel comfortable giving them a grade at this point.

2. These rankings are not set in stone, but don’t expect a ton of movement up or down.  As more film and information becomes available, there could be small changes here or there.

3. These rankings are based solely on the tape. I try not to let off field issues influence where I rank a player, this includes injuries as well.

4. These rankings are not an indication of what order I think they will get drafted.  Medical and off field issues do play a role, but I do not have all the information needed to factor that in.

5. These rankings are from a Patriots perspective, so if you are reading this and are not a Patriots fan, the list may be different depending on scheme.



Tier 1: Tier one players are guys I think could come in and start day 1.

1. Marcus Peters, Washington (6’0″, 198 Lbs.)

I did a scouting report on Peters early in the season, before the dismissal, and thought he showed true #1 corner skills.  From an athletic standpoint, he showed he can play both man coverage as well as zone.  He does a nice job of disrupting receivers routes, locating and high pointing the ball.  He plays with attitude and confidence, which I want from my corners.  Obviously he has some off field issues and that could affect where he is drafted. He gets a mid first round grade off the tape from me.

2. Trae Waynes, Michigan St. (6’1″, 183 Lbs.)

Waynes has good size for the position.  He played a lot of press man with no help.  Waynes has good speed and plays with good leverage and fundamentals.  He always seems to be around the ball, making the catch difficult on the receiver.  He shows good change of direction skills and has good hands. Not bad in run support, but does need to get stronger.  He gets a mid to late first round grade from me, but my guess he will be gone before the Patriots pick.

Tier 2:  Tier two players are players I think can contribute day 1 and can become high end players with development

3. Quinten Rollins, Miami of Ohio (5’11”, 193 Lbs.)

Rollins is another player I did a scouting report on and really liked.  He shows all the traits you look for in a corner and has the potential to be a special player with good coaching and time to develop.  He has limited experience playing corner and is the poster child for what a raw player looks like.  In my earlier report I had Rollins in the late 2/day 3 category, but after looking at the class as a whole, I think there is a good possibility he goes late round 1, early round 2.  If the Patriots want him, it may be at #32.

4. Jalen Collins, LSU (6’2″, 198 Lbs.)

Like I said in my report on Collins, from a height, weight, length perspective, he is about as perfect as they come.  He is very athletic and he moves well for a corner his size.  Collins also has a chance to be a top tier corner in the NFL if he can develop.  He has to get more physical when playing press man. (mid to late 2nd round)

5. Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest (6’0″, 175 Lbs)

From a technique standpoint, Johnson might be most develop player in the draft. He has great footwork, fluid hips to turn and run with receivers downfield.  He uses good technique and leverage to create small windows for quarterbacks to throw into.  Has to bulk up and can be a liability in run support. Can peak into the backfield sometimes and lose track of the ball or his assignment.  (mid to late 2nd round)

Tier 3: Might not be true #1 corners, but can help and be solid contributors

6. P.J. Williams, Florida St. (6’0″, 198 Lbs)

Williams is a very physical corner, maybe a little too physical at times.  He was asked to blitz the QB a lot in the games I watched.  He played some zone, but much better in man coverage.  In some games Williams looks like the top corner in the class, and in others he doesn’t show up at all. He needs to be more consistent and keep his head in the game at all times.  (late 2/early 3)

7. Ronald Darby, Florida St. (5’11”, 195 Lbs)

Darby has good size and length, couple that with his amazing speed and you have the makeup of a good corner in the NFL.  He will need to be coached up at the next level as he is inconsistent with his technique and likes to rely on his speed rather than fundamentals.  Darby is not overly physical.  If he can take to coaching, he could develop into a very good corner. At worst, he could use his speed to cover the slot. (3rd round)

8. Ifo Expre-Olomu, Oregon (5’9″, 195 Lbs)

It was the tale of two tapes with Olomu.  I loved a lot of what I saw from his games in 2013, but his 2014 tape was underwhelming.  The ironic thing is, he may have been playing not to get hurt this year, and ended up tearing his ACL.  He is short, but plays bigger than his size.  Olomu is quicker than fast.  He is very quick to diagnose the play and has the athleticism and footwork to close quickly on the ball.  His best fit in the NFL might be as a nickel corner. (3rd round)

