2011 NFL Draft Player Rankings | Cornerbacks
The cornerback position is the last of the four core positions to have in the NFL. Having a true shutdown corner is a must for any Super Bowl caliber team. When you’re making a run for the NFL Playoffs, you can’t afford to have a star receiver get behind your corner and make big plays that can blow your momentum.
Darrelle Revis is arguably the best shut down corner in the game. Many have talked about receivers getting on “Revis Island” where they seem to disappear for entire games. Shutting down a guy like Roddy White or Andre Johnson is never easy, but you’re not going to get it done with a mediocre corner guarding them forcing a safety to help over the top. It opens up holes in the zone, and a smart quarterback will take advantage.
NFL Soup continues its 2011 NFL Draft coverage with the cornerback rankings.
1) Patrick Peterson- LSU*- 6’0 1/4 219
Peterson is one of the most special players in this draft. At 6’1 220, he’s a big cornerback who could also play free safety in the NFL. He’s excellent against the run, and he’s got an excellent change of direction ability. Peterson also has the hands of a wide receiver, and is an excellent return man. It’s not often that you see a true cornerback that has top five talent, but Peterson is one of them. Peterson will excel in man coverage, but does need to improve his instincts.
Projection: Top 5
2) Prince Amukamara- Nebraska- 6’0 206
That makes two years in a row that we have a Nebraska defender in the top 10 with a name we can’t pronounce. All jokes aside, Amukamara is one of the most talented players on a tough Nebraska defense. He’s very fluid when changing direction, and gets a great jam off of the line of scrimmage. He’s an excellent wrap up tackler, making him an ideal commodity in run support as well. Amukamara and Patrick Peterson are almost right next to each other in terms of overall talent and upside, and you can’t go wrong with either corner.
Projection: Top 10
3) Jimmy Smith- Colorado- 6’2 1/4 211
Smith is one of the most athletic corners in this draft. He’s got ideal size, and is a physical player. He is a stud against the run, making great wrap up tackles, even in the open field. He gets a great jam at the line in press coverage, and plays the ball very well when it’s in the air. He plays a bit stiff at times, and could afford to improve his change of direction. He also has very good play recognition skills.
4) Aaron Williams- Texas*- 5’11 204
Williams is the ideal zone coverage cornerback and has first round talent. He has a fluid back pedal, and has quick hips. Williams is an above average tackler, often involved in blitz packages as well. Williams could afford to improve in man on coverage, and jam the receivers, but he has the build to excel if that’s what he plays more of in the NFL. He does a good job in play recognition as well.
5) Brandon Harris- Miami (Fl.)*- 5’9 1/2 191
Harris is another speedy corner who excels in man coverage. He’s not the most physical player, but he can help in run support when needed. Harris has an excellent backpedal and can change direction quickly. Harris has high upside, as he’s somewhat raw, but is very talented and is quite coachable. He could use work in making tackles in the open field, and could improve in reading and reacting.
6) Ras-I Dowling- Virginia- 6’1 3/8 198
Dowling is a physical corner who has put on a show when he’s healthy enough to stay on the field. Durability is somewhat of a concern, but production is not. Dowling is more of a zone cornerback, and will have to face slightly slower receivers in the NFL. He doesn’t have great speed, but he makes up for that with a good football IQ. He isn’t afraid to make a tackle, and is great in run support. He needs to become more fluid when changing direction.
7)Davon House- New Mexico State- 6’0 1/2 200
House is a speedy corner who has excellent size for the position. He’s quick to read and react, and is a ball hawk, but can get over confident in attacking the ball, sometimes giving up a big play. He will excel in zone coverage as a CB2 in the NFL. House isn’t the best tackler, and often gets caught out of position. The upside is there, but while he’s athletic, he relies on it too heavily at times. His lack of great competition is somewhat worrisome.
8 ) Rashad Carmichael- Virginia Tech- 5’10 192
Carmichael came onto the scene in a hurry at Va Tech. As soon as he started more games in 2008, he made more plays, and forced opponents to stop trying to throw his way. Carmichael is quite fast, and his 40 time at the combine will be impressive. But he’s quite raw in man coverage. He needs to jam his receivers better, and not get caught staring into the backfield. His upside is great, but it will take him a year or two to really get settled in as a No. 2 corner. He reminds me a bit of DeAngelo Hall, another speedster out of Va Tech who was quite raw.
