NFL Draft 400: Ranking the Draft's Top Cornerbacks

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterApril 18, 2019

NFL Draft 400: Ranking the Draft's Top Cornerbacks

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    After 11 months of evaluations, conversations with scouts and coaches and endless nights on the road or at games, our staff is finally ready to answer the burning questions surrounding the 2019 NFL draft.

    Who is the best overall player? How about the best at each position? 

    The goal of the NFL Draft 400 series is to figure that out.

    The top 400 players were tracked, scouted, graded and ranked, with help from scouting assistants Marshal Miller and Jerod Brown. Together, we viewed tape of a minimum of three games per player—the same standard NFL teams use.

    Oftentimes, we saw every play from a prospect over the last two years. That led to the grades, rankings and scouting reports you see here.

    Players were graded on strengths and weaknesses, with a pro-player comparison added to match the prospect's style or fit in the pros. The top 400 players will be broken down by position for easy viewing before the release of a top-400 big board prior to the draft, which begins April 25 in Nashville, Tennessee.

    In the case of a tie, players were ranked based on their overall grades in our top 400.

Grading Scale

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    At the end of each scouting report, you'll see a final grade that falls somewhere between 4.00 and 9.00. This scale comes from the teaching I received from Charley Casserly, Michael Lombardi and other former or current front-office personnel in the NFL.

    This applies to all positions across the board.

                         

    Matt Miller's NFL Draft Grading Scale
    GradeLabel
    9.00Elite—No. 1 pick
    8.00-8.99All-Pro—Rare Talent
    7.50-7.99Round 1—Pro Bowl Potential
    7.00-7.49Round 1—Top-15 Player Potential
    6.50-6.99Round 2—Rookie Impact/Future Starter
    6.00-6.49Round 3—Rookie Impact/Future Starter
    5.80-5.99Round 3-4—Future Starter
    5.70-5.79Round 4—Backup Caliber
    5.60-5.69Round 5—Backup Caliber
    5.30-5.59Round 6—Backup Caliber
    5.10-5.25Round 7—Backup Caliber
    5.00Priority Free Agent
    4.50-4.99Camp Player

43. Keisean Nixon, South Carolina

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    STRENGTHS

    —Good ability to drop weight and transition step to get back in-phase after route breaks.

    —Ability to make an impact as a seasoned special teams player who was recognized for efforts at South Carolina.

    —Frame and competitiveness that can compete in boundary run support; willing to play behind his pads to deliver some "pop."

    —Looks the part as an athlete and has developmental potential that could surprise.

    WEAKNESSES

    —Struggles to get his head around and identify the ball in flight and will lose reps even when he's in good position.

    —Only one true season as a starter and just two years at South Carolina as a JUCO transfer.

    —Missed Belk Bowl in final game with fracture in his neck.

    —Short frame that can be bullied downfield by physical high-pointing receivers.

    OVERALL

    Keisean Nixon was competitive as a one-year starter after providing special teams depth during his first season at South Carolina. Unfortunately, a late-season neck fracture puts his draft stock in major jeopardy. He lacks ideal length, but he plays with competitiveness and a willingness to insert himself into run support. He's likely an undrafted free agent who will spend his rookie year rehabbing and trying to build a technical base to compete as a fifth or sixth defensive back on a roster.

    GRADE: 4.99 (CAMP BODY)

    PRO COMPARISON: Marcus Sherels 

42. Tyler Horton, Boise State

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    STRENGTHS

    —Four-year contributor and three-year starter with five touchdowns via interceptions and fumble returns; has electric ability to score with the ball in his hands

    —Football IQ is strong and, when combined with instincts, keeps him around the ball at all times.

    —Opportunistic player who has a playmaking mentality and looks for chances to swing games with turnovers.

    —Willing to support versus the run and has a consistent tackling style that won't deliver big hits but is effective on the boundary.



    WEAKNESSES

    —Timed speed of 4.72 seconds in the 40-yard dash is concerning and will take him off boards that require faster times as a threshold for corners.

    —Lacks explosion in his hips and will struggle to compete vertically for 50-50 balls with a lack of true length or bounce in his lower frame.

    —Foot speed is limited and shows up when defending quick routes that force him to step and replace before exploding out of breaks. If he can't find a transition step style that accelerates movement, he'll struggle to defend crafty releases at the line of scrimmage.

    OVERALL

    There's no denying Tyler Horton shows up and makes plays. He's been a dude at Boise State since arriving and plays with every bit of the swagger teams will want from a defensive back. A slow 40-yard-dash time is concerning and might take him off boards completely, especially when some of the transition steps on film look slower than ideal. If he can make a camp and continue to create the game-changing plays that he did in college, Horton could be a preseason standout.

    GRADE: 4.99 (CAMP BODY)

    PRO COMPARISON: Corn Elder

41. Ka'dar Hollman, Toledo

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    STRENGTHS

    —Above-average speed that can keep up with nearly anyone.

    —Aggressive with his hands throughout the entire rep.

    —Solid change of direction that makes him potential boundary or slot corner.

    —Able to turn and run in-phase with the best receivers in the nation thanks to top-tier speed and athleticism.

    WEAKNESSES

    —Hand placement in press is inconsistent, wide and more grabby than it is disrupting.

    —Rocks on his heels at the line of scrimmage and can have his balance manipulated too easily.

    —"Dive and pray" tackler who doesn't show consistent technique and will get abused by NFL backs.

    —Doesn't show toughness or technique to disengage from physical receivers on the boundary in run support.

    OVERALL

    Hollman saw good wide receivers every day in practice at Toledo with three viable NFL candidates in this draft class. He has the speed to interest teams, but his technique and coverage instincts are below where we want them. With his lack of physicality in coverage, he's unlikely to be drafted.

    GRADE: 4.99 (CAMP BODY)

    PRO COMPARISON: Ken Crawley

40. Clifton Duck, Appalachian State

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    STRENGTHS

    —Starting corner for three consecutive seasons since arriving at Appalachian State as a freshman in 2016 and was an All-Sun Belt first-team corner each season, as well.

    —Above-average ball skills, posted 12 interceptions throughout his career including five as a freshman and six as a sophomore before teams learned to stop throwing his way.

    —Shows good body awareness and can lean downfield to track balls and separate feet, hands and eyes to make sure each group is involved in contesting catches.

    —Competitive toughness and attitude despite his size and will rely on an aggressive nature to disrupt at any point versus any opponent.



    WEAKNESSES

    —Undersized at just 5'9" and 180 pounds and may only be seen as a slot player in the NFL without the true length to defend on the boundary.

    —Thin overall frame that is easily bullied in the run game and will struggle to disengage from most NFL receivers in run defense.

    —Allows his cushion to be pressed rather easily without the foot speed to pedal out and a hip turn that isn't as smooth as it should be given his size.

    —Footwork is chunky out of a half-turn position and doesn't show the speed or agility to click and close on comebacks, hitches, stops and out routes.

    OVERALL

    Clifton Duck was highly successful for Appalachian State and was routinely making plays as a three-year starter. His frame, however, may already be maxed out, and he'll struggle to play a boundary role in the NFL. If he can develop the footwork to move inside as a rotational slot player, he has the competitiveness and sticky hands to land a practice squad role as a rookie.

    GRADE: 4.99 (CAMP BODY)

    PRO COMPARISON: Tramaine Brock

39. Derrek Thomas, Baylor

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    STRENGTHS

    —33 ¾" arms on 6'3" build that help keep him in-phase longer.

    —Uses length at the line of scrimmage to disrupt releases with solid hand placement.

    —Top speed covers distance with long strides.

