B/R NFL 1,000: Top 100 Cornerbacks

Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterMarch 29, 2012

B/R NFL 1,000: Top 100 Cornerbacks

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    Football is a team sport, but there are times when the outcome of a game comes down to one-on-one situations. At no position on defense is that individual battle more tested than at cornerback.

    What is it that makes up the men who offenses spend a week trying to scheme around? Deion Sanders, Mike Haynes, Dick Lane, even Darrelle Revis and Charles Woodson—quarterbacks hate these players because they can single-handedly shut down the passing game.

    We've set out to find the best cornerbacks in the NFL—based on how well they tackle, stop the run, cover deep and shut down their man. Each starter has been assessed as to how well he exemplified those traits in 2011. The quest comes as part of the B/R NFL 1,000. The series offers an in-depth look at every position in the NFL, breaking down players' skills in a way never before seen on the Internet.

    B/R 1,000 rankings don't assess who had the best year, or even who has the most potential. Rather, players—in this case, cornerbacks—are judged on their current skills and mechanics, based on film study of the 2011 NFL preseason and regular season only.

    After hours spent scouting every starter and every potential starter, the top 100 cornerbacks have been scored on 10 criteria (more on the criteria here). In the slides that follow, we'll explain each player's strengths and weaknesses as the final ranking is revealed.

100. Jacob Lacey, Detroit Lions

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    Agility

    7

    Jacob Lacey is a good athlete with above-average agility and quickness. Where he struggles most is with change of direction and turning to run.

    Ball Skills

    3

    Will struggle to locate the ball in the air and lacks the speed to break on the ball and make plays.

    Burn Rate

    1

    Lacey doesn't defend the ball well, which leads to a high number of completions when quarterbacks target his man.

    Coverage

    1

    Much like his burn-rate score, Lacey is giving up a high number of targets each game. Quarterbacks know to go after him.

    Awareness

    6

    Lacey has solid awareness. He shows good ability to set up with proper leverage before the snap based on down and distance.

    Range

    4

    Without elite speed and agility, Lacey's range is limited. He struggles to get to the ball in flight due to poor angles and a lack of ideal closing speed.

    Run Defense

    6

    Isn't afraid to step up and take on the run. Lacey has a good feel and doesn't miss many tackles when coming up for the ball.

    Speed

    7

    The 24-year-old has above-average speed, but lacks elite top-end speed.

    Tackle

    5

    Lacey does a good job with initial impact, but will lose his hold on a ball-carrier due to a lack of strength. 

    Health

    10

    Did not miss a game during the 2011 season.

    Overall

    50

    A good rotational cornerback with some ability in the run game, Lacey may be best served in the slot, where he can be more physical and his lack of range isn't a huge detriment.

99. Drew Coleman, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Agility

    7

    Coleman has the flexibility to turn his hips and run, but is a little slow-footed and can be tripped up with a hard inside-out move.

    Ball Skills

    6.5

    Shows good hands and nice leaping ability to go up and get the football. Can be a difference-maker when tracking the ball.

    Burn Rate

    1

    Gives up way too many completions. Coleman doesn't do a good job getting between the receiver and the football. 

    Coverage

    1

    When looking at how many targets Coleman faced in 2011, it's easy to see why quarterbacks went after him early and often.

    Awareness

    5.5

    Has a good feel for where the ball is going, but is often late on his jumps. Will take far too many risks.

    Range

    3

    Coleman has enough range to close on the ball within five yards, but asking him to extend beyond that is a reach.

    Run Defense

    6

    Coleman will come up and make plays on the ball without hesitation. Does a good job bringing down runners.

    Speed

    6

    Coleman has enough speed to handle many second-tier wideouts, but can be eaten alive by the faster players in the game.

    Tackle

    5

    Lacks great wrap-up technique and can struggle to get the job done when asked to tackle in space, such as after a completion.

    Health

    10

    Played in every game during the 2011 season.

    Overall

    51

    Drew Coleman was one of the few Jacksonville defenders to stay healthy all season, which put considerable pressure on him to deliver. After charting and scouting his games, Coleman looks like a solid nickelback with sound spot-starting skills.

98. Donald Strickland, New York Jets

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    Agility

    7

    Strickland has the quickness and agility needed to play the position, but lacks elite-level footwork and speed.

    Ball Skills

    2

    Not a factor when making a play on the ball, Strickland lacks the tools to close on the football or go up for an interception.

    Burn Rate

    6

    Does a good job holding his ground. Will fight for the ball and does a good job getting in front of the pass.

    Coverage

    1

    Can slack off in coverage, allowing his man to get the needed space to tempt quarterbacks. Gives up a very high number of targets.

    Awareness

    6

    Strickland has above-average awareness for the position, showing a good understanding of opposing offenses and basic route diagnosis.

    Range

    4.5

    Without great speed or agility, Strickland has limited range. 

    Run Defense

    3

    Doesn't do a great job breaking down in space to take on the run. Will take poor angles and is easy to block.

    Speed

    7

    While not considered fast, Strickland has enough speed to keep up with receivers in a press scheme.

    Tackle

    6

    Does a good job making plays on the ball, but lacks the strength to be a force in the secondary. Is much better making tackles post-catch than against the run.

    Health

    9

    Strickland missed one game last season.

    Overall

    51.5

    A solid No. 4 option in New York, Strickland is good enough to cover in the slot, where he can redirect at the line and affect the timing of receivers. Where he struggles is in keeping up with quicker players.

97. Keenan Lewis, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Agility

    7

    Lewis has the flexibility to turn his hips and run, but hesitates too often at this point and doesn't have the quickness to recover.

    Ball Skills

    5

    Shows good hands and a confidence when attacking the ball. 

    Burn Rate

    3

    Lewis is very inexperienced, and it shows when he's targeted. He'll guess wrong on a route and leave his man wide open.

    Coverage

    4

    When disciplined, Lewis is very good and can lock down his man. The key is more consistency, which will only come with more discipline.

    Awareness

    3.5

    Is still very green and learning the intricacies of the position. With experience, he has room for improvement.

    Range

    5

    At this time, has limited range in finding and redirecting to the ball. His angles could be much cleaner.

    Run Defense

    4

    Must improve and learn to keep his outside shoulder free, but Lewis has the strength to be a factor against the run.

    Speed

    7

    Lewis has above-average speed and is quick enough to cover his bases. Has much better burst than long speed.

    Tackle

    3.5

    An area where more coaching is needed, Lewis will duck his head and can be too timid at the point of attack.

    Health

    10

    Did not miss a game in 2011.

    Overall

    52

    Lewis is a young player with great potential, but he has to work on his coverage skills and awareness before he's ready to be a starter. The physical tools are there to be very good down the road.

96. Kevin Barnes, Washington Redskins

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    Agility

    6

    Barnes is a good athlete with above-average agility and quickness. Where he struggles most is with change of direction and turning to run.

    Ball Skills

    7

    Can be a threat to go up and get the football. Barnes has the hands to turn a poorly timed pass into an interception.

    Burn Rate

    3

    A major issue in Barnes' game: He has to do a better job preventing catches when targeted. 

    Coverage

    4

    Quarterbacks in the NFC East are not afraid to challenge Barnes. He's targeted often, especially on the outside.

    Awareness

    5.5

    Shows good awareness based on down and distance to set up with proper leverage before the snap.

    Range

    5.5

    Barnes' range is right about average, as he doesn't possess elite closing speed, but does a good job reading the offense and making decisions.

    Run Defense

    4

    Barnes isn't afraid to close on the ball, but he isn't strong enough to take on blockers or push the run back inside.

    Speed

    7

    Barnes possesses excellent speed for the position.

    Tackle

    2

    A poor tackler who often comes in high, Barnes must learn to break down and use his lower body to power tackles.

    Health

    9

    Sat out one game during the 2011 season with injury.

    Overall

    53

    There is a lot to like about Barnes, notably his ball skills and aggressive style of play. He has to learn to settle into the position and take more calculated risks. If he can improve his run defense and tackling skills, the rest will come with experience for the Redskins' 2009 draft pick.

95. Dominique Franks, Atlanta Falcons

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    Agility

    9

    Shows the quickness and balance that few possess. Has clean change-of-direction skills.

    Ball Skills

    6

    Shows good hands and nice leaping ability. Franks can be a difference-maker when tracking the ball.

    Burn Rate

    2.5

    Will allow a high number of catches when targeted. Does a poor job knocking down the ball.

    Coverage

    7

    Has the tools to be a real force in coverage, but could be better at staying with his man.

    Awareness

    2

    Franks will lose concentration at times, allowing players to get deep. Doesn't work well with the safety to close gaps.

    Range

    6.5

    Shows good change-of-direction skills to adjust and make plays on the ball. Quicker hips would improve his score.

    Run Defense

    4

    Must improve and learn to keep his outside shoulder free, but has good overall impact.

    Speed

    7

    While not considered fast, Franks has enough speed to keep up with receivers in a press scheme.

    Tackle

    1

    Timid and ineffective as a tackler—a major weakness for the young corner.

    Health

    8

    Franks missed three games during the 2011 season.

    Overall

    53

    Franks wasn't asked to do much damage in 2011, but heading into his third season, he needs to further develop in coverage and as a tackler. Franks' athletic ability places him among the best in the league, but his execution on the field has been poor.

94. E.J. Biggers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Agility

    7

    A very good overall athlete, Biggers is exceptionally fast but can be stiff in his lower body when changing direction.

    Ball Skills

    2

    Not a threat to pick off many passes due to poor hands and lack of field presence.

    Burn Rate

    5.5

    Does a good job limiting receptions, but still gives up too many catches.

    Coverage

    3

    Will see his fair share of targets, as quarterbacks naturally test younger cornerbacks. Biggers must work to close the gap in coverage.

    Awareness

    5

    Average awareness. Biggers needs more reps and more film study.

    Range

    5.5

    Has amazing speed to close on the ball, but lacks the experience to diagnose in time to make a play.

