Red Flag Series: Cornerbacks

With Charles Woodson's advancing age, Sam Shields' so-so second season and Davon House's invisible rookie season, the Packers probably will draft a cornerback. NFL Scouting takes a look at the issues surrounding those cornerbacks with character questions.

University of Alabama Crimson Tide
Gadsden, Alabama
Gadsden City High School


Dre Kirkpatrick started 25 of 38 games at Alabama as a weak-side cornerback, recording 91 tackles (68 solos) with eight stops for losses of 24 yards, one quarterback pressure, one fumble recovery and three forced fumbles…Deflected 16 passes and intercepted three others for 30 yards in returns.

01/17/12 - Former Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick has been arrested on a marijuana possession charge. An arrest report on the Manatee County Sheriff's Office web site says Kirkpatrick was arrested at 12:48 a.m. and charged with possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana. He was released on $120 bond. Kirkpatrick is regarded as a potential top 10 NFL draft pick. The second-team All-American announced he was skipping his senior season with the national champions to enter the draft. - AP Sports

01/21/12 - At least two franchises with picks in the middle portion of the first round contacted Alabama head coach Nick Saban this week to get background checks on cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, arrested in Florida and charged with marijuana possession. There had been debate on the topic of whether Kirkpatrick or LSU standout Morris Claiborne would be the No. 1 spot at the position. Kirkpatrick has been regarded as a certain first-round pick. It figures to be pretty interesting now to see if Kirkpatrick's stock suffers because of the arrest. One of the ancillary things Kirkpatrick had going for him was that he played for Saban, and had the Alabama coach's seal of approval. Saban figures to get more inquiries about Kirkpatrick and his character before the draft. - Len Pasquarelli, The Sports Xchange

02/13/12 - A misdemeanor drug charge vs. former Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick has been dropped, court records show. A court filing dated Feb. 2 said no criminal charges would be filed vs. Kirkpatrick, who skipped his senior season to enter the NFL draft and is projected as a first-round pick. Kirkpatrick was arrested on Jan. 17 after Palmetto, Fla., police stopped a car driven by another former Alabama player, Chris Rogers, for driving on the wrong side of the road. A police report says an officer found marijuana on the floorboard of the passenger side at Kirkpatrick's feet, but that he denied he had known that drugs were being bought. Kirkpatrick announced the dropped charges in a Tweet: "For those who doubted: NO CHARGES FILED vs. me for marijuana bust in Florida." - AP Sports

Cornerback/Free Safety
Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers
Greenwood, South Carolina
Greenwood High School


Josh Norman started 39 of 46 games at Coastal Carolina, recording 196 tackles (138 solos) with seven stops for losses of 18 yards, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery…Blocked four kicks and returned six punts for 55 yards (9.17 avg)…Deflected 35 passes and had 13 interceptions for 72 yards in returns, producing 48 passes defended…On the NCAA career-record charts, Norman ranks sixth for passes defended and tied for seventh in pass deflections within the Football Championship Subdivision ranks…Holds the Big South and school career-records with his 35 pass break-ups, 48 passes defended and is tied for second with his thirteen interceptions…Placed eighth in school history with his total tackles, third with four forced fumbles and fourth with 138 solo stops…His four blocked kicks are another Chanticleer all-time record…Holds the school season-record with 12 pass deflections in 2011 and is tied for third on that chart with nine break-ups in 2010…His eight interceptions in 2009 established new school and league season records.

Norman was arrested in October 2009 for driving with a suspended license but did not miss any playing time since a family member vouched that they were supposed to pay the fee, as promised to Josh.

University of Iowa Hawkeyes
Omaha, Nebraska
Central High School


Shaun Prater started 35 of 48 games at Iowa – 25 at right cornerback and 10 on the left side, as he recorded 171 tackles (113 solos) with a 6-yard sack, 1.5 stops for losses of 7 yards, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery…Deflected 19 passes and intercepted seven others for 179 yards in returns (24.71 avg) and two touchdowns…His 89-yard pass theft for a touchdown vs. Tennessee Tech in 2011 was the fifth-longest interception return in school history.

Prater was suspended for the first two games on the 2009 season schedule following his drunken driving arrest in May. "He will be required to serve numerous internal obligations, set by me," said Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. "He'll also face a multiple game suspension in the fall."

Free Safety/Cornerback
McNeese State University Cowboys
Lake Charles, Louisiana
University of Tennessee Volunteers
Alfred M. Barbe High School
Carencro High School

At Tennessee, Janzen Jackson started 22 of 23 games at free safety, leaving the university with 106 tackles (66 solos), two sacks for minus 22 yards, five stops for losses of 30 yards and a quarterback pressure…Caused one fumble and recovered another that he advanced eight yards…Deflected fourteen passes and intercepted six others for 143 yards in returns (23.83 avg)…Added eleven tackles (7 solos) with the special team coverage units, returning one kick for 55 yards and five punts for 14 yards…Including his time at McNeese State, the junior appeared in 33 games with 26 starting assignments – 22 at free safety and four at field cornerback…Totaled 137 tackles (88 solos), seven stops behind the line of scrimmage, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, 21 pass break-ups and eight interceptions for 239 yards in returns (29.88 avg), including one touchdown…That scoring runback came in his final college game, vs. Lamar in 2011, going 84 yards, which is the eighth-longest interception return in McNeese State history.

