Draft outlook: Cornerbacks

NFL teams always want the names of good cover corners to fill their draft boards come April as the top prospects at this position are selected early and often. That does not seem to be the case this year as the talent drastically drops off after the top pair and there are a lot of question marks after that. Here's a closer look at the Top 10:

 

1—Terrence Newman, Kansas State

 

Bill Snyder's attack defense in Manhattan, Kansas requires solid cover corners on the flanks to shut down the opponents passing attack and fosters the development of prospects with good man-to-man skills. Terrance Newman could be the best one ever offered by K-State.

 

The Good: Fast cover corner that translates his sprinters speed onto the football field.  Fluid turning his hips off the line, loses nothing in transition and quick getting to top speed.  Solid backpedal, excellent footwork and overall cover techniques.  Fluid, agile, redirects well and immediately alters his attack angle, losing no momentum running laterally with opponents.  Uses the sidelines well and positions himself to make a play on the ball.  Quick to close and top recovery speed.  Nice corner size. 

The Bad: Not big or strong, has difficulty with physical opponents and may be ineffective in press coverage.  Must pick up the intensity in run support. 

The Skinny: Best backed off the line of scrimmage but a shut down corner that has quarterbacks looking the other way.

Projection: First round

 

2 – Marcus Trufant, Washington State

 

One of the most consistent shut down cornerbacks in all of college football four years running, Marcus Trufant is a terrific defender that covers the pass, defends the run and impacts the game returning punts.

 

The Good: Terrific cover corner that's impacted the Wazzu defense ever since he was a true freshman.  Smooth in his hips transitioning off the line, displays solid footwork and top overall cover techniques.  Great head for the game, feel for the position and wherewithal on the field.  Times his deep defenses well, positions himself nicely against opponents and immediately locates the pass in the air.  Quick plant and break on  the ball, has a good move on the throw as well as solid ball skills.  Runs well laterally with receivers and adjusts in mid-air defending the pass.  Aggressive and mixes it up versus the run or screen plays.

The Bad:   Does not show the deep speed or ability to recover to the long pass.  

The Skinny: Can play either press  coverage or backed off the line where his physical and mental quickness will be put to optimal use.  Should quickly earn a starting spot at the next level.  

Projection: First round

 

3 – Andre Woolfolk, Oklahoma

 

A throwback to the days of the two-way player, Andre Woolfolk had his share of catching passes for the Oklahoma Sooners as well as defending them. Recently he's made most of his progress at cornerback and will be highly sought out this April.

 

The Good: Two-way player that could flourish as a press corner at the next level. Fluid with solid cover techniques, athletic and for the most part very natural on the football field. Smooth in his hips, loses nothing in transition off the line of scrimmage and displays a nice move on the ball defending the pass. Uses his large frame to box out opponents, times and anticipates his pass defenses well, displaying strength at the point of attack which helps him win out in battles. Excellent ball skills and also defends the run.

The Bad: Lacks the great closing or recovery speed. Does not always show good wherewithal nor does he seem in tune working with the safety at times. Has a history of injury concerns.

The Skinny: Need more experience as a defensive back as he's barely played one full season at the position coming into 2002. A solid cover corner at the next level if he stays healthy.

Projection: First round.

 

4 – Eugene Wilson, Illinois

 

Projection: Second round

 

5 – Dennis Weathersby, Oregon State

 

Projection: Second round

 

6 – Rod Babers, Texas

 

Projection: Second round

 

7 – Torrie Cox, Pittsburgh

 

Projection: Second round

 

8 – Kevin Garret, SMU

 

Projection: Third round

 

9 – Sammy Davis, Texas A&M

 

Aaron Glenn, Ray Mickens and Jason Webster; just a few of the solid cover corners to come from the Wrecking Crew defense out in College Station, Texas. Very soon the name of Sammy Davis will be added to that list.

 

The Good: Productive cover corner best in man-off coverage. Technically sound, runs well laterally and displays a good move on the ball defending the throw. Stays with his assignments, battles hard and also has a good head for the game. Times and anticipates his defenses well, stays focused and very tough. Takes on bigger opponents and plays while injured.

The Bad: Lacks the top corner speed and has difficulty staying step-for-step with opponents down the field. Does not always use his frame well.

The Skinny: Mental intangibles and quickness coupled with the lack of outright speed makes him perfect backed off the line. First day choice.

Projection: Third round

 

10 – Donald Strickland, Colorado


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