B/R NFL Draft 400: Top Cornerbacks for 2015

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterApril 13, 2015

B/R NFL Draft 400: Top Cornerbacks for 2015

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Each spring, 256 players are drafted into the NFL and roughly another 100 are added as undrafted free agents. With close to 350 new players entering the pros each year, it's tough to keep track of them.   

    Everyone knows who Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota and Amari Cooper are. But what about the rest of the class? At Bleacher Report, our aim is to thoroughly cover the draft unlike any other outlet, so we're not stopping with coverage of the top 32 picks or even the top 200 picks. We're covering the top 400 draft-eligible players, with a full scouting report on each one.

    The top 400 players have been tracked, scouted, graded and ranked by myself and my scouting assistants, Marshal Miller and Dan Bazal. Together, we have viewed a minimum of three games per player (the same standard NFL teams use), and oftentimes, we've seen every play from a player over the last two years. That's led to the grades, rankings and scouting reports you see here.

    Players are graded on strengths and weaknesses, with a pro player comparison added that matches the player's style or fit in the pros. Position by position, the top 400 players are broken down for easy viewing before the final release of a top 400 big board before the draft. 

    In the case of ties, players were ranked based on their overall grade. 

The Grading Scale

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    At the end of each scouting report you'll see a Final Grade that falls somewhere between 9.00 and 4.00 on a unique grading scale. This scale comes from the teaching I had from Charlie Casserly, Michael Lombardi and other former and current front office personnel in the NFL. I've tweaked it this year to be more transparent, and the result is each player receiving a number grade as well as their ranking.

    This applies to all positions.

    Matt Miller Draft Grading Scale
    GradeLabel
    9.00Elite, No. 1 pick
    8.00-8.99 All-Pro Potential 
    7.50-7.99Pro Bowl Potential 
    7.00-7.49Top 15 Player Potential 
    6.50-6.99Rookie Impact/Future Starter 
    6.00-6.49Rookie Impact/Future Starter
    5.50-5.99Future Starter
    5.10-5.49Quality Backup
    5.01-5.09Backup Caliber
    5.00Draftable Player Cutoff
    4.75-4.99Priority Free Agent
    4.50-4.74Camp Player
    4.00-4.49Not NFL Caliber

39. Greg Henderson, Colorado

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.63s 15 reps 39" - -

    STRENGTHS

    Greg Henderson won't shy away from contact and shows awareness on the field. He has the feet and arms to line up in press coverage and make an impact. He held his own against Jaelen Strong in man coverage. His recovery speed is solid NFL level. He impressed at the East-West Shrine Game and has the ball skills to flip the field and make plays. Henderson plays fast and has the quickness to mirror and slide with receivers all over the field.

    WEAKNESSES

    Henderson lacks size and length, and his backpedal is high and jerky instead of low and fluid. He has a narrow, thin frame and looks like a high schooler on the hoof. His instincts weren't good, and he lacks the toughness to play on the edge or at the line of scrimmage. Henderson was an average talent in college and doesn't have big-time NFL traits. His ability to find the ball is average when he has to turn over his shoulder.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     48 11 -

    FINAL GRADE: 4.80/9.00 (Priority Free Agent)

    Pro-day results via Kyle Ringo of the Daily Camera.

38. De'Vante Bausby, Pittsburg State

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    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     - 14 reps 37.5" 122" 7.2s

    STRENGTHS

    A small-school stud with NFL size and speed, De'Vante Bausby is worth a look after a dominant pro day that turned heads. He had a solid showing in the Medal of Honor Bowl and shows good use of his length with the ball in the air. He's quick with the ball in front of him and has the closing speed to get in place to grab the ball. He has a quick processor and doesn't get fooled by routes. Bausby has the hands to flip the field and create turnovers. He uses his size and athleticism well and has huge upside as a developmental cornerback given his ideal measurables and impressive film.

    WEAKNESSES

    The biggest leap for Bausby is proving he can play against NFL competition. He has the traits, but not the reps. On the hoof, he's long but skinny and needs to add bulk to handle press coverage or traffic in the pros. He's more athlete than a football player and gets tall and cocky in his backpedal. Bausby is an inconsistent hitter at the Division II level and shied away from contact before lowering his pads and blasting folks at times.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     47 9 4

    FINAL GRADE: 5.00/9.00 (Backup)

37. Bernard Blake, Colorado State

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.49s - 31.5" 84.0" 7.12s

    STRENGTHS

    A Shrine Game player, Bernard Blake turned heads in Florida. He's a willing, active tackler who can put some muscle behind his pads. Blake made a big jump in play from 2013 to 2014 and shows aggression as a tackler and when the ball is in the air. His closing speed is good enough to position for turnovers. Blake does have enough quickness to play underneath and shuffle with receivers underneath.

    WEAKNESSES

    Throughout his four years at Colorado State, Blake never started every game in a season. Without a combine invite, Blake remains a bit under the NFL's radar. He was a grabby, handsy cornerback in college and will be a penalty-heavy player in the NFL. He's lanky and needs more sand in his pants to hold up against physical NFL receivers. Blake is a tweener who needs to either add size to play in press coverage or improve his short-area agility to live in zone coverage.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     38 11 1

    FINAL GRADE: 5.00/9.00 (Backup)

36. SaQwan Edwards, New Mexico

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    John Locher/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.52s 10 reps 36.0" 120.0" 7.01s

    STRENGTHS

    A former wide receiver with tackling skills, SaQwan Edwards is raw but intriguing. He's spent just one-and-a-half seasons at cornerback and has the skills to play in zone coverage at corner or could see a move to free safety. He has the size teams want and is agile enough to cover in short areas. He did make a big jump in 2014 and started to look the part, but Edwards isn't ready to cover NFL receivers yet. He'd be a smoother transition to a zone scheme than a press man system.

    WEAKNESSES

    Edwards isn't a twitchy player, and his lack of closing ability will keep him out of reach of the ball in coverage. His footwork needs attention as he works back off the line of scrimmage, and he can get sloppy in his leverage and pad height in his backpedal. He struggles to find the ball when going downfield and needs reps and pro-level coaching before he's ready to see the field in the NFL.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     42 9 2

    FINAL GRADE: 5.00/9.00 (Backup)

35. Curtis Riley, Fresno State

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    Otto Kitsinger/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.49s - 38.5" 129.0" 6.76s

    STRENGTHS

    A quick, man coverage cornerback, Curtis Riley has the skills to pick on quarterbacks. He's willing to tackle and has the size to make plays there. Riley is able to play in man or zone coverage with his length and short-area quickness. He has surprising closing speed coming out of his plant. Riley was just a two-year player at Fresno State after transferring in from Mars Hill College and Fullerton College.

