2013 NFL Draft: 3 Cornerback Prospects Who Are Being Overlooked by Everyone

Brandon Holstein@@BHolsteinNFLDM3Featured ColumnistMarch 27, 2013

CORVALLIS, OR - NOVEMBER 05: Cornerback Jordan Poyer #14 of the Oregon State Beavers returns a punt against the Stanford Cardinal on November 5, 2011 at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon.  (Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images)
Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images

Good cornerbacks are hard to find. And with the NFL teams spreading the field with four- and even five-wide receiver sets, the need for dependable cornerbacks is at an all-time high. 

The NFL draft is always a good place to look, but going down that avenue has some risks. It can take some time for college corners to adapt to the new rules and the increase in speed.

However, there's always a few of these corners who become overlooked despite being particularly solid overall. Take a look at three college corners ready to contribute right away and exactly why you should want them on your favorite team next season.


Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State

Why he will be overlooked:

As is the case with most corners who end up getting overlooked, it is Jordan Poyer’s long speed and lack of explosive qualities that pushes him down some teams’ draft boards.

Being that he is not quite a quick-twitch athlete, Poyer can struggle to recover when he allows receivers to get on top of him. It's something that limits both his ceiling and his ability to match up outside or in one-on-one situations without safety help.

Along with his lack of top-end speed, Poyer is a thinner corner who lacks the necessary bulk and size to match up with more physical wide receivers that can use their bodies and strength to shield him from the football. That's another area Poyer must work on in order to fully maximize his true potential.


Why he deserves more recognition:

What Jordan Poyer lacks in size and speed he makes up for in heart, instincts and toughness.

Poyer consistently plays bigger than his size and does a good job competing in jump-ball situations. He times his leap well and refuses to back down from bigger and stronger wide receivers in congested situations.

In addition to his competitive attitude, Poyer is one of the most naturally instinctive playmakers in this draft. With 13 career interceptions at Oregon State, Poyer shows the knack to read, diagnose and react quickly, allowing him to make up for his lack of overall athleticism.

By staying a step ahead, and displaying very good eye discipline, Poyer eats up underneath developing routes. He displays the quick active feet, loose hips and click close ability to break on the football and force game-changing turnovers.


Bottom Line:

Jordan Poyer is not the type of player that will win you over with his athleticism, but what you see is what you get. A playmaker who can create turnovers and change momentum, Poyer does have limitations that somewhat handicap his ceiling.

However, in the right system where Poyer can roam in zone coverage with safety help over the top, he can absolutely have a Casey Hayward-type impact as early as next season. That's something to consider for teams that use a lot of Cover 2 defensive looks, where Poyer's deficiencies can be somewhat masked by playing into his strengths.


NFL Comparison:

Brent Grimes, CB, Atlanta Falcons


Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego State

Why he will be overlooked:

Similar to Poyer, Leon McFadden is a smaller corner at 5’10” and 193 pounds. Due to this limited size and length, McFadden will struggle to consistently match up with bigger, more physical receivers, and he will not always wrap up and finish tackles despite being in otherwise good position.

In addition, McFadden needs to get stronger and learn how to defeat blocks to effectively disengage down the field. Lacking the ability to add much bulk to his already developed frame, McFadden has very little growth potential moving forward physically.

However, that's only one piece of McFadden's pure football ability.


Why he deserves more recognition:

A natural athlete with the footwork, quickness and coordination to flip his hips to turn and run, McFadden does an excellent job mirroring and staying with receivers down the field. He effectively uses the sidelines as an extra defender, highlighting exactly why he is one of the more technically sound corners in his class.

McFadden does a great job refraining from "opening up" prematurely. He waits for his opponent to flash his hands before punching through the football. McFadden can be effective in both the short and deep passing game, where his ability to locate and compete in 50/50 situations makes him a versatile asset in the secondary.

A confident and feisty corner, McFadden is able to beat his opponent in multiple ways; masking his deficiencies by doing the little things better than most.

Those are qualities that should greatly increase his value, despite what may look like an undersized corner with limited upside.


Bottom Line:

McFadden is a three-time All-Conference player, who displays advanced skill sets in many key categories of effective cornerback play. Size and strength will continue to be an issue moving forward. But McFadden has afforded himself to compete with bigger receivers by focusing on the finer points of his craft.

McFadden has all the makings of a corner that will likely fall on the draft board but will outperform his draft positioning.


NFL Comparison:

Antoine Winfield, CB, Free Agent


Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State

Why he will be overlooked:

Although the Broncos program has continued to grow under the stewardship of Chris Petersen, it has yet to officially cement itself as a football powerhouse, despite cranking out many quality NFL draft prospects for much of the past half-decade.

Unfair or not, players like Jamar Taylor seem to get overlooked each year despite being some of the best coached and well-rounded players in the country.

But there are a few things Taylor needs to work on to fully maximize his true potential.

For instance, Taylor is about a half-count late in recognizing and breaking on routes in front of him too often. Allowing receivers that extra cushion or space they need to come down with the reception. Here, Taylor must learn to trust his instincts and buckle down in coverage, otherwise he will be an easy target for the large throwing windows he creates for savvy NFL quarterbacks.

In addition, Taylor struggles in press coverage at times due to his lack of length and size. And while correctable, Taylor will need to clean up his technique, as he can get pushed around and ends up too far back on his heels at times.

The good news for Taylor is that each of these problem areas are not the worst flaws to have in a cornerback—and many of them are correctable with good coaching and experience. There are plenty of other things he does exceptionally well that deserve more recognition.


Why he deserves more recognition:

Taylor is a small but thickly built and well-proportioned athlete that can match up with bigger wide receivers because of his physicality, strength and attitude. 

A cornerback that refuses to back down, Taylor is also one of the better blitzing corners in the draft, who shows an interest in playing near the line of scrimmage and setting the edge in run support.

In addition to his physical presence, Taylor has proven himself to be one of the better cover corners in this entire class.

With exceptionally quick feet and a smooth backpedal, Taylor is able to change directions quickly by flipping his hips to turn and run down the field. Taylor ranked in the top five amongst cornerbacks at last month's NFL combine with 4.39-timed speed in the 40-yard dash.

Add to this good instincts and explosive foot speed to close and accelerate to the football, and there's not much separating Taylor from a competitor like Desmond Trufant in this class. Which is certainly saying something, considering Trufant is nearly a shoe-in for the first round come April.


Bottom Line:

Taylor has areas of his game he needs to work on but probably has the most potential of the three cornerback prospects on this list.

A corner who can cover in the short, intermediate and deep parts of the field and come up to support the run game, Taylor is one of the more balanced and versatile corners nobody seems to be talking much about, something one lucky team will feed off on Day 2 of the NFL draft.

NFL Comparison:

Ronde Barber, CB, Free Agent