Archive for the ‘Cornerbacks’ Category

Measureables: Height: 6’2”  | Weight: 203 lbs.  | Positions: Cornerback

Instincts/Recognition: Understands route running and body language extremely well, especially when in man coverage. Does a good job of playing the ball and not the receiver. In off zone, struggles to sometimes recognize when receivers are breaking off their routes. Needs to improve his anticipation. Against the run, he does a nice job at keeping his eyes in the backfield to diagnosis the play. Also, reads screen passes very well.

Cover Skills: Press man coverage is where he shines. Plays with physicality and has the size and length to effectively press receivers and re-route them. Understands leverage and position. Knows how to use his wing span to jam a receivers inside shoulder, to prevent them from executing inside routes. Shows good balance when fighting receivers in the 5-yard area.  Does a nice job of planting-and-closing on comeback routes, but could become even better if he stayed lower. Is adequate in off zone coverage. Footwork and balance tend to wane when not in press. Back pedals nicely, but could benefit from staying lower. Has good speed and foot quickness. Can stay in receivers hip pockets and that allows him to contest every ball thrown his way.

Ball Skills: Hands are good and improving. Does a nice job of playing the ball and not the receiver. On over the top routes, he whips his head around and locates the ball. Uses his long arms to deflect passes, and his hands to jar balls free. Has an innate ability to time his leaps and route jumping perfectly. Uses his size well on fade and post corner routes. Is not a ball hawking cornerback.

Run Support: Plays the run well, but needs to be more aggressive. Will sometimes wait for ball carriers to come to him or assume someone else will make the tackle, instead of attacking. Jogs around and lacks effort on occasion. Doesn’t fly to the ball, which allows ball carriers to get good yardage after first contact. Isn’t overly physical either. Does not show the strength necessary to deliver a good pop upon contact. Is more of a wrap-up-drag-down tackler. Despite his lack of physicality, he doesn’t miss many tackles. Even at his size, he has some issues with disengaging from receivers blocks. Needs to become more violent and aggressive with his hands.

Intangibles: Active in community service. Thought of as quiet and reserved. 2010 Jim Thorpe Award candidate. All-Big 12 First Team selection.

Overall Stock: Teams are intrigued by the size of Jimmy Smith. He has next level ability. Anytime a cornerback is 6ft plus, athletic, and excels at playing press man coverage, he will find himself in discussions of the first round. As it is now, not many people know about Smith. He is not a flashy kid. Doesn’t pick off a ton of passes and run them back for touchdowns, and he attended a mediocre football school. But, I guarantee people will soon know him. In the last two years, Smith has put up some crazy numbers that aren’t obvious to the casual fan. He has only allowed 11 competitions in the past two years, total. Those are insane numbers. In fact, those are Nnamdi-like numbers. Teams will put on the tape this offseason and see a potential shut down corner. He does have his flaws, but shut down corners are a rare breed, which means there’s a good chance Jimmy Smith comes off the board in the first round. With a strong combine, the skies the limit for this kid. 

NFL Comparison: Nnamdi Asomugha


#31 CB, Brandon Harris (5’10½” 193 lbs.) – Miami Hurricanes

Instincts/Recognition: Shows superb instincts in the both pass defense and run defense. Does a good job of reading the quarterbacks eyes. Understands route combinations. Tracks the ball well, and gets his head around on deep throws. Recognizes the run quickly and attacks it down hill.

Cover Skills: Is comfortable in both man and zone coverage. Is slight better in man. Does a good job of sticking to receivers hips. Has quick feet and good balance. Above average athleticism allows him to sink his hips, turn and run on double moves and jerk routes. Has good speed and quickness. Needs to do a better job of staying low throughout his back pedal. Plays physical. Can step up to the line of scrimmage and play press coverage.

Ball Skills: Puts up more PBU’s than interceptions. Teams rarely threw his way in college. Does show good hands when the ball comes his way. Can extend his arms and use his hands to make the interception. Times his jumps perfectly and attacks the ball. Very good at jarring the ball loose right when a receiver catches it. Gets his head around quickly and tracks the deep ball well.