    —Experience at wide receiver and height/length help him compete for 50-50 balls.

    WEAKNESSES

    —Has to pack on more weight to be able to match skill set with physicality.

    —Converted from wide receiver in 2016 and is still tremendously raw.

    —Not interested in run support, defeating blocks or matching physicality of powerful receivers.

    —Feet are technically deficient, and he's still developing the needed change-of-direction footwork to recover after route breaks.

    —Backpedal is heavy-footed and too upright, lacks mobility in his hips.

    OVERALL

    A grad transfer from Temple, Thomas is as raw a prospect as there is in this cornerback class. He switched to the defensive side of the ball in 2016 and is still learning the physical and technical nuances to playing defensive back. NFL coaches will look at his build and lack of time at cornerback and be intrigued, but there is much work to do before Thomas is a legit NFL corner. A practice squad role is his best bet to spend the necessary time developing.

    GRADE: 4.99 (CAMP BODY)

    PRO COMPARISON: Tre Flowers 

38. Donnie Lewis, Toledo

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    STRENGTHS

    —Four-year starter for the Green Wave with consistent interception production from 2016-18.

    —Spent time at boundary corner, nickel and safety for Tulane and will bring some positional versatility to the NFL, as well.

    —Handsy and disruptive throughout the route and frustrates receivers with annoying play style.

    —Isn't going to lay the wood in the NFL but shows consistent tackling technique and adequate effort to be a reasonable run defender on the boundary.

    WEAKNESSES

    —Suffered a Jones fracture during East-West Shrine week and has had a limited predraft prep season.

    —Struggles to land his punches when playing at the line of scrimmage which leads to lunging and balance issues.

    —Rocks back on his heels when pedaling out of press and can be overtaken by physical releases.

    —Frame appears to be a little thin, and he could stand to put on another 10 pounds to physically compete in the NFL.

    OVERALL

    Lewis played all over the Tulane defensive backfield and may be able to hang his hat on that versatility at the next level. The team that takes him will have to make a positional decision sooner rather than later because he will need some time to build the overall frame to compete with NFL physicality. He's a consistent player who could become a fifth or sixth defensive back on a roster and, at worst, deserves a crack at a practice squad.

    GRADE: 5.00 (PRIORITY FREE AGENT)

    PRO COMPARISON: Keith Reaser

37. Alijah Holder, Stanford

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    STRENGTHS

    —Shuffle technique is solid and allows him to use length to remain in-phase early in the rep.

    —NFL-caliber height (6'1") and length with room to put another 10 pounds on his frame.

    —Tackling technique is solid and leads to decent finishes when he's unblocked.

    —Physical at the line of scrimmage and will disrupt route timing in zone coverage.

    WEAKNESSES

    —Just four games played in 2016 due to a shoulder injury and eight games played in 2017 due to a leg injury.

    —Backpedal is chunky and looks heavy-footed with labored transition steps.

    —Doesn't show the ball skills you want from someone with his length.

    —Doesn't show desire or technique to disengage from blocks on the boundary.

    —Limited long speed, burst and fluidity are all concerning and limit scheme fits.

    OVERALL

    After redshirting his freshman season and falling a year behind, Alijah Holder heads to the NFL to join his twin brother Mikah—an undrafted free agent in last year's class. The Cardinal corner has NFL size and shows some ability to play with strength in press coverage but is likely only suited to play in a zone-heavy scheme. Holder has to show his underwhelming athleticism, which looks average on film, is something he can improve at the next level.

    GRADE: 5.00 (PRIORITY FREE AGENT)

    PRO COMPARISON: Neiko Thorpe

36. Ryan Pulley, Arkansas

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    STRENGTHS

    —Press corner who wants to punch receivers at every opportunity and will disrupt and annoy offensive skill players with his play and talk.

    —Alpha-dog mentality and swagger that is overflowing, but he backs it up with competitive toughness in all aspects of play.

    —Compact frame that packs heat and comfortable coming downhill to be part of action when needed.

    —Consistent effort to contest catches and solid hand-eye coordination to rake through hands when the ball arrives.

    WEAKNESSES

    —Season-ending shoulder injury in 2017 forced him to miss the entire year.

    —Turns 24 during his rookie season and may be seen as closer to a finished product within some NFL circles.

    —Has to learn to wrangle in his energy and attitude on the field to be a benefit rather than an opportunity to grab the spotlight.

    —Frame is tightly wound and doesn't allow for much extension or flexibility at any level of the field.

    —Underwhelming foot quickness and will struggle to get back in-phase after sharp route breaks.

    OVERALL

    Don't be surprised to see Pulley move to safety in the NFL. He brings an aggressive mentality to the field and is the kind of player you'd rather have on your side in a fight. But he's too tight to be a boundary corner in the NFL and will struggle to match the acceleration and quickness that is en vogue in the league.

    GRADE: 5.00 (PRIORITY FREE AGENT)

    PRO COMPARISON: Darryl Roberts

35. Rashad Fenton, South Carolina

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    STRENGTHS

    —Good hand usage at the line of scrimmage with strength behind his punch

    —Solid recognition to drive downhill when squatting on routes in zone coverage

    —Aggressive demeanor and attitude throughout the rep with solid competitive toughness

    —Offers some support in run defense and shows a willingness to be physical on the boundary

    WEAKNESSES

    —Transition steps look labored and leave him half-step behind when getting back in-phase after breaks.

    —Stiff mover with heel-clicking style that limits hip mobility when he has to open and run.

    —Relies on his hands throughout the route and gets panicky at the catchpoint, leading to lots of contact that will draw penalties.

    —Sloppy tackler who likes to champion his solid hits but misses too many gimmes.

    OVERALL

    Fenton is a technically sound cornerback but lacks the movement skills to stick in coverage against NFL-caliber receivers. For this reason and his poor tackling, he projects best as a bottom-of-the-roster cornerback who teams may gamble on late but should grab as an undrafted free agent.

    GRADE: 5.00 (PRIORITY FREE AGENT)

    PRO COMPARISON: Greg Mabin

34. Davante Davis, Texas

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    STRENGTHS

    —Exceptional size (6'2") and length for a corner.

    —Plays the ball well in the air and through the receiver's hands.

    —Consistent tackler with a good wrap up. More than just a shoulder tackler.

    —Could be a weapon to match up with tight ends with added functional strength.

    —Uses his body and eyes to cover rather than his hands.

    WEAKNESSES

    —Mental toughness was an issue under Charlie Strong and resulted in him losing his starting job.

    —His feet are slow in his backpedal, and his turn-in run could be smoother.

    —Would have liked to see his size be more present versus the run and outside screens.

    —Lacks the click and close to play in heavy man-coverage schemes.

    —At times Davis looked like the All-Big 12 player he was. Other times he couldn't be trusted on the field.

    OVERALL

    A lengthy and physical corner from the Charlie Strong era, Davis has the potential to play every position in the secondary. He came on strong as a freshman at Texas, earning All-Big 12 honorable mention, but saw his playing time decrease during his sophomore and junior years. His lack of lateral quickness and physicality as a hitter will have teams considering a full-time move to safety.



    GRADE: 5.00 (PRIORITY FREE AGENT)

    PRO COMPARISON: Aaron Williams 

33. Derrick Baity, Kentucky

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    STRENGTHS

    —Great size (6'2") and length for the position.

    —Shows an above-average turn-and-run ability for his size.

    —A rare ability for a corner his size to be able to play in man coverage.

    —Can win or contest 50-50 balls against talented SEC receivers.

    —Another physical member of the Kentucky secondary.

    WEAKNESSES

    —Short arms. Plays smaller then he is in coverage.