9) Curtis Brown- Texas- 5’11 5/8 185
Perhaps the corner with the most potential to move up on draft boards is Brown. He’s an exceptional athlete with great speed, who plays well in zone coverage. He’s a play maker who is a threat to return an interception for a touchdown at anytime. With a good combine, he could be a late first round pick, and he has a very high ceiling.
10) Kendric Burney- North Carolina- 5’9 3/8 186
Burney is a great athlete, and was a great corner for the Tar Heels. He missed some time in 2010 thanks to being suspended from the Agent Scandal, and has been a bit rusty. Burney is a solid overall player. He plays well in man coverage, getting a good jam at the line, and has quick feet. He’s a top notch tackler but his height brings up a bit of a concern as well as his speed issues
11) Chykie Brown- Texas- 5’11 1/4 190
If you can’t already tell, the Texas secondary has been stacked in the last few years, and actually well before that also. Brown isn’t the most athletic, or physical corner, but he’s smart. He could slide further down boards because he doesn’t excel at any one thing. He’s a mediocre tackler, and solid in zone coverage. His lack of great speed doesn’t make him an ideal candidate to cover man on.
12) Marcus Gilchrist- Clemson- 5’10 195
As a corner, Gilchrist is a bit raw. 2010 marked his first season playing the position, after playing more safety earlier at Clemson. He has good speed, and has a good football IQ. He is a solid tackler, and plays bigger than his size. He could afford to improve in man coverage, and may have to play in a zone scheme at the next level.
13) Brandon Burton- Utah*- 5’11 5/8 190
Burton is a quick corner who plays above average in both zone and man coverage. He isn’t spectacular in either, but his speed suggests that he could excel more in man. He gets a good jam in press coverage, and is fluid when changing direction. He is a solid wrap up tackler, but doesn’t really sacrifice himself to make a play, and will get pushed back by receivers. He doesn’t play with much aggression.
14) Chimdi Chekwa- Ohio State- 5’11 3/4 191
Chekwa is a pure athlete. He plays a lot slower than his actual forty time is, but he is solid as a press corner, playing physical, and not being afraid to make a tackle. He’s a liability in zone coverage, and doesn’t have very good change of direction ability.
15) Curtis Marsh, CB, Utah State- 6’0 1/2 197
Marsh is a corner who prides himself on his technique. He has solid change of direction, and above average ball skills. He won’t come up with many interceptions, but he’ll get in the way. Has been known to be somewhat of a risk taker.
16) Korey Lindsey- Southern Illinois- 6’0 190
What Lindsey lacks in straight line speed, he makes up for with instincts and ball skills. He’s a natural ball hawk, but sometimes gets cocky baiting quarterbacks. He won’t get away with that in the NFL. He needs some work when changing direction, but is a smart player.
17) Johnny Patrick- Louisville- 5’10 5/8 191
Patrick is highly underrated, mostly thanks to playing in such a weak overall conference. But Patrick doesn’t give up much ground to his receivers, thanks to his excellent speed and quick hips. Patrick is a solid tackler as well, and could rise up after a nice combine. He has an excellent mix of size and speed, and can cover well in man coverage.
18) Omar Bolden- Arizona State- 5’10 195
Bolden has solid size for his position, and is a highly underrated tackler. Bolden has good ball skills, but is somewhat too aggressive at times. He’s a fearless tackler and does well in press coverage, and generally shuts down his receiver on his own island. Bolden could afford to improve his speed, and his 40 time could hurt him. He’s not the most fluid player, but is athletic enough to improve.
19) Jalil Brown- Colorado- 6’0 5/8 204
Colorado has been blessed to have both Brown and Jimmy Smith in their defensive backfield. Brown’s quite the tackler, and isn’t afraid to use his strength to bully receivers in press coverage, and get off of blockers. Brown’s speed isn’t fantastic, and he may be a safety in the NFL.