    WEAKNESSES

    Riley doesn't flash with the instincts or agility of an NFL-caliber cornerback. He's not a field-aware cover man and loses track of his assignment too often. What he sees doesn't always get processed in time to make a play on the ball. Without great athleticism (speed or agility), Riley can't recover from blown coverage. He's tight through the hips and isn't a turn-and-run cover man.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     53 8 -

    FINAL GRADE: 5.00/9.00 (Backup)

34. Deshazor Everett, Texas A&M

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.49s - 38.0" 130.0" -

    STRENGTHS

    A big, physical cornerback with the length and height to get people excited, Deshazor Everett is a raw player heading into the NFL. Everett is a big hitter with the bulk to back it up. He's willing to play through injuries and is a team-first player. He has good hands, long arms and solid football intelligence. His experience at safety could come in handy, as he could be moved there if his speed isn't up to NFL standards.

    WEAKNESSES

    Everett never took the next step as a cornerback despite high potential. His use of angles and leverage is poor, and he may be a better fit at safety. He has tight hips that limit him, and without great top-end speed he's playing from behind too often. He loves to come off his man and try to make a play on the ball, which puts him out of position often. There are too many blown coverage efforts from him to feel good about his skills in true coverage.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     79 7 1

    FINAL GRADE: 5.00/9.00 (Backup)

     

    Pro-day results via Ron Clements of Sporting News. 

33. Tye Smith, Towson

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.60s 15 reps 36.5" 124.0" 6.97s

    STRENGTHS

    A fluid, quick cornerback on the prowl, Tye Smith is impressive in zone coverage and active in the run game. Smith had an eye-opening game against Kevin White of West Virginia and showed that he can handle a bigger receiver with leverage and technique. He's physical, aggressive and loves the challenge. Smith can be used in the slot and will attack as a blitzer there with a high success rate. He has an NFL frame with upside. He was invited to the Shrine Game and stood out.

    WEAKNESSES

    Tight hips and sloppy feet hurt Smith on the field. He doesn't have the top-end speed to play over the top or run with receivers on the edge but did show better on tape than at the combine (4.6 seconds). His backpedal gets high at times, and he'll get sloppy with his hands and become a grabber at the top of the route stem. For his size, Smith doesn’t play strong.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     84 6 1

    FINAL GRADE: 5.00/9.00 (Backup)

32. Dexter McDonald, Kansas

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    Orlin Wagner/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.42s 10 reps 40.5" 134.0" 6.93s

    STRENGTHS

    Dexter McDonald reinvented himself at Kansas—with a stint at Butler Community College in the middle—and has turned into one of the top athletes at cornerback in this class. McDonald fills out the triangle (height, weight, speed) and can play at the line of scrimmage with his length. He'll be aggressive at the snap and can pin receivers to the line. McDonald has good experience in press coverage and would make an easy transition there in either the slot or at outside cornerback. He's an aggressive, physical player who will stick his nose in and make plays.

    WEAKNESSES

    A lack of play strength is an issue for McDonald, and surprising given his size. He's an athlete and not a technician at cornerback, and he will struggle to sink in his backpedal or move with fluid kicks. He doesn't show consistency in planting his feet to drive on the ball when in off or zone coverage and has to learn to play with better leverage and not a lazy, straight back. He's been flagged often at Kansas and must learn to cover without his hands.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     35 13 2

    FINAL GRADE: 5.15/9.00 (Quality Backup)

31. Jacoby Glenn, UCF

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.64s - 34.0" 123.0" 6.97s

    STRENGTHS

    A second-team All-American in 2014, Jacoby Glenn has the height and length teams want from a starting cornerback. After posting seven interceptions in his redshirt sophomore season, Glenn has proved his ability as a ball hawk. He uses his length well to get his hands on the ball, and when he's not in position for an interception he can still make a play on it—seen by his 11 passes broken up this past season. Glenn is an aggressive cornerback prospect with good tackling skills.

    WEAKNESSES

    Glenn left school as a redshirt sophomore but shouldn't have. He has a habit of being a ball watcher instead of reacting and interacting with the play. Glenn hasn't been tested at the line of scrimmage and could be a scheme-only fit in off coverage. His 4.64 40 time at the combine does nothing to help the idea that he's not fast enough for deep coverage. Glenn is stiff in his hips and heavy in the feet, and without great recovery speed he's going to be burned up by NFL speed.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     48 11 7

    FINAL GRADE: 5.15/9.00 (Quality Backup)

30. Bryce Callahan, Rice

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.32 - 43.5" 132.0" -

    STRENGTHS

    Bryce Callahan has sleeper potential. He's active, with good feet and good hips to mirror and run with receivers on various routes. Callahan was the star of the Rice pro day with a 4.32 in the 40-yard dash and a 43 ½-inch vertical jump. That shows up on the field too, where Callahan has the speed to carry receivers down the field. He's confident and comfortable in man coverage and has the closing speed to become a factor in zone coverage once he learns to explode without wasted steps. He can contribute immediately as a punt returner.

    WEAKNESSES

    A small frame is backed up on film with poor play strength in traffic and in the run game. He'll back off running backs and doesn't want to throw his body around as a tackler. A lack of height and length will be an issue for Callahan down the field and on contested passes. He didn't see NFL competition often at Rice and wasn't invited to the Senior Bowl or combine.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     44 7 2

    FINAL GRADE: 5.20/9.00 (Quality Backup)

    Pro-day results via Tony Pauline of draftinsider.net.

29. Cam Thomas, Western Kentucky

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.54s 17 reps 36.5" - -

    STRENGTHS

    A tall, long cornerback with big upside, Cam Thomas could be the sleeper pick at cornerback in this draft. Thomas is physical when he needs to be and will come down to tackle ball-carriers. He's ideal for a zone defense and is at his best playing the ball in front of him and using plant-and-drive skills to break up passes. Thomas wasn't challenged much in Conference USA play but still pulled down 11 interceptions in his career. He's an instinctive cornerback with the eyes and hands to make an impact in the NFL.