9. Lorenzo Doss, Tulane(5’11”, 187 Lbs)

Doss is a ball hawk with 15 incterceptions in his three years at Tulane.  He moves in and out of his breaks well and shows good play recognition and awareness.  He struggles with faster receivers and will not wow you with his long speed.  Doss will need learn to play within the defense scheme as it looks like he freelances a bit.  (late 3rd/4th)

10. Jacoby Glenn, UCF (6’0″, 178 Lbs)

Glenn is a physical player who likes to make a hit. He plays receivers physically at the line as well and plays the ball well. He is a red shirt sophomore who came out early, so he will need time to fine tune his footwork and technique. Probably should have stayed in school one more year.  The tools are there, but it could take some time to develop them. (4th round)


Just missed:

11. Alex Carter, Stanford- probably lower on him than most. I actually think he is a pretty good player, but he struggles in press man because he is stiff. He probably is better in a zone scheme and I have heard and don’t hate the idea of a potential move to safety.

12. Kevin White, TCU- another guy I did a report on. To sum up, is best suited for man coverage but his height will hurt him.  He doesn’t have the lateral movement to play the nickel. Good player who sits in no mans land for me.

13. D’Juon Smith- Limited tape review, but looks the part. He excels on special teams as well.


Still Working on:

Josh Shaw

Senquez Golsten

Doran Grant

Steve Nelson

Charles Gaines

Eric Rowe


you can follow me on twitter @midwestpatsfan




34 Responses to “Position Rankings: The Cornerbacks”

  1. Markus says:

    Pre-Combine Mock

    Initial conditions:
    – Extensions Revis, McCourty, Gostkowski, Ayers, Casillas (according to overthecap.com Develin and Siliga are FAs too, so I’d also bring them back)
    – Reworking Wilfork, Mayo
    – setup: a compensatory 3rd round pick and no trades

    1st: Jordan Phillips DT – Wilfork’s successor in 2016 or 2017 (and replacement of Branch)
    2nd: Laken Tomlinson G – Connolly’s replacement at LG
    3rd: Za’Darius Smith DE – Ninkovich’s backup (Moore improved so he can be Jones’ backup)
    3rd: David Johnson RB – mismatch RB
    4th: Tyler Lockett WR – WR #4 and eventually replacement of Amendola in 2017
    4th: Ben Koyack TE – Hooman’s replacement (frees 1.4m$ and his contract expires 2016 anyway)
    6th: Robert Myers/Shaq Mason G – Wendell’s replacement at RG in 2016
    7th: Amarlo Herrera ILB – depth and White’s replacement on ST
    UDFA: that LS from Navy

    Concluding thoughts:
    Though I’d like to draft an OT (e.g. Humphries) there are already 4 OTs on the roster in Solder, Vollmer, Cannon, and Fleming. So I don’t think they would carry a fifth one. The same holds true for the safety position.
    Dobson, Tyms, Boyce and some camp bodies would fight for the last WR spot and there would be at least one WR in case of injuries who already knows the system.
    The OL core would be young with Solder, Tomlinson, Stork, Myers/Mason, Fleming. Add in Vollmer and Cannon at OT and Wendell (at least for one more year) and Kline/Devey and I think that group would look quite good. Of course, it depends on Solder. He lacked consistency but if he’s the weak link at OL and extends for a reasonable price (because of the lack of consistency) it will be ok.
    The DL depth would be nice, too. Wilfork, Phillips, Siliga, Jones, and Easley at DT and Jones, Ninkovich, Smith and Moore at DE. Easley also played there and did ok. Buchanan, Bequette, and Vellano are nice options for the PS.
    I don’t think we need to invest a high pick on a LB because there were a lot of 5-2-4 formations. So Hightower, Collins, Mayo, Ayers, Casillas, and Herrera would be fine.
    The secondary would stay as it is: Revis, Browner, Ryan, Butler, Arrington, Dennard (who could be traded for a future pick which would free up 660k$), McCourty, Chung, Wilson, Harmon, Ebner.
    The most interesting position would be at RB where I’d like to see a battle royale with Blount/Gray/Gaffney (blount is nice but he gets 1m$ and his contract expires after 2015) and White/Johnson. Develin and Bolden are fixed.