    Run Defense

    3.5

    Weak at the point of attack, Biggers is more likely to be walled off by a receiver than to make the tackle.

    Speed

    9

    Among the faster players in the NFL, Biggers can chase down the best and is tough to take deep in coverage.

    Tackle

    3

    Not a strong tackler, Biggers needs to get lower and put more of his body into the tackle.

    Health

    10

    Biggers played all 16 in 2011.

    Overall

    53.5

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a talented young player to keep an eye on in the Miami native. E.J Biggers is quick off the ball and has the speed to be a major threat after the interception. Biggers' game is all upside at this point, and is worth watching.

93. Lito Sheppard, Free Agent

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    Agility

    8

    Now 30, his speed may have regressed some, but Sheppard hasn't lost his quickness in space. Still has the fluidity and hips to turn and run.

    Ball Skills

    4

    No longer a threat to attack the ball and create turnovers, Sheppard can disrupt passes but won't convert many interceptions.

    Burn Rate

    4

    Can be hurt when receivers make a strong cut. Will give up receptions over the top.

    Coverage

    3.5

    If paired against a faster receiver, Sheppard can be exposed. 

    Awareness

    6

    Has good experience and overall knowledge of the game, but lacks the discipline to be scored higher.

    Range

    5

    Without elite speed, Sheppard has to rely on angles to get to the ball. There are too many times where he loops around traffic.

    Run Defense

    5

    Sheppard knows how to take on the run, but he will still let too many ball-carriers slide by.

    Speed

    7

    Has lost a step, but Sheppard still has enough speed to keep up with receivers.

    Tackle

    5

    Struggles at times to connect and pull down the receiver. Will bounce off runners' pads.

    Health

    6

    Sheppard battled injury in 2011, missing seven games.

    Overall

    53.5

    A smart, experienced veteran, Sheppard brought leadership to the Oakland locker room last season. Should the Raiders decide to bring back Sheppard, he will likely be asked to fill a larger role in 2012 with the departure of Stanford Routt.

92. Joselio Hanson, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Agility

    7

    Hanson has the flexibility to turn his hips and run, but is a little slow-footed and can be shaken with a hard inside-out move.

    Ball Skills

    2

    Not a factor when making a play on the ball. Lacks the tools to close on the football or go up for an interception.

    Burn Rate

    5

    Average at finding the football when in zone coverage. Could do a better job reaching for the ball when locked up in man coverage to limit receptions.

    Coverage

    4

    Allows quarterbacks to convert a high percentage of their passes when going his way.

    Awareness

    6.5

    Does a good job recognizing routes and making moves to adjust on the fly. 

    Range

    5

    Has average closing speed, and could benefit from better quicker and more flexible hips.

    Run Defense

    3

    Doesn't do a great job breaking down in space to take on the run. Will take poor angles and is easy to block.

    Speed

    7

    Has enough speed to keep up in coverage and chase down ball-carriers. 

    Tackle

    6

    Does a good job making plays on the ball, but lacks the strength to be a force in the secondary. Much better making tackles post-catch than against the run.

    Health

    10

    Played all 16 games in 2011.

    Overall

    55.5

    The Eagles like Hanson enough to give him a larger role in 2012 and have Asante Samuel on the trade block, feeling Hanson's a safer option in the slot. He won't take many chances on the ball, but he's solid in man-up coverage and capable when facing down the ball.

91. Kyle Wilson, New York Jets

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    Agility

    9

    Shows the quickness and balance that few possess. Has clean change-of-direction skills.

    Ball Skills

    6

    Shows good hands and nice leaping ability. Wilson can be a difference-maker when tracking the ball.

    Burn Rate

    3

    Will allow a high number of catches when targeted. Does a poor job knocking down the ball.

    Coverage

    3

    Can be taken advantage of in coverage. Lacks the awareness to keep targets to a minimum.

    Awareness

    5

    Has yet to develop into the smart cornerback who can read the receiver and stop the ball.

    Range

    5.5

    Has average ability at this time to find the ball and redirect to get there. His angles could be much cleaner.

    Run Defense

    4

    Will bring down runners here and there, but is otherwise weak against the run and can be easily blocked out of a play.

    Speed

    7

    Doesn't lack speed, but is well behind the faster players in the game.

    Tackle

    4

    Wilson has decent technique, but lacks the strength to maintain a tackle after first impact.

    Health

    10

    Did not miss a game in 2011 season.

    Overall

    56.5

    The Jets' first-round pick in 2010, Wilson hasn't lived up to his selection thus far. The physical skills are all what you would expect from a starting CB, but he still makes rookie mistakes in reading the ball and sticking with his coverage.

90. Benny Sapp, Minnesota Vikings

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    Agility

    7

    Sapp has good change-of-direction skills and the short-area quickness to be effective in the slot.

    Ball Skills

    4

    Won't turn many passes into interceptions, but does a nice job getting his hands on the ball and at least knocking passes down.

    Burn Rate

    4

    Sapp does a fair job staying with his man, but he'll give up completions when he could extend farther to make a play on the ball.

    Coverage

    5

    Sapp is targeted right about the average in terms of targets per play for a NFL cornerback. QBs look his way often due to gaps in coverage.

    Awareness

    6.5

    Shows good inside-out awareness, knowing where he's at on the field. Can get turned around at times.

    Range

    5.5

    With above-average speed and agility, Sapp has enough quickness to get to the ball. His angles could be more precise.

    Run Defense

    7.5

    Will stick his nose on the ball and make plays against the run. Sapp does a very good job stopping the ball.

    Speed

    7

    Has enough speed to be an impact, but can’t always chase from behind. 

    Tackle

    5

    When faced with a run play, Sapp can come up and take on the football. What he doesn't do well is tackle in space.

    Health

    5

    Sapp missed eight games during the 2011 season.

    Overall

    56.5

    Benny Sapp is a solid player whose 2011 season was hurt by an ankle and back injury. Had he been healthy, Sapp's play in range and coverage likely would have been stronger. As it stands, he's solid against the run and can be a lockdown player in the slot.

89. Antwaun Molden, New England Patriots

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    Agility

    7

    Molden has good overall quickness, but can be stiff in his lateral movement. 

    Ball Skills

    6

    During the 2011 season, Molden displayed good hands and an ability to high-point the ball in coverage.

    Burn Rate

    4

    Molden doesn't shut down receivers, but is generally in good location to stop the ball when passes come his way.

    Coverage

    3.5

    Molden will find himself out of position often, and struggles at times to work at handing off coverage to the safety.

    Awareness

    5.5

    An improving player, Molden does a much better job working when the ball is in front of him.

    Range

    5.5

    Has average closing speed, and could benefit from better flexibility to quickly flip his hips and run.

    Run Defense

    4

    Molden has the agility to track the ball, but he's not likely to jump into the action and help stop the ball on run defense.

    Speed

    7

    Molden has the speed to keep up with receivers on the outside, but isn't considered a top runner. 

    Tackle

    4.5

    Struggles at times to break down on the ball-carrier and force the runner to make a decision. Lacks strength at the point of attack.

    Health

    10

    Molden didn't miss a game during the 2011 season.

    Overall

    57

    Molden, along with the rest of the Patriots secondary, struggled in coverage last season. He's a solid athlete with good quickness, but his lapses are too often in coverage.

88. Aaron Berry, Detroit Lions

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    Agility

    7

    Berry may not be a fast-twitch athlete, but he's good enough in space.

    Ball Skills

    5

    Doesn't have great hands, but does a good job sticking his hand in and breaking up passes.

    Burn Rate

    4

    Can be a liability in coverage when targeted, and doesn’t always keep up with his man. A lack of discipline really shows up here.

    Coverage

    4

    Despite good overall skills, quarterbacks will target and attack Barry for poor coverage.

    Awareness

    6

    Can be hot and cold. There are times when he locks down his man, but his inconsistency and mistakes lead to a lower score.

    Range

    4.5

    Has average closing speed, but lacks the fluidity to quickly flip his hips and run.

    Run Defense

    6

    Berry has a good feel for the run and doesn't miss many tackles when coming up for the ball. Would benefit from better, cleaner angles.

    Speed

    7

    Has enough speed to be an impact, but can’t always chase from behind. 

    Tackle

    6

    Does a good job making plays on the ball, but lacks the strength to be a force in the backfield. Much more effective against the catch than run.

    Health

    8

    Missed three games during the 2011 season.

    Overall

    57.5

    An undrafted free agent out of Pittsburgh in 2010, Aaron Berry will get his shot to see more action in 2012. But based on his play last season, there may be worry in Detroit. The potential is there, but he has to improve in coverage, not to mention get better when the ball is coming his way.

87. Quentin Jammer, San Diego Chargers

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    Agility

    7

    At the advanced age of 32, Jammer doesn't have top-level quickness and can be stiff in transitions.

    Ball Skills

    3

    Doesn't break well on the ball to disrupt passes, and lacks the hands to turn passes into interceptions.

    Burn Rate

    2.5

    Jammer's skills have regressed; he's allowing too many receptions in his advanced age.

    Coverage

    5

    Maintains close contact, but can lose his position through cuts and breaks.

    Awareness

    7

    Jammer has very good experience and the knowledge to find the ball. Is rarely out of position.

    Range

    5

    Takes very good angles when attacking the ball, but lacks the closing speed to get there in time.

    Run Defense

    6

    Jammer is strong against the run, showing the strength to take on blockers while keeping his arms free to make the tackle.

    Speed

    7

    Jammer has solid speed when compared to other cornerbacks in the NFL. 

    Tackle

    5

    Has good wrap-up skills, but can take a beating on the edge when he's in a one-on-one situation.

    Health

    10

    Jammer played in all 16 games during the 2011 season.

    Overall

    57.5

    Quentin Jammer's career has been very solid, but the 2011 season marked a decline in his skill set. Jammer's speed and agility are starting to go downhill, but he helps mitigate the inevitable with experience and impeccable positioning.

86. Jerraud Powers, Indianapolis Colts

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    Agility

    8

    A top-level athlete, Powers has the quickness and flexibility to stand apart.