    —Attempts too many hits rather than tackles.

    —Plays physically at the line of scrimmage but lacks recovery speed off his jam.

    —Footwork is choppy and narrow.

    OVERALL

    Baity is an intimidating corner, especially at the line of scrimmage. If he can get his hands on a receiver, he can take them out of the play completely. The problems come when he misses or loses his press. The lack of recovery speed and fluidity with his feet and hips make him a liability in man coverage. Shifty receivers were able to give him trouble at the line of scrimmage and beat him deep too often.

    GRADE: 5.00 (PRIORITY FREE AGENT)

    PRO COMPARISON: Adonis Alexander

32. Ken Webster, Ole Miss

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    STRENGTHS

    —Contributor to major program in competitive SEC; played in 37 total games at Ole Miss.

    —Rocked-up frame that aids play strength on the field, including a powerful punch to stack out blockers on the boundary.

    —Uses strength and positioning to disrupt releases, redirect routes and bump receivers off their stems.

    —Compact frame with good arm length helps him succeed as an above-average tackler given his playing style.

    —Tested well at the combine and has the foundational athleticism, explosiveness and burst to compete for an NFL practice squad spot.

    WEAKNESSES

    —Season-ending knee injury on first series in 2016 that led to additional redshirt season. He'll turn 23 over summer and will be on the older side for a rookie.  

    —Does not offer significant ball skills or turnover potential and, while he contests catches, won't create game-changing plays at the next level.

    —2017 suspension for shoplifting arrest, while fairly minor, continued to slow progress after early success at Ole Miss.

    —Spatial awareness and ability to recognize routes in action is a major concern, and he's often left defending nothing and exploited.

    —Hectic from a press alignment and will struggle to maintain composure versus crafty releases.

    OVERALL

    Ken Webster joined the Ole Miss program as a highly touted prep star and 2013 Defensive Player of the Year in Georgia. Unfortunately, a 2016 knee injury derailed his growth, and he struggled to get back on the same path of ascension. He offers excellent play strength and the testing numbers to suggest a role in the NFL, but he has to improve his patience at the line of scrimmage and recognition of route concepts or he'll be abused by offensive coordinators when he sees the field.

    GRADE: 5.30 (ROUND 6 - BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: E.J. Gaines 

31. Blace Brown, Troy

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    STRENGTHS

    —NFL and college football bloodlines with brother currently playing for Duke and uncle Herschel Walker a former professional running back.

    —12 interceptions in three seasons, including 11 between 2016 and 2017, with ball-hawking mentality and playmaker energy that stems from time as a converted wide receiver.

    —Above-average mental processing skills to diagnose route concepts in action; shows the spatial awareness to tighten windows and affect throwing lanes.

    —High-points like a receiver and can disrupt downfield targets with length, hand strength and eye discipline.

    WEAKNESSES

    —Tore his ACL in 2017 Sun Belt Conference title game, which limited playing time in 2018 to 12 appearances and six starts.

    —Physicality in his play is a concern, and he's more interested in sitting back and playing in space than coming downhill to do the dirty work from time to time.

    —Potentially stemming from ACL injury, long speed and burst is a major concern that will take him off boards due to poor timed speed (4.75-second 40) that doesn't meet thresholds.

    —Chunky and heavy-footed lateral mover who can't kick inside and will be fairly scheme-dependent in NFL.



    OVERALL

    Brown is a player we hoped to see more of in the predraft process, but he wasn't deemed good enough for the Senior Bowl and instead went to the Shrine Game. Because of this, level of competition is still a big hurdle to his evaluation. Brown has good size and very good ball production, but he's a gamble on upside.

    GRADE: 5.35 (ROUND 6 - BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: KeiVarae Russell 

30. Hamp Cheevers, Boston College

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    STRENGTHS

    —Nine interceptions in 15 starts, including seven interceptions in 2018, and shows an impressive blend of instincts, timing and ball skills.

    —Light and agile feet that can mirror at the line of scrimmage with good patience and are replaced in his pedal with good speed and fluidity.

    —Good lateral agility with the ability to tap and explode out with some recoil that closes windows.

    —Disciplined eyes that read quarterbacks well.

    —Good spatial awareness that helps him feel routes with body positioning to compete for turnovers despite small frame.



    WEAKNESSES

    —One-year starter and only 15 total starts during his time at Boston College.

    —Small frame (5'9", 169 lbs) and will have to play almost entirely in the slot, which lowers his overall value.

    —Size concerns bleed into overall lack of play strength and show up in run support, where he'll elect to watch too often or ankle bite with his eyes down.

    —Slight false step when transitioning out of backpedal to drive forward and may not be as productive in the NFL, where balls are out faster and more on-target.



    OVERALL

    If Hamp Cheevers was three inches taller and 20 pounds heavier, he'd go in the top three rounds of the draft. Unfortunately, his size is a major concern and will take him off boards as he simply doesn't meet the thresholds some teams have set. He'll have to play almost entirely in the slot in the NFL but has shown elite ball skills and a playmaking mentality that could earn him a roster spot. A slot corner can essentially be a starter in today's NFL, and Cheevers brings value though his physical profile may never be enough to compete. That has to be taken into account in his evaluation.

    GRADE: 5.40 (ROUND 6 - BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Parry Nickerson 

29. Jamal Peters, Mississippi State

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    STRENGTHS

    —Built like a safety or small linebacker with a 218-pound frame and a rocked-up 6'2" build.

    —Could be a weapon to match up against tight ends and be a slot corner/safety hybrid.

    —Can be effective against the run from the outside or slot corner.

    —When he is successful in his jams, receivers are taken out of plays.

    —Moves well in space and can turn and run well for a 218-pound corner.

    WEAKNESSES

    —Limited production and tape due to shoulder and knee injuries.

    —Footwork and hips make him a liability in man coverage.

    —Slow to click and close on breaking routes.

    —When deflecting and catching passes, his hands are not present enough to make plays.

    OVERALL

    Jamal Peters is built like a college linebacker and moves like a corner. If he can prove he can stay healthy, teams may look at him as a defensive weapon and special teams player late in the draft. A potential move to safety would not be surprising either.

    GRADE: 5.40 (ROUND 6 - BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Jalen Collins

28. Kendall Sheffield, Ohio State

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    STRENGTHS

    —Top-tier speed that won't be outrun by anyone in the NFL and gives him an immediate trump card against most players in the league.

    —Overall athleticism is elite and shows the speed, fluidity, burst and lateral agility teams covet regardless of scheme.

    —Rarely out of position or without an opportunity to contest catches because of speed and explosiveness to recover even when beaten.

    —Earned a starting role in the most competitive conference in college football for a team that has routinely turned out NFL-caliber prospects at defensive back.



    WEAKNESSES

    —Doesn't track the ball well in flight and mismanages opportunities to make plays at the catch point because of his struggles to get his head around.

    —One-year starter at Ohio State and only two years on campus after a redshirt year at Alabama and JUCO time.

    —Hyper-athlete who wins with natural athleticism and ability but doesn't have the technical refinement to play against the variety of receiver profiles in the NFL.

    —Effort in run support runs hot and cold, including a lock of any disengage strategy.

    —Will get bullied by physical receivers throughout the rep.

    OVERALL

    Kendall Sheffield is the sort of athlete who is hard to look past. He's blazing fast and has eye-popping athleticism that will make scouts trip over themselves. His technical refinement is behind, though, and will need to catch up because athleticism is abundant in the NFL and can't be the only measure of how he competes. He's got the traits to be a starter and has room to grow early in his career.