    WEAKNESSES

    Thomas wasn't invited to the Senior Bowl or combine, and that's a red flag given the lack of senior talent at the position. He has a long, lean frame that needs to be filled out if he's to play a more physical brand of football against NFL bodies. With an already skinny frame and questionable top-end speed, you worry that Thomas would lose burst if he adds bulk, and he can't afford to do that. Balance and leverage are keys for Thomas as he works on his backpedal.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     45 5 2

    FINAL GRADE: 5.20/9.00 (Quality Backup)


     

    Pro-day results via Tony Pauline of draftinsider.net.

28. Nick Marshall, Auburn

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    Brian Blanco/Getty Images
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.54s 12 reps 37.5" 124.0" 6.96s

    STRENGTHS

    A quarterback at Auburn, Nick Marshall's best chance to make the NFL is at cornerback, so he made the move there during Senior Bowl practices. Marshall showed good promise throughout the week as he improved his technique. He's a natural athlete with a smooth backpedal and the hips to turn and run. He's surprisingly confident and aggressive engaging ball-carriers after spending the last three seasons playing quarterback. There's no film to judge him on, and Marshall is a pure upside projection, but he has the size and athleticism to make the transition if given time to develop.

    WEAKNESSES

    Any team drafting Marshall must be patient, and that alone will drive his draft stock down. During Senior Bowl practices, Marshall seemed to regress each day in terms of how active and aggressive he was—which could be chalked up to an over-focus on technique (which did improve). Marshall played one year of cornerback at Georgia but was kicked off the team for a violation of team rules after his freshman year. He ran well at the combine for a quarterback, but his mid-4.5-second 40 time makes you question whether he has the raw speed to recover and carry receivers downfield.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     - - -

    FINAL GRADE: 5.20/9.00 (Quality Backup)



27. Justin Coleman, Tennessee

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.53s 20 reps 37.5" 124.0" 6.61s

    STRENGTHS

    Justin Coleman is a battle-tested SEC cornerback with three-plus years starting experience and the build teams are looking for at cornerback. Coleman has good length and is agile in short areas to mirror off the line. In coverage he's confident and shows good instincts to see the ball and attack it. He has good ball skills and can flip the field with his hands and uses his length well to challenge the ball in the air. He has the ability and toughness to play early on special teams and could play an inside cornerback position as he learns the game.

    WEAKNESSES

    A lack of top-end speed will keep Coleman near the bottom of the cornerback rankings. That shows up on film as he has trouble recovering out of his turn and running down the sideline with receivers. Coleman will struggle through transitions and will bite on the first move if he's shaken with a counter. He's an average all-around athlete with limited growth potential.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     42 5 4

    FINAL GRADE: 5.20/9.00 (Quality Backup)



26. Cody Riggs, Notre Dame

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.41s 13 reps 33.0" 115.0" -

    STRENGTHS

    A non-Senior Bowl and non-combine invite, Cody Riggs faces an uphill battle to the NFL. He showed good quickness and burst at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, and you can see his toughness and instincts on film. He's a smaller cornerback with nickel or slot upside, and his short-area agility and balance back that up. He's a dog in run support and can contribute as a blitzer off the edge in nickel situations. He'll lock up bigger receivers in press coverage at the line of scrimmage and has clean, solid technique throughout his coverage.

    WEAKNESSES

    Size and a lack of great speed are the biggest issues for Riggs. This shows up on deep routes or when challenging jump balls, as he doesn't have the length to compete or the technique to undercut the route. When asked to break out of a backpedal he can lose his balance and has wasted motion in his hips. Riggs isn't big enough or fast enough to have his technique break down, as he's not built for recovery. He didn't show himself to be a ball hawk.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     36 3 1

    FINAL GRADE: 5.20/9.00 (Quality Backup)

25. Garry Peters, Clemson

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.61s 7 reps 32.5" 119.0" 6.80s

    STRENGTHS

    A one-year starter at cornerback, Garry Peters has the size, length and mentality teams want in a press coverage corner. Peters is best with the ball in front of him, as he struggles to turn and run deep. Zone coverage is his friend, but he can play with pressure at the line. He's a high-motor competitor who produced at a high level when challenged (which wasn't often) at Clemson.

    WEAKNESSES

    Peters lacks the top-end speed and agility for an NFL cornerback. He may see a move to free safety if his speed cannot improve. He's not a strong, physical player through coverage and struggles to play with balance. Peters' feet get heavy when asked to change direction, and his plant-and-close skill is average. He doesn't show the twitchy ability needed to mirror underneath and will get very handsy in coverage if he starts to sense that he's losing ground to speedy receivers.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     45 12 1

    FINAL GRADE: 5.25/9.00 (Quality Backup)

24. Kevin White, TCU

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.63s 18 reps 35.5" 121.0" -

    STRENGTHS

    A fluid cover man asked to routinely go against the offense's best receiver, Kevin White saw some talent in the Big 12. He has good length on a small frame and uses his arms well to maintain contact and close quarters. He's tough and will go head-to-head with confidence. White has a good backpedal and enough plant-and-drive skills to attack the ball. His timing and instincts are quality.

    WEAKNESSES

    White did not show well at the combine. With a smaller frame and a lack of top-end speed, he's not a great fit for most schemes. White doesn't have great quickness or deep speed, and that's a concern. His 40 time translates to film and what was seen at the Senior Bowl. Notably, Kansas State speedy deep threat Tyler Lockett gave him fits. Lockett's speed and subtle moves caused White problems all game, and that's what he's going to see in the NFL. He was a good college player, but never dominant.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     51 11 2

    FINAL GRADE: 5.25/9.00 (Quality Backup)

23. Bobby McCain, Memphis

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    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.51s 17 reps 36.0" 130.0" 6.80s

    STRENGTHS

    Bobby McCain doesn't meet the NFL standard for size, but his quickness and explosive ability on film stand out and make him a worthy draft pick for an inside corner position. McCain is twitchy, tenacious and has the plant-and-drive skills to close on the ball. He has very good instincts, and you can tell his film study carries over to the game film. McCain also brings special teams ability as a gunner and return man. He's an ideal off or zone coverage cornerback with quick processing skills and the closing speed to make a play on the ball.

