NFL draft preview: cornerbacks

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by cowboyjoe, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. cowboyjoe

    cowboyjoe Well-Known Member

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    NFL draft preview: cornerbacks

    09:21 PM CDT on Monday, April 21, 2008

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    Position strength
    There could be 14 to 16 cornerbacks selected in the first three rounds. DeJuan Tribble of Boston College was a three-year starter who intercepted 15 career passes – and he projects as a late-round pick. That's how deep this board is.

    STRENGTH: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

    Spotlight on ... Antoine Cason, Arizona
    Antoine Cason started every game of his first three seasons at Arizona and earned All-Pac-10 honors as a junior. He considered leaving school early for the NFL.

    But Cason decided to stay. Being the best cornerback in the Pac-10 didn't satisfy him. He had greater aspirations.

    Getty Images
    Arizona's Antoine Cason started all 46 games of his career and intercepted 15 passes.
    View largerMore photos Photo store "There were still some things I wanted to accomplish in college," Cason said. "I wanted to win the Jim Thorpe Award, which I did. I wanted to be a consensus All-America, which I did. I wanted to be the best cornerback in college football.

    "I wasn't content as a junior to come out without being the best. I've always worked to be the best. I want to be the best."

    It's hard to argue with his résumé now. He started all 46 games of his career and intercepted 15 passes. He played every defensive snap the last two seasons and also returned punts. He scored four touchdowns in 2007 on two punt returns and two interceptions.

    But Cason had some help along the way. His father is a former NFL defensive back – Wendell Cason, who played for the Atlanta Falcons from 1985 to 1987.

    "It's benefited me greatly," the younger Cason said. "I've had coaching from high school on from someone who has played at the highest level of football. He's taught me a lot along the way. It's been a blessing to have him."There could be 14-to-16 cornerbacks selected in the first three rounds. DeJuan Tribble of Boston College was a three-year starter who intercepted 15 career passes – and he projects as a late-round pick. That's how deep this board is.

    Parade of juniors: Six underclassmen opted to skip their senior seasons to enter the NFL in the 2008 draft: Aqib Talib of Kansas, Brandon Flowers of Virginia Tech, Justin King of Penn State, Orlando Scandrick of Boise State, Jack Ikegwuonu of Wisconsin and Demario Bobo of Mississippi State.

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    Moving in: Talib was born in Cleveland and spent the first half of his life living in Ohio. But he moved to Richardson in the eighth grade and discovered a Texas religion. "I started playing football," Talib said. "Once you start playing football in Texas, it's year-round." He continues to bleed blue, at least until this draft. "I've always been a Cowboys fan," he said.

    Tiger teachers: LSU's Chevis Jackson learned how to play cornerback from two pretty good teachers. He backed up Corey Webster and Travis Daniels as a freshman, then became a three-year starter. Webster was a second-round pick by the New York Giants and Daniels a fourth-rounder by Miami in 2005. Both started in the NFL as rookies, and Webster started in the Super Bowl last January.

    Medical charts: Zackary Bowman of Nebraska and Glenn Sharpe of Miami (Fla.) have attractive measurables. Bowman is 6-0, 197, and Sharpe 5-11½ , 184. Bowman runs a 4.39 40 and Sharpe a 4.47. But a history of injuries probably sends both spiraling down into the second day. Bowman missed the 2006 season with a knee injury, then underwent surgery on his other knee after suffering another injury in spring practice. Sharpe was a rare six-year college player after wearing two medical redshirts with knee injuries of his own.

    The good-hands people: Dwight Lowery of San Jose State led the NCAA in interceptions with a school-record nine in 2006. Reggie Corner of Akron, DeJuan Tribble of Boston College and Trae Williams of South Florida all had seven-interception seasons in college. Here's a list of the top ballhawks on this draft board with their career interceptions:

    Name School No.
    Brandon Flowers Virginia Tech 16
    Tracy Porter Indiana 16
    Antoine Cason Arizona 15
    Reggie Corner Akron 15
    DeJuan Tribble Boston College 15
    Terrence Wheatley Colorado 14
    Dwight Lowery San Jose St. 13
    Trey Brown UCLA 12
    Aqib Talib Kansas 12
    Brandon Carr Grand Valley St. 11
    Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Tennessee St. 11

    Top guns: Antoine Cason's 15 interceptions rank fourth in school history behind Chuck Cecil, Jackie Wallace and Chris McAlister. But even more impressive than the quantity is the quality. His victims include LSU's JaMarcus Russell, the first overall pick of the 2007 NFL draft; Cal's Aaron Rodgers, who will start at quarterback for the Green Bay Packers this season; Oregon State's Matt Moore, who finished the 2007 season as Carolina's starting quarterback; Cody Pickett, who started games for San Francisco in 2005; and Southern Cal's John David Booty, who figures to go in the first three rounds of this draft.