    Ball Skills

    6

    Doesn't lack confidence, but his hands are less than stellar.

    Burn Rate

    3

    Powers gives up receptions by the bunches. Lacks the toughness to fight for the ball in the air.

    Coverage

    4

    Powers will flash All-Star ability at times, but then he'll disappear for a game or two. At this point he's maddeningly inconsistent.

    Awareness

    6.5

    Powers flashes good awareness for a younger player. He has nice inside technique and does a good job tracking the ball.

    Range

    6

    Is quick to identify the ball and stick his foot in the dirt to attack the route. Shows good closing speed.

    Run Defense

    5

    An average player against the run, Powers doesn't have the strength to beat blockers on the edge.

    Speed

    7

    Powers has more burst than long-distance speed. 

    Tackle

    5

    Does a good job making plays on the ball, but not someone opposing coaches have to account for at all times. Much better making tackles post-catch than against the run.

    Health

    7

    Powers missed four games during the 2011 season.

    Overall

    57.5

    One of the better cornerbacks for the Indianapolis Colts, Powers would be rated higher with better health and if he was better at limiting receptions. For a highly targeted player, he's allowing too many catches.

85. Orlando Scandrick, Dallas Cowboys

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    Agility

    8

    A very good athlete with smooth transitions and great burst. 

    Ball Skills

    4

    Will drop passes here and there, but does a good job knocking passes down. 

    Burn Rate

    2

    Can be a liability in coverage for Dallas when targeted. Is much better stopping the ball when in zone coverage than man.

    Coverage

    2

    Is targeted often due to poor ball skills and a tendency to allow space in his routes.

    Awareness

    5.5

    Scandrick has above-average awareness for the position, showing a good understanding of the offense and basic route diagnosis.

    Range

    5.5

    Is limited in how far he can go between pass and catch despite amazing speed. Takes poor angles to the football.

    Run Defense

    7.5

    A tough player against the run, Scandrick isn't afraid to take on blocks and make tackles.

    Speed

    9

    Exceptional quickness and burst, Scandrick is one of the fastest corners in the league.

    Tackle

    4

    Takes on blockers well, but has trouble wrapping up and taking on ball-carriers when face up.

    Health

    10

    Missed zero during the 2011 season.

    Overall

    57.5

    Orlando Scandrick is among the better athletes at the cornerback position, but he has to be better at stopping completions. Quarterbacks are pushing far too many catches past his coverage.

84. Javier Arenas, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Agility

    9

    A well-known athlete, Arenas has game-breaking quickness and acceleration.

    Ball Skills

    6

    Arenas has the hands to convert to interceptions, but must do a better job getting into position.

    Burn Rate

    3

    Did a poor job shutting down his man last season. Is giving up too many catches in the KC secondary.

    Coverage

    4

    Receivers are able to separate from Arenas, as he has trouble changing direction to keep up with his assignments.

    Awareness

    5.5

    Still learning the game, Arenas can get out of position at times and will bite on double moves.

    Range

    6

    Arenas has incredible closing speed, but takes poor angles and can be late to diagnose the play.

    Run Defense

    3.5

    Timid when asked to step up and take on the run. Content on letting the runner get to him, rather than initiating the contact.

    Speed

    8

    Arenas is much more quick than fast, but still has very good speed. 

    Tackle

    3

    Arenas lacks the strength to attack the ball and shows poor technique in space.

    Health

    10

    Played in every game during the 2011 season.

    Overall

    58

    So far in his career, Arenas has been used more as a special teams ace, but he's showing great potential as a nickel corner. He has the tools to physically handle the position, but must work on his ability to read the quarterback and recognize routes.

83. Dimitri Patterson, Cleveland Browns

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    Agility

    7

    Patterson is a good athlete with above-average agility and quickness.

    Ball Skills

    2

    A non-factor for the Browns when making a play on the ball. Lacks the tools to close on the football or go up for an interception.

    Burn Rate

    7

    Will give up some completions, but limits the percentage of targets coming his way to be converted into catches.

    Coverage

    3

    Can be taken advantage of in the passing game. Needs to learn how to see and read routes as they happen.

    Awareness

    5.5

    Patterson has above-average awareness for the position, showing a good understanding of the offense and basic route diagnosis.

    Range

    5.5

    Has average closing speed, and could benefit from better flexibility to quickly flip his hips and run.

    Run Defense

    3

    Is not a factor when asked to stuff the run, which is largely attributable to poor angles.

    Speed

    7

    Patterson has enough speed to be an impact, but can’t always chase from behind. 

    Tackle

    9

    Does a very good job attacking the football and making tackles in space. A wrap-up tackler.

    Health

    9

    Missed just one game during 2011.

    Overall

    58

    Patterson is a solid No. 3 cornerback for the Browns, but has notable weaknesses preventing him from being a starter at this point. Patterson has good talent and potential, but to date, has not displayed the cover skills of a starter.

82. Justin King, St. Louis Rams

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    Agility

    8

    A great all-around athlete with elite quickness and change-of-direction skills. A very fluid-moving player.

    Ball Skills

    5

    Capable of using his raw talent to disrupt pass plays, but is not always on the ball.

    Burn Rate

    3

    Did a poor job getting between the ball and the receiver. Needs to show a better ability to stick with his man.

    Coverage

    2

    Close to being a bottom-barrel player in coverage. King has to work on awareness and reaction time.

    Awareness

    5.5

    Does a good job finding the ball when it's in front of him, but will get lost when tracking the ball deep.

    Range

    6

    Has average closing speed, and could benefit from better flexibility to quickly flip his hips and run.

    Run Defense

    7.5

    Good enough, but there is room for improvement. Doesn’t always attack the ball and can be slow to diagnose. Lack of agility and speed can be an issue.

    Speed

    9

    King has elite speed with top-notch burst off the line. 

    Tackle

    3

    Shows poor technique when asked to take on ball-carriers. Lacks the strength to take on blockers.

    Health

    10

    Did not miss time during the 2011 season.

    Overall

    59

    Justin King is a phenomenal athlete who has yet to learn the finer details of coverage for the Rams defense. If he can improve his positioning, and make better plays on the ball, he's athletic enough to move up the list quickly.

81. Chris Harris, Denver Broncos

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    Agility

    7

    A good, but not great athlete. Shows poor body control at times.

    Ball Skills

    6

    Doesn’t stand out from the crowd, and his average interception and pass-defense numbers reinforce what we saw on film. Harris is good, but not a playmaker. 

    Burn Rate

    1

    Harris is a prime target for opposing quarterbacks to pick on. Among the worst attempts-to-completion percentages.

    Coverage

    1

    During the eight games charted, Harris ranked in the bottom 10 of the NFL in terms of attempts allowed per game.

    Awareness

    4.5

    Harris doesn't struggle to find the ball, but he can be confused by solid combination routes.

    Range

    4.5

    Can be a step late at times. Is more likely to get there in time for the tackle, not the interception.

    Run Defense

    10

    A strong tackler who does a great job taking on blockers. Harris has the technique, aggression and strength to be a difference-maker against the run.

    Speed

    8

    Able to successfully close on the ball at most any distance. 

    Tackle

    7

    Strong at the point of attack, but doesn’t have the best technique.

    Health

    10

    Healthy during all weeks of the 2011 season.

    Overall

    59

    Harris is a productive and talented tackler, perhaps one of the best in the entire NFL when asked to fight off blockers and stuff the run. Where Harris comes up short is in man coverage. His stiff hips are a glaring and troublesome weakness.

80. Tracy Porter, Denver Broncos

21 of 101

     

    Agility

    8

    A very good athlete, but not quite at that elite level. Very good flexibility and quickness.

    Ball Skills

    5.5

    Solid in 2011, but missed on some opportunities due to limited awareness and range.

    Burn Rate

    3

    Average at finding the football when in zone coverage. Could do a better job reaching for the ball when locked up in man coverage.

    Coverage

    3

    Can be picked on by good quarterbacks. Is easy to look off and get running away from the target.

    Awareness

    6.5

    Porter finds himself in the right place at the right time, but he also guesses frequently and must do a better job making disciplined decisions.

    Range

    5

    Does everything you’d want at the position, but his success rate of making plays on the ball could be higher.

    Run Defense

    6.5

    Good enough, but there is room for improvement. Doesn’t always attack the ball and can be slow to diagnose.

    Speed

    8

    Has the speed to quickly close on the ball. 

    Tackle

    5.5

    Will let too many players run through weak arm tackles. Has to be stronger at the point of attack. 

    Health

    9

    Porter missed two games during the 2011 season.

    Overall

    60

    The hero of the New Orleans Saints' Super Bowl win, Tracy Porter didn't have a great 2011 campaign. He struggled with quicker receivers on the outside and allowed too many big plays over the top.

79. Alan Ball, Dallas Cowboys

22 of 101

     

    Agility

    6

    There is a lot to like, but needs to consistently show more fluid movement and feet.

    Ball Skills

    4

    Will make a play here and there, but is not a big factor. Limited ability to pull down the football.

    Burn Rate

    4.5

    Needs to be a second quicker reading and reacting. A lack of discipline is really evident here.

    Coverage

    4

    Quarterbacks did not respect Ball in 2011, going his way often and converting a high percentage of passes.

    Awareness

    5.5

    Ball can be hot and cold. There are times when he locks down his man, but is prone to inconsistency and mistakes.

    Range

    5

    Has average closing speed, and could benefit from better flexibility to quickly flip his hips and run.

    Run Defense

    4

    Ball would benefit from better, cleaner angles, as he often takes himself out of the play.

    Speed

    7

    Has enough speed to be an impact, but can’t always chase from behind. 

    Tackle

    10

    When Ball finds himself in place to make the tackle, he's exceptional. Has very good form and knows how to break down to take out the legs of runners.

    Health

    10

    Played in every game during the 2011 season.

    Overall

    60

    Ball did a fine job in taking on third and fourth receivers during in 2011, but he's not yet a top-quality starter. Ball is great against the run, but has to improve his coverage, ball skills and awareness.