    WEAKNESSES

    McCain lacks the size to play on the edge in the NFL and will be scheme-limited, as he's not fit for man coverage. He is a good athlete but doesn't play with ideal balance or control when asked to backpedal for distances or time his hips. He struggles to turn and run in phase and doesn't trust his speed to take receivers deep. That leads to him gambling, guessing and getting handsy at the turning point. He has the athleticism to be better in man coverage and when mirroring, but he needs work on technique and confidence.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     46 4 5

    FINAL GRADE: 5.30/9.00 (Quality Backup)

22. Damian Swann, Georgia

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    Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.50s - 33.0" 118.0" 7.03s

    STRENGTHS

    Damian Swann made big improvements in 2014, earning an All-SEC second-team vote. He’s a versatile cornerback with the physical tools to play at the line of scrimmage. Swann loves to mix it up at the line and uses his length very well to jam and pin receivers. He understands leverage and balance and can mirror receivers with good short-area quick feet. He’s a long, lean frame with room to bulk up in the NFL. He’s been an asset for Georgia playing multiple cornerback spots and brings a toughness to the position against the run and down the field. Swann could be a candidate to move to safety if he adds strength.

    WEAKNESSES

    Sammy Watkins abused Swann in 2013 in a game that can’t be forgotten. Swann isn’t a threat to create turnovers and had just five interceptions in four years—three of those as a starter. The cushion he gives up down the field doesn’t mirror his speed and he has to learn to better time his turns. Swann’s instincts are questionable and too often he appears to guess at what the offense is doing, which takes him out of position. He has average feet in transitions and a thin lower body makes him a target for physical receivers.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     65 8 4

    FINAL GRADE: 5.30/9.00 (Quality Backup)

21. Lorenzo Doss, Tulane

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    RICH SCHULTZ/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.50s 9 Reps 33.5" 115.0" 7.20s

    STRENGTHS

    An early entry into the 2015 draft as a junior, Lorenzo Doss lived around the football with 15 interceptions in three seasons while being avoided by offenses in 2014. He has top-tier ball skills and appears as a smooth, twitchy cornerback in his backpedal. Doss will attack the ball in the air and has good eyes to locate the pass once he's turned his back to the ball. He has smooth, quick hips and times his man turns very well. When asked to play zone coverage he has the plant-and-drive to meet the ball at the receiver and the hands to make it his own. Doss didn't test particularly well but plays with more agility than he showed at the combine. He has early starter potential in a Cover 2 or zone scheme.

    WEAKNESSES

    Doss is small with average length and below-average strength; his decision to leave school early looks questionable. He lacks the long speed needed to carry NFL receivers down the field and doesn't have the frame to hold up at the point of attack. Doss may be limited to zone coverage or slot cornerback duty in the pros. He has to limit his gambling for the ball in the NFL and stop jumping routes that will lead to huge gains against top-tier talent. Doss can get intimidated and owned in coverage if he struggles early and will let his frame get pushed around and boxed out by physical receivers.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     48 9 3

    FINAL GRADE: 5.30/9.00 (Quality Backup)

20. Troy Hill, Oregon

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.55s - 32.5" 120.0" 6.81s

    STRENGTHS

    Troy Hill's game film in 2014 was eye-opening, and the tenacious Oregon cornerback has seen a nice move up boards for it. Hill lived around the ball as a senior and showed improved instincts and awareness when in coverage. His plant-and-close speed is very good, and he attacks the ball in the air. He's balanced, fluid and smooth in his backpedal and quickly jumps out of his break to attack the ball in front of him. Hill is at his best in off coverage where he can see the play and ball coming at him. He's explosive as a runner and jumper, making him seem bigger than he is on the field. Hill broke up a ton of passes (19 by our count) during the 2014 season and uses that same mentality to come up as a tackler.

    WEAKNESSES

    Hill lacks the long speed to carry receivers downfield and doesn't have the size or length to be a threat on the outside. He'll be pigeonholed into a slot or inside cornerback position for most teams. Hill was just a one-year starter full-time and needs to show he can hold up against NFL-level speed. He doesn't have ideal NFL size, and while he lived around the ball, too many interception opportunities became knocked down passes. Hill will get handsy in coverage, and his current style will lead to flags in the NFL. Off the field, there are concerns, as Hill was suspended for the end of his junior season and sat out the bowl game after being arrested (and later pleading guilty) in a domestic incident. That landed him three years' probation and anger management classes.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     71 18 1

    PRO COMPARISON: Brandon Boykin, Philadelphia Eagles

    Hill is a feisty player who has outside cornerback mentality but inside cornerback size and speed; his upside and body type resemble that of Brandon Boykin.

    FINAL GRADE: 5.35/9.00 (Quality Backup)

19. JaCorey Shepherd, Kansas

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    Orlin Wagner/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.65s 14 reps - - -

    STRENGTHS

    A former wide receiver with great length and hands, JaCorey Shepherd has top-notch ball skills and instincts. He uses his length well to jar the ball loose or secure the pass as an interception. He reads receivers well, likely relying on his experience there to anticipate the route. He's aggressive to the ball in the air and will challenge 50-50 passes. Shepherd has good acceleration when coming up to play the ball and has nice open-field closing speed overall.

    WEAKNESSES

    Shepherd moved to cornerback in 2012 but still looks lost at times at the position. He might not have the height and speed to play outside cornerback and doesn't currently have the short-area change of direction to play in the slot against underneath routes. He's an athlete first and cornerback second, and that shows in wasted steps when asked to redirect through a route. Shepherd has to become stronger against the run and make more plays at the line of scrimmage. He tackles like a former receiver—something that has to be fixed early on.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     30 15 3

    PRO COMPARISON: Brice McCain, Miami Dolphins

    Brice McCain has good size, speed and hands but needed time to work on his technique. That's JaCorey Shepherd.