  2. Russell says:

    I’m looking at Patriot Trade moves they could make. One Possibliy is K.C. who drafts at #18 first round. K.C. will be looking to get a WR, or S early (landon Collins?) So an extra first round pick would benifit K.C. to get a WR (Green-Beckham or Strong)
    The Patriots would send thier 1st #32, to K.C. for thier 2nd #50, and 3d pick # 82 . So BB may see value in getting an extra pick, and drafting in the middle of the 2d and 3d rounds.
    So with this in mind, it may change player availablity, for My Mock;

    2nd #50 – OG Laken Tomlinson, Starter day one at OG if Connolly retires after many concussions.
    2nd #64 – CB Kevin Johnson, I think Revis signs a two yr deal, McCourty maybe gone (to K.C. ??) Browner has one more yr on his deal and moves to S, so CB depth down the road will be important.
    3d #82 – DE Henry Anderson, I see Anderson at right DE subbing for Nickovich who plays too many snaps (92%) to let him rest and be more effective. ( 65% snaps better)
    3d # 96 – DT Xaiver Williams, Williams fits the mould of Easley, Chris Jones, as quicker DT. I think Wilfork retires (Is asked to retire) saving $8 mil. in cap space.
    Comp. Pick – RB David Johnson, I see Vereen gone as a free agent, (Like McCourty) and Johnson is a great prospect as a reciever with good size at 6’1″ 226 lbs.
    4th #102 – OG Ali Marpet, a great Oline Prospect from a smaller program.
    4th # 132- OLB Davis Tull, Depth at LB, great spiecal teams guy with nice size 6’2″ 246 lbs 4.58 40yd.
    6th # 178 – WR Kenny Bell, a steal at WR here, consider a great blocker who runs good route and catches the ball well.
    7th # 217 – WR Devin Gardner, A project at WR but great size 6’4″ 215lbs, powerful muscular build, with good speed 4.52 40yd.

    • Markus says:

      I really like that idea and your mock (especially Williams, Johnson, Tull, and the double dip on G) except for Anderson. I think he’s not a good fit as a 4-3 DE even though at LDE.
      Also, both Tomlinson and Marpet are more suited for LG if I remember correctly. However, they are my favorites at G together with Cann and I really hope one of them lands at Foxborough to replace Connolly (if he leaves).

    • Oppitz says:

      Browner has no range to play at FS and is useless if he cant put his hands on the receiver.

      If McCourty leave (and I think it should be a priority to retain him), his replacement would be Harmon/Ryan or a free agent/draft pick.

      Regardless I think the other choices are solid based on what we have right now before the free agency.

      • td says:

        Browner was brought in to beat the bejesus out of WR’s and disrupt their timing, not to play a position he never has before.

        Worst case with McCourty is he gets the franchise tag and for a S that’s about $5-6million I believe.

        I would think the Pat’s are looking to free up some $$ for Revis by asking the following for a haircut on their cap numbers: Big Vince, Amendola, Mayo. That and the $7.5 mil. of dead cap for Hernandez that is coming off the books.

  3. Jim R says:

    Pre-combine draft
    1-Eli Harold OLB Virgina
    2-Tre Jackson G FSU
    3-Zadarius Smith DE Kentucky
    3 (Comp) Kurtis Drummond S Michigan State
    4-Taiwan Jones ILB Michigan State
    4-Rob Havenstein OT Wisconson
    6-Blake Bell TE Oklahoma or Devin Gardner WR Michigan
    7Malcom Brown RB Texas

    Did not address the interior D-line with Easley coming back and 1 more year of VW75

  4. KJB says:

    When I look at Mario Edwards jr. I see an overweight DE that has talent but lacks technique and a position, and I like those factors. He’s listed at 6’3″ 290, so let the kid get into an NFL offseason conditioning program where he can loose some weight and add some bulk, I think his playing weight should be around 275. I think he is a DE that relies on a bill rush early on while learning some secondary pass rush moves. I see him as a similar player style to Michael Bennett, Terrell Suggs, and Charles Johnson, all these guys were in the same size range with combine stats around 9’6″ broad jump, low 30’s vert and 7-7.3 on the 3 cone drill. If he’s there in the second round I would love to see him taken.