Below is a timeline of off-field incidents attributed to Jackson, as told by the media;
11/12/09 - Three freshmen Tennessee football players, including highly touted wide receiver recruit Nu'Keese Richardson and starting safety Janzen Jackson, were charged with attempted armed robbery Thursday morning. Richardson, 18, and Jackson, 18, along with defensive back Mike Edwards, 18, and companion Marie Montmarquet, 22, were charged after a report of an armed robbery at a gas station in an area known as "The Strip" at the edge of Tennessee's campus. It was not clear if any of the suspects had hired a lawyer. "At this time we are currently evaluating the circumstances surrounding an incident involving Mike Edwards, Janzen Jackson and Nu'Keese Richardson," athletic director Mike Hamilton said. "Any decisions or comments regarding their status will not be made until the evaluations are complete." The three victims told police they were sitting in their parked vehicle about 2 a.m. Thursday at a gas station near Tennessee's campus when two males dressed in hooded jackets, one brandishing a handgun, approached and demanded, "Give us everything you've got." "The victims stated that they all presented their wallets to the suspects and showed them that they did not have money," the police report said. "The victims stated that a third black male then approached and told the other two black males, ‘We've got to go."' The three suspects were seen leaving in a Toyota Prius, and police pulled over a vehicle matching the description on Tennessee's campus. Police spotted a pellet gun and hooded jackets and later found drug paraphernalia and a bag of what appeared to be marijuana. Police say Montmarquet told them the drug paraphernalia and substance belonged to her and she was charged with simple possession. The victims identified Richardson and Edwards as the men who approached their vehicle. - AP Sports

11/24/09 - Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin says freshman safety Janzen Jackson will be allowed to return to team activities immediately and will start Saturday at Kentucky. Jackson was arrested and charged with three counts of attempted aggravated robbery on Nov. 12 at a convenience store near Tennessee's Knoxville campus. Jackson's teammates, Nu'Keese Richardson and Mike Edwards, also were arrested. Prosecutors dropped all charges vs. Jackson after determining he did not know about the robbery beforehand and did not know anything happened until after the trio left the store. Richardson and Edwards are still facing three charges of attempted armed robbery. Kiffin dismissed them from the team Nov. 16. - AP Sports

02/08/11 - Shortly after the first significant shakeup of his coaching staff became official, Derek Dooley was hit with one to his roster. The Tennessee coach will be without the player widely considered to be his best heading into spring practice, and there's no timetable for a return. After parting ways with defensive line coach Chuck Smith on Sunday, safety Janzen Jackson withdrew from school Monday to continuing dealing with the personal problems that forced him to miss workouts in December before the Music City Bowl. His decision to leave school rules him out of team functions this semester and leaves his status with UT unclear heading into what would be his junior season. "Janzen continues to battle personal issues of which our program is always going to be very supportive of," Dooley said. "His withdrawal from school has nothing to do with disciplinary reasons on the football team and everything to do with a continuing battle of deep personal issues, of which we're very supportive of." Jackson will have to handle them all away from team activities for at least the rest of this spring, though he could conceivably return by fall practice if his issues are taken care of even without passing credits this spring due to a one-time missed-semester NCAA waiver. - Austin Ward, Go Vols Xtra

07/06/11 - Tennessee junior safety Janzen Jackson has enrolled in summer classes, five months after leaving school to address personal issues. Volunteers spokesman Jimmy Stanton says Jackson has returned to the team and is expected to fully participate in fall training camp in August. The Lake Charles, La., native made 69 tackles and a team-high five interceptions in 2010. He has made 22 starts in 23 games over two seasons with the Vols. - AP Sports

08/24/11 - Tennessee coach Derek Dooley dismissed safety Janzen Jackson from the team as the junior's personal issues had apparently become too much of a distraction. Jackson withdrew from school in February to address personal issues but enrolled again in July and was reinstated to the Vols earlier this month as fall camp began. Dooley said after Tuesday's practice that Jackson would remain with the team on a day-to-day basis. Dooley did not specify what actions ultimately led to the Lake Charles, La., native's dismissal on Wednesday. "Our program has devoted a tremendous amount of energy, resources, support, and care in an effort to help Janzen manage his personal challenges," Dooley said. "I will always be there to help him as a person, but there comes a time when a player's actions preclude him from the privilege of playing for the University of Tennessee football team. "Although I'm disappointed with this outcome, we will never compromise the long-term organizational values and goals we maintain here at Tennessee," he said. After the Vols' Aug. 8 practice, Jackson said he was happy to be back on the field after dealing with what he said were personal issues and family problems. He and Dooley met frequently while Jackson was not with the team. Jackson made 69 tackles and had a team-high five interceptions in 2010 which led to 114 interception return yards. He had made 22 starts in 23 games over two seasons with the Vols, and was expected to be a key part of the Volunteers' secondary. Dooley's decision comes as the Vols wrap up fall practice. The team had a mock game scheduled for Wednesday night and planned to take a few days off before beginning preparation for the Sept. 3 opener against Montana. - AP Sports

Dave-Te Thomas has more than 40 years of experience scouting for the NFL. At NFL Scouting, Thomas handles a staff that evaluates and tests college players before the draft and prepares the NFL's official Draft Packet, which is distributed to all 32 teams prior to the draft.

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