    FINAL GRADE: 5.35/9.00 (Quality Backup)

18. Craig Mager, Texas State

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.44s 17 reps 38.0" 130.0" 6.83s

    STRENGTHS

    Craig Mager came on the scene at the East-West Shrine Game and held his own. Mager is physical and brings an intimidating presence to the field as a tackler. He has a nonstop motor and doesn't shy away from an assignment. He's been a four-year starter at Texas State with good production and shows the quickness and agility needed to cover in the NFL. Mager's deep speed is solid for recovery when you factor in his leaping ability and use of his size. He'll bring a punt return aspect to the field and can contribute on special teams immediately. He is at his best moving forward, where he's a devil once the ball is spotted, with excellent closing speed and plant-and-drive technique.

    WEAKNESSES

    Mager can be slow to process and often relied on athleticism and aggression against lower-tier talent. He's not been challenged enough by NFL-style offenses or talent. A lack of ideal deep speed will be a concern for teams running a man coverage defense, as he won't be a threat running long with the kind of speed he'll see in the pros. Mager can let his aggressiveness get the best of him and has to learn to play with less hands in coverage and rely more on instincts and technique. A move to safety may be possible.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     63 10 3

    PRO COMPARISON: Jeremy Lane, Seattle Seahawks

    Mager is flying under the radar currently, but he has big potential if a team is patient enough to let him mature as a player. He has the body type and upside of Jeremy Lane, which should excite scouts.

    FINAL GRADE: 5.40/9.00 (Quality Backup)

17. Doran Grant, Ohio State

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.44s 21 reps 33.0" 116.0" -

    STRENGTHS

    Doran Grant comes out of a pro-style, press coverage defense at Ohio State and is NFL-ready. He's big enough and strong enough to handle the line of scrimmage and has active, patient hands to jam receivers. He's a three-down player who will attack the run and bring down ball-carriers on the edge, and then gives versatility in coverage because he can line up inside or outside at corner. Grant is football smart, and you'll see him on film getting teammates lined up and pointing out changes on offense. He won't get fooled by double moves and was one of the best cornerbacks evaluated at seeing screens and getting into position to break them up. He's a balanced mover with good agility and speed to recover.

    WEAKNESSES

    Despite a solid measurement, Grant doesn't play up to that size or length in coverage. Big, tall receivers take advantage of his size and attack the ball high where he can't make a play on it. Grant's feet can get heavy when he's making a man turn, and he can lose the receiver initially after flipping his head. He doesn't have great hands and won't make an impact as a turnover cornerback. Grant is a spot tackler who looks to bring down the receiver instead of challenge the ball. His technique in phase needs work, as he's often grabby and waits to react.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     63 9 5

    PRO COMPARISON: Kareem Jackson, Houston Texans

    A solidly built, strong tackler at cornerback, Grant may make a move to safety, which is how I saw Kareem Jackson coming out of Alabama.

    FINAL GRADE: 5.45/9.00 (Quality Backup)

16. Charles Gaines, Louisville

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    Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.44s - 34.5" 123.0" 7.07s

    STRENGTHS

    A former wide receiver, Charles Gaines plays the ball in the air like he's still on offense. Gaines excels in zone coverage underneath and has quick, active feet to redirect and change direction. He's cocky but plays smart and sees the field very well. He is quick enough to match up at the line of scrimmage and slide with receivers, showing choppy, twitchy feet. He's patient and times his jumps well to attack the ball in the air. Gaines has the length to jam at the line of scrimmage and the quickness to recover underneath. He's a high-upside cornerback prospect with room to flourish if coached up.

    WEAKNESSES

    Gaines was on the bad side of former head coach Charlie Strong on two documented occasions that led to suspensions, one of them for five games. It was never revealed why he was suspended, just listed as a violation of team rules. Gaines has played cornerback for only two seasons and is still learning the technique side of the position. He has a slight, narrow frame and could stand to bulk up in an NFL program. Deep routes were an issue for Gaines as he struggled to time his turns and had to rely on athleticism to catch up to the receiver. For a former offensive player, he dropped quite a few gimme interceptions in 2014.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     36 10 2

    PRO COMPARISON: E.J. Gaines, St. Louis Rams

    A stud in underneath coverage and an aggressive, film-heavy player, it's easy to compare this Gaines to another one, as both were terrors on underneath routes.

    FINAL GRADE: 5.45/9.00 (Quality Backup)

15. Steven Nelson, Oregon State

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    Troy Wayrynen/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.49s 19 reps 34.5" 115.0" 6.88s

    STRENGTHS

    Steven Nelson left his mark on the Senior Bowl, where he stood out all week and in the game. Nelson has a compact, short frame that's backed up by a physical swagger on the field. A former JUCO player, Nelson is an ideal zone coverage cornerback with physical tendencies. He's smooth breaking back to the ball and has the eyes to find the pass and quickly get in position to make a play on it. His feet on plant-and-drive technique is very good. He's strong enough to be a factor jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage and brings that same mentality to tackling. Nelson has good ball skills thanks to nice closing speed and good hands.

    WEAKNESSES

    A lack of height may be an issue for many teams. Nelson isn't a long or tall cornerback and can try to compensate for that with his hands, which will lead to holding penalties in the NFL. He likes to gamble and doesn't show great understanding on double moves or breaking routes, as he can get lost and turned around easily. With a lack of top-end speed and less than ideal height and length, Nelson begins to look like a scheme-specific zone cornerback who will most likely start his career in the slot.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     60 8 2

    PRO COMPARISON: Leonard Johnson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Like Nelson, Leonard Johnson was a smaller prospect with good film but limited upside and traits.

    FINAL GRADE: 5.45/9.00 (Quality Backup)

14. Eric Rowe, Utah

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.45s 19 reps 39.0" 125.0" 6.70s

    STRENGTHS

    Eric Rowe dominated the NFL Scouting Combine testing—finishing in the top 10 in every category—and has the height, body and length NFL scouts crave. He's a press cornerback and a willing, physical tackler. He lined up exclusively at left cornerback and can play square to the receiver at the line. He has shown good hands and has the talent to flip the field and create turnovers. Before moving to cornerback, Rowe had three years of experience at free safety, and he may be best suited there.

    WEAKNESSES

    Rowe is not a fluid mover, despite what his testing times may say. He is high cut and doesn't show the fluid movement and speed to turn and run with receivers downfield. He wasn't asked to cover long thanks to the Utah pass rush, with most passes thrown his way being disrupted by Nate Orchard and Co. He'll struggle to come off blocks at times and seems to take himself out of run plays. Rowe did not show on film with the times and numbers posted at the combine. He's tight in his hips, hasn't shown good recovery speed and was not as explosive as his jumps or three-cone drill show.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     59 13 1

    PRO COMPARISON: Pierre Desir, Cleveland Browns

    A big cornerback with elite testing times, Rowe has the movement and length to match Pierre Desir and may be best used in a scheme similar to Cleveland's.