  5. J H TARBORO says:

    Just a few NFL Combine thoughts!
    We all have watched game tape and highlights and we all have our personal favorites. This years crop of athletes seem better than lasts years group with the exception of last years WR class, which was very good, and they’re more seniors in this class than last year. At the Combine this year, i have a feeling they’re going to be many standouts, at least 3 athletes per individual groups that will change your whole draft board, i think some athletes were poorly ranked.
    To everyone on NEPD, enjoy the combine!

  6. John says:

    Just thinking out loud, but here are a couple of players that I see frequently mocked to the Patriots who I feel are overrated/taken too early: Arie Kouandjio, mostly all of the OTs (excluding DJ Humphries), Henry Anderson, and Lorenzo Mauldin.

    It’s not that I don’t like Anderson or Mauldin, but I’m just not sure that either one of them could be above average/average starters. I just see them as guys who are nice, reliable depth pieces. I think Kouandjio is completely overrated, and the OTs are being reached for because of needs.

    Obviously this is up for debate, so feel the need to.

    1) Jordan Phillips DT- Too many good players at this juncture to not address the DLine/Edge. Between Phillips, Armstead, Owamagbe, and Davis, one has to be available right?
    2) Tevin Coleman RB- I think Coleman is a complete stud. I know this sounds crazy, but he’s a mix of Adrian Peterson and Darren McFadden.
    3) DJ Humphries OT- Why is he being mocked so low? Because of his injury? Love the nastiness. More desirable, in my opinion, than Fisher/ Williams.
    3) John Miller OG- Love his intangibles/game.

    • Markus says:

      I agree with you for the most part except for the RB in Rd2. It’s not that I don’t like the player but I’d rather improve the OL and trust the RBs we have than the other way around. However, I personally think there are not a lot of players in this range which would fit so trading out of the 2nd for mid-round 3rd and 4th might be nice since we don’t really need a lot of immediate impact (this depends on FA, of course).

  7. Daniel R. Martin says:

    I’m really wanting to add TE Clive Walford to my draft in the second round. I believe regaining the ability to implement offensive game plans heavily focused on the 2 TE set would really take this offense over the top. But I don’t know that we need to add another TE to do that. Tim Wright scored more touchdowns in his rookie year than any other TE in league history, and that was with the Qb circus in Tampa Bay! He was used less than sparingly throughout the year, but whenever he came in the game it seemed like he caught a TD. Wright seems well suited to replace Hernandez. I don’t know why he isn’t being used more heavily. At the very least, I think he provides what some people are proposing we select Devin Funchess in the first for.

    • steve earle says:

      Dan I feel we already have the TE’s to employ the 2 TE sets. What we need is is o-line that can handle a 4 man pass rush without keeping a TE in to block all the time. Your other post you recognize we should dedicate our 1st four picks to o-line and d-line and this I agree with. As to your mock I’m not that high on Tre Jackson, he didn’t have the best year in 14. I like Daryl Williams and Austin Shepherd, a couple ROT’s who can move inside for us better. I like Erving but not at 32. Maybe if BB trades down mid 2nd then fine. Better options/value available for 32 imo.

    • GM-in-Training says:

      I’m hopeful Tim Wright can be everything we want in a TE compliment to Gronk, and I like his nose for the end zone, but objectively, he’s not as heavy as Hernandez was, doesn’t seem to be suitable for the running game, and benefited greatly from not being covered when he scored his TD’s. The ideal 2 TE set allows you to run your hurry up offense with the 2nd TE alternating between FB, inline TE, and split-out WR able to create mismatches in each scenario. That’s a hard person to find.

      • Daniel R. Martin says:

        GM – Those are excellent points. Do you agree that Wright already provides what many are looking for with Michigan WR Funchess? Also, do you think Walford could replicate or even exceed Hernandez?

