Luke Easterling's 2016 NFL Draft cornerback rankings

My full cornerback rankings for the 2016 NFL Draft.

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RANK | NAME | SCHOOL | HEIGHT | WEIGHT | CLASS | GRADE

1. William Jackson III | Houston | 6'0" | 189 | Senior | 1st Round

Size, speed and ball skills are the trifecta for projecting a potential shutdown cover man at the next level, and Jackson checks all three of this boxes. He's a bit of a gambler, which will get him in trouble as a rookie, but he's got the physical tools and and on-field mentality it takes to be a top corner in the NFL. He's a bit more boom-or-bust than Hargreaves, but I'll take the higher upside.

2. Vernon Hargreaves III | Florida | 5'10" | 204 | Junior | 1st Round

Crowned a future first-rounder before he even set foot on campus in Gainesville, Hargreaves has delivered on the hype for the most part. His ball skills, physicality and competitiveness can often make up for his lack of ideal size, but he might find that a tougher task in the NFL. His film shows flashes, but also plenty on inconsistency. He's still worth a first-round pick, but I wouldn't spend a top-10 selection on him.

3. Mackensie Alexander | Clemson | 5'10" | 190 | RS Sophomore | 1st Round

Alexander's lack of size and production are huge question marks, but he's another feisty cover man who can make up for his shortcomings in other ways. He wasn't challenged often, but having no interceptions in your college career just doesn't look good to NFL teams. He'll certainly be tested at the next level, but he has the tools to succeed as he smooths out the rough edges of his game.

4. Artie Burns | Miami (FL) | 6'0" | 193 | Junior | 2nd Round

One of the most intriguing prospects in this group, Burns' combination of size, athleticism and mental toughness could make him a future star in the NFL. He has the versatility to play corner or safety at the next level, and though he's plenty raw, he's a superb athlete with the ball skills to be a playmaker early in his career.

5. Eli Apple | Ohio State | 6'1" | 199 | RS Sophomore | 2nd Round

Apple's been a popular pick in the latter half of the first round in many mock drafts, and though he'll probably go that high, I'm not quite sold on him just yet. He's got the size and athleticism NFL teams covet to match up with the bigger, more physical receivers in the league, but his technique needs a lot of fine tuning.

6. Kendall Fuller | Virginia Tech | 5'11" | 187 | Junior | 2nd Round

The younger brother of Chicago Bears first-rounder Kyle, Kendall had his 2015 season cut off way too soon by a knee injury. It could take him some time to get back to full speed, but if his injury causes him to fall in the draft, a team could end up with a huge steal and a potential No. 1 cover man down the road.

7. Xavien Howard | Baylor | 6'0" | 201 | RS Junior | 2nd Round

Another gambler with attractive size and length, Howard was inconsistent on film, but showed the kinds of flashes that will have NFL defensive backs coaches begging their team to take him on Day 2. He's barely scratched the surface of his potential, and could end up being a better pro than a few of the names ranked higher on this list.

8. Harlan Miller | Southeastern Louisiana | 6'0" | 182 | Senior | 3rd Round

You'll get plenty of naysayers who will point to his lack of top competition or thin frame, but Miller proved during Senior Bowl week he can hang with some of the best receivers in the country. He needs to add some quality bulk if he wants to be a starter in the NFL, but he's checks the rest of the boxes and could be a steal if he lasts until Day 3.

9. Maurice Canady | Virginia | 6'1" | 193 | Senior | 3rd Round

Canady's size and length are the first things to jump off the tape and paper, but he's also a solid technician who plays to his strengths. He doesn't have the top-end speed NFL teams want in their starters, but he'll make an immediate impact on special teams and could develop into a quality starter in the right situation.

10. Cyrus Jones | Alabama | 5'10" | 197 | Senior | 4th Round

Few players improved more over their time in Tuscaloosa than Jones, who became the team's top cover man and a dynamic return man in 2015. His size will likely limit him to the nickel role, but his quick feet and willingness to be physical at the line of scrimmage will serve him well there. His value on special teams is a huge plus and will allow him to make an instant impact.

11. Tavon Young | Temple | 5'9" | 183 | Senior | 4th Round

12. Kalan Reed | Southern Mississippi | 5'11" | 192 | Senior | 4th Round

12. Will Redmond | Mississippi State | 5'11" | 182 | Senior | 4th Round

13. D.J. White | Georgia Tech | 5'11" | 193 | Senior | 4th Round

14. Eric Murray | Minnesota | 5'11" | 199 | Senior | 4th Round

15. Zack Sanchez | Oklahoma | 5'11" | 185 | RS Junior | 5th Round

16. Jonathan Jones | Auburn | 5'9" | 186 | Senior | 5th Round

17. James Bradberry | Samford | 6'1" | 211 | RS Senior | 5th Round

18. Rashard Robinson | LSU | 6'1" | 171 | Junior | 5th Round

19. Taveze Calhoun | Mississippi State | 6'0" | 192 | RS Senior | 5th Round

20. Briean Boddy-Calhoun | Minnesota | 5'9" | 193 | RS Senior | 5th Round

21. Kevin Peterson | Oklahoma State | 5'10" | 181 | Senior | 5th Round

22. Deiondre' Hall | Northern Iowa | 6'2" | 199 | Senior | 5th Round

23. Kevon Seymour | USC | 5'11" | 184 | Senior | 6th Round

24. Ken Crawley | Colorado | 6'0" | 187 | Senior | 6th Round

25. Morgan Burns | Kansas State | 5'10" | 200 | Senior | 6th Round

26. Daryl Worley | West Virginia | 6'1" | 204 | Junior | 6th Round

27. Cre'Von LeBlanc | Florida Atlantic | 5'10" | 192 | Senior | 6th Round

28. Anthony Brown | Purdue | 5'11" | 192 | Senior | 7th Round

29. Juston Burris | North Carolina State | 6'0" | 212 | RS Senior | 7th Round

30. KeiVarae Russell | Notre Dame | 5'11" | 192 | RS Junior | 7th Round

31. LeShaun Sims | Southern Utah | 6'0" | 203 | RS Senior | 7th Round

32. Lloyd Carrington | Arizona State | 5'11" | 194 | Arizona State | 7th Round

33. Josh Atkinson | Azusa Pacific | 6'0" | 192 | RS Senior | 7th Round

 

BUCS NEED-O-METER: MODERATE

Signing Brent Grimes should give the Bucs some valuable veteran depth, but he's not a long-term solution. That said, Johnthan Banks and Alterraun Verner have proven in the past they have the talent to succeed, but Lovie Smith's defensive scheme didn't exactly get the best out of their personnel over the past two seasons. With a fresh start, I expect both of them to make huge improvements, and I think Tampa Bay's front office has similar expectations. They need some young depth at the position, but they don't have to get a Day 1 starter at corner out of this draft class.


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