    GRADE: 5.40 (ROUND 6 - BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Artie Burns

27. Saivion Smith, Alabama

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    STRENGTHS

    —A 5-star prep player at highly touted IMG Academy; originally signed with LSU and was expected to compete for starting role there.

    —Well-built frame with above-average arm length that he uses well.

    —Won't hesitate to fill downhill in run support; shows consistent and impactful tackling technique.

    —Opportunistic player who can disrupt the catch point with length and occasional turnovers.

    —Handsy throughout the route stem and can completely erase receivers who lack varied release strategies.

    WEAKNESSES

    —Bounced around three programs in three years and lacks year-to-year consistency in his game.

    —Hand placement and punch timing at the line of scrimmage is inconsistent and leads to balance issues on the snap.

    —Lapses in processing and play that lead to explosive plays too often.

    —Tight-hipped out of his backpedal and will struggle to open and run with downfield NFL speed.

    —JUCO-to-SEC jump in one year was apparent, and some of his early 2018 tape shows slow processing.



    OVERALL

    Smith was considered the best cornerback in the entire recruiting class when he arrived at LSU out of nationally recognized IMG Academy. He transferred to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College after some production in 2016 despite the fact he was expected to compete for a starting spot with the Tigers. One year of JUCO was enough to earn him a spot on the Crimson Tide, with whom he started 12 games. Smith's program movement hasn't helped him develop into the player once expected, but he has enough size and press skills to warrant an opportunity in a press scheme that values his toughness and aggression in run support and at the catch point.

    GRADE: 5.50 (ROUND 6 - BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Daryl Worley

26. Xavier Crawford, Central Michigan

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    STRENGTHS

    —Spatial awareness as a Cover 3 defender is solid with the ability to press vertical seam routes from the top side and feel receivers down the sideline.

    —Fluid hips that are able to open and run with ease and allow him to remain in-phase at break points that might challenge others.

    —Footwork at the line of scrimmage is patient and smooth, waiting for receivers to declare release strategy and able to mirror comfortably.

    —Long speed looks average but shows the short-area burst to drive out of breaks on crossing routes and close windows in the short-to-intermediate areas.

    WEAKNESSES

    —Missed time early in 2017 with a shoulder injury and missed the last seven games of the same season due to a back injury.

    —Little to no effort as a run defender and is too often willing to watch others rather than get involved.

    —Thin overall frame with short arms and can get bullied at the line of scrimmage by physical receivers with strength in their releases.

    —Struggles to get his head around down the field and can't locate the ball in flight or track deep routes for playmaking opportunities.

    —Will get lazy in his pedal and stand upright, leading to inability to click and close against possession receivers who run sharp underneath routes.

    OVERALL

    Xavier Crawford transferred to Central Michigan after graduating from Oregon State during a coaching transition. He was a freshman All-American and relatively productive with the Beavers but chose to follow his defensive backs coach to Central Michigan. Back injuries slowed Crawford down after an impressive campaign in 2016, but the fundamental traits to be a solid backup are still evident. A lack of size and length will hurt him, but he comes with smooth hips and the footwork to compensate.

    GRADE: 5.55 (ROUND 6 - BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Harlan Miller 

25. Montre Hartage, Northwestern

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    STRENGTHS

    —Nine career interceptions and routinely looks to make plays on the ball.

    —Rakes through receivers' hands at catch point and can cause unexpected incompletions.

    —Competitiveness in spades and brings effort as a tackler.

    —Eye discipline in zone coverage is sound and helps him leverage spacing and timing to close windows.

    WEAKNESSES

    —Desire to be a playmaker is a double-edged sword and can leave him jumping even the slightest head nod.

    —Timed speed of 4.68 seconds is a major concern and matches underwhelming long speed apparent on tape.

    —Lateral agility looks limited and can leave him quickly out of phase versus creative releases.

    —Sits heavy on his heels at the line of scrimmage and will struggle to remain balanced if his punch misses versus physical receivers.

    —Click-and-close burst is lacking, and strong-handed receivers will win reps with ease.

    OVERALL

    Hartage is a tough, physical cornerback who gets caught trying to play highlight football too often. He has value as a depth cornerback, but his lack of speed will be an issue teams weigh as they look at his NFL-readiness versus his actual upside.

    GRADE: 5.55 (ROUND 6 - BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Levi Wallace

24. Jordan Miller, Washington

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    STRENGTHS

    —Four-year contributor with special teams experience.

    —Above-average height (6'1") and arm length that help him contest catches and make plays on the ball.

    —Smooth hips and feet that keep him in-phase downfield on vertical routes.

    —Solid overall athlete with speed to compete and above-average explosiveness.

    WEAKNESSES

    —Thin lower half and weak overall frame that will get bullied by opponents.

    —Dislocated ankle and broken fibula versus Arizona State in 2017 that ended season.

    —Inefficient tackler who lunges in space versus dynamic athletes or simply gets carried for extra yards.

    —Spatial awareness is underwhelming, particularly when playing off where he'll lose leverage and body positioning at break points and allow easy completions.

    OVERALL

    A nasty season-ending injury derailed a promising 2017 season for Miller. His 2018 wasn't as strong, and he certainly benefited from playing with two potential first-round picks in the same defensive backfield. Miller has good length and a fluid lower body that allows him to be competitive despite a thin frame and tendency to get lost in space. He's a potential fourth corner who could grow into a starter with time to fill out his frame.

    GRADE: 5.60 (ROUND 5 - BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Josh Shaw 

23. Michael Jackson, Miami

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    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    STRENGTHS

    —Physical at the line of scrimmage and can end route stems before they begin.

    —Well-built frame (6'1", 210 lbs) with thickness to be forceful in run support.

    —Tackles without hesitation and could make a move to safety to get on the field sooner.

    —Impressive athlete who opened eyes at the NFL combine with a 4.45-second run in the 40-yard dash and 40.5-inch vertical jump.



    WEAKNESSES

    —Recovery speed is poor and helps receiver separation grow after route breaks.

    —Lethargic feet struggle to fire into and out of transition steps.

    —Tightly wound lower half with limited flexibility affecting footwork.

    —Lacks the explosion and burst in close quarters to contest quick throws.

    —Gets too lost and too jumpy in man coverage and might only be seen as a zone cornerback or potential safety.

    OVERALL

    Jackson looks the part with his excellent size and 4.45 speed, but his lack of coverage instincts and awareness in-phase are poor enough that teams could decide he's either no more than a depth cornerback or a potential target for a position change to safety. He's worth a flier since height and speed can't be coached.

    GRADE: 5.65 (ROUND 5 - BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Tarvarius Moore

22. Mark Fields, Clemson

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    STRENGTHS

    —Impressed during in-person viewing at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and Senior Bowl with natural strength, quickness and a silky smooth backpedal.

    —Explosive out of his backpedal and closes quickly on the ball with bent knees and good pop in his lower body.

    —Tough when coming downfield to attack the ball as a tackler.

    —Has the short-area burst and twitchy athleticism to be shocking in his ability to recover and close on the ball.

    —Can mirror and match either against underneath routes or from the slot with superior foot quickness.

    WEAKNESSES

    —Coaching staff knocked Fields for laziness, work ethic and football character in our conversations with them.

    —Started just one game in 2018 and only six times in his career despite obvious athletic gifts.

    —Foot injury cost him six games in 2017.

    —Gets too aggressive and jumps routes that leave him hugging air way behind the receiver.

    OVERALL

    Fields has very good athletic traits and made a big impact when he was on the field, but his maturity and work ethic will be tested in his interviews with teams. If he handles his business well in one-on-one situations with NFL decision-makers, he could find himself drafted much higher thanks to his obvious traits.