    Pay dirt: Twenty cornerbacks on this draft board returned interceptions for touchdowns in their college careers. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Trae Williams (South Florida) scored four times apiece, DeJuan Tribble and Jack Williams (Kent State) three apiece. "There's some degree of luck to it," Tribble said. "Things have to go right with you. But I believe that should be a knack for every defensive back – get your hands on the football."

    Touchdown-maker: Justin King of Penn State did not score any defensive touchdowns, but he did on offense. King started five games at wide receiver as a freshman in 2005 and caught three TD passes. Aqib Talib saw spot duty as a wide receiver for Kansas the last two years and caught nine passes, including five for touchdowns. "I want to do everything, whatever the coaches ask," Talib said. "I'd love to play receiver in the NFL."

    What's in a name? Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a cousin of Pro Bowl cornerback Antonio Cromartie of the San Diego Chargers. Antonio was the 19th overall pick of the 2006 draft and led the NFL in interceptions in 2007 with 10. "Having the last name of Cromartie is helping me," Dominique acknowledged. The two Cromarties also share the same freakish speed and athleticism. Dominique runs a 4.35 40-yard dash and has the best vertical jump on the draft board at 38½ inches.

    The best
    Leodis McKelvin, Troy: McKelvin has Pro Bowl size (5-10, 190) and speed (4.40 in the 40). But he played at Troy. Once upon a time, that would be a knock on a player. Now it's a plus. "We had two players in the Super Bowl (Osi Umenyiora and Lawrence Tynes of the Giants)," McKelvin said. "We had two players in the Pro Bowl (Umenyiora and DeMarcus Ware). It doesn't matter where you're at – Sun Belt, SEC, ACC. ... They'll come and find out. Just go out there and compete to the best of your ability."

    Cary Williams, Washburn: There's so much football talent in South Florida that the players wind up in some unusual places. Williams played his college ball in Topeka, Kan., by way of New York City, transferring to Washburn from Fordham. He intercepted seven passes last season and an eighth in the Cactus Bowl, the Division II All-Star game. He has size (6-1, 187 pounds), speed (4.43 seconds in the 40) and also averaged 28.6 yards on 19 kickoff returns in 2007 with two TDs.

    Best of Texas
    1. Aqib Talib, Kansas: The Richardson Berkner product is the big (6-0½ , 202), physical cornerback that NFL teams seem to covet these days. He started all three years at Kansas, was a two-time All-Big 12 pick and an All-American in 2007. Draft projection: First or second round.

    The rest

    2. Charles Godfrey, Iowa (and Baytown). Draft projection: 2-3 rounds.

    3. Terrence Wheatley, Colorado (and Plano East). Draft projection: 3-4 rounds.

    THE TOP 15
    Player School Ht. Wt.
    Leodis McKelvin Troy 5-10 190
    Noteworthy: 8 career TDs on defense, ST
    Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Tenn. St. 6-1 ½ 184
    Noteworthy: 4.33 speed in the 40
    Mike Jenkins S. Florida 5-10 197
    Noteworthy: Broke up 42 career passes
    Aqib Talib Kansas 6-0 ½ 202
    Noteworthy: 262 career INT return yards
    Brandon Flowers Va. Tech 5-9 ½ 189
    Noteworthy: Broke up 32 career passes
    Tracy Porter Indiana 5-10 ½ 188
    Noteworthy: Four-year starter
    Antoine Cason Arizona 6-0 191
    Noteworthy: Broke up 32 career passes
    Justin King Penn St. 5-10 ½ 192
    Noteworthy: 4.31 speed in the 40
    Patrick Lee Auburn 6-0 200
    Noteworthy: Degree in criminology
    Charles Godfrey Iowa 5-11 ½ 207
    Noteworthy: 193 career tackles
    Chevis Jackson LSU 6-0 192
    Noteworthy: Broke up 39 career passes
    Orlando Scandrick Boise St. 5-10 192
    Noteworthy: 4.32 speed in the 40
    Antwuan Molden E. Kentucky 6-0 ½ 198
    Noteworthy: Transfer from Toledo
    Terrell Thomas USC 6-0 ½ 202
    Noteworthy: Also has played safety
    Terrence Wheatley Colorado 5-9 ½ 187
    Noteworthy: 4.37 speed in the 40

    (Potential first-rounders in bold)
  2. RamziD

    RamziD Well-Known Member

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    Cowboy, this if for the 2008 draft...
  3. BAT

    BAT Mr. Fixit

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    That was one deep corner draft. I still prefer Cason over Jenkins, intangibles & production over measurables, that's my motto.

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