Scouting The Top Cornerbacks

The Vikings could very well be in the market for a big-time cornerback during the draft, but after the top ones the talent level drops off. TFY Draft Preview's Tony Pauline gives his scouting report on the top five.

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1) Full Name: Terence Newman School: Kansas State Ht: 5-10.5 Wt: 185 40: 4.41 Year: 5Sr Number: 4

Bio: 2001; Second team All Big 12 selection and one of 10 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award. Started 11 games totaling 51/14//3, blocking two kicks and averaging 23.9 yards on nine kick returns. 2000; Started one game and totaled 21/3/1. 1999; Saw action in all 11 games, mostly on special teams.

Pos: 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. 

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

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


2) Name: Marcus Trufant School: Washington State Year: 4Sr  Ht: 5-10 Wt: 190 40: 4.51 Pos: CB

Bio: Four year starter who moved in with the first team as a true freshman. All-Conference selection last year after totaling 74 tackles, 3 interceptions and 3 pass defenses while also averaging 10.6 yards on 38 punt returns. All-League Honorable Mention pick as a junior when his numbers were 37/3/7 in seven games, missing four contests with a fractured bone in his hand. Again, Honorable Mention PAC 10 pick as a sophomore after totaling 53/3/13.

Pos: Terrific cover corner and a complete defender in all aspects of his game. Smooth transitioning off the line to run with opponents, displays a fluid back pedal and stays with the action. Easily runs downfield with receivers, quickly turns back to the pass and makes plays while the ball is in the air. Physical and will bump throughout the route or quickly moves up the field to defend either running or screen plays. Works well with the safety and always giving top effort. Displays great awareness and wherewithal on the field. Moves well laterally, uses his frame to box out opponents and possesses great ball skills. Heady and immediately reads or anticipates the action. Impacts the game returning punts.

Neg: Has difficulty with small, speedy receivers and not always quick following opponents out of their breaks.

Analysis: Complete shut down cornerback and a terrific cover man in all aspects. Combines fundamentals, instinct and athleticism to get the job done. Performed brilliantly during Senior Bowl Week and moved from a potential late first round pick into the top 15 selections.


3) Full Name: Andre Woolfolk School: Oklahoma Ht: 6-0 Wt: 183 40: 4.51 Year: 5Sr Number: 17

Bio: 2001; Third team Big 12 selection at receiver and All-Big 12 Academic Second Team. Started first four games at wide receiver and the first nine at cornerback, then missed the final three regular season games due to injury. Totaled 6/134/0 as a pass catcher and 19/1/2 at corner. 2000; Third team All-Big 12 by the league coaches, starting 12 games at receiver, posting 39/14.7/5.

Pos: 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.

Neg: 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.

Analysis: 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.


4) Name: Eugene Wilson School: Illinois Year: 4Sr Ht: 5-10 Wt: 190 40: 4.51 Pos: CB

Bio: Three year starter impacting the team as both a cornerback and punt returner. Second team All-Conference choice as a senior recording 68 tackles, 1 interception and defending 13 passes. Posted 70/6/30 as a junior when he was first team All-League selection. Broke into the starting lineup as a true sophomore and posted 37/4/16. Top season returning punts was 2002, averaging 11.7 on 23 returns, bringing 1 back for a score.

Pos: Solid man-to-man cover corner with a good feel for the game. Fluid back pedaling off the line, smooth in his hips and displays the skills to quickly plant and break on the pass. Possesses a burst of closing speed, boxes out opponents and positions himself well to defend the throw. Good ball skills and has opposing quarterbacks looking the other way. Physical, works to get off blocks and likes to mix it up and be involved in the action. Very cognizant and displays good recognition on the field.

Neg: Gambles and plays the ball rather than the man which gets him in trouble on occasion. Does more hitting than wrapping up. Disappointing senior campaign.

Analysis: Good cover man effective backed off the line of scrimmage, in zone coverage and could develop into a press corner. Slipped a bit in 2002 but has the skills to be a starter at the next level.


5) Name: Dennis Weathersby School: Oregon State Year: 5Sr Ht: 6-0.5 Wt: 202 40: 4.53 Pos: CB

Bio: Four year starter awarded both All-Conference and All-Academic honors every season since he was a red-shirt freshman. Totaled 44 tackles with 1 interception and 12 pass defenses last year after 27/2/10 as a junior and 17/2/13 the prior year. Made several All-America lists throughout his college career. Ran a pair of forty's under 4.4 at the combine.

Pos: Nice sized cornerback best in press coverage. Big and strong, jams receivers off the snap of the ball and stalls their release from the line of scrimmage. Fluid transitioning to run with opponents displaying solid footwork, hones a nice move on the ball and big enough that he'll out position even large pass catchers. Works well with his safety, quick recognizing plays or picking up his assignments and hard hitting at the point of attack.

Neg: Squats on the pass which gives him difficulty at times, bites on receivers moves and occasionally gets caught out of position. Not always focused or alert and occasionally blows assignments. Slow turning back to the ball in the air and has a history of face guarding opponents. Lacks the explosive plant and break on the throw which gives him difficulty with smaller, explosive opponents. Lacks the great burst of closing speed.

Analysis: Struggles in any scheme other than man-to-man press coverage, a system where he's been very effective. Could ultimately move to safety though his lack of explosion would cause concern.

For the complete rankings of the 2003 CB draft class, please visit TheInsiders.com's NFL Draft Player Rankings




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