    FINAL GRADE: 5.45/9.00 (Quality Backup)

13. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon

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    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     - - - - -

    STRENGTHS

    A naturally gifted athlete, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu has been one of the best cornerbacks in college football the past two seasons. He's a feisty, tough player who should be called short, not small, given his filled-out frame. He's a natural mover with loose hips and quick, choppy feet. He changes direction seamlessly and can attack the ball and create turnovers. Ekpre-Olomu is scheme-versatile—meaning he can play zone or man, press at the line or play off coverage, and could realistically line up in the slot or outside. He's physical, aggressive and confident in coverage and when asked to take on the run. He's shown experience, production, athletic traits and upside during his time at Oregon and is an ideal teammate and worker.

    WEAKNESSES

    An ACL tear while practicing for the Rose Bowl cut Ekpre-Olomu's season short and will put him behind to start the 2015 season. Similar to Aaron Colvin, a first-round talent who tore his ACL at the Senior Bowl and was drafted in the fourth round, a draft-day fall is expected for the Oregon cornerback.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     63 9 2

    PRO COMPARISON: Brandon Flowers, San Diego Chargers

    FINAL GRADE: 5.55/9.00 (Future Starter)

12. D'Joun Smith, Florida Atlantic

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.45s 18 reps 36.0" 124.0" 6.96s

    STRENGTHS

    A Day 1 asset at cornerback and as a return man, D'Joun Smith can be an impact player in the NFL on two units. Smith is a good all-around athlete and ideal zone coverage man with the ability to play nickel or slot cornerback. He has good hands and a knack for making plays on the ball, especially if you look at his 2013 film when more teams challenged him. His instincts are solid when he's facing the ball, and he times his jumps very well. Smith can be aggressive in his coverage and will fight for positioning. He does use his hands when tangled up but knows to release and will get away with some slight holds downfield.

    WEAKNESSES

    A lack of deep speed combined with a shorter frame will keep Smith down on draft boards. He played afraid of giving up vertical routes, and it affected his speed. The best fit for Smith is a system that lets him keep the ball in front of him—so think Cover 2 or zone schemes. He's a willing hitter but ducks his eyes, and it's scary to watch him lead with his head on hits. At the line of scrimmage his shorter arms make jamming difficult, and his mirror skills need work, as he gets his balance off center. Smith played against low-level competition and hasn't been tested by many NFL-caliber cornerbacks. When tested at the Senior Bowl, he didn't impress throughout the week.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     54 8 1

    PRO COMPARISON: Alterraun Verner, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    A high-potential athlete with versatility and aggressive tendencies, the best Smith can hope for in the NFL is an Alterraun Verner-like career.

    FINAL GRADE: 5.60/9.00 (Future Starter)

11. Senquez Golson, Ole Miss

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    Joe Murphy/Getty Images
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.46s 15 reps 33.5" 120.0" 6.81s

    STRENGTHS

    An All-American in 2014 with 10 interceptions, Senquez Golson was all over the field for Ole Miss and stood up against top-tier SEC talent at wide receiver. He's a ball hawk with hands, instincts and the quickness to make a play on the ball. He sees the ball well and has fluid, twitchy movements to break on the route. He has explosive hips and can run through the ball to flip the field. Golson was a good enough baseball player to be drafted by the Boston Red Sox in Round 8 of the MLB draft in 2011 but gave up baseball to work on football.

    WEAKNESSES

    Golson lacks the size and deep speed to play on the outside in the NFL, limiting his value to teams that need an upgrade at slot cornerback. He was a zone-heavy cornerback in college and hasn't been asked to turn and run with receivers. When he was asked to play man coverage at the Senior Bowl, his impact faded. Golson will naturally struggle against height and doesn't position himself well underneath or inside the receiver to challenge the ball on the way down.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     43 8 10

    PRO COMPARISON: Tim Jennings, Chicago Bears

    Golson is a smaller cornerback with big potential in the right scheme; his athleticism and size remind of Tim Jennings, but his potential is more like Brandon Flowers.

    FINAL GRADE: 5.60/9.00 (Future Starter)

10. Quandre Diggs, Texas

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.56s 17 reps 35.5" 113.0" 7.22s

    STRENGTHS

    Short, not small, Quandre Diggs is the mighty mite of the 2015 cornerback class. He was a four-year starter at Texas and a leader for the entire program. He's a talker—on and off the field—and he's as aggressive with his body. Diggs is the ideal slot cornerback with instincts and a high football IQ. He's played inside and outside cornerback and is comfortable at both. He can play at the line of scrimmage and has the agility to mirror receivers off the ball. He has a good eye for the ball and is patient in letting a receiver develop his route before jumping it. Texas trusted Diggs to match up against the best receiver it faced each week, and he played very well against Kevin White from West Virginia. He's the younger brother of former first-round pick Quentin Jammer.

    WEAKNESSES

    Diggs isn't a sprinter, and that will concern some given his height. He could actually lose weight and improve some twitch in his game. The struggle with man coverage deep against speed causes Diggs to be premature in his turns, and he'll give up his feet and hips too early in a route. An early coaching point will be teaching him to use his hands better to stick receivers at the line to help compensate for his height and speed.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     67 5 3

    PRO COMPARISON: Nickell Robey, Buffalo Bills

    A tough-as-nails slot cornerback with confidence and swagger, Diggs is a better version of Nickell Robey.

    FINAL GRADE: 5.65/9.00 (Future Starter)

9. Alex Carter, Stanford

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.51s 17 reps 40.0" 121.0" 7.05s

    STRENGTHS

    A press cornerback with an NFL pedigree, Alex Carter left Stanford as a junior and is NFL-ready. He's physical at the line of scrimmage and uses his length well to pin receivers to the line. Carter excels in zone coverage and has very good instincts and read-and-react skills. His plant-and-drive technique is solid and quick—he won't waste steps and has a fluid weight transfer in his hips and feet. He tackles well in the open field and can be a presence on the edge in the run game. Carter has the size NFL teams want and is an aggressive all-around player.

