Looks like a mediocre class at best 2009 NFL Draft: Dan Pompei's top cornerbacks 11:50 PM CDT, April 23, 2009 1. Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State This is a big, physical cornerback who could have a future at safety. Jenkins does not have the elite man-to-man coverage skills or speed that some highly rated corners have, but he is a solid all-around cover man who sees the field well and can fit in almost any scheme. He does have good short area quickness and burst to make plays on the ball. He has long arms and gets good jams. A team captain, Jenkins has a good mentality to play the position. He is willing and able to hit and tackle. 2. Vontae Davis, Illinois The junior is the most talented defensive back in the draft and showed it in his workouts. He would be taken higher in the draft if NFL teams were not concerned about his coachability and attitude. Davis can do it all from a physical standpoint, but sometimes freelances or plays without discipline. He is an explosive athlete with good size and speed. He tackles well and knows how to play the ball. He can play man or zone. He is the brother of 49ers tight end Vernon Davis. Davis is considered a similar prospect to current DeAngelo Hall, who is on his third NFL team. 3. Darius Butler, Connecticut He is a little smaller than ideal, but he has excellent foot quickness to play man-to-man. Butler also has good awareness in zone. What's more, he has recovery speed and can play the ball in the air. He even played receiver in college and has return skills. This is a smooth, agile athlete. He has not made a lot of plays, however. And he is not the most physical corner. 4. Sean Smith, Utah This is a giant of a corner at 6-3, 214. A converted receiver, Smith moves surprisingly well for his size. Although he does not have elite speed, he probably would be used best as a press corner in a man-to-man scheme. He is a willing tackler and plays physically. An underclassman, Smith could improve his technique. 5. Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest A small (5-9), quick-footed corner, Smith makes plays. He probably has the best ball skills of any cornerback in the draft. He is very aware and instinctive, and he breaks on passes well. Smith plays aggressively and does not shy away from contact. He is a more skilled version of Ricky Manning. 6. D.J. Moore, Vanderbilt This junior lacks ideal size, but he is feisty and competitive. Moore anticipates well and plays the ball like a receiver, and he has played some receiver. He did not help himself with his workout, but he plays faster than he timed. He also has return ability. 7. Coye Francies, San Jose State A big cornerback with long arms, Francies plays the ball well and supports the run. He can re-route receivers at the line. He helped himself with a nice performance at the Senior Bowl. Francies did not run well at the combine, but his play speed is better than his track speed. 8. Kevin Barnes, Maryland He has a nice combination of height, speed and athleticism. Barnes also has good ball skills, and can plant and burst to make plays. He is on the slender side and not the most physical corner, but he is willing in run support. His footwork could be improved. He suffered a season ending fractured shoulder in Maryland's seventh game. 9. Jairus Byrd, Oregon His father is Bears assistant and former NFL DB Gil Byrd. He played better than he tested, as his 4.71 40-yard dash was not an accurate reflection of his on-field abilities. Byrd is a very physical corner and solid tackler. The junior has short area quickness and reads the quarterback well. Man-to-man is not his strong suit, and he would be suited better to a Cover-2 scheme. 10. DeAngelo Smith, Cincinnati He has played safety and corner but probably is suited better for cornerback in the NFL. He is a little speed deficient and not very explosive. He is better at zone than man. He tackles well enough for a cornerback. Smith shows good instincts and plays aggressively. 11. Victor Harris, Virginia Tech A smart, instinctive cover man, Harris makes a lot of plays. He lacks top speed and should be used in a Cover-2 scheme. He is a physical player and sound tackler. Harris also has played some wide receiver and has return ability. 12. Mike Mickens, Cincinnati He struggles in man-to-man, but he excels in zone. Mickens is an average athlete with average speed, but he has a feel for the passing game and natural ball awareness. He plays physically and makes plays. Durability is an issue. 13. Donald Washington, Ohio State This junior is a very good athlete with good play speed and size. Washington has the ability to play off or to press. He can play the ball in the air. He will come up and hit. He did not play to his talents. 14. Cary Harris, Southern California A physical player with an NFL body, Harris would be suited best for a Cover-2 scheme. He is fundamentally sound and he tackles well. He had a fine showing at the East-West Shrine game, but did not work out well at the combine. His stock has been down since running a 4.67 40-yard dash. 15. Bruce Johnson, Miami He isn't the most athletic corner and he is on the small side, but Johnson can press and turn and run with receivers. He has the ability to match and mirror. He is questionable in run support, and lacks strength. His technique was inconsistent. 16. Ellis Lankster, West Virginia This is a good little cornerback who had a nice week at the Senior Bowl. He has good short area quickness and can match and mirror wide receivers but may not have deep speed. He plays the ball like a wide receiver. He plays physically. Lankster has punt return ability. 17. Keenan Lewis, Oregon State He has a burst that enables him to jump routes and disrupt pass plays. Lewis has some size and speed, but was just an average player. He gave up too many plays he should have stopped. A solid tackler in the open field, Lewis could be better in run support. 