Scouting Combine Research: Corners, Part 1

Among the top prospects of the 33 cornerbacks: A former baseball star who turned down a seven-figure contract and some powerful family ties. (Paul Abbel/USA TODAY)

Alex Carter, Stanford (6-0, 200): In his three seasons, Carter was an honorable mention on the all-Pac-12 team all three years. He had one interception and 10 passes defensed in 2014. His father, Tom, played at Notre Dame and was the Redskins’ first-round pick in 1993. He intercepted 27 passes in nine NFL seasons. After receiving a major award as a high school senior, Alex went to his sister’s volleyball match with their dad. She died that night. He’s one of several father-son tandems at Stanford.

D.C. Celiscar, Western Michigan (5-11, 191): Celiscar was an all-MAC selection in each of his final two seasons. As a senior, he was a first-teamer with a team-high four interceptions and tied for the national lead with 21 passes defensed. He recorded 10 picks in his four seasons. Celiscar called it “crazy” to have received a Combine invite. At the NFLPA all-star game, he was coached by Hall of Fame corner Darrell Green.

Justin Coleman, Tennessee (5-11, 186): The three-year starter saved his best for last, as Coleman recorded four of his five career interceptions as a senior. Playing mostly the nickel spot, he also had a career-high four tackles for losses. As a high school junior, he finished in the top five in both hurdles events at the Georgia State track and field meet.

Jalen Collins, LSU (6-2, 195): Collins turned pro despite having just 10 starts to his credit. Seven of them came as a junior in 2014, when he intercepted a pass and broke up nine. Collins’ playing time was limited by the outstanding talent on the depth chart, which he helped tutor.

Ronald Darby, Florida State (5-11, 190): Darby made an immediate splash, earning ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors as a freshman in 2012. He was all-ACC for his final two seasons. He had no interceptions and four passes defensed in 2014 and two interceptions for his career. “Sometimes I get a little bored,” Darby said of the lack of action directed his way most games. In high school, he won the 100- and 200-meter Maryland state titles and was part of Team USA’s gold-medal winning medley relay at the World Youth Championships in France.

Quandre Diggs, Texas (6-0, 195): Diggs is one of the most seasoned corners in this draft. He started 49 games in his career and is tied for ninth in school history with 11 interceptions and 37 pass breakups. He was all-Big 12 as a freshman, junior and senior, including first-team honors in 2013 with three interceptions and five breakups. Not only is he experienced but he has a great pedigree. His brother is Quentin Jammer, who is 13 years older than Diggs and was inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 2013. “There’s no other role model that I’d rather have in life, honestly,” Diggs said. One childhood memory of Diggs was borrowing big brother’s knife – and cutting a hole in his brother’s water-bed mattress.

Lorenzo Doss, Tulane (5-11, 168): Doss was second-team all-conference as a junior, his final season with the Green Wave. In 2014, he picked off three passes and broke up a total of 12. From that perspective, it was a subpar season for one of the game’s top ballhawks. In his first two seasons, he picked off 12 passes and defended 11 others. His 15 interceptions rank second in school history. His brother played receiver for Southern University and spent training camp with the Browns. The two are incredibly close. Rather than compete against each other, they focus on helping make each other better.

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon (5-9, 193): Ekpre-Olomu was all-conference for his final three seasons with the Ducks, but his career ended with a torn ACL sustained before the College Football Playoffs. As a sophomore, he intercepted four passes, forced six fumbles and broke up 20 passes. The last two of those categories led the conference and ranked among the national leaders. As a junior, he had three picks and five tackles for losses. As a senior, he picked off two passes and defensed 11 to give the two-time All-American totals of nine picks and 48 PBUs for his career. His parents came to the United States from Nigeria. They made school come before sports.

Charles Gaines, Louisville (5-11, 176): As a junior in 2014, Gaines intercepted two passes and broke up 10 others. Gaines played receiver as a redshirt freshman in 2012. Upon moving to corner in 2013, he intercepted five passes – including four in the final six games. Gaines was born with the gift of gab, especially against opposing receivers. He also likes to ask opposing coaches why they didn’t recruit him.

Jacoby Glenn, Central Florida (6-0, 178): Glenn left UCF following a redshirt sophomore season in which he was named a second-team All-American and the American Athletic Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year. He intercepted seven passes and broke up 11 others to rank among the national leaders in both categories. Glenn picked off two passes and broke up 15 in 2013 to earn Freshman All-America honors.

Senquez Golson, Ole Miss (5-9, 185): Golson enters the NFL following a brilliant senior season. He was a unanimous All-American, a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Award, which goes to the nation’s top defender, and was named the Elite Defensive Back by the College Football Performance Awards after finishing second in the nation with 10 interceptions. One of those sealed the Rebels’ upset victory over Alabama. In three seasons, his 16 interceptions led all active FBS performers. He also played on Ole Miss’ baseball team in 2012. In fact, Golson turned down more than $1 million to sign with the Red Sox after being an eighth-round pick in 2011. The path to football stardom wasn’t always easy, though. He nearly quit once and coach Hugh Freeze nearly ran him off the team at one point due to questions about Golson’s commitment.

Doran Grant, Ohio State (5-10, 196): Grant led the Buckeyes with five interceptions and 14 passes defensed as a senior to earn first-team all-conference honors. Two of those picks came in the Big Ten Championship rout of Wisconsin. He was an honorable mention as a junior with his three picks and 10 passes defensed. In high school, Grant was an Ohio state champion in the hurdles. Grant’s father, Ted Jones, played receiver at Michigan State, where he holds the school record with 5.62 receptions per game. Dad still sings the MSU fight song.

Ladarius Gunter, Miami (Fla.) (6-2, 187): After one season in junior college, Gunter started 30 games during his three seasons with the Hurricanes. He picked off six passes and broke up 18, including two picks and six PBUs as a senior. It didn’t take him long to break into the lineup.

Troy Hill, Oregon (5-11, 175): Hill had a big senior season. Even though he had one interception, he defended a total of 19 passes and forced two fumbles. Football perhaps saved Hill’s life. Hill’s mom, worried about her son’s future in Youngstown, Ohio, sent him across the country to Ventura County, Calif., to live with an uncle. “I did everything I could not to go,” Hill said. “My mom was telling me, you’re going, you’re going, you’re going and I was like, ‘I can’t do it.’ I don’t regret it.”

Anthony Jefferson, UCLA (6-1, 190): The two-year starter was second-team all-conference with a senior season of one interception and nine passes defensed. He finished third on the team with 72 tackles. It was a good way to salvage a career that was doomed by a broken foot and injured back. The back injury had him fearing his career might be over, though conversations with his roommate, running back Johnathan Franklin, gave him more of a positive outlook.

Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest (6-0, 175): Johnson was second-team all-ACC as a senior with one interception and six passes defensed. He was an honorable mention in his previous two seasons after sitting out 2011 due to academic issues. He finished his career with seven interceptions and 35 PBUs. Johnson pulled out of the Senior Bowl for non-injury reasons, which raised some eyebrows among scouts. He grew up with Michael Campanaro, a former Wake receiver who caught seven passes for the Ravens as a rookie. “I remember specifically one time in high school, me and Mike were doing Oklahoma drills, and he just kept running me over, and they were making me keep getting back up and going against him. Playing with Mike all my life definitely made me a better player.’’

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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