    WEAKNESSES

    A lack of true speed keeps Carter from being a home run in man coverage. He has the footwork to plant and turn but can't open his hips and accelerate fast enough to stay in phase with speed receivers or polished routes. The awareness of this has caused Carter to be more aggressive or early in his hip turns, and he'll get beat on a double move. He's a bit of a ball watcher and struggles to locate the ball in man coverage over his shoulder.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     41 9 1

    PRO COMPARISON: Keenan Lewis, New Orleans Saints

    Big, physical cornerbacks who play best at the line, Keenan Lewis and Carter have a lot in common in terms of style and physical skill sets.

    FINAL GRADE: 5.99/9.00 (Future Starter)

8. Quinten Rollins, Miami (Ohio)

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    Tony Ding/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.57s 14 reps 36.5" 122.0" 7.10s

    STRENGTHS

    Quinten Rollins has played more at point guard for Miami than cornerback. The one year he spent on the gridiron was a good one, as Rollins showed instincts, athleticism and the hands to make plays on the ball. In his only season of football, he was good enough to be named MAC Defensive Player of the Year with seven interceptions. He's a big, solid cornerback with excellent quickness and strength. Rollins moves like a former basketball player, showing excellent body control and confidence in his feet. He can start and stop on a dime and has rare change of direction skills. Rollins has good hands and is a physical, aggressive player challenging 50-50 passes.

    WEAKNESSES

    Rollins is quick, but not fast, and that's a concern when asked to run in man coverage. You can get away with less than ideal speed if you're long or technically perfect, but Rollins is neither of those. He bets on his quickness and takes too many false steps when asked to change direction—a technical weakness he makes up for with very good agility. He has short arms and won't be an effective press cover corner until he learns timing and placement in a jam. Rollins has to learn to not be baited into double moves, something he struggled with in college.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     72 9 7

    PRO COMPARISON: Buster Skrine, New York Jets

    Take away the raw factor and Rollins is a physically impressive zone cornerback with instincts and hands. Like Buster Skrine, his best position may be as a slot cornerback.

    FINAL GRADE: 6.00/9.00 (Rookie Impact)

7. P.J. Williams, Florida State

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.57s 12 reps 40.0" 132.0" 7.08s

    STRENGTHS

    A key for the Florida State defense over the past two years, P.J. Williams is a physical, tough player on the edge. At cornerback he's willing and able in the run game and will attack the line of scrimmage (see the Georgia Tech game). He has the triangle (height, weight, speed) scouts want and carries himself bigger on the field. Williams has the size to handle press coverage and is excellent in man coverage. He's fast enough to run in phase and tough enough to fight for the ball. He shows a good feel for routes and is a smooth mover through transitions. He's a confident, cocky cornerback with a short memory and big playmaking potential.

    WEAKNESSES

    With short arms and small hands, Williams will get knocked by teams who are looking for the Richard Sherman-style cornerback. He's inconsistent with his motor and will go through lapses where he's off his game. Williams was targeted often as offenses avoided Ronald Darby on the other side of the field. He's a handsy player who will have to adjust to NFL rules—especially down the field. Williams needs to turn earlier in the route to find the ball, but that's a technique fix that can be accomplished early in the NFL if he takes to coaching.

    Williams was arrested for a DUI on April 3 and plead not guilty to the charge. 

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     74 10 1

    PRO COMPARISON: Jason McCourty, Tennessee Titans

    A lean, tall cornerback with swagger and good ball skills, Williams is very comparable to Jason McCourty across the board.


    FINAL GRADE: 6.25/9.00 (Rookie Impact)

6. Jalen Collins, LSU

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.48s - 36.0" 124.0" 6.77s

    STRENGTHS

    Jalen Collins is a long, fluid, twitchy prospect with big upside at cornerback. Collins is a big jumper with the ability to challenge and take away jump balls. He's aggressive and will sacrifice his body to get the ball. He's athletically gifted and is able to change direction on the fly to keep up with receivers—and he does this with inconsistent and sloppy footwork, often wasting steps. In man coverage he has the height, weight and speed to be a factor down the field, and when asked to play in zone he reacts to the ball in flight and can close on the receiver to make a play on the ball. Collins has light, quick feet and is an easy mover when he's on the field.

    WEAKNESSES

    A one-year starter (10 games), Collins has work to do as a technician. He was benched in 2013 and didn't regain the starting job until 2014. He is a gambler, an impatient cover man who likes to jump routes and go for the big play. He wins with athleticism, not technique, and must learn how to properly use his feet and length in transitions and when turning to bail. Collins is a high-potential player but has a low floor coming into the NFL. If he takes to coaching and can improve his technique, his natural gifts will shine. But that's a big risk, and a reason why Collins isn't competing with higher-ranked corners in this class.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     38 9 1

    PRO COMPARISON: Dee Milliner, New York Jets

    A big, long, fast cornerback who needs work on his technique, Collins is very similar to Dee Milliner coming out of Alabama.


    FINAL GRADE: 6.49/9.00 (Rookie Impact)

5. Byron Jones, Connecticut

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    Jessica Hill/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.40s 18 reps 44.5" 147.0" 6.78s

    STRENGTHS

    Byron Jones turned heads with his combine performance, but he was already making a name for himself as a top-50 pick before Indianapolis. Jones did dominate at the combine, though, posting top times in every agility and jumping test. On film, you see that same explosiveness on a very big frame. Jones has the quickness to play in off coverage, but the pop and recovery speed to line up in press coverage. He's instinctive, smart, and physical underneath. Jones set a combine record with his 147-inch broad jump.

    WEAKNESSES

    Jones isn't a speed demon at cornerback, and with his bigger, filled-out frame he'll struggle to turn and run with top-tier speed. He was hurt for half of the 2014 season with a shoulder injury and had limited film in his senior season. Jones wasn't a Senior Bowl invite, which is a question mark given his high ranking. Playing in the AAC, he didn't face top-tier wide receivers, and you can't find a game where he truly shut down NFL talent.

     

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     24 4 2

    PRO COMPARISON: Antonio Cromartie, New York Jets

    Jones isn't as fast as Cromartie was coming out of Florida State, but their builds and short-area agility are very, very similar.