18. Jerraud Powers, Auburn He lacks size, but he is very quick and sudden in his movements. Powers can play man-to-man. This underclassman diagnoses the play well. Run support is a weakness. 19. Asher Allen, Georgia This junior helped himself with an impressive workout at his pro day. Allen is undersized and he didn't make a lot of plays on the ball, but he has some athletic traits. He plays smart and loves the game. He needs to improve as a tackler. 20. Morgan Trent, Michigan This former wide receiver has potential because of his size and speed. He is not a top-end athlete, but he worked out pretty well. He is willing to tackle but hasn't always shown good instincts. Playing for a revolving door of coaches has not helped him. 21. Bradley Fletcher, Iowa A tall cornerback with speed, Fletcher would fit as a Cover-2 corner. He is a little rigid and doesn't have fluid hips. He does not play up to his athleticism. 22. Don Carey, Norfolk State He may be a little limited athletically, but he has good size, strength and speed. Carey is a little raw and has not faced top competition, but he looked good at the East-West Shrine game. He also can play some safety and help on special teams. 23. Lardarius Webb, Nicholls State He was a college safety, but he has enough athleticism and speed to play cornerback. Among cornerbacks at the combine, he had the best 40-yard dash, three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle. A transfer from Southern Mississippi, Webb is smallish but quick and surprisingly physical for his size. He needs to improve his technique. Webb can return punts and kicks. 24. Jason McCourty, Rutgers He ran a 4.32 40-yard dash, but he didn't play that fast. McCourty is a physical corner who played better in zone than man-to-man. He has been a fast riser. 25. Brandon Underwood, Cincinnati This is a fluid cornerback with passable speed and good height (6-1) and range. He has played safety and is flexible enough to be considered at that position. A transfer from Ohio State, Underwood sometimes bites on double moves and play action and doesn't have a great feel for the game. 26. Glover Quin, New Mexico Quin is not a top athlete, but he is smart and tough. He plays the ball well and has soft hands. He is a good tackler. Some teams might look at him as a safety, but he also has potential as a zone corner. Durability is an issue. 27. DeAngelo Williams, Tennessee He weighs 213 pounds and ran a 4.44, so he has some special tools. He also plays physically and some teams are thinking about moving him to safety. The problem is he gets beaten consistently. He does not have good instincts. 28. Chris Owens, San Jose State His lack of size shows up against bigger receivers. He has a good feel for the game and is quick-footed. He plays fearlessly. Owens helped himself with his performance in the Texas vs. the Nation game. 29. Ryan Palmer, Texas He had a good week at the East-West Shrine game, displaying good short area quickness and ball skills. Palmer is a tough corner who can play zone. But he is short and slow and could have trouble matching up against NFL competition. 30. Ryan Mouton, Hawaii He is small but he plays big for his size. He is very quick and could play over the slot. Mouton does not really have a special trait. He has played receiver and returned kicks. 31. Brice McCain, Utah He has drawn attention with a very good workout, which included a 40-yard dash time of 4.33 and a vertical jump of 361/2 inches. McCain is short but athletic and quick. He was an all-conference player three times. 32. Tony Carter, Florida State He may be too small to last as an NFL corner, but he has decent speed and quickness and some ball skills. He was a little inconsistent in college. Punt returning could be his ticket. 33. Greg Toler, St. Paul This is a big kid who can run. He didn't play against very good competition in college but looked good in two all-star games. Toler plays the ball well. He is very raw with his footwork and technique. He has potential but could be two or three years away. 34. Captain Munnerlyn, South Carolina The muscular junior lacks ideal size and didn't have the kind of 40-yard speed scouts anticipated him having. Munnerlyn didn't make a lot of plays. He has some value as a return man. 35. Brandon Hughes, Oregon State He has worked out well and subsequently has risen on some boards. But he struggled at the East-West Shrine game, and his tape is not overly impressive. Hughes has size but looks like a rigid athlete. He does not play as fast as he runs. He has bad hands and poor recognition skills. 36. Joe Burnett, Central Florida A shorter corner who makes some plays on the ball, Burnett shows quickness and agility. He lacks speed, however. He can contribute as a punt returner. 37. Wopamo Osaisai, Stanford This is a short, physical cornerback with speed who is not a great athlete. He's solid in run support. He could play a prominent role on special teams. He is a track guy who lacks experience and football savvy. 38. Jahi Word-Daniels, Georgia Tech A big corner who is strictly a Cover 2 prospect, Word-Daniels is a willing run defender and good tackler. He has difficulty tracking and playing the deep ball. His technique is spotty and he has had injury problems. 39. Domonique Johnson, Jackson State Teams are intrigued with him because he is 6-1 and has decent speed. But he lacks quickness and fluidity for man-to-man coverage. He needs to improve his footwork. Durability is a concern. He also returns kicks. 40. Lydell Sargeant, Penn State This is a short corner with good short area quickness. He plays with good awareness, but he does not have special speed or athleticism. He could be more physical.