78. Josh Gordy, St. Louis Rams

23 of 101

     

    Agility

    7

    There is a lot to like here from Gordy, but he needs to consistently show better transition skills and feet to bump his score higher.

    Ball Skills

    6

    Shows good hands, and is enough of a leaper to go up and get the football. Had three interceptions in 2011.

    Burn Rate

    3

    Gordy can be a liability when targeted. If a quarterback does test him, chances are it will be a completion.

    Coverage

    7

    Gordy was thrown at a surprisingly low amount in 2011, as teams respected his ability to stay within close quarters.

    Awareness

    5

    Gordy can be inconsistent at times, as he gambles on routes and will make mistakes.

    Range

    6

    Shows good change-of-direction skills to adjust and make plays on the ball.

    Run Defense

    6

    Can be passive at times, waiting for the blocker to get to him. Must be better at anticipating the run and attacking the ball.

    Speed

    8

    Excellent burst at the snap, but not elite straight-line speed. Would put Gordy in the high-4.4 range. There aren’t many players he can’t catch.

    Tackle

    2.5

    Can let runners slip past too often. Fails to completely wrap up and will attempt too many arm tackles.

    Health

    10

    Played in every game during the 2011 season.

    Overall

    60.5

    One of the players we didn't expect to be this high on the list, but Gordy graded out very high when viewed on film. He's a top-level athlete with good run defense, but must be a better tackler and more consistent in coverage.

77. DeMarcus Van Dyke, Oakland Raiders

24 of 101

     

    Agility

    7

    There is a lot to like, but does display stiff hips and heavy feet at times.

    Ball Skills

    5

    Will make a play here and there, but doesn't scare any defenses.

    Burn Rate

    8

    Has the talent and potential to move to the top of the NFL. Van Dyke has very good coverage skills and the range to be a factor. 

    Coverage

    8

    Van Dyke is quick to react and has the footwork to make plays on the ball.

    Awareness

    3

    Will lose his positioning in coverage too often, and can be beaten hard with double moves.

    Range

    7.5

    Shows good change-of-direction skills to adjust and make plays on the ball.

    Run Defense

    2

    Biggest weakness. Needs to assert himself here and offer more than weak arm tackles.

    Speed

    10

    Sprinter-style speed. Van Dyke timed well below 4.40 seconds in the 40-yard dash. 

    Tackle

    1

    Very weak tackler who isn't strong enough or aggressive enough to be a factor bringing down ball-carriers.

    Health

    9

    Missed one game during the 2011 season.

    Overall

    60.5

    There were laughs when the Oakland Raiders used a third-round pick on the speedy Van Dyke in the 2011 draft, but his coverage skills were very impressive in his rookie campaign. With rare speed, Van Dyke has incredible potential.

76. D.J. Moore, Chicago Bears

25 of 101

     

    Agility

    9

    D.J. Moore has special quickness and balance. Has clean change-of-direction skills.

    Ball Skills

    8

    Does a very good job tracking the ball in flight, and adjusts well to the ball in air. Can catch with ease.

    Burn Rate

    2

    Has major improvements to make in man coverage.

    Coverage

    3

    Can be taken advantage of in the passing game. Lacks the awareness to keep targets to a minimum.

    Awareness

    5.5

    Moore has above-average awareness for the position, showing a good understanding of the offense and basic route diagnosis.

    Range

    6

    Moore has good closing speed, but more fluidity in space would improve his score.

    Run Defense

    5

    Can make plays against the run, but struggles to disengage from blockers.

    Speed

    7

    While not considered fast, Moore has enough speed to keep up with receivers in a press scheme.

    Tackle

    7.5

    Does a good job making plays on the ball, but lacks the strength to be a force in the secondary. Much better taking on receivers after the catch, as opposed to the run.

    Health

    8

    Moore missed three games during the 2011 season.

    Overall

    61

    D.J. Moore shows good ability to make tackles in space and when giving chase, but doesn't have the cover skills needed to be a starter in the NFL. He is often targeted and allows far too many completions.

75. Cary Williams, Baltimore Ravens

26 of 101

     

    Agility

    8

    A very good athlete with smooth transitions and great burst.

    Ball Skills

    1

    Is not a threat to pick off passes or make plays on the ball.

    Burn Rate

    7.5

    Allows just a small percentage of targets coming his way to be converted into catches.

    Coverage

    3

    Can be taken advantage of in the passing game. Lacks the defensive skills to keep targets to a minimum.

    Awareness

    6

    Williams shows good ability to set up with proper leverage before the snap based on down and distance.

    Range

    5.5

    He shows good ability to set up with proper leverage before the snap, based on down and distance.

    Run Defense

    4

    Must improve and learn to keep his outside shoulder free.

    Speed

    8

    Has quick feet and dynamic acceleration.

    Tackle

    8

    Breaks down well in space, lowering himself to take out the legs of runners.

    Health

    10

    Did not miss a start in 2011 season.

    Overall

    61

    Williams was a good rotational cornerback in 2011 for John Harbaugh and Co., showing the speed and tackling ability to make an impact. Williams has a future playing in the slot, where his toughness and physical nature make him a lock to press smaller receivers.

74. Sean Smith, Miami Dolphins

27 of 101

     

    Agility

    8

    Has upper-level quickness and natural strength.

    Ball Skills

    7

    Gifted with 6'3" size, Smith will bring down his share of interceptions. Does a good job locating the ball and then racing to it. Could take better angles, however.

    Burn Rate

    5

    Is targeted often, and when quarterbacks throw his way, he’s likely to allow completions.

    Coverage

    5

    Is easy to look off and get running away from the target.

    Awareness

    5.5

    Has a good understanding of the offense and basic route diagnosis.

    Range

    6.5

    Will get caught up in traffic at times, but takes strong angles.

    Run Defense

    5

    Can make plays on the run, but struggles to shed blockers.

    Speed

    7

    Enough to handle second-tier wideouts.

    Tackle

    2.5

    Often too timid at the point of attack.

    Health

    10

    Did not miss a start in 2011 season.

    Overall

    61.5

    A highly touted prospect coming out of college, the former Utah Ute struggled in 2011 after a promising 2010 campaign. His inability to bring down ball-carriers is an issue, as he's letting too many tackles go to waste. Sean Smith is athletic enough to dominate, but he has to show better effort and more consistency.

73. Jimmy Smith, Baltimore Ravens

28 of 101

     

    Agility

    8

    Makes strong transitions. Excellent burst.

    Ball Skills

    5

    Shows good hands and a confidence when attacking the ball.

    Burn Rate

    4

    Allows a high percentage of completions.

    Coverage

    5

    Gets picked on by better quarterbacks.

    Awareness

    5

    Has the essential smarts to see what's coming.

    Range

    6.5

    Good on angles, but doesn't always navigate traffic well.

    Run Defense

    6

    Good instincts and tackling skills.

    Speed

    8

    Can pick up speed as he closes in. 

    Tackle

    7

    Aggressive and technically sound.

    Health

    7

    Missed four games for the Ravens in an injury-prone 2011.

    Overall

    61.5

    Jimmy Smith is a naturally aggressive cornerback who was often caught guessing last season. Smith has the skill set to become a very solid DB, but injuries in 2011 and the fact that his first offseason was cut short by the NFL lockout didn't help his cause. Look for Smith to make a big jump in 2012.

72. Al Harris, St. Louis Rams

29 of 101

     

    Agility

    6

    Pretty quick, especially for a 14-year veteran, but doesn't shift his weight too well.

    Ball Skills

    2

    Not much of a threat closing in or in the air.

    Burn Rate

    5.5

    Not a sure thing for foes in the pass, but vulnerable.

    Coverage

    7.5

    Too prone to losing contact, but capable of excellence.

    Awareness

    7.5

    Strong recognition of both quarterback and receiver.

    Range

    5.5

    Sets up right to get in position depending on the down and distance.

    Run Defense

    4

    Can be forced out of the play too easily.

    Speed

    6

    Okay, but even second-tier receivers can beat him. 

    Tackle

    8

    Good form—gets low.

    Health

    10

    Did not miss a start in 2011.

    Overall

    62

    Al Harris is moving into the part of his career where his experience and leadership are as valuable as his cover skills. He's lost a step in terms of speed and agility, but he still puts himself in great position to make a play on the ball and limit receptions.

71. Sam Shields, Green Bay Packers

30 of 101

     

    Agility

    7

    Decent hip flexibility, but still can be tripped up with a hard inside-out move.

    Ball Skills

    8

    When he's in position, does a very good job tracking the ball and getting to it. Shields pulled down four interceptions last season.

    Burn Rate

    5

    A frequent target for opponents.

    Coverage

    6

    Does a solid job staying within reach of his assignment.

    Awareness

    6

    Usually sets up properly before the snap.

    Range

    7

    Able to reach the edge if there aren't too many people in the way.

    Run Defense

    3

    Too easy to block and too apt to take a bad angle.

    Speed

    9

    Exceptional closing speed. 

    Tackle

    2

    Needs to learn proper technique and be more aggressive.

    Health

    9

    Mostly healthy. Missed one game in 2011.

    Overall

    62

    Shields enjoyed a great 2010 rookie season, but his 2011 campaign was less impressive. He's another phenomenal athlete out of The U, and has great ball skills, but he will gamble too often and can be caught flat-footed at times. Shields has potential, but he's not quite ready to be named the heir to Charles Woodson.

70. Cedric Griffin, Washington Redskins

31 of 101

     

    Agility

    7

    Footwork and speed are liabilities.

    Ball Skills

    4

    Prone to the occasional drop.

    Burn Rate

    2

    Okay in zone—not one-on-one.

    Coverage

    7

    Can be superb when he's going in the right direction.

    Awareness

    6.5

    Makes good reads, but inconsistent.

    Range

    5.5

    Not too adept in traffic.

    Run Defense

    7

    Fights off blocks and stays on the ball.

