The Opening: Defensive Backs Recap

The defensive backs group at The Opening came in as a good group on paper, and on the field during day one, they proved to be as talented as their press clippings. Here is our recap of which cover men stood out.

South Carolina commit Mark Fields (Cornelius, NC) was one of the top performers on day one of The Opening. He’s a pure cover corner who stuck closely with receivers all day. He has good feet and change of direction, but also did a good job of anticipating routes and getting the jump on them.

The group of corners was physically big. Tarvarus McFadden (Plantation, Fla.) is the biggest of the group. He’s so big that, walking out to the field, you think he has to be a future linebacker or at least a safety. Watching him cover, it’s a revelation that he can play outside in college. Safety may end up being his spot, but he’s capable of playing corner, a spot where his length and physicality would be rare assets. Iman Marshall is another guy some people may whisper safety about, but he looks like he’ll be a physical corner in college. There is no shortage of confidence or physicality with him and he has good ball skills as well.

Isaiah Langley may not be as big as some of the guys mentioned above, but has quick feet and seemed like a kid with good instincts. He was as impressive as anyone in the drills and had good success in one on ones as well. Oklahoma commit P.J. Mbanasor is a long kid who did well in drills and then had a very good day in one on ones. His length and size helps him, but he also has better hips and explosion than most kids his size.

Other corners who impressed were Kris Boyd, Holton Hill and Mook Reynolds. Boyd is a stockier kid who can play press-man. Hill has long arms and good ball skills and Reynolds has quick feet.

Kevin Toliver, the nation’s top cornerback prospect, showed his considerable upside. He got beat one on one a few times and showed his rawness a little bit, but in terms of size, athleticism, fluidity and pure physical skills, he could easily be a guy who we’re hearing his named called early in the NFL Draft in several years. It all comes down to how he continues to hone his physical skills and mental game because he’s a very gifted athlete. Dechaun Holiday made several nice plays during the day, as did Donte Jackson.

Deontay Anderson is one of the few class of 2016 prospects in attendance, but definitely showed he belonged. He’s a good sized safety who can run and cover. Deionte Thompson’s size and ball skills were on display and he showed he could play man to man as well. Will Sunderland and Justin Reid were two more safeties who our staff tabbed as top performers on the day.

While this setting may not have played to their strengths, we liked Shawn Burgess-Becker and Jaquan Johnson’s size and physicality. Both have the potential to grow into linebackers if need be.

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