This year is a pretty strong year for cornerbacks. There are about 11 CBs that I really, really like as the class is good for the pickings. Yet, right now, two of them stand out in Brian Poole and Ronald Darby.
I'm going to examine both players, break them down, compare and contrast them, then at the end give you who I think is the better pure CB prospect.
Should be a tight one to cover, but let's get to it!
Poole is an all-state and All-American-caliber CB prospect out of Florida. He's been on the radar since his sophomore year and has been a standout player for his Southeast HS team for years.
He's a great RB, as Poole has been a 1,000-yard rusher in high school. Yet his future is at CB and that is where colleges want him at.
Poole held offers from Alabama, Florida State, USC, Georgia, Michigan and Notre Dame among others. But he decided that Florida is the school for him.
Darby is one of the fastest players in the nation, and anytime you have a nickname of "Nitro" then you know you have some skates on you. He's also a solid RB and WR as well, and there is some debate if those are better positions for him.
Darby runs a 21.2 200-meter dash and a 10.55 100-meter dash. He's been on the radar since he stepped up as a sophomore for Potomac High School in Maryland.
Auburn, USC, Florida, Alabama, Miami and Michigan all wanted Darby badly, but he decided on Notre Dame.
At 5'11", 185 pounds, Poole is a corner whom I feel can play the boundary and the field. He has excellent athleticism, mirror ability and transition quickness. Poole is at his best as a press corner on the line, where he can use his jam strength to reroute WRs.
He shows easy movement and reaction to mirror and copy, loose hips to shuffle and quick feet in coverage. He's not sticky in his plant-and-drive, and can close in a flash.
Poole can carry WRs around the field and will come up to support the run when needed. He's a 5-star recruit and may be the most complete CB prospect in America.
Darby is 5'11", 175 pounds and the name of his game is speed and quickness. He's wiry-strong, but Darby has speed to spare.
He shows easily among the elite in the foot quickness and agility areas and his COD is excellent. Darby shows on tape that he can carry receivers deep and almost never gets beat downfield. His speed allows him to play tight on the line, and he shows excellent acceleration for the ball in flight.
He's a bit more raw as CB due to him being an offensive threat for his team, so he hasn't spent as much time needed to refine his CB game and skill set.
In comparison, both players stand in the 5'10"-5'11" range and are very explosive athletes. Poole and Darby have excellent fast-twitch athleticism and play speed. Each player also will be a playmaker on interceptions because of their experience as RBs.
However, Poole is the thicker CB as he weighs around 190 pounds, give or take. Darby weighs just 175 and Poole is the stronger and more physical press guy.
Also, Poole is more willing to come up and attack the run off the perimeter in run support.
I think I would take Poole right now over Darby. My reasoning is because Poole is the more complete CB right now as opposed to Darby's potential.
Yes, Darby has the higher ceiling, but Poole is the more complete player, as he can factor as a press corner, off-man corner, Cover 2 corner, can play the field and the boundary, and supports the run.
Poole can do it all, while Darby will be fantastic as a sticky and speedy cover corner in the mold of a DeAngelo Hall, Poole has a chance to be a little bit like Darrelle Revis.