    Speed

    7

    Keeps up in a press scheme.

    Tackle

    6.5

    Not quite strong enough against a runner, but can take down receivers right after the catch.

    Health

    10

    Did not miss a game in 2011.

    Overall

    62.5

    Were it not for a staggering number of completions allowed in 2011, Cedric Griffin would have been a top-50 cornerback—if not higher. He has good coverage skills, but didn't close on the ball particularly well last season. Griffin has the all-around talent to be a starting cornerback, and is a former second-round pick for a reason, but he has to increase his closing ability.

69. Aaron Ross, Jacksonville Jaguars

32 of 101

     

    Agility

    8

    Smooth, strong and able to accelerate quickly.

    Ball Skills

    7

    Brings down his share of interceptions. Had four INTs for the Super Bowl champions last season.

    Burn Rate

    2

    Not so good man-to-man.

    Coverage

    4.5

    Many quarterbacks like to throw his way.

    Awareness

    6.5

    Will keep himself in the play.

    Range

    6

    Takes strong angles when not caught in traffic.

    Run Defense

    4

    Struggles to keep free of blockers.

    Speed

    7

    Can stick with second-tier receivers.

    Tackle

    8

    Breaks down to meet ball-carriers with good technique.

    Health

    10

    Didn't miss a game in 2011.

    Overall

    63

    Aaron Ross is a strong athlete who had a down year in 2011, but has the tools to bounce back to a strong 2012. Ross' major downfall is the number of completions he allows; Ross ranked among the bottom 20 cornerbacks in the NFL when looking at completions vs. attempts. For him to be ranked higher next season, this has to improve.

68. Devin McCourty, New England Patriots

33 of 101

     

    Agility

    8

    An all-around athlete.

    Ball Skills

    6

    Good hands and leaping ability.

    Burn Rate

    4.5

    Gives up too many receptions.

    Coverage

    2

    His fine ball skills are too often irrelevant.

    Awareness

    6.5

    Sets up with proper leverage before the snap based on the situation.

    Range

    6

    Has trouble avoiding obstruction, but capable of taking good angles.

    Run Defense

    7

    Finds the ball and is on it in a hurry.

    Speed

    8

    Acceleration and quick feet are major assets.

    Tackle

    6

    Needs more strength, but does well making plays on the ball.

    Health

    9

    Minor injury setbacks in 2011.

    Overall

    63

    McCourty is a tall, rangy cornerback who might be a better safety. He has good range, but struggles when asked to get physical with a receiver on the edge. With McCourty's closing speed and ball skills, there is a good chance the Patriots move him to free safety in 2012.

67. Nolan Carroll, Miami Dolphins

34 of 101

     

    Agility

    7

    Lacks elite ability to change direction and get into gear.

    Ball Skills

    5

    Good hands and good confidence when attacking the ball.

    Burn Rate

    7

    Allows a low completion percentage.

    Coverage

    7.5

    Highly capable, but inconsistent. Doesn't change direction well enough.

    Awareness

    3.5

    Late on jumps. Carroll doesn't always diagnose plays properly.

    Range

    7

    Not great in traffic, but fast enough to cover ground.

    Run Defense

    4

    Carroll has a good feel for the run and doesn't miss many tackles when coming up in run defense. Would benefit from better, cleaner angles.

    Speed

    8

    Can keep up with most anyone.

    Tackle

    4

    Not always strong enough to complete a tackle after first impact.

    Health

    10

    No missed games in 2011.

    Overall

    63

    Carroll was a solid No. 3 corner in his sophomore campaign, showing some ability in coverage and doing a good job preventing catches. With Sean Smith and Vontae Davis taking the lead roles again in 2012, Carroll has a chance to see action in dime and nickel packages.

66. Jarrett Bush, Green Bay Packers

35 of 101

     

    Agility

    7

    Speed and footwork are weak spots.

    Ball Skills

    7

    Good at locating the ball and getting his hands on it.

    Burn Rate

    7.5

    Not perfect, but wins most of the battles when the ball's thrown his way.

    Coverage

    4

    Despite ball skills, Bush will be targeted for poor coverage.

    Awareness

    5.5

    Good understanding of offenses.

    Range

    6.5

    Good on angles, but a little slow.

    Run Defense

    4

    Doesn't play off blockers effectively.

    Speed

    6

    Has decent speed, but not enough to hang with many receivers.

    Tackle

    5.5

    Initial impact is okay, but doesn't always follow through with good wrap-up.

    Health

    10

    Has not missed a game the past four seasons.

    Overall

    63

    The Packers thought highly enough of Bush this offseason to re-sign him and keep their secondary in tact. Bush is a good outside player, which frees up Charles Woodson to take a bigger role covering slot receivers. 

65. Aaron Williams, Buffalo Bills

36 of 101

     

    Agility

    8

    Has the burst and natural strength.

    Ball Skills

    5

    Has the hands and confidence to be effective.

    Burn Rate

    5.5

    Capable of holding his ground.

    Coverage

    6

    Stays within reach of his man.

    Awareness

    4

    Takes too many risks.

    Range

    6.5

    Impaired by an inability to negotiate traffic, but Williams has enough speed to cover ground.

    Run Defense

    8

    Reads the run well and gets into position to make the play.

    Speed

    7

    Enough to handle second-tier receivers.

    Tackle

    7

    Not afraid and knows how.

    Health

    6

    Injuries hampered his 2011 season.

    Overall

    63

    Williams had a promising rookie season, but there are those (myself included) who think he'd be a better fit at safety. Williams has the athletic ability and skills to be a starter very soon in his NFL career.

64. Drayton Florence, Buffalo Bills

37 of 101

     

    Agility

    7

    Above-average quickness but not so good at turning to run.

    Ball Skills

    7

    Could take better angles, but brings down his share of interceptions.

    Burn Rate

    5.5

    Regularly targeted.

    Coverage

    7

    Often above average, but must do a better job pivoting to stay in contact.

    Awareness

    6.5

    Stays in the play with good anticipation.

    Range

    7

    Florence has enough speed to reach the edge.

    Run Defense

    2

    All-around weak: against blocks, taking angles, getting into position.

    Speed

    7

    Adequate for all but the top-tier receivers.

    Tackle

    4

    Decent technique, but too weak to complete all his tackles.

    Health

    10

    Didn't miss a game in 2011.

    Overall

    63

    A smart, savvy veteran who no longer has great athleticism or speed. At 31, Florence's time in the NFL is limited. He does bring experience to the position and is an excellent mentor at this stage in his career.

63. A.J. Jefferson, Arizona Cardinals

38 of 101

     

    Agility

    7

    A strong athlete who needs to improve his change-of-direction skills.

    Ball Skills

    4

    Will drop passes here and there.

    Burn Rate

    4.5

    Allows a relatively high percentage of completions.

    Coverage

    2.5

    Can be exploited.

    Awareness

    5

    A fair ability to diagnose routes.

    Range

    5

    Doesn't always take the correct angles.

    Run Defense

    9

    Shuts down the run with great vision and strength.

    Speed

    8

    Accelerates very quickly.

    Tackle

    8

    Once he gets there, he closes the deal.

    Health

    10

    Didn't miss any games in 2011.

    Overall

    63

    Jefferson stole the spotlight from Patrick Peterson in 2011, providing the best cover skills of the Cardinals' young cover corners. Jefferson has the talent to remain a starter in the NFL for a long time, and may even develop into a true No. 1 corner.

62. Jabari Greer, New Orleans Saints

39 of 101

     

    Agility

    8

    Quick, strong—an all-around athlete.

    Ball Skills

    5

    Greer shows good hands and confidence when attacking the ball.

    Burn Rate

    6.5

    Gives up some completions, but is usually a disruptive force.

    Coverage

    3.5

    Lacks the skills to keep targets to a minimum.

    Awareness

    8

    Won't be fooled too often. Anticipates well.

    Range

    6

    Will get caught up in traffic at times, but takes strong angles.

    Run Defense

    7.5

    Can beat blockers. Puts himself into the right position to stop the run.

    Speed

    7

    Fast enough to stick with second-tier receivers. 

    Tackle

    2

    Must learn proper technique and work on his aggressiveness.

    Health

    10

    Didn't miss a game in 2011.

    Overall

    63.5

    Greer is a tough player on the outside, where he makes up for a lack of elite size or speed with an aggressive, physical style of play. An undrafted free agent in '04, the veteran may never be an elite cornerback, but he is a quality No. 2.

61. Kelly Jennings, Cincinnati Bengals

40 of 101

     

    Agility

    7

    Has the quickness and agility to play the position, but lacks elite-level footwork.

    Ball Skills

    5

    Has the tools and confidence to be effective on the ball.

    Burn Rate

    4

    Allows a high percentage of completions when targeted.

    Coverage

    6.5

    Not great at changing direction, but generally stays within reach of his man.

    Awareness

    5.5

    Understand offenses and anticipates basic routes.

    Range

    6

    Jennings doesn't always get through traffic, but takes good angles.

    Run Defense

    9

    Shuts down the run with great vision. Strong at the point of attack.

    Speed

    7

    While not considered fast, he can keep up with receivers in a press scheme. 

    Tackle

    7

    Looks good attacking the ball-carrier.

    Health

    7

    Missed a fair amount of time with injury in 2011.

    Overall

    64

    Jennings was lost in the rotation at times during 2011, fading away when Leon Hall was healthy and giving way to Nate Clements. Jennings has battled his own health issues, but if healthy in 2012, he has a chance to head into the Bengals training camp as a potential starter.

60. William Middleton, Jacksonville Jaguars

41 of 101

     

    Agility

    7

    A good, but not great athlete. Would score higher with better quickness and more fluid movements in space.

    Ball Skills

    5

    Middleton shows good hands and a confidence when attacking the ball.

    Burn Rate

    4

    When he's targeted, he gives up a high percentage of completions.

    Coverage

    6.5

    Does a solid job of staying with his assignment.

    Awareness

    5.5

    Makes good reads early in plays.