Run Support: Very solid against the run. Can break away from receiver blocks, and use his athleticism to run around or under cut linemen blocks. Isn’t the most physical tackler, but rarely fails to bring the ball carrier to the ground. Keeps containment to his side well, forcing the action back to the inside.

Intangibles: 2010 All-ACC 2nd Team. Passionate football player. Shows good mental and physical toughness. Tim Harris, was named USA Today National High School Coach of the Year in 2007.

Overall Stock: You can’t look at Brandon Harris’s numbers and get an understanding of how good he is. Teams rarely threw his way. What you can do is, turn on the tape and watch him lock receivers down. Harris has a good combination of size, speed and quickness. He can defend receivers of all size. He started off the season as an early second round prospect, but has creeped his way into first round consideration. Lots of teams picking in the back half of the draft are in need of a cornerback. Right now, Harris is rated as the third best and I think he will for sure be a first round pick. 

NFL Comparison: Brandon Carr

#8 CB, Prince Amukamara (6’0 203 lbs.) – Nebraska Cornhuskers

Instincts/Recognition: Above average route recognition. Has the ability to see routes before they formulate. Understands situational football. Knows the down and distance, and plays his technique accordingly. When in zone, does a nice job of reading the quarterbacks eyes. Doesn’t get overly anxious and aggressive. Does a nice job of not biting on double moves and body fakes. Has good awareness in zone coverage. Quickly picks up on players entering his designated area. One of the better run defending cornerbacks in the nation. Reads the run immediately and attacks it.

Cover Skills: Top notch coverage skills. Is thickly built and plays very physical. Is best when allowed to play press coverage. Plays with proper technique and has the strength to re-route receivers to disrupt the timing of the passing game. Does a good job at  staying in the hip pocket of receivers. He is consistently in position to contest passes thrown his way. Has loose hips. Can quickly sink, turn and run on deep routes. Isn’t the fastest player, but has enough speed to recover when beaten deep. Shows a nice closing burst. Needs to work on staying low throughout his backpedal and turning 180 degrees.

Ball Skills: Has the hands of a receiver. Has no issues with plucking the ball from the air. Uses his route recognition to jump on balls before receivers do. Doesn’t concede any balls thrown his way. Like a receiver, he attacks it as if the pass were meant for him. Has displayed excellent sideline awareness when intercepting balls near the sideline. Return ability is average. Lacks running instincts and elusiveness to take interceptions for touchdowns.

Run Support: Sticks his nose in the fray of things. Has the build to take down big backs, and the athleticism to take down smaller shiftier backs. Does a good job of diagnosing the run. Attacks blockers and sheds them consistently. Will be faced with larger receivers at the next level, so shedding blocks will prove to be more difficult. Knows how to take the legs out from under ball carriers. Is a solid tackler. Won’t wow you with highlight hits, but consistently wraps up and brings down the ball carrier.

Intangibles: 2010 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. 2010 1st Team AP All-American. Humble kid that teammates and coaches love.

Overall Stock: Prince Amukamara led the Nebraska Cornhuskers to being ranked 5th nationally in pass defense. His numbers won’t blow you away, but that is because teams refused to throw his way. He didn’t intercept one ball in 2010. However, in 2009 he showed his play making ability. Quarterbacks tested him, and he came away with 5 interceptions. When quarterbacks decided to risk it and throw his way in 2010, Amukamara broke the passes up. He finished the 2010 season with 13 passes defended. Amukamara is what you want in a corner. He is a tactician that possesses the physicality to challenge receivers at the next level. In some peoples eyes, Amukamara is nipping at the heels of Patrick Peterson for the crown of best cornerback in the 2010 draft. If he can run a good forty and perform well at the combine, there’s a chance he can be the first cornerback taken in the draft. The thing that Peterson has over Amukamara is that he’s multifaceted. He has the ability to put touchdowns on the board, wether it be on defense or on special teams. However, Amukamara is more technically sound when it comes to playing the position. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out. No matter what happens, a team will be getting a very solid corner come April. 

