Bly will give the Lions a true shutdown corner and the ability to take away one side of the field with his play. Undersized, but speedy and athletic, Bly will start at the left corner previously occupied by the retired Todd Lyght.
Still, that leaves Detroit with a vacancy at the right corner position. Chris Cash, a rookie 6th round draft pick, occupied the position and had a good year in run support, recording 92 tackles, third on the team. But Cash was frequently victimized on pass plays and while he has potential to grow from his rookie season, he still needs work in the coverage aspect of his game.
Andre Goodman, a rookie 3rd round pick from South Carolina came on towards the end of the season and appeared to supplant Cash on the depth chart. Neither, though, provide the kind of tight coverage Detroit would like to have against opposing wide outs.
Fortunately for Detroit, cornerback is a position with loads of talented players available in this month's college draft (April 26-27).
Last year, most experts rated Texas corner Quentin Jammer as the top player at the
position, but Miami corner Phillip Buchanon -- drafted by the Oakland Raiders -- appeared
to have the best year of any rookie prior to getting hurt five games into the season.
Buchanon had worked his way into an Oakland Raider rotation that included Charles Woodson
and Eric Allen.
This year there are several talented guys who could immediately step into Detroit's defensive backfield and provide immediately including Newman.
Playing in the Big 12, Newman matched up against some of the nation's top receivers
including Texas' Roy Williams. The Jim Thorpe award winner (Nation's top collegiate
defensive back) has sprinter's speed (10.49 100 meters) and is extremely quick (4.3) in
the critical 40-yard sprint that corners so often have to make in coverage.
COMPARISON: Charles Woodson, Oakland
Another top prospect is Rashean Mathis of Florida's Bethune-Cookman University. The
Buck Buchanan winner (Nation's top Division I-AA) is a converted free safety, and scouts
rave about his size (6' 1" 200lbs) and cover ability. Still, without any experience
playing the corner position except the Senior Bowl, some feel he is too raw to be a first
rounder and project him in the second round
COMPARISON: Troy Vincent, Philadelphia
|TOP 5 CB's for Detroit|
1. Dennis Weathersby, Oregon State
2. Andre Woolfolk, Oklahoma
3. Terence Newman, Kansas State
4. Marcus Trufant, Washington State
5. Rashean Mathis, Bethune Cookman
Marcus Trufant of Washington State made a huge move following his junior season. A
virtual unknown prior to his senior year, Trufant shot up the charts to the point where
he's considered a top 10 pick. The 5' 11, 190-lbs senior has good size and ran a 4.3 40 at
the NFL combines. Some scouts are concerned about his "make up" speed after
getting beaten initially. The good thing is he doesn't get beaten very often
COMPARISON: Nate Clemens, Buffalo
Andre Woolfolk of Oklahoma came into this year as the consensus #1 corner in the
nation, however, some scouts, like ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. don't even list him as a first
round pick. The problem is Woolfolk wanted to be Charles Woodson, flip flopping between
offense and defense. That hurt his stock more than helped it. Still, in the games that I
saw, Woolfolk locked down on some of the same top receivers that Newman did. I noticed
very little difference on the field between Woolfolk and Newman.
COMPARISON: Bobby Taylor, Philadelphia
My favorite player among all the top corners is Dennis Weathersby of Oregon State. You
don't find many shutdown corners who are over six feet tall(6' 1", 226-lbs) and can
run (4.3) with guys like USC's Mike Williams, but that is exactly what Weathersby did. In
the times he matched up with Williams, one of the Pac-10 and the nation's top wide outs,
Weathersby held his own, blanketing the young star. The scouts are all over the place on
the senior, with some saying he's a sure top-15 pick, compared to others who rate him as a
COMPARISON: Chris McAllister, Baltimore
The sleeper in all of this is Tulane's Lynaris Elpheage. Elpheage defended an
astounding 31 passes including eight interceptions. An electric return man, the first team
Conference USA and second team All-America selection ranked fifth in punt returns with a
16.5 average and 25.2 average on kickoff returns makes him an extremely dangerous two-way
threat. The junior scored four touchdowns this year, one each by punt return, kickoff
return, interception and on a rushing play. Raw, but talented, someone will take a flier
on this kid.
COMPARISON: Dre' Bly, Detroit
PICK: This one depends on how badly Detroit wants a running back. If Detroit opts for Willis McGahee in the second round, then we're looking at a third round selection which eliminates all these guys, but if Detroit somehow gets a second round selection, Weathersby would be a steal in the early second round. Elpheage would be a catch in round three or four.