    GRADE: 5.69 (ROUND 5 - BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Holton Hill 

21. Corey Ballentine, Washburn

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Aggressive in man coverage with arm length to remain in-phase through route stems and disrupt timing.

    —Smooth athlete who can turn on the jets to run deep when stretched vertically.

    —Recovery speed at break points is good, allowing him to win back reps versus good route-runners.

    —Lateral explosion and change-of-direction skills help him mirror short-breaking routes in space.

    —Has experience as a returner and can earn role as a willing hitter at gunner.

    WEAKNESSES

    —Competition coming out of Washburn is a clear concern, and Senior Bowl week may not have been enough exposure.

    —Hand usage and placement at the line of scrimmage needs to improve in press coverage.

    —Strength of punch in press is inconsistent and needs to land with more oomph to disrupt experienced players who can utilize a variety of releases.

    —Poor route recognition makes him an early candidate to play much better in a zone scheme.

    —Gets overly aggressive at times and could be exploited by NFL speed and talent.

    OVERALL

    Ballentine was a superstar at the MIAA level but needs to prove he can hang against the best in the world at wide receiver. Teams will fall in love with his athleticism and upside, but there is risk he won't develop as fast as expected. He has a future as a starter but will enter the league as a third or fourth cornerback.

    GRADE: 5.69 (ROUND 5 - BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Anthony Brown 

20. Sheldrick Redwine, Miami

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Solid frame with good arm length and athletic profile to play versatile DB role.

    —Willing hitter who fills downhill with purpose and has no concerns squaring anyone up.

    —Four-year contributor who had two-high, single-high and slot coverage responsibilities at various times and will be an immediate contributor on special teams.

    —Above-average zone awareness when matching routes underneath; shows impressive moments of route recognition and instincts.

    —Excellent run-support effort and engagement; is willing to fill frontside or backside.

            

    WEAKNESSES

    —Single-high role immediately erases what he does well and makes him hesitant.

    —Would like to see him make more noise at the catch point to lead to contested catches or plays on the ball. He's too willing to give up a reception to make a tackle.

    —Wants to match physicality too much and gets overly locked in on individuals at times to see the entire field.

    —Better when facing forward in a 2-high structure and struggles to get his head around after regaining position or winning back space after route breaks.

            

    OVERALL

    Originally a cornerback, Redwine was a primary starter at safety for the Hurricanes in 2017 and 2018. He has the size and athleticism to move back to corner in the NFL, but he brings positional versatility depending on where he lands. He's at his best playing downhill, whether that's breaking on crossing routes or leveraging runs to the boundary. Redwine will join an NFL team and earn core special teams reps to begin while offering flexibility in a defensive back group.

          

    GRADE: 5.70 (ROUND 4 - BACKUP CALIBER)

            

    PRO COMPARISON: Fabian Moreau

19. Jimmy Moreland, James Madison

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Threat to score at any point with a playmaker mentality and above-average ball skills. Had 18 career interceptions in college, six of which he returned for touchdowns.

    —Feisty style that uses hands throughout the rep to disrupt receivers.

    —Good spatial awareness and understanding of body position to use aspects of leverage and spacing to compete for balls downfield despite limited frame.

    —Could kick inside to be a nickel slot defender with the lateral bounce and speed to compete in the NFL; has the willingness to play downhill and be part of run support.

            

    WEAKNESSES

    —Dismissed from the program in 2015 due to an arrest for petit larceny of under $200 not from a person and sat out the year before a coaching change.

    —Critically undersized at 5'9¾" and 179 pounds. Despite his competitiveness, he won't meet the thresholds some teams have set for corners.

    —Natural questions about the level of talent he faced at James Madison and whether the same production and success can translate against top-tier competition in the NFL.

    —Despite his energy and attitude, physical receivers who come off the line with strength and power in both phases can overmatch him.

           

    OVERALL

    Moreland has had an impressive predraft season, playing well at the East-West Shrine game and earning the Senior Bowl call-up as a result. Teams won't want to immediately dismiss a corner with his kind of ball skills and playmaking potential, but it's hard not to be alarmed by such a small frame. He'll play a specific role in the NFL, but if he keeps up his propensity for creating turnovers, he'll find a home as a rotational slot corner.

                

    GRADE: 5.75 (ROUND 4 - BACKUP CALIBER)

           

    PRO COMPARISON: Jourdan Lewis 

18. Blessuan Austin, Rutgers

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    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    STRENGTHS

    —Possesses the desired height (6'1"), length (32½" arms) and hand size (10") to compete against any physical profile in the NFL.

    —Almost immediately started at Rutgers and showed impressive ascension over freshman and sophomore seasons before injuries.

    —Has some recoil in his hips that helps him drop weight and burst out with pace and ease.

    —Length creates difficult throws and affects angles that quarterbacks have to navigate, particularly on the boundary and down the field.

             

    WEAKNESSES

    —Torn ACL ended 2017 season after only four games; injured knee in 2018, ending season after one game.

    —Evaluation is almost entirely a projection of who he could be based off limited recent tape and will naturally be impacted by two straight seasons of injuries.

    —Frame is top-heavy and weight needs to be redistributed to bolster a thin lower body, especially given the need to rebuild strength throughout his bottom half.

    —Needs to develop hand usage at the line of scrimmage to disrupt releases when necessary or disengage from blocks.

            

    OVERALL

    Blessuan Austin was headed for four straight seasons of being a leader in the Rutgers defensive backfield before season-ending knee injuries derailed his 2017 and 2018 seasons. His evaluation is going to come down to whether teams think he can continue that growth or if the injuries have limited who he can  become. He has an excellent athletic profile but has to prove his lower body can hold up to NFL standards.

         

    GRADE: 5.75 (ROUND 4 - BACKUP CALIBER)

         

    PRO COMPARISON: Eli Apple

17. Iman Marshall, USC

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    STRENGTHS

    —Started for four years at USC and has playmaker potential, including six interceptions combined as a freshman and sophomore.

    —Physical throughout the route stem and plays with heavy hands to disrupt releases.

    —Relishes opportunities to compete in the run game and is a consistently impactful hitter.

    —Excellent hand placement in punch within first five yards of scrimmage; routinely lands square.

    —Cover-2 technique allows him to patrol underneath space in a half-turn, which maxes out his potential and shows an instinctual and engaged defender.

              

    WEAKNESSES

    —Labored transition steps; struggles to close out routinely on underneath routes from off coverage.

    —Worse play speed than timed speed, which forces him to open and turn far too early, leaving him susceptible to easy route breaks for receivers.

    —No turnovers in the last two years beg the question: Are early-career turnovers a fluke or part of his potential to develop into an opportunistic defender?

    —Gets away with pulls and tugs that will be flags in the NFL if he doesn't clean up his footwork at the top of routes to rely less on his hands.

           

    OVERALL

    Iman Marshall stepped on the USC campus and was the dude at cornerback. After four solid seasons, the Southern California native heads to the NFL with a blend of size, physicality and experience that teams will appreciate. An underwhelming downfield athletic profile will limit the scheme fits for Lewis-Marshall, but a Cover-2-heavy team will love his hitter's mentality and potential.

                  

    GRADE: 5.79 (ROUND 4 - BACKUP CALIBER)

                    

    PRO COMPARISON: Sam Beal 

16. Jordan Brown, South Dakota State

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    Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

    STRENGTHS

    —Smooth mover who has excellent flexibility in hips, knees and ankles and can open to run with ease.

    —Has good size with well-built lower half and athleticism to play boundary or slot corner.