NFL Comparison: Darrell Revis

CB, Janoris Jenkins (5’11 189 lbs.) – Florida Gators

Instincts/Recognitions: Jenkins displays a natural feel for the position when you watch him play. Has progressed nicely over the years. Recognizes routes and has a unique ability to be in the right place at the right time. Is good in man coverage as well as zone coverage. Often is able to read the quarterbacks eyes and drop and make a play on the ball. Is extremely aggressive when going for turnovers, which sometimes causes him to miss easy tackles.

Cover Skills: Excellent in man and zone coverages. With his ability to read the quarterbacks eyes and drop, he is able to plant and accelerate towards passes and break them up or convert the interception. Blankets his receiver in man coverage and shows signs of becoming an elite cornerback at the next level. One concern is that he only stands at 5’11 189 lbs. For some NFL schemes, that is too small, but for others he fits perfectly. During the 2010 season, Jenkins matched up against some of the nations best receivers. He held Julio jones to 4 catches for 19 yards, Alshon Jefferey to 6 catches for 53 yards, and AJ Green to 4 catches for 42 yards. Despite his size, he finds a way to get the job done against bigger receivers.

Ball skills: This is where Jenkins has made the most progress in his game while at Florida. Each year he has improved greatly on his ability to recognize plays, plant his foot in the ground, and make a play on the ball. Does not have great interception numbers, but does possess great hands and the ability to make athletic plays. When he does get his hands on the ball, he looks to return it for a touchdown.

Run Support: Not the biggest corner in the world, but does not shy away from contact, even from running backs much larger than himself. Uses good form and really takes the legs out from underneath the ball carrier when they head his way.

Intangibles: Team and staff say he is an excellent teammate and possess a “we before me” team attitude, but he has had some off the field issues with the law. Was involved in an off the field fight, and charged with resisting arrest without violence.

Overall Stock: Some teams, but not all will look past Jenkins off the field issues. The ones that do, will look towards his upside of being a playmaking lockdown defender for their defense. Jenkins may have cost himself some millions with the off the field stuff, but expect Jenkins to be one of the 3rd or 4th cornerbacks taken in the 2011 NFL Draft. 

NFL Comparisons: Asante Samuel and Dominique Rogers-Cromartie

#3 CB, Patrick Peterson (6’1 211 lbs.) – LSU Tigers

Instincts/Recognition: Understands all about route combinations. Is a confident young man. Has that sixth sense on when to snap his head around and locate the ball. Understands down and distance and uses that to his advantage when defending certain routes. Above average route recognition allows him to jump routes and break up passes or intercept balls.

Cover Skills: In man coverage, stays in receivers hip pockets. In zone, has the ability to plant and close. Flexible athlete who can run with the best of them. Disturbs quarterback to receiver timing by using his size at the line of scrimmage in press coverage. Doesn’t concede any balls thrown his way. Constantly fighting to break up a pass or jar a ball loose. Displays quick feet during his back pedal and has more than enough closing speed. Went head-to-head with Alabama receiver Julio jones earlier this year. Jones caught 10 passes but they were all underneath routes. Jones finished with only 89 yards and a average of 8.9 yards per catch, a whole 8.0 yards below his season average.

Ball Skills: Plays the position like a receiver. Gets his head around quickly, locates the ball and high points it. Often has better timing that receivers when it comes to his jumps. Superb hands. Once he gets his hands on the ball, he has the return ability to put six up on the score board. Reciever-like body control. Is aware of his feet when making interceptions. Has a few sideline toe tap interceptions on his resume.

Run Support: Recognizes run quickly. Uses his size to disengage blockers. Sure tackler. Has a knack for laying the big hit. Very aggressive in run support. Doesn’t shy away from contact or ball carriers who are bigger than him. Has the speed to track down ball carriers. When one on one, breaks down well and doesn’t allow the ball carrier any further yardage.

Intangibles: Good kid off the field. Comes from solid football blood lines. Kin to Santana Moss, Sinorice Moss, and Bryant McDadden. 2010 jim Thorpe award winner.

Overall Stock: With receivers getting bigger and bigger, cornerbacks must get bigger and bigger. Peterson is a well built cornerback with excellent play making ability. He will bring physicality and toughness to whatever team selects him in the 2011 NFL Draft. By far is the #1 cornerback in the nation. 

NFL Comparison: Charles Woodson