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)
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.
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