        • GM-in-Training says:

          @ Daniel,
          Dunno. He’s got good size, big hands, long arms, and basketball background suggests agility. I don’t know what his 40 and 3-cone times are. I like move TE who can change direction faster than the average linebacker.

        • GM-in-Training says:

          @ Daniel,

          I just watched some highlight clips from Walford’s 2014 games vs FSU and Virginia.
          He doesn’t seem like a lean 254. He seems a little knockneed. He does have some ability to make tacklers miss in the open field and gets some YAC.

          His blocking is…kind of ok. He mostly stops the approaching defender, but rarely pushes them back. To me he looks like a small Y TE more than a tall F TE.

      • Markus says:

        I’d suggest David Johnson (the RB from Northern Iowa) as a mismatch player. However, he would be more of a RB/Move-TE than Inline-TE/FB. At 6’1″ 229 lbs he has some size (though I’m not sure how much bulk he could add) and he can run (actually one of the best RBs at the Senior Bowl) as well as catch consistently.

  8. Louis Perry says:

    What do you think of Gunter? I was hoping he would be there in the 4th for the pats.

    Doss reminds me of Samuel.

  9. Daniel R. Martin says:

    I would like the Pat’s to dedicate almost the entirety of their first four rounds of draft picks to two purposes. 1-Strengthening the Offensive Line (especially at interior positions, and possibly upgrading Solder) and 2-Developing a pass rush.

    Here is where I’m at with my personal mock draft so far:

    1st Round (Assigned) – Cameron Erving OG/OT
    2nd Round (Assigned) – Tre Jackson OG
    3rd Round (Assigned) –
    3rd Round (Projected Compensatory Pick For Aqib Talib) –
    4th Round (Assigned) – Chris Hackett FS
    4th Round (Via Trade with TB – Logan Mankins) – Markus Golden DE/OLB
    6th Round (Via Trade with TB – Jonathan Casillas) – Jalston Fowler RB
    7th Round (Via Trade with TEN – Akeem Ayers)

    I would like to ask for suggestions for the best potential scheme fits for offensive linemen and pure pass rush prospects.


  10. Stephen J says:

    Ali Marpet wasn’t the only one who could play at Hobart take a look at his teamate Tyre Coleman a potential hidden gem 51 career sacks 98 TFL maybe worth a flyer as an undrafted free agent.

  11. Dan Sullivan says:

    Patriots Mock Draft
    1 Owamagbe Odighizuwa DE UCLA
    2 Tre Jackson G Florida State
    3 Austin Shepherd OT Alabama
    4 Anthony Jefferson SS UCLA
    4 Mike Davis RB South Carolina
    6 DaVaris Daniels WR Notre Dame
    7 Terrance Plummer ILB Central Florida
    7 Casey Pierce TE Kent State
    Free Agents
    Just bring back Revis and I would be happy with that.

    To the Celtics Brass get some strong additional help for playoff run getting to the second
    round would be strong progress for this organization.

  12. ugo says:

    Great list! Can’t wait to read the writes to follow. Would like to see Cam Thomas of Western Kentucky added to your list.

    • Mike Gerken says:

      I will give him a look. Thanks for the heads up. Just doing a quick search I see there are a few games of western kentucky out there from this year and next. I will add him to my list to get to.

  13. Mike Gerken says:

    yes, Gunter is someone I would like to look at more. I hope I can get more tape on him to do so.

    • acm says:

      Gunter reminds me a bit of the original LOB members – not gonna win you with combine performance and elite athleticism, which should see him fall in the draft, but makes plays with good instincts (still developing), his size and physicality.
      I think the Pats do need another DB of that type as just about every other CB on the roster, besides Revis and Browner, can easily get overwhelmed by more physical WRs. One to many 5’10” guys there at the back, time to add even more beef.

  14. Dylan.C says:

    Pats trade back from pick #32 in exchange for early/mid 2nd, 3rd, and 5th round picks.

    2. (Trade) – Mario Edwards Jr. DE – Good fit as strong side DE and eventual replacement for Nink. Big enough to bump inside on passing downs.