    —Playmaker mentality and ball skills as a former Arizona prep standout at wide receiver.

    —Play speed is even faster than timed speed and helps him recover when he falls out of phase.

    —Closes well on the ball and often uses his experience as a wide receiver to read and react to the route to get himself into position on the ball.

          

    WEAKNESSES

    —Routinely loses battles for 50-50 balls and doesn't use positioning or size at catch point like he should.

    —Needs to learn to play behind his pads and bring some toughness to physical receivers.

    —Work at the line of scrimmage will need work to develop disruptive punch.

    —Inherent questions about competition level means he'll have to show he can win against good or better athletes.

          

    OVERALL

    Someone needs to tell Jordan Brown how big he is so he actually starts to play like it. He has the size and speed to be a No. 1 corner in the NFL, but he hardly plays like it. His best reps would have him toward the top of this class, but it's hard to know how consistent his effort will be and if he can develop the body control to compete downfield against against top NFL competition. He has all of the fundamental techniques to be great, and a little coaching could quickly unlock his NFL-starter potential.

            

    GRADE: 5.99 (ROUND 3-4 - FUTURE STARTER)

              

    PRO COMPARISON: Marcus Peters 

15. Isaiah Johnson, Houston

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    Michael Wyke/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —High school track standout with major success as a sprinter and hurdler.

    —Excellent NFL-ready frame at 6'2" and 208 pounds, with legit 4.40 play speed.

    —Competitive toughness and alpha-dog attitude that starts at kickoff and runs all game.

    —Hand placement at the line of scrimmage is solid and helps him routinely disrupt releases.

    —Arm length to challenge downfield on 50-50 balls.

                    

    WEAKNESSES

    —Converted to cornerback after two years playing receiver and comes with limited starts and on-field reps against high-caliber competition.

    —Raw in every aspect and will need significant technical development.

    —Too willing to fall on, catch and lunge as a tackler and needs to learn to play behind his pads.

    —Underwhelming spatial awareness from off-coverage and will open well before he needs to.

            

    OVERALL

    Johnson has excellent size and good overall athleticism, but the team drafting him must realize he's a work in progress; he could receive the developmental tag from most teams. In a scheme like the Seahawks or Jaguars', he's an ideal cornerback thanks to his height and length, but every team should be checking out his overall game.

               

    GRADE: 5.99 (ROUND 3-4 - FUTURE STARTER)

            

    PRO COMPARISON: Rasul Douglas

14. Kris Boyd, Texas

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    Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

    STRENGTHS

    —Strong, physical corner with the required build at 5'11" and 201 pounds.

    —Adequate in press coverage; can redirect routes at the line of scrimmage and keep receivers off balance.

    —Consistently plays through the ball and disrupts the receiver's hands. Makes the receiver's job harder even on balls he cannot intercept.

    —Can excel in both man and zone coverage with speed and instincts.

    —A willing tackler who loves to add support in the run game.

         

    WEAKNESSES

    —A tight athlete on the playing field, despite combine testing.

    —Lacks recovery speed and fluid hips to turn and run when he gets beat deep.

    —Very handsy in college, which could turn into penalties in the NFL.

    Can disrupt receptions but did not have consistent interception production at Texas. 

    —A willing player versus the run but is more of a hitter than a tackler, which has led to extra yards and missed tackles.

                

    OVERALL

    Boyd is a big, physical corner from the Charlie Strong era at Texas who will come into the NFL with great physicality and toughness. Although Boyd tested well at the combine, there are still questions about his ability to lock down in man coverage, and he may be better suited for zone-heavy teams. His size and versatility make him an option for slot corner, as well as providing depth at safety.

          

    GRADE: 6.00 (ROUND 3 - ROOKIE IMPACT)

    PRO COMPARISON: Darqueze Dennard

13. David Long, Michigan

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    STRENGTHS

    —Top performer at the combine in both the short shuttle (3.97 seconds) and three-cone (6.45 seconds) by substantial margins.

    —Excellent foot speed and ability to maximize steps while opening hips to run downfield.

    —Nasty demeanor at the line of scrimmage and wants to bully opponents before they even get into their stems.

    —Eye discipline is good; keeps him involved in run support and passing off underneath routes with good awareness.

    —Spatial awareness and instincts are solid and help him compete in traffic versus route combinations designed to target him.

          

    WEAKNESSES

    —Ball skills are limited, and while he doesn't allow a ton of receptions, he's not a takeaway creator.

    —Compact frame that struggles to extend a high point for disruptions on 50-50 balls.

    —Scheme highlighted his skills and hid his deficiencies. He may need the same situation in the NFL.

    —Will get caught on his heels at the line of scrimmage sometimes and lose to receivers who match his physicality in their releases.

         

    OVERALL

    David Long's short-area quickness is well above average and keeps him competitive, particularly on quick routes that require good burst. He won't create eye-popping turnovers in the NFL, but he has a chance to be a solid starter who relies on instincts and explosiveness to compete as a potential boundary or slot corner.

         

    GRADE: 6.00 (ROUND 3 - ROOKIE IMPACT)

         

    PRO COMPARISON: Duke Dawson

12. Amani Oruwariye, Penn State

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    Chris Knight/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Excellent size (6'2", 205 pounds) with solid arm length (31 ⅜") and good testing numbers across the board that confirm what the tape showed: a physical athlete all over the field.

    —Seven interceptions in two years despite only starting in 2018; shows an attacker's mentality that can routinely disrupt the catch point through all areas of the field.

    —Good spatial awareness and route recognition as an underneath zone defender who has the length to challenge and make quarterbacks second-guess boundary throws.

    —Physical profile and mentality allow him to be solid in run support; will hold the edge against most receivers comfortably.

    —Heavy-handed jab from press that can completely negate a release when it lands flush.

          

    WEAKNESSES

    —Only one year as a full-time starter for Penn State and doesn't have the consistent tape that other top corners in the class do.

    —Play speed, particularly in short-area bursts, looks limited and can allow receivers to create separation on crossing routes, where there's time to run away from him.

    —Lackadaisical footwork and pedal at times that will leave him off balance and unable to change directions versus crafty route-runners if he can't disrupt their release at the line of scrimmage.

    —Penn State's scheme hid his deficiencies, and he could be fairly limited as a boundary corner in specific schemes in the NFL.

           

    OVERALL

    Oruwariye has fantastic size, length and strength that will intrigue zone-heavy teams that want a physical body to punch receivers at the line. His footwork has a tendency to get sloppy and leads to separation that he could avoid. A team that asks him to squat at the line of scrimmage and limit release plans will be happy to get a developmental starter. He's scheme-dependent but has buildable traits and the athleticism to compete in the meantime.

        

    GRADE: 6.00 (ROUND 3 - ROOKIE IMPACT)

         

    PRO COMPARISON: Trumaine Johnson

11. Joejuan Williams, Vanderbilt

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    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    STRENGTHS

    —Massive cornerback prospect at 6'4", 211 pounds with 32 ½" arm length.

    —Experienced press corner who started two years at Vanderbilt and has matched up with top SEC receivers.

    —Dominates 50-50 balls and is excellent at timing his jump and then using his size, length and vertical ability to take away the pass.

    —Uses his size well to shadow receivers and force them out of their designated path; can be very disruptive with his length and size.

    —Doesn't have great recovery speed but recovers well with size and length since he's able to poke a hand in and reach the ball better than most cornerbacks.

           

    WEAKNESSES

    —Speed and agility are a question mark after running a 4.64-second 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine. Many teams have told us a move to safety could be in his future due to that speed deficiency.

    —Inconsistent timing and accuracy when asked to punch at the line of scrimmage in a press situation.