     

    FINAL GRADE: 6.50/9.00 (Rookie Impact)

4. Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest

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    Chuck Burton/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.52s - 41.5" 130.0" 6.79s

    STRENGTHS

    A smart, experienced, technically savvy cornerback with eye-opening explosive numbers, Kevin Johnson is NFL-ready in a zone or off-coverage scheme. Throughout the entire 2014 season—12 games—Johnson allowed just 24 catches. He has had at least 15 passes defensed in every season since 2012. He has the speed and footwork to catch up when beaten, and he uses his length well to compensate in phase. He has a second gear when accelerating and plays catch-up well if he loses ground. Johnson is balanced, smooth and is a natural athlete who cannot be classified as a workout warrior. He is twitchy, confident and has the best footwork of the cornerback class.

    WEAKNESSES

    Johnson has a long, slight frame (especially in his lower body) and had to add weight before the combine to get to 188 pounds. He wasn't asked to play in press coverage at Wake Forest and hasn't shown the ability to play physically at the line of scrimmage. Johnson did improve in man coverage in 2014, but he can get tripped up in transitions and doesn't have great play strength. He may be scheme-limited to zone coverage, especially early in his career. He gets handsy and was flagged often in his career. The biggest knock on Johnson will be his ability to maintain his play weight. He can't afford to get under 180 pounds again.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     44 6 1

    PRO COMPARISON: Casey Hayward, Green Bay Packers

    Johnson has the tools to be a stud zone coverage cornerback with the hands and technique to make big plays. That's exactly who Casey Hayward has become.


    FINAL GRADE: 6.50/9.00 (Rookie Starter)

3. Trae Waynes, Michigan State

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.31s 19 reps 38.0" 122.0" 7.06s

    STRENGTHS

    A fast, long cornerback with NFL size and long speed, Trae Waynes has turned heads during the draft process. He has the size to be a press coverage cornerback and is a mentally tough prospect with a high ceiling. His 4.31 40 time will impress, and it's backed up by his ability on film to handle deep routes and run in phase. He's able to recover if he stumbles or guesses underneath and has elite reset ability. Michigan State cornerbacks are smart and well coached, and Waynes fits that mold. He's NFL-ready but still has room to improve and has the best pure potential of any cornerback in this class.

    WEAKNESSES

    Waynes has a thin, slight lower body and struggles through transitions. He didn't time well in agility drills despite having a great 40-yard dash time. He has average length and shows on film as an average athlete. Waynes is a handsy, grabby cornerback who likes to attack receivers at the top of their route stem, and that won't fly in the NFL. He may struggle to adapt to NFL-style coverage where he can't use his hands as much. His hips are stiff at times, and he doesn't turn and fly well. His instincts to read and react are average if not facing the ball.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     46 8 3

    PRO COMPARISON: Vontae Davis, Indianapolis Colts

    Long, physical, fast and well coached, Waynes and Vontae Davis are similar as prospects and as cornerbacks.


    FINAL GRADE: 6.49/9.00 (Rookie Starter)

2. Ronald Darby, Florida State

39 of 40

    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.38s 12 reps 41.5" 129.0" 6.94s

    STRENGTHS

    Speed, speed and more speed. Ronald Darby is sprinter fast, and he plays with the confidence and comfort that comes from that speed. He was rarely targeted at Florida State as teams stayed away from his side of the field. Darby was a state sprinter champion in high school (Maryland) and brings that explosiveness to the field. He's fluid when breaking on the ball and has click-and-close skills to attack underneath routes. He's an easy, controlled mover who can change directions without delay. In man coverage he can run with any receiver in the game. He's explosive and smart in zone coverage, timing his breaks and finding the ball with quick eyes. While Darby isn't a big cornerback, his hand placement to jam receivers is impressive.

    WEAKNESSES

    Darby has been a starter for only a year and a half and needs experience in technique. He doesn't play big and has short arms and small hands. He hasn't converted interception opportunities and has questionable ball skills (albeit on limited opportunities). Darby isn't a threat to maintain his stick on receivers at the line of scrimmage. As a tackler he shows timid form when approaching a ball-carrier. Off the field, Darby was connected to the Jameis Winston sexual assault case as a witness. He was cleared of wrongdoing by Florida State but refused to testify during Winston's hearing with the school.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     43 4 -

    PRO COMPARISON: Chris Harris, Denver Broncos

    A smooth, athletic, explosive cornerback with the skills to play in the slot or on the boundary, Darby has the potential to be a Chris Harris-like corner in the pros.


    FINAL GRADE: 6.99/9.00 (Rookie Starter)

1. Marcus Peters, Washington

40 of 40

    David Zalubowski/Associated Press
    40           Bench PressVertical   Broad      3-Cone        
     4.53s 17 reps 37.5" 121.0" 7.08s

    STRENGTHS

    Marcus Peters looks like a pro, moves like a pro and plays like a pro. He's going to be an impact player early as a pro. He's fluid and compensates for a lack of elite speed with great technique in his hip turns and in his timing. Peters rarely lets himself get out of position when waiting on underneath routes or when working in phase. He's physical enough to jam and stun receivers at the line of scrimmage and has the length to break up passes in the air. He's physical and will challenge receivers for the ball. Peters plays with the mentality that the ball is his. He's a tough, attacking tackler in space. He has the talent to become a top-five NFL cornerback.

    WEAKNESSES

    Washington dismissed Peters in November after suspending him for one game earlier in the year after a blowup on the sideline. On the field, Peters can be a freelancer in coverage and will gamble to make the big play instead of staying tight in coverage. He isn't patient and will get overaggressive when he feels he needs to make a play. He's not overly fast and could struggle to turn and run with receivers down the field. Peters has to trust his coaches or he can become a problem. Multiple teams spoken to are concerned about his close relationship with Marshawn Lynch.

    2014 STATISTICS

     Tackles           Passes Defended Interceptions  
     30 7 3

    PRO COMPARISON: Desmond Trufant, Atlanta Falcons

    Like Trufant, Marcus Peters isn't overly fast and will drop a few interceptions, but he's physical and sticky in coverage.


    FINAL GRADE: 7.49/9.00 (Top 15 Player Potential)

    Pro-day results via NFL.com unless otherwise noted.