    2. (Assigned) – Xavier Cooper DT – Played primarily 3-4 DE at Washington State but would project as a 4-3 DT in the NFL. Solid against the run and at generating pressure in passing situations.

    3. (Trade) – Jake Fisher OG/OT- Played nearly every position along the line at Oregon but I would see him as a guard or RT in the NFL. Shows incredible power and athleticism when run blocking and has the versatility the NE covets.

    3. (Assigned) – Jeremiah Poutasi OG/OT – Same as Jacke Fisher, powerful run blocker who projects as an interior linemen in the NFL.

    3. (Compensatory) – Henry Anderson DE – Impressive length.

    4. (Tampa) – Nick OLeary – TE – Gronk Insurance.

    4. (Assigned) – Xavier Williams – NT – Potential Wilfork replacement but needs time to develop.

    5. (Trade) Terrence Plummer – LB – Athletic linebacker, provides much needed depth behind Hightower & Collins.

    • acm says:

      I like M. Edwards but don’t see how he is a Ninko replacement, tbh. He is the same type of player as Easley or Sheldon Richardson i.e. he is an interior lineman in 4-3 or a De in a 3-4 – doesn’t have the edge burst or ability to consistently fall back in coverage.

      Regarding H. Anderson, I can see why people can like the player – has the length and is a Stanford grad, that’s for sure – but he lacks muscle mass. That is, he lacks explosiveness to rush the passer/play on the outside and the functional strength to play inside. Losses leverage relatively easily. These deficiencies were masked at the college level but won’t be the case with the pros.
      I can totally see the Pats like him as their type of guy, just hope they don’t … especially not this early.

      The rst of the players I actually like, except O’Leary – just don’t think he’d be anything all that special at the NFL level – a well rounded player but not great at anything, tbh. A player like that one could find in UDFA, imo as opposed to pay the price of a mid-round pick.

      And finally, my biggest issue with the mock is that you are de facto taking 4 DL, all projecting on the interior, none of them pass-rushers. Unless the Pats are planning to really clean house on the interior of the DL, they won’t have enough roster spots to keep all these picks.

      • Dylan.C says:

        I suppose you are correct about Mario Edwards Jr., I’m just not sure what type of edge rushers are available that would fit at that point. I like Nate Orchard but it seems he is better off as a 3-4 OLB. Danielle Hunter has all the physical traits of a 4-3 DE but is very raw. I also really like Marcus Hardison from Arizona State, lined up as both a DE and DT with success. Zack Hodges from Harvard is also very impressive, albeit against a much lower level of competition. Owamagbe Odighizuwa is great but I have my doubts he will be available when the Pats pick.

        2. (Trade) – Danielle Hunter DE

        2. (Assigned) – Xavier Cooper DT

        3. (Trade) – Jake Fisher OG/OT

        3. (Assigned) – Jeremiah Poutasi OG/OT

        3. (Compensatory) – Ramik Wilson LB

        4. (Tampa) – Marcus Hardison DE/DT

        4. (Assigned) – Zach Hodges DE

        5. (Trade) – Terrence Plummer LB

        I know it seems very DL heavy but it doesn’t look like Vince will be back (not at his current price at-least), and the Pats had a non existent pass rush after Jones and Nink who have been way over worked the last 3 years. Establishing a rotation on the defensive line would do them wonders. I also have my doubts if Mayo will be back, or healthy, and the Pats love to double dip when they are targeting certain positions. Also have doubts about Ayers or Branch coming back.

        • carlo strada says:

          Not sure on taking X. cooper that early, dont think he worths such honor. IMO he d still be around near the 4th round.

  15. acm says:

    Good list there, Mike G.

    Have considered looking into CB Ladarius Gunter (Miami)? I think, he is one of the more underrated CBs in the draft – not the most elite athlete but he make plays – and should be on the board in the mid rounds, where the Pats could potentially be looking for another CB (assuming Revis stays).

  16. Russell says:

    I guy I like alot may go undrafted, Benard Blake. A real strong prospect who is off the radar.

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