    Range

    6

    Takes strong angles, but can be stymied by traffic.

    Run Defense

    9

    Strong at the point of attack. Excellent vision.

    Speed

    7

    Stays with second-tier receivers. 

    Tackle

    7

    Not afraid to step up and take on the ball.

    Health

    7

    Missed quite a bit of action in 2011.

    Overall

    64

    Middleton was one of the surprises of the 2011 season, helping anchor a much-improved Jacksonville secondary. He has the right mix of athletic ability and toughness against the run to be a starter in 2012 and beyond.

59. Rashean Mathis, Jacksonville Jaguars

42 of 101

     

    Agility

    8

    A very good athlete who makes smooth transitions and gets up to speed quickly.

    Ball Skills

    5

    Good hands and will assert himself.

    Burn Rate

    5

    When the pass comes Mathis' way, it's often converted for a completion.

    Coverage

    4.5

    Can be picked on by good quarterbacks.

    Awareness

    8

    Anticipates routes well.

    Range

    6.5

    Good speed to cover ground, but gets caught up in traffic.

    Run Defense

    8

    Anticipates where he needs to be to make a play on the ball.

    Speed

    8

    Dynamic ability to accelerate toward the ball.

    Tackle

    5

    First hit is good, but doesn't always wrap up effectively.

    Health

    6

    Injuries hampered 2011 season.

    Overall

    64

    Were it not for injuries, Mathis would be much higher on the list. He's a smooth cover man who may not have great hands, and may be just okay against the run, but his cover skills pass the test.

58. Mike Jenkins, Dallas Cowboys

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    Agility

    8

    Upper-level quickness and natural strength.

    Ball Skills

    5

    Pretty good hands.

    Burn Rate

    7.5

    Jenkins gets his share of interceptions, and adjusts well to balls in the air.

    Coverage

    7

    Inconsistent, but can be great.

    Awareness

    6

    Shows good ability to set up with proper leverage before the snap.

    Range

    7

    Not great in traffic, but very fast in the clear.

    Run Defense

    4

    Must improve and learn to keep his outside shoulder free.

    Speed

    8

    Quick feet and superb acceleration.

    Tackle

    5

    Breaks down well in space, lowering himself to take out the legs of runners.

    Health

    7

    Missed some time in 2011.

    Overall

    64.5

    Jenkins' play dropped off in 2011 as he was forced to learn a new scheme under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. There is considerable talent here for the Cowboys' 2008 first-round pick, but Jenkins' early struggles under Ryan raise question marks about his ability to be a lasting player in Dallas.

57. Ronde Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Agility

    7

    Good flexibility to turn and run, but a little slow-footed.

    Ball Skills

    8

    Can catch with ease.

    Burn Rate

    3

    Barber allows a high rate of completions.

    Coverage

    4

    Quarterbacks look his way due to speed deficiencies.

    Awareness

    10

    A five-time Pro Bowler, Barber has elite ability to recognize routes before the snap.

    Range

    5.5

    Lack of closing speed hurts.

    Run Defense

    8.5

    Reads plays well and gets to the right place at the right time.

    Speed

    6

    Can't always stick with second-tier receivers. 

    Tackle

    3

    Will duck his head and can be too timid at the point of attack.

    Health

    10

    Didn't miss any action in 2011.

    Overall

    65

    One of the best people in the NFL, Ronde Barber's days as an elite corner have passed. Barber's 2011 season showed a sharp decline from years past, but the soon-to-be 37-year-old still has enough toughness and experience to be an effective player on the outside. Barber should move in to more of a No. 3 corner role for Tampa in 2012.

56. Eric Wright, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Agility

    8

    Great burst. Smooth athlete.

    Ball Skills

    8

    Does a very good job tracking the ball in flight.

    Burn Rate

    5

    Regularly targeted and beaten in the Lions secondary.

    Coverage

    5

    Easy to look off.

    Awareness

    6.5

    Wright sets up well, anticipating before the snap.

    Range

    5.5

    Gets caught up in traffic, but takes strong angles.

    Run Defense

    7

    Can break off blocks and close on the ball in a hurry.

    Speed

    7

    Enough to keep up with less-than-elite receivers.

    Tackle

    3

    Timid at the point of attack; that problem is compounded by poor technique.

    Health

    10

    Missed no time in 2011.

    Overall

    65

    Wright was a bright spot in a secondary that struggled at times during the 2011 season (see Week 17 against the Green Bay Packers). Wright will move on to the Buccaneers in 2012, where his physical style of play will be a great match for Tampa Bay's schemes.

55. Terence Newman, Free Agent

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    Agility

    9

    Shows the quickness and balance few possess.

    Ball Skills

    7

    Newman is excellent at locating the ball and getting to it.

    Burn Rate

    3

    Will allow a high number of catches when targeted.

    Coverage

    3.5

    Stiff hips make the nine-year veteran vulnerable to pass plays.

    Awareness

    8

    Won't be fooled by quarterbacks very often.

    Range

    6.5

    Speed is an advantage, but is not great dealing with traffic.

    Run Defense

    5

    Can make plenty of plays, but also struggles to get free of blockers.

    Speed

    9

    Still has exceptional closing speed. 

    Tackle

    5

    Lacks strength and technique to always finish off ball-carriers.

    Health

    9

    Good to go for most of 2011.

    Overall

    65

    After a 2011 season that saw his level of play drop off, Terence Newman was cut loose by Dallas in the offseason. Newman is still a smart DB who can bring value to a playoff-caliber team, and at this point in his career, you are paying as much for experience as production.

54. Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals

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    Agility

    9

    A rare athlete with impressive natural skills, Peterson has the quickness and strength of an elite player.

    Ball Skills

    10

    A threat to attack when the ball is in the air, Peterson has the hands and leaping ability of a wide receiver. If he gets his hands on the ball, his return skills are terrifying (as evidenced by his four punt returns for touchdowns in 2011).

    Burn Rate

    5

    Peterson struggled in his rookie season with the Cards, allowing too many passes to catch him off guard. He was often a second late in reacting.

    Coverage

    2.5

    Was left in space often, and quarterbacks challenged him on it. Peterson relied too much on his athleticism, letting poor technique leave him exposed.

    Awareness

    5

    An area that will improve with time, Peterson lacked in this department in 2011.

    Range

    7

    Peterson has exceptional closing speed, but he must improve his anticipation of the play and ball.

    Run Defense

    2

    A better feel for which angle to take and how to turn the runner back to the middle of the field will go a long way in improving Peterson's grade.

    Speed

    10

    Peterson has blazing speed—the perfect combination of agility and burst. 

    Tackle

    4.5

    Has the strength to wrap up runners, but his technique needs work, as he will often come in too high.

    Health

    10

    Started every game his rookie campaign.

    Overall

    65

    Peterson was a high draft pick for a reason. He's a tremendous athlete and dangerous return man, but now it's time for him to put in the work in the film room to improve his technique and awareness. If Peterson commits to taking that next step, a 10-point improvement is likely.

53. Will Allen, New England Patriots

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    Agility

    8

    Top-tier quickness, and strength to match from Allen.

    Ball Skills

    5

    Good hands, fairly aggressive.

    Burn Rate

    4

    Gives up a high percentage of completions.

    Coverage

    7

    Runs hot and cold. Must get better at changing direction.

    Awareness

    6.5

    Sets up well before the snap and usually keeps himself in the play as it develops.

    Range

    6.5

    Smart angles and good speed are pluses, but can be knocked off track.

    Run Defense

    9

    Great vision and strength help the 10-year vet shut down run plays.

    Speed

    8

    Acceleration helps him reach his spots quickly.

    Tackle

    2.5

    Allen's major flaw due to technique shortcomings.

    Health

    9

    Healthy most of the 2011 season.

    Overall

    65.5

    A surprise player when scouting the 2011 season, Allen showed up bigger than expected. He has good speed, is a fluid athlete and was exceptionally good against the run. Now with the New England Patriots, Allen is a sleeper worth watching in 2012.

52. Jason Allen, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Agility

    7

    Above average in most ways, but struggles to change directions and in his transition skills.

    Ball Skills

    8

    Allen is comfortable adjusting to the ball just before the catch, and catching the ball himself.

    Burn Rate

    8

    Very few completions on his watch when he's on the receiver.

    Coverage

    2

    Quarterbacks look to exploit his inability to stick with receivers.

    Awareness

    6

    Good at setting up with proper leverage before the snap.

    Range

    6.5

    Fast enough and takes correct angles, but doesn't negotiate traffic well.

    Run Defense

    7.5

    Good anticipator. Allen can break off blocks and close on the ball.

    Speed

    8

    Quick feet and excellent acceleration.

    Tackle

    7.5

    Solid technique. Aggressive.

    Health

    5

    Significantly hampered by injuries in 2011.

    Overall

    65.5

    Allen brings value to the position, as he can play both cornerback and safety. The issue with Allen's 2011 season was missed time. The Houston Texans used Allen at cornerback and, when healthy, he did not disappoint.

51. Antonio Cromartie, New York Jets

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    Agility

    9

    Stands apart from the crowd with his balance, backpedal and ability to change directions.

    Ball Skills

    7

    Does well to adjust when the pass is on its way.

    Burn Rate

    5.5

    Cromartie gets beaten more often than he should, given his skill set.

    Coverage

    8

    Can blanket his man. Super cover skills.

    Awareness

    6.5

    A relative weakness in his pass defense, but does use smarts to set his leverage before the snap.

    Range

    8

    Takes good angles, limiting wasted movement.

    Run Defense

    1

    A non-factor for the Jets when opponents hand off the football.

    Speed

    9

    Gets a good jump and closes fast with track-star speed.

    Tackle

    2

    Technique and effort lacking in a big way.

    Health

    10

    Ready to play throughout 2011.

    Overall

    66

    He's 6'2" and a good cover man, but Antonio Cromartie is on the border of being overrated by the media. Never one to help out much against the run, he'll do nothing more once the ball is handed off or caught by a receiver.

