2011 NFL Draft: The Top 20 Cornerbacks in the Upcoming Draft
This is a very deep class of cornerbacks, in my opinion, in the 2011 NFL draft.
There is some elite talent at the top of the draft, and some quality prospects in the mid-to-later rounds who can end up being steals.
We will see how things turn out April 28th, however, here are the top 20 players at the cornerback position in the draft at this point.
1. Patrick Peterson, LSU
Was there even a question?
Patrick Peterson is the best player in the draft and has the skill set to become a shut down corner in the NFL.
In addition, he could become one of the best return guys in the NFL and has the size to transition to safety later in his career.
2. Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
Although Patrick Peterson is the top corner in the draft, Amukamara is not far behind and is just as complete a player.
He has the size and cover abilities, and then dispelled any concerns about his speed at the combine by running a 4.43.
3. Jimmy Smith, Colorado
Jimmy Smith has seen his stock fall a bit this offseason, but not because of his on the field ability.
He has the size, speed and coverage skills that should make him the No. 3 corner taken in the draft; however, he showed an attitude problem at the combine which may cause him to fall a bit.
4. Brandon Harris, Miami (FL)
Brandon Harris could jump ahead of Aaron Williams in the draft and is the last of the corners who could possibly go in the first round.
Harris is a little undersized as far as height, but has good speed and is one of the best cover guys in the draft.
5. Aaron Williams, Texas
Aaron Williams was thought to have dropped into the second round because most people see him having to switch to safety in the NFL.
Although I can see him making that switch later in his career, I also see Williams being a solid No. 1 corner for a team, while he is aggressive in the run game.
6. Ras-I Dowling, Virginia Tech
Ras-I Dowling was once considered a first-round talent before; he was injured most of the season and then sustained another injury at the combine.
With those injuries, Dowling has dropped into the second round; however, he has the skill set to become one of the top corners from this draft class.
7. Curtis Brown, Texas
Curtis Brown has been rising up boards as of late and will go anywhere from the top to the middle of the second round.
He is solid in all areas of his game with good hands, speed and great awareness. The only true negative would be that he is undersized, which makes him more apt to get blocked in the run game. Although that doesn’t make him any less aggressive in that area.
8. Brandon Burton, Utah
Almost saw his stock rise enough to bring him into the first round but now probably sits squarely in the middle of the second round.
He is one of the better cover corners in this draft and has been working to build up strength to contribute more in the run game.
9. Johnny Patrick, Louisville
Patrick shows good technique and awareness; however, he also shows some tightness in his hips and he lacks top tier speed.
Without that elite speed, he has trouble recovering once beaten in coverage and seems to let bad plays linger and affect him the rest of the game.
10. Kendric Burney, North Carolina
Burney does not lack confidence, and his strength is working in zone coverage to take advantage of his great quickness.
He does not mind coming up in the run game; however, he is undersized and is lacking in strength and speed.
11. Joshua Thomas, Buffalo
Joshua Thomas is very quick and has good zone coverage skills, although he needs to improve on actually locating the ball in the air.
As far as the run game, Thomas shows a physicality and does not mind coming up and taking down the runner.
12. Shareece Wright, USC
Shareece Wright is more comfortable in man coverage, and has good quickness and good enough speed.
He has the confidence to gamble at times; however, he needs to make sure more of those gambles actually pay off.
13. Brandon Hogan, West Virginia
Hogan has displayed nice overall awareness and quickness; however, he has had a few off-the-field problems.
He does not have great speed, but will contribute in the run game. Since he started his career at wide receiver, he brings good hands to the secondary.
14. Davon House, New Mexico State
House has good ball skills and seems comfortable in both man and zone coverage schemes, although his speed is lacking a bit.
House can come off as over confident at times though, and needs to work on technique and aggressiveness in the run game.
15. Cortez Allen, Citadel
Cortez Allen is a tall, mentally-tough corner with good speed for his height and is better in press coverage.
He can struggle at times in space, but does have that speed to make up for mistakes if he is beaten.
16. Marcus Gilchrist, Clemson
Marcus Gilchrist is one of the more versatile defensive backs in the draft and has worked at corner, safety and in the slot.
He needs to work on his feet, but he has shown good ability to diagnose plays and will come up in run support.
17. Rashad Carmichael, Virginia Tech
Rashad Carmichael has seen his stock rise a bit recently especially given that he reportedly improved his 40 time from 4.56 at the combine to 4.39 at his pro day.
He has the agility and speed to run with receivers down field and some experience playing in both man and zone schemes.
18. Curtis Marsh, Utah State
Marsh started his career at Utah State as a running back and was converted to corner in his third year, so he’s a little raw at the position.
He will need some work, obviously, but he does show some good field awareness, speed and a willingness to deliver a hit.
19. Buster Skrine, Chattanooga
Skrine is best suited in a zone coverage scheme, but has shown an ability to improve his man coverage skills.
Being undersized, Skrine has some trouble taking on blocks in the run game; however, he has the speed to make up ground if he gets beat.
20. Chykie Brown, Texas
Because Aaron Williams and Curtis Brown get all the hype, Chykie Brown is an almost forgotten man at the cornerback position in the draft.
Brown has displayed a good ability in zone coverage; however, he needs to work a bit on his technique and needs to get better in run support.