    —Gets lost in-phase and struggles to find the ball when he has to track it over his shoulder; is better in a zone situation where he can read and react to the ball in flight.

    —Motor ran too hot and cold on film, especially against Georgia, when he seemed to shut down once beaten.

    —Plays very tall and doesn't sink into his transitions.

           

    OVERALL

    Williams is an attractive cornerback prospect due to size alone, but his play instincts are solid, and he has the potential to continue improving his technique. The biggest question is his lack of speed. Williams was able to hang with college receivers thanks to his size, but NFL offenses will exploit a lack of speed on the edge. A move to safety could be in his future.

          

    GRADE: 6.50 (ROUND 3 - ROOKIE IMPACT)

          

    PRO COMPARISON: Ahkello Witherspoon

10. Jamel Dean, Auburn

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    STRENGTHS

    —Well-built upper body and above-average size (6'1", 206 pounds) and speed (4.30 40-yard dash) that will excite evaluators.

    —Physical at the line of scrimmage with the arm length (31¾") to punch and break up releases with ease.

    —Disruptive with active hands throughout the entire rep and challenges the catch point routinely.

    —Comfortably able to transition step, drop weight and burst out of breaks against quick routes.

    —Track background with recovery speed to close windows with ease.

            

    WEAKNESSES

    —Tore his ACL and meniscus in his junior year of high school. Tore the same meniscus the following year. Originally committed to Ohio State but was medically disqualified. Transferred to Auburn in 2015 after Dr. James Andrews gives him the clear. Then suffered a season-ending injury to his other knee during the preseason in 2016.

    —Hectic and late movements to open and run when his cushion is pressed, allowing space that he should be able to limit.

    —Doesn't play with the swagger and competitiveness that a corner with his natural talent should; too often looks subdued and disinterested.

    —Ball skills are lacking, and he rarely gets his head around even when he's in-phase.

          

    OVERALL

    Dean's injury history is one that must be carefully evaluated, but his traits and skills are that of a future NFL starter. Teams need to spend a lot of time checking his knees for long-term damage that might limit his career, but his physicality and athleticism are hard to overlook.

         

    GRADE: 6.50 (ROUND 3 - ROOKIE IMPACT)

        

    PRO COMPARISON: Gareon Conley

9. Sean Bunting, Central Michigan

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    STRENGTHS

    —Good build at 6'0" and 195 pounds with 4.42 speed and a 41.5" vertical jump.

    —Long-armed (31 ¾"), and it shows at the line of scrimmage and when reaching to deflect balls or attack passes in the air.

    —Excels going up to challenge 50-50 balls and has both the size and vertical ability to take away the deep ball.

    —Times his transitions well and shows he can flip his hips and run; good short-area quickness and can mirror and match on short routes.

    —Could be an excellent fit in the slot but more so in a zone scheme where he can keep his eyes on the route and close on the ball with his speed and length.

        

    WEAKNESSES

    —Frame didn't look 195 pounds on film; has a lean, long build that lets receivers run through him.

    —Can be slow to read and react and too often gets caught relying on physical tools, which won't work against NFL speed.

    —Didn't get challenged by many pro-caliber receivers and wasn't Senior Bowl-eligible as an underclassman, so level of competition could be an issue.

    —Never comes across as very twitchy or with much open-field burst, which could limit his projection as an outside cornerback, but his 4.42 run at the combine opened some eyes.

        

    OVERALL

    Bunting is a bit of a project, but we're betting on his traits and ability to improve with NFL coaching making him more valuable than some pro teams might see on tape. Bunting has received grades from scouts in the Round 3 range, but we're a little higher on his skills and upside as a starting cornerback.

         

    GRADE: 6.55 (ROUND 2 - ROOKIE IMPACT)

        

    PRO COMPARISON: Kevin Johnson

8. Julian Love, Notre Dame

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    STRENGTHS

    —Productive junior who notched 16 pass breakups in 2018; had three interceptions in 2017, two of which he took for touchdowns.

    —Checks the boxes for quickness and agility; is very good in short-area movement and has the lateral agility to stick with receivers on underneath routes.

    —Doesn't lose his man early in the route thanks to quick feet and good instincts.

    —Able to play both man and zone cornerback but is better in zone, where his awareness and quickness allow him to close on the ball easily.

    —Sticks in the hip pocket with receivers down the field and is excellent at using all his tricks to stay in-phase.

    —Technique is well-coached and developed to a high level.

           

    WEAKNESSES

    —Game film did not show the speed (4.54 seconds) that he displayed at the combine; often struggled to keep pace with receivers down the field, which could point to poor timing on hip turns.

    —Will shy away from contact, and physical receivers tend to take him out of his game.

    —Needs safety help over the top against great receivers; struggled against Clemson before leaving the game with a head injury.

    —Not much of a hitter and isn't physical working through blocks.

    —Play strength looks to be average.

         

    OVERALL

    Love has everything you want in a cornerback if you focus on instincts, agility and quickness, but he lacks the long speed to run down the field and the toughness to bang on underneath routes. A zone scheme is the best fit for him moving forward, but in the right system, he has the tools to be a very early starter, and potentially a high-level one at that

         

    GRADE: 6.60 (ROUND 2 - ROOKIE IMPACT)

        

    PRO COMPARISON: Brandon Carr

7. Lonnie Johnson, Kentucky

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    Bryan Woolston/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Possesses all the physical tools to be a starting No. 1 cornerback in the NFL.

    —Incredible length and bulk for the position and is able to reroute receivers with his size.

    —Length, strength and aggressive play make him a threat at the line of scrimmage in press coverage.

    —Special teams player who can immediately come in and block kicks.

    —Scouts love his demeanor, work ethic and competitiveness. Alpha dog-type athlete.

                

    WEAKNESSES

    —Just one interception in two years at Kentucky.

    —Sat out the 2016 season to focus on academic eligibility.

    —Does not show willingness to tackle in the run game.

    —Struggles to turn and run with top-end speed.

    —Deflections and interceptions haven't come because locating the football has been a huge problem.

          

    OVERALL

    Johnson has all the physical tools coaches and scouts look for; he has simply lacked production and consistency. With good coaching, there is no doubt those will come. If Johnson can learn to turn and locate the ball and provide any kind of support in the run game, he is a Pro Bowl-level talent.

    GRADE: 6.80 (ROUND 2 - ROOKIE IMPACT)
     

    PRO COMPARISON: Chris McAlister

6. Justin Layne, Michigan State

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    STRENGTHS

    —Incredible length for the position with 33" arms on a big 6'1 3/4" frame.

    —A converted receiver who is able to recognize body movements and routes quicker than most.

    —Has the length and speed to be dangerous in both man and zone schemes.

    —Is dangerous at the line of scrimmage with his length and has the ability to turn and run with receivers.

    —Moves well through receivers' routes and uses appropriate hand timing to disrupt receptions.

            

    WEAKNESSES

    —Lacks elite-level long speed for the position despite running a 4.50 at the combine.

    —Limited interception production (three in three seasons) will have scouts questioning ball skills.

    —Struggles to change direction with shifty receivers.

    —Provides little support versus the run game even though he has tremendous size.

                 

    OVERALL

    Justin Layne is a Cover 3 coordinator's dream. His combination of length and route recognition allows him to make plays most corners cannot. While he hasn’t reeled in many interceptions in his career, he has excelled at pass breakups. In the right scheme, Layne could be the steal of this draft

         

    GRADE:  6.90 (ROUND 2 - ROOKIE IMPACT)

         

    PRO COMPARISON: Nnamdi Asomugha

5. Deandre Baker, Georgia

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    Ric Tapia/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Physical, aggressive cornerback who won the best tackling grade at the position from our scouts.

