The NFL Comparison for Top 10 DB Recruits from Class of 2015

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IApril 25, 2014

The NFL Comparison for Top 10 DB Recruits from Class of 2015

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    The NFL comparison series with recruits in the 2015 class continues, and it's time to look at the top defensive backs in the country.

    Having a talented secondary can take a team to new heights, and the recruits on this list are the nation's top back-end defenders. However, to give readers a clearer picture of their skill sets, each elite defensive back prospect will be compared to an NFL player at the same position.

    A cornerback from Florida resembles a professional defensive back who will play in New York this season, while a 5-star safety is a bigger version of an NFL stud. Plus, a versatile defensive back with great size plays like an intimidating cornerback on the New England Patriots.

Marvell Tell, S

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    Jeffrey Phelps

    Hailing from California, Marvell Tell is a 4-star safety who is a stud in the seams. He has terrific athleticism, evidenced by his ability to move fluidly in space.

    Tell, who is 6'2" and 175 pounds, excels in coverage. He plays with excellent instincts and ball skills, plus he has no issues rolling into the box versus running plays. Yet, the California native is at his best when sitting on top of the defense as a free safety.

    He plays a lot like Chris Clemons of the Houston Texans. 

Tyrek Cole, CB

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    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Tyrek Cole is a 4-star cornerback from Florida who doesn't back down from anything. The 5'11.5", 170-pounder is fluid in his backpedal, and he comes out of transition quickly to close on balls.

    He isn't the strongest in press-man coverage, but his confidence helps him to be more effective. He has great athleticism and instincts, which should help him to become a well-rounded cover man in college.

    The Florida State commitment compares to Alterraun Verner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Deionte Thompson, S

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    USA TODAY Sports

    A 4-star safety from Texas, Deionte Thompson has outstanding recognition and vision. He understands how to be patient after the snap, plus he does a great job of recognizing routes.

    Thompson, who is 6'2" and 181 pounds, drives hard on underneath routes after he comes out of transition. The Alabama pledge also uses his long arms well when attempting to get his hands on balls.

    He looks a lot like Denver Broncos safety Rahim Moore on tape. 

Jamal Peters, S

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    USA TODAY Sports

    At 6'3" and 200 pounds, it's easy to confuse Jamal Peters for an outside linebacker. In fact, it wouldn't be surprising if the 4-star safety eventually lands at that position in college.

    The Mississippi native is a good athlete who does most of his damage in the box. He flashes to the football with great short-area quickness, and he has good vision. In coverage, he displays above-average speed to run with tight ends and running backs, plus he doesn't look uncomfortable in space.

    Mark Barron of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is a good NFL comparison for him. 

Tarvarus McFadden, CB/S

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Tarvarus McFadden is a 6'3", 198-pound 5-star defensive back prospect who can play both cornerback and safety. 

    He plays mostly on the perimeter right now, and he excels in press-man coverage. He uses his size and strength to bully receivers at the line, plus he has the speed to recover. McFadden has good athleticism and movement skills in space, and he looks like a receiver when the ball is in the air.

    His size and press-man ability are similar to the skills that New England Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner displays on the field. 

Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB

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    Joe Mahoney

    Minkah Fitzpatrick has a chance to become a complete cornerback at Alabama. He is a great athlete who can jam receivers at the line, but he also has the ability to work well in off-man coverage.

    The 6'0", 185-pound New Jersey native is a 5-star prospect. He has great anticipation skills in coverage, and he also has impressive short-area quickness. With his loose hips and quickness out of transition, Fitzpatrick compares to Chris Harris Jr. of the Denver Broncos. 

Derwin James, S

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    Jeff Chiu

    A 5-star safety, Derwin James is dynamic in the secondary. The Florida State commit is comfortable as a single-high safety or in the box.

    With his 6'2", 201-pound frame, he displays outstanding athleticism and instincts on tape. He doesn't get fooled often with route combinations, plus he sprints out of transition to close on passes. In the box, he tracks the run well with solid vision, and he can deliver a big hit.

    Although James is more comfortable in coverage, he's essentially a bigger version of Donte Whitner of the Cleveland Browns.

Kendall Sheffield, CB

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    The best all-around athlete on this list could very well be Kendall Sheffield. The 5-star prospect from Texas is an excellent cover corner who has exceptional short-area quickness and speed.

    He isn't the most physical cornerback, and he isn't impressive in the strength department. Yet, the 5'11", 180-pounder has loose hips and a quick backpedal. He can get out of transition with the minimum amount of steps, plus he easily stays stacked on top of receivers when running downfield.

    Sheffield plays like Leodis McKelvin of the Buffalo Bills. 

Iman Marshall, CB

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    Elaine Thompson

    At 6'1" and 190 pounds, Iman Marshall is a 5-star cornerback with terrific size and instincts. He plays the game with a natural feel and good awareness, which allows him to anticipate routes at a high level.

    Marshall, who is from California, has the length to press and reroute receivers at the line with strength. His solid speed allows him to run with pass-catchers all over the field, plus he helps out versus running plays.

    He's similar to Byron Maxwell of the Seattle Seahawks. 

Kevin Toliver II, CB

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    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    A Florida native, Kevin Toliver II will be ready to contribute as a true freshman to LSU's defense. He has fantastic size for a cornerback at 6'2" and 185 pounds, plus he possesses rare athleticism.

    He doesn't mind hugging the line of scrimmage on the perimeter and pressing a receiver at the snap. He has a quick punch and deceptive strength. Yet, he has the awareness and intelligence to be just fine in off-man and zone coverage.

    He needs to get better at supporting the run and coming down with more interceptions, but Toliver compares favorably to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie of the New York Giants.

    Jamie Newberg of wrote on March 31: "This is an elite prospect with coveted size, length, and all the cover skills you look for in a player at this position." 


    All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports' Composite Rankings. Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports.

    Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.