50. Josh Wilson, Washington Redskins

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    Agility

    7

    Quick and fast, but not elite in his footwork.

    Ball Skills

    6

    Good leaping ability helps him be a disruptive force when the ball's in the air.

    Burn Rate

    8

    Excels at reaching out to knock down the ball.

    Coverage

    6

    Wilson is solid at staying in touch with his assignment.

    Awareness

    6.5

    Pre-snap reads are an asset.

    Range

    7

    More than enough speed. Could be better getting around traffic.

    Run Defense

    4

    Needs to improve technique to get clear of blockers and in on run stops.

    Speed

    9

    Strong burst and closing speed. 

    Tackle

    3

    Aggression and ideal technique are lacking.

    Health

    10

    Didn't miss any games in 2011.

    Overall

    66.5

    Josh Wilson doesn't do any one thing that leaves you impressed, but his overall game is rock solid. Wilson grades out at least average in most categories. Given a better supporting cast, he would be a quality starter.

49. Bradley Fletcher, St. Louis Rams

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    Agility

    7

    Flexible enough but not can be slow-footed. A good athlete overall.

    Ball Skills

    2

    Lacks the tools to compete for the ball effectively.

    Burn Rate

    8

    Able to stop most of the pass attempts that come his way.

    Coverage

    6

    Fletcher can be easy to look off and get running away from the target.

    Awareness

    6

    Good reads in advance.

    Range

    7

    Takes strong angles but can get caught up in traffic.

    Run Defense

    9

    A great asset here. Has the ability to get ahead of the play and shut down the run.

    Speed

    8.5

    Good enough for most second-tier receivers.

    Tackle

    8

    Breaks down well in space, using good technique to bring down ball-carriers.

    Health

    5

    Missed considerable time in 2011.

    Overall

    66.5

    Bradley Fletcher was asked to play a bigger role than expected in 2011 once Ron Bartell went down with injury. He stepped up his game, bringing a tenacity in the run game and showing he can be a true cover man in press and zone coverages.

48. Kareem Jackson, Houston Texans

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    Agility

    7

    Quick and agile, Jackson is a little short on speed and elite footwork.

    Ball Skills

    5

    Shows good hands and a confidence when attacking the ball, but could stand to improve his numbers form last season (one interception and six passes defensed).

    Burn Rate

    4

    Allows a high percentage of completions when tested.

    Coverage

    6.5

    A solid, but inconsistent cover man.

    Awareness

    5.5

    Good understanding of offenses and how to read routes.

    Range

    6

    Jackson needs to improve his ability to get through busy defensive backfields.

    Run Defense

    8

    Reads the run game well. Excellent positioning.

    Speed

    7.5

    Capable of keeping up with all but the fastest receivers. Showed improved technique that helped mask some of the stiffness in his hips when asked to change direction.

    Tackle

    8

    Technique and timing bring effective results.

    Health

    9

    Good to go for most of the 2011 season.

    Overall

    66.5

    There are people who consider Kareem Jackson a draft bust, but it's too early to make that call for the 20th overall pick in 2010. Jackson quietly had a good sophomore campaign, with two interceptions and 10 passes defensed in 2011.

47. Chris Culliver, San Francisco 49ers

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    Agility

    8

     

    Very good all-around athlete with natural strength and great burst.

     

    Ball Skills

    5

     

    Has the hands and the mindset to get after the ball.

     

    Burn Rate

    6.5

     

    Does a good job holding his ground and getting in front of passes.

     

    Coverage

    5.5

     

    Not always in the right place, Culliver is subject to turning the wrong way.

     

    Awareness

    5

     

    Satisfactory understanding and anticipation.

     

    Range

    7

     

    Covers plenty of ground with his speed and fluid athleticism.

     

    Run Defense

    4

     

    Must improve his technique in keeping clear of blockers.

     

    Speed

    9

     

    A major strength, Culliver has exceptional closing speed. 

     

    Tackle

    7

     

    Solid technique and an aggressive attitude.

     

    Health

    10

     

    Didn't miss any action in 2011.

     

    Overall

    67

     

    Culliver stepped in to one of the NFL's best defenses last season, showing great range and quickness in space. With little offseason work to learn the playbook, the rookie showed he's a quick study and a player the team is comfortable running as their No. 3 corner in 2012.

46. Jason McCourty, Tennessee Titans

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    Agility

    8

     

    Top-notch quickness and strength.

     

    Ball Skills

    7

     

    McCourty gets his share of interceptions.

     

    Burn Rate

    4.5

     

    Pretty easy to beat for a completion.

     

    Coverage

    2

     

    A favored target for opposing quarterbacks.

     

    Awareness

    6.5

     

    Capable of good pre-snap reads, particularly on running plays.

     

    Range

    6

     

    Will get caught up in traffic at times.

     

    Run Defense

    8.5

     

    Anticipates the run well.

     

    Speed

    8

     

    Quick and dynamic. 

     

    Tackle

    8

     

    Closes down on the ball-carrier with fine technique.

     

    Health

    9

     

    Healthy for most of 2011.

     

    Overall

    67.5

     

    McCourty did a good job in 2011, showing the Tennessee Titans he's a quality starter for the long term. His improved play allowed the team to defer on re-signing, or even franchising, Cortland Finnegan this offseason. McCourty should be seeing some of the money the Titans saved when his own contract comes up for renewal.

45. Sheldon Brown, Cleveland Browns

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    Agility

    7.5

    Sometimes struggles with footwork, but is still good enough to effectively play the position.

    Ball Skills

    7

    Will pull in his fair share of interceptions, as he does a good job of locating the football and making a play on it.

    Burn Rate

    9

    One of the best in the league at getting between his man and the football. Opposing receivers rarely get separation against him.

    Coverage

    7

    A good athlete with natural strength, which allows him to be physical with receivers. Brown has above-average coverage skills, but still gets beat from time to time. Needs to be a bit more consistent here.

    Awareness

    7.5

    Sharp. Brown does a great job keeping an eye on the quarterback in coverage.

    Range

    7.5

    Has enough speed to reach the edge, and takes good angles to the football.

    Run Defense

    3

    Doesn't do a great job breaking down in space to take on the run. Will take poor angles and is easy to block.

    Speed

    7

    Not the fastest DB. He lacks the burst to cover a lot of ground in the open field. Still, he has enough speed to press and keep up with second-tier wide receivers.

    Tackle

    2

    Tackling is Brown's biggest weakness, as he will duck his head and is too timid at the point of attack. More coaching is needed to improve this area.

    Health

    10

    He started every game of the 2011 season.

    Overall

    67.5

    Sheldon Brown wasn't expected to do much in 2011, but he surprised with quality play opposite Joe Haden. Brown had a quietly good season, locking down receivers and providing leadership in a young Browns locker room.

44. DeAngelo Hall, Washington Redskins

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    Agility

    9

    An athlete who stands apart from the crowd, Hall's footwork is exceptional. He excels in balance, quickness and change of direction.

    Ball Skills

    8

    Has very good hands and attacks the ball with confidence. Does a very good job tracking and adjusting to the ball in flight.

    Burn Rate

    2

    Is a liability in coverage when targeted, as he takes too many chances and lacks discipline. Hall is much better stopping the ball when in zone coverage than man.

    Coverage

    3

    Can be picked on and taken advantage of by good quarterbacks. Lacks the consistency to keep targets to a minimum.

    Awareness

    7

    Hall does a good job of keeping himself in the play by reading both the receiver and quarterback.

    Range

    6

    Will get caught up in traffic at times, but the savvy veteran takes strong angles to be effective.

    Run Defense

    7.5

    Can break off of blocks and has a good ability to locate the ball and close on the ball-carrier in a hurry.

    Speed

    9

    A major strong point, Hall utilizes exceptional closing speed with the burst and quickness to jump on the ball.

    Tackle

    6.5

    While he is active and does make plays on the ball, he lacks the strength to be a force in the secondary. Much better making tackles post-catch than against the run.

    Health

    10

    Hall started every game of the 2011 season.

    Overall

    68
    One of the more overrated players in the NFL, DeAngelo Hall consistently makes the Pro Bowl due to his tackle and interception numbers—never due to coverage skills. Hall has good hands, but he's often out of position and allows too many completions and touchdowns to be considered an elite cornerback.

43. Antoine Winfield, Minnesota Vikings

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    Agility

    7

     

    A good, but not great athlete. Winfield has the flexibility to turn his hips and run, but is a little slow-footed and can be tripped up with a hard inside-out move.

     

    Ball Skills

    6

     

    Shows good hands and nice leaping ability to go up and get the football. Can be a difference-maker when tracking the ball.

     

    Burn Rate

    4

     

    Will give up a high percentage of catches, based on the number of targets thrown his way and completions allowed.

     

    Coverage

    7

     

    Can be picked on by good quarterbacks and speedy receivers. His injury history contributes to a higher completion percentage.

     

    Awareness

    10

     

    A three-time Pro Bowler, Winfield is smart football player with an extremely high football IQ. He possesses an elite ability to recognize routes before the snap and make plays on the ball.

     

    Range

    7

     

    Has enough speed to reach the edge and be effective. However, he doesn’t do a great job running through traffic.

     

    Run Defense

    8

     

    Does a good job of sniffing out the run, and anticipates where he needs to be to make a play on the ball.

     

    Speed

    7

     

    While he's not known for his speed, he is quick enough to handle receivers in a press scheme.

     

    Tackle

    9

     

    A very underrated tackler, Winfield is adept at bringing down ball-carriers.

     

    Health

    3

     

    Durability is an issue for the 13-year pro, as Winfield started only five games during the 2011 season.

     

    Overall

    68
    Winfield's career was thought to be winding down, and then he went out and had a very solid (albeit abrupt) 2011. Few players in the NFL tackle as clean as Winfield in space. He may be aging, but Winfield still has it.

42. Leodis McKelvin, Buffalo Bills

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    Agility

    9

    McKelvin is extremely athletic and shows the quickness and balance that few possess. Has clean change-of-direction skills and is light on his feet.

