.NET Draft Spotlight: Sleepers at Cornerback

Even with the signing of Kelly Herndon during free agency, the Hawks will still be in the market for a corner or two during this weekend's NFL Draft.

CB Bobby Taylor, entering his 11th season, struggled through injuries last season and there are rumors that he may be a cap-casualty come June 1st. CB Kris Richard, a three-year veteran, played adequately last season as the third corner, but an upgrade is needed in talent and ability.

Seahawks.NET has already previewed the top 11 corners available in the draft, but since the Hawks are likely to be picking from the second tier of prospects, numbers 12-22, here are the best of the second bunch of players that will likely be taken in the late second round through the fourth and even the fifth round of draft.

12. Stanley Wilson, Stanford 5'11", 190 4.40 (40 Time)

Four-year starter for the Cardinal who has excellent athletic ability, but lacked aggressiveness on a consistent basis. He has excellent recovery speed and change of direction skills, but he lacks ideal strength to work in press-coverage. If he can become more aggressive, you could be looking at a real playmaker in the late second or early third round.

13. Dustin Fox, Ohio State 5'11", 195 4.48 (40 Time)

Smart, athletic corner who has played against some of the best in the country during his four-year career in Columbus. He reads routes very well and takes good angles to the ball. His only real drawback is the lack of top end speed. If he is not able to play corner at the NFL level, then he could easily move inside to free safety and quarterback the defensive backfield.

14. Daven Holly, Cincinnati 5'10", 190 4.38 (40 Time)

Holly is a fast-riser as teams make their final draft preparations. His speed and quickness have opened eyes over the last few weeks and teams have loved his production over his college career. While he lacks the ideal bulk and size that you look for in a corner, he is tough and plays bigger than you would expect. He held up very well in coverage with his quick change of direction, fluid hip-turn and solid route-diagnosis skills. He is probably best suited as a nickel or slot corner, who can use his incredible top end speed to run with most any receiver.

15. Derrick Johnson, Washington 5'11", 197 4.45 (40 Time)

Durability questions are the only thing holding Johnson back from being a second-rounder. He suffered a terrible foot injury following his freshman season and while he's been productive over the last three seasons, teams are still weary of his injury history. Johnson is an ideal cover-2 corner who plays well in zones. He has very good ball skills and while he isn't big, he isn't afraid to come up and lay a lick on a ball-carrier.

16. Kelvin Hayden, Illinois 6'0", 200 4.5 (40 Time)

Raw prospect who made the switch from wide receiver to corner last season. He was very productive in the Big 10 and seems to have really taken to the change over the last year. Hayden doesn't have blazing speed, but he matches up well strength-wise against most receivers and he won't get bullied off the line of scrimmage. His stock is rising as of this writing.

17. Stanford Routt, Houston 6'2", 193 4.39 (40 Time)

Routt's stock is rising so quickly that he may have moved all the way into the second round, when he was a day two selection just a week or two ago. Routt's physical attributes and elite speed are what make him such an intriguing prospect. Denver has really taken an interest in his services and he may be taken in the middle of the second round with their selection.

18. Karl Paymah, Washington State 6'0", 203 4.35 (40 Time)

Excellent athlete who has lacked consistency over the last two years. Playing in the Pac 10 and holding up well is always a good indicator of how a defensive back will hold up at the next level. While Paymah definitely held his own, he didn't dominate as much as was expected. When receivers beat him deep, he rarely caught them, even with his outstanding speed. Many teams are looking at him as a project who may be able to be coached up to be a solid starter at the next level.

19. Cedric Williams, Kansas State 5'9", 171 4.45 (40 Time)

Williams plays bigger than his frame would indicate and shows very good toughness. He lacks ideal top end speed but with his quickness, aggressiveness and strength he should be an ideal nickel or dime corner in the NFL.

20. Ellis Hobbs, Iowa State 5'9", 190 4.5 (40 time)

Outstanding collegiate corner who may have trouble with the double-routes run in the NFL. He has excellent recovery skills and he plays tough and aggressive defense when playing man-to-man. He makes plays and is a natural leader. He could sneak in to the third round if things fall his way.

21. Lamont Reid, North Carolina State 5'11", 195 4.55 (40 Time)

Four-year starter who can double as a return man as well. Reid is an excellent athlete who plays better in zones due to his lack of ideal speed. He is a smart, aggressive corner who changes directions well and, when focused, can match up against most receivers in the country.

22. Darrent Williams, Oklahoma State 5'9", 180 4.33 (40 Time)

Playing in the Big 12, Williams has faced several of the country's best wideouts over his four-year career. Williams plays much bigger than his frame would suggest and he is gritty and aggressive when covering men one-on-one. He had a tendency to freelance a little too much and that could be a problem at the next level. If he can play within the system, whoever selects him will be getting a very good third cornerback.

.NET Reporter Scott Eklund writes for Seahawks.NET every week. Feel free to contact him at sctthawk@yahoo.com.

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