    —2018 Thorpe Award winner for the nation's best defensive back.

    —Posted seven interceptions in college despite often being ignored by opposing quarterbacks; has the instincts and hands to flip the field when thrown at but does a better job eliminating targets.

    —Master in man coverage and has the physicality and size (5'11", 193 pounds) to play in press at the line of scrimmage and enough agility and burst to stay in-phase down the field.

    —Hasn't allowed a touchdown since 2017, per Pro Football Focus.

    —Has excellent timing on all that he does; breaks on routes with great awareness, comes up to pop in the run game and has nearly perfect timing to turn and run out of his backpedal.

          

    WEAKNESSES

    —Didn't impress with his 4.52 time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine and, per scouts, poor interviews with teams.

    —Gets handsy at the route stem when challenged by speedy receivers.

    —Limited ball skills could also point to average catching ability.

    —Gets a little jumpy against double moves and needs time to work on better route recognition.

          

    OVERALL

    Baker's tape is some of the best from the 2019 cornerback class, but average testing and poor interviews seem to have affected his stock. He's a potential rookie starter if teams are able to vet his character and dial in on who he is as a player and person.

         

    GRADE: 6.95 (ROUND 2 - ROOKIE IMPACT)

        

    PRO COMPARISON: Malcolm Butler

4. Trayvon Mullen, Clemson

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Athletic, well-proportioned cornerback at 6'1" and 199 pounds with ideal NFL speed (4.46 40-yard dash).

    —Plenty of experience in press-coverage situations; tough at the line of scrimmage with quick shooting hands and a big enough frame to stop receivers from running through him.

    —Closing speed is very good, with the ability to recover if beaten off the line of scrimmage or in a transition; quickly catches up to the route and times his move on the ball well.

    —Easy mover throughout his lower body and has light feet and quick hips.

    —Had his best game against Alabama in the national title game; grabbed a key interception and made the game-changing sack that caused a fumble.

    —Didn't allow a touchdown pass in college and was rarely tested by quarterbacks.

    —Can play in man or zone coverage and was used in both at Clemson.

         

    WEAKNESSES

    —Can be slow to come out of his backpedal and break on the ball or turn to run with receivers.

    —Doesn't always read the route well at the stem and needs more reps or development to recognize the offense better.

    —Allows too much space in the route and tries to rely on recovery speed to close gaps that good quarterbacks will exploit.

    —Not much of a tackler in the open field.

          

    OVERALL

    Mullen is one of our favorite players in the class thanks to his height, speed and agility in coverage. He didn't have the ball production of some top cornerbacks, but that was more a result of teams avoiding his side of the field. When the unbeatable Alabama offense challenged Mullen, it lost in a big way, which shows his poise and playmaking ability when tested. He has the look of an impactful rookie as a potential second or third cornerback.

         

    GRADE: 6.95 (ROUND 2 - ROOKIE IMPACT)

        

    PRO COMPARISON: Stephon Gilmore

3. Rock Ya-Sin, Temple

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    Chris Szagola/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Tough, physical cornerback who was a two-time high school state wrestling champion.

    —Physique is exactly what NFL teams want: strong arms and legs, plus the speed and quickness to keep pace with top-tier pro receivers.

    —Feet are natural, and Ya-Sin shows change-of-direction skills to close on the route once he identifies the ball. Closing speed is very good.

    —Upside is loved by scouts who see Ya-Sin as being able to further develop after limited time at a major college program.

    —Top-tier tackler who comes downhill in a hurry and hits the receiver with a mean streak.

    —Able to play in any scheme and has seen his stock soar as teams realize his potential to play in press-man or zone schemes with room to improve his technique.

                 

    WEAKNESSES

    —Just one year of starting at Temple after beginning his career at Presbyterian College.

    —Technique is very raw, and too often he wins by trying to play physically at the route stem instead of relying on timing and coverage tools.

    —Can get caught not trusting his eyes and instincts, which creates a pause in his reaction.

    —Not a wrap-up tackler despite good strength, toughness and a wrestling background.

         

    OVERALL

    It is rare for coaches to speak so highly of a player they had for just one year, but that's the case with the Temple staff. Ya-Sin was loved by the coaching staff for his hard work, willingness to improve and toughness. Those same traits are likely to make him a first-round selection in the upcoming draft. He has some technique to iron out but can be a plug-and-play starter on the outside.

    GRADE: 6.95 (ROUND 2 - ROOKIE IMPACT)

    PRO COMPARISON: Joe Haden

2. Byron Murphy, Washington

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Feisty, physical cornerback who masks his size deficiencies with technique, timing and instincts.

    —Change-of-direction skills are off the charts; good on tape with excellent quickness and agility to match and mirror in coverage.

    —Incredibly smart processor within the route who reads the quarterback and receiver well and puts himself in position to either eliminate targets or attack the ball (four interceptions and 13 passes defensed in 2018).

    —Twitchy player who has impressive burst when closing in on the ball; drives hard on comeback and breaking routes to get to the ball.

    —Tough at the point of attack and fights through contact.

    WEAKNESSES

    —At 5'11" and a bulked-up 190 pounds for the combine, Murphy ran a 4.55-second 40-yard dash, which is below average for a first-round cornerback.

    —Arm length (30 ⅛") could take him off the board for teams that require 32" arms for cornerbacks.

    —Limited exposure to complex offenses and route trees after just 20 collegiate games.

    —Gets very handsy against bigger receivers and could be flagged early and often.

    —Broken foot in freshman season must be checked out to ensure there are no long-term effects.

        

    OVERALL

    Murphy's tape is Round 1 all the way, but his poor timed speed and below-average size are big concerns for teams as they look for sure things at the position. That could be great news for teams late in the first round or early in the second because Murphy has the look of a longtime starter with the ability to play in the slot or outside.

         

    GRADE: 7.00 (ROUND 1 - TOP-15 PLAYER POTENTIAL)

        

    PRO COMPARISON: A.J. Bouye 

1. Greedy Williams, LSU

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    Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

    STRENGTHS

    —Tall (6'2"), fast cornerback who notched a 4.37-second 40-yard dash time and impressed through two seasons of starting play in the SEC.

    —Smooth backpedal and fluid change-of-direction skills show an easy-moving athlete.

    —Ideal press-man cornerback with his size and recovery speed; can play at the line of scrimmage, hit the receiver and then turn and run without losing positioning.

    —Plays relaxed and doesn't panic if a receiver gets an early jump on him; will stick to his technique and trust his speed and timing to disrupt the ball.

    —Excels in-phase with his speed and height; is able to eliminate receivers as a target.

    —Dominated Ole Miss' D.K. Metcalf in their head-to-head matchup and showed he can handle elite NFL size and speed.

            

    WEAKNESSES

    —Arm length is below average for most defensive schemes at 31 ½" long.

    —Thin body that doesn't like to come up and tackle in the run game.

    —Ball awareness is below average, so when challenged, he's not likely to be great flipping the field by creating interceptions.

    —Is more straight-line fast than quick and will need to work on staying low with knee bend through his transitions.

                

    OVERALL

    The top overall cornerback in the 2019 draft class, Williams has ideal traits when it comes to height, speed and instincts. He's not a tackler and does lack some play strength, but teams looking for a mid- to late first-round pick who could become a true star at cornerback should be all in on Williams.

    GRADE: 7.05 (ROUND 1 - TOP-15 PLAYER POTENTIAL)

    PRO COMPARISON: Antonio Cromartie