    Ball Skills

    5

    While it's not his best asset, he possesses good hands and is aggressive when pursuing the ball.

    Burn Rate

    5.5

    Can be a liability in coverage and is picked on at times by quarterbacks. When the ball is thrown his way, more often than not, he’s likely to allow a completion.

    Coverage

    7

    While he grades out above average in coverage, he runs hot and cold. Must do a better job changing direction to stay within contact.

    Awareness

    6.5

    McKelvin shows good ability to set up with proper leverage before the snap based on down and distance.

    Range

    7

    Has enough speed to reach the edge if he needs to come up and make a play. Doesn’t do a great job running through traffic.

    Run Defense

    5.5

    Can make plays on the run, but struggles to disengage from blockers.

    Speed

    8

    Has quick feet and dynamic ability to accelerate toward the ball. McKelvin does a great job of using his quickness to his advantage.

    Tackle

    4.5

    This is one of his weak points. He has decent technique, but lacks the strength to finish tackles after first impact.

    Health

    10

    McKelvin played every game during the 2011 season.

    Overall

    68
    McKelvin is an incredible athlete, but so far, hasn't lived up to the first-round billing in '08. His overall ability is solid, but McKelvin is allowing too many completions. If he can close the gap in his coverage and start knocking down or intercepting more passes, he'll be set.

41. Brandon Browner, Seattle Seahawks

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    Agility

    7

    Browner is fairly athletic but it's not his best trait. While his footwork is good, he needs to improve his quickness and develop more fluid movements in space.

    Ball Skills

    9

    If there's one thing he excels in, it's making plays on the ball. He is a ball hawk of a corner who has great hands and a knack for finding the football.

    Burn Rate

    6

    Can be a liability in coverage when targeted. Doesn’t always keep up with his man and struggles with elite receivers.

    Coverage

    6

    While he will fight for the ball, can be picked on by good quarterbacks. Is easy to look off and get running away from the target.

    Awareness

    6.5

    A CFL success story, Browner still lacks sufficient NFL experience and can be hot and cold. There are times when he locks down his man, but his inconsistency and mistakes lead to a lower score.

    Range

    7

    Has average closing speed, but can still be effective. Must develop better rotational flexibility to turn and run.

    Run Defense

    1.5

    Browner really struggles defending the run. He needs to polish up his wrap-up skills and learn to take better angles.

    Speed

    7

    Has enough speed to be an impact, but can’t always chase from behind. 

    Tackle

    8.5

    Does a good job making plays on the ball. He is fearless and is not afraid to step up and take on the ball-carrier.

    Health

    10

    Browner started every game of the 2011 season.

    Overall

    68.5
    An afterthought as a signing to everyone but die-hard draftkniks who raved about Browner coming out of Oregon State (me) back in '05. The Seattle Seahawks found a gem in the former undrafted free agent. Browner stepped in and immediately helped form one of the NFL's best secondaries in the NFL.

40. Patrick Robinson, New Orleans Saints

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    Agility

    7

    Robinson has the quickness and agility, but lacks elite-level footwork and speed to really dominate.

    Ball Skills

    7

    Will bring down his share of interceptions. Does a good job locating the ball and then racing to it. Could take better angles.

    Burn Rate

    6.5

    Can be a liability in coverage at times. Will fight for the ball and does a good job getting in front of the pass, but takes a lot of risks and does get beat.

    Coverage

    6.5

    Does a solid job staying within reach of his assignment, but can be dominated by elite receivers. At 24 year old, Robinson has room for improvement here.

    Awareness

    5.5

    Has a good feel for where the ball is going, but is often late on his jumps. Will take far too many risks and will get beat as a result.

    Range

    7

    Has enough speed to reach the edge and be effective. Doesn’t do a great job running through traffic, but does cover a lot of ground.

    Run Defense

    7

    Robinson can break off of blocks and has a good ability to locate the ball and close on it in a hurry. Solid against the run.

    Speed

    8

    Has quick feet and dynamic ability to accelerate toward the ball.

    Tackle

    5

    Does a good job with initial impact, but will struggle to get the job done due to a lack of strength and wrap-up technique. 

    Health

    9

    Robinson missed only one game during the 2011 season.

    Overall

    68.5

    A young player with a ton of potential, Robinson improved throughout the 2011 season to where he's ready to take on a starting job. Robinson has the skills to be the Saints' best cornerback by the end of next season.

39. Nate Clements, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Agility

    8

    A good, but not great athlete who has seen his flexibility and burst decline over time.

    Ball Skills

    6

    Shows good hands and nice leaping ability. Can be a difference-maker when tracking the ball.

    Burn Rate

    8

    Excels at reaching out to knock down the ball when in position to make the play. Twelve passes defensed in 2011.

    Coverage

    3

    The 11-year pro lacks the speed to keep targets to a minimum.

    Awareness

    7.5

    Shows good ability to set up with proper leverage before the snap.

    Range

    6.5

    Has enough speed to reach the edge. Doesn’t do a great job running through traffic.

    Run Defense

    7.5

    Reads the run well and anticipates where he needs to be to make a play on the ball.

    Speed

    7

    Still has quality speed, just is noticeably slower in his later years.

    Tackle

    5

    Clements can struggle to get the job done. Must improve his wrap-up technique and avoid losing his hold on ball-carriers.

    Health

    10

    Was healthy all 17 weeks of the 2011 season.

    Overall

    68.5

    After a disappointing stint in San Francisco, Nate Clements landed on his feet with the Bengals in 2011. Teams value his intellect on the edge, and he's a great mentor for younger cornerbacks. The overall quality of his play may have dropped off slightly, but Clements can still hold his own.

38. Tim Jennings, Chicago Bears

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    Agility

    8

    A very good athlete with smooth transitions and great burst. 

    Ball Skills

    6

    Shows good hands and is confident attacking the ball.

    Burn Rate

    4

    Doesn’t always keep up with his man. A lack of discipline really shows up here.

    Coverage

    3.5

    Often picked on by good quarterbacks, Jennings can be easily swayed from his assignment.

    Awareness

    6.5

    There are times when he locks down his man, but his inconsistency and mistakes lead to a lower score.

    Range

    6

    Has great closing speed, but must develop better rotational flexibility to spin and run.

    Run Defense

    7.5

    Jennings has a good feel for the run and doesn't miss many tackles when coming up for the ball. 

    Speed

    9

    Has the top-end speed to be an impact in space. 

    Tackle

    8

    Does a good job making plays on the ball, showing the strength to take down players once he makes contact.

    Health

    10

    Jennings was solid, playing in all 16 games during the 2011 season.

    Overall

    68.5

    Jennings will get his shot to make more of a name for himself in 2012, and based on his play last season, there is a ton of talent here. Jennings has Pro Bowl-caliber potential.

37. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Agility

    9

     

    A great athlete. Rodgers-Cromartie has the quickness to turn and run with the best.

     

    Ball Skills

    4

     

    Has good timing, but lacks the hands to pull down interceptions.

     

    Burn Rate

    5.5

     

    DRC averaged out in the middle of the pack when charting the number of completions he allowed. Must close on the ball with better positioning.

     

    Coverage

    7.5

     

    Has the speed and length to close down on his man, limiting how many attempts quarterbacks throw his way.

     

    Awareness

    5.5

     

    Can be inconsistent at times, and struggled in a new scheme during the 2011 season.

     

    Range

    9

     

    With exceptional speed and length, there are few areas of the field Rodgers-Cromartie can't get to in a hurry.

     

    Run Defense

    6.5

     

    A quick player who will fire off the edge to disrupt the run. Not a strong tackler, but he'll get in the way.

     

    Speed

    10

     

    Among the fastest players in the NFL, at any position. 

     

    Tackle

    4

     

    Can be timid when breaking down to make a hit. Will shy away from contact at times.

     

    Health

    8

     

    Missed two games during the 2011 season.

     

    Overall

    69

     

    Fans and media members expected instant results from Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie when he was traded to the Eagles, but he was learning a new defense coming off a lockout. Few players adapted well to changes last season, but DRC has the talent to quickly become a top-level NFL cornerback.

36. Antoine Cason, San Diego Chargers

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    Agility

    8

     

    A solid athlete. Would score higher with better quickness and fluidity in space.

     

    Ball Skills

    6

     

    Shows good hands and nice leaping ability to go up and get the football. Totaled 17 passes defensed and two interceptions last season.

     

    Burn Rate

    7.5

     

    Does a good job holding his ground. Will fight for the ball and does a good job getting in front of the pass.

     

    Coverage

    5

     

    Has the tools to be a difference-maker in coverage, but could be better at staying with his man.

     

    Awareness

    7

     

    Cason has top-level awareness for the position, showing a good understanding of the offense and basic route diagnosis.

     

    Range

    7

     

    Shows good change-of-direction skills to adjust and make plays on the ball. Rotational flexibility holds his score back.

     

    Run Defense

    4.5

     

    Must improve and learn to keep his outside shoulder free, but has good overall impact.

     

    Speed

    7

     

    While not considered fast, Cason has enough speed to keep up with receivers in a press scheme.

     

    Tackle

    7.5

     

    Does a good job making plays on the ball and has the strength to be a force in the secondary.

     

    Health

    10

     

    Cason didn't miss a game during the 2011 season.

     

    Overall

    69.5

     

    Cason can be a little stiff at times, but his overall ability is very solid. Playing in a defense where Eric Weddle dominates deep, Cason excels underneath, where he can play physical with receivers and pressure the line.

35. Roderick Hood, St. Louis Rams

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    Agility

    7

     

    Hood has good overall quickness, but can be stiff in lateral movements.

     

    Ball Skills

    5

     

    Doesn't have great hands, but does a good job sticking his hand in and breaking up passes.

     

    Burn Rate

    7.5

     

    Will give up some completions, but allows a small percentage of targets coming his way to be converted into catches.

     

    Coverage

    7

     

    Does a solid job staying within reach of his receiver. Quicker reaction time is needed from Hood.

     

    Awareness

    7.5