20) Brandyn Thompson- Boise State- 5’9 1/8 189
Thompson doesn’t get the love that he deserves thanks to the media discussing the talented Boise State offense and how they are robbed by the BCS every week. But Thompson is actually a very solid cover corner, and he has the speed to stick with nearly all receivers. But he’s also an improving tackler. Thompson can become a 3rd or 4th round pick with a nice combine.
21) Shareece Wright- USC- 5’10 7/8 185
Wright is very talented, but inexperienced. He suffered through injuries early in his career, and lost his 2009 season due to being ineligible academically. He’s played well in 2010, however, making plays in the run game, and playing well in man coverage. He has great speed and good instincts and has the potential to rise after the combine.
22) Brandon Hogan- West Virginia- 5’10 192
Hogan had a stellar 2009 campaign, and came into his senior season with high expectations. Playing more zone coverage at West Virginia, he’s managed to be a stud in getting to the ball and knocking it down. Hogan’s best attribute is his tackling ability. He tackles like an AFC North corner, often relentless. He was cited with a DUI in 2010, which make character a concern.
23) Josh Thomas- Buffalo- 5’10 1/4 191
Thomas is a solid all around corner who is more quick than fast. He will be most helpful in zone coverage, and is above average in run support. He does well in forcing fumbles, but will likely disappoint with interception numbers.
24) DeMarcus Van Dyke- CB- Miami (Fl.)- 6’0 3/4 176
Van Dyke has excellent speed and coverage skills man to man. He’s also quite the zone safety, having excellent instincts to read and react, and make a jump on the football while in the air. He has very quick hips and exceptional change in direction. He needs to put on some weight, and become more physical. He’s a liability against the run.
25) Chris L. Rucker- Michigan State- 6’1 195
Rucker is a very underrated corner who is the leader of the Spartan secondary. He’s a fantastic tackler, and plays well in zone coverage. He won’t intercept many passes, but he does a good job of swatting the ball down, and not letting the receiver have a chance at making the play. Some character concerns are present after being arrested for drunk driving in 2010.
26) Buster Skrine, CB, Tennessee-Chattanooga- 5’9 1/2 186
Despite his lack of overall height, Skrine is a speedy corner with great quickness as well. He may get bullied against physical receivers, but will have no problems covering speedy slot receivers at the next level.
27) Kevin Rutland- Missouri- 5’11 5/8 190
Rutland is a more physical cornerback than anything. He’s not fantastic in man coverage, often getting beat thanks to a lack in straight line speed. However, he could excel as a nickelback at the next level. He’s a solid tackler that could rise up if he can improve on his speed.
28) Mario Butler, CB, Georgia Tech- 6’0 1/8 182
A smaller corner who can still make the tackle when needed, Butler plays bigger than his size. He doesn’t have very good speed, but has shown promise with his change of direction and low backpedal.
29) Jai Eugene- LSU- 5’11 190
Eugene is one of the more underrated corners out of LSU. He spent some time playing safety and switched to corner to play across from Patrick Peterson. Eugene’s production in the stat columns won’t impress anybody. What is nice about Eugene is his competitive attitude, and his leadership. He’s quite athletic, and plays well against the run.
30) Talmadge Jackson- Oregon- 5’10 185
Jackson is an above average cover corners with solid ball skills. He’s not afraid to make a play on a ball carrier, either. He can be a ruthless tackler when he wants to be, but he’s quite inconsistent.
31) Anthony Gaitor, CB, FIU- 5’10 175
Gaitor fits more of a zone scheme than anything, and has adequate speed. His ball skills are impressive, and he could develop into a solid nickel corner eventually.
32) Rudell Crim- Arkansas- 6’0 209
Crim has only played two seasons of SEC football after being a junior college transfer. Crim has played safety and corner in his college career, but does struggle in press coverage. He gets a good jam off the line, but often has to play off of speedy corners thanks to being very stiff and lacking fluidity. He’s a solid tackler on a physical Arkansas defense.
33) C.J. Bailey, CB, Southern Miss- 5’10 195
Bailey has had an off and on career. He’s struggled with nagging injuries at times, and hasn’t seemed to make the impact that his athletic ability suggests he should make. He’s a solid wrap up tackler, and has solid speed to stay with most receivers. He tends to struggle with taller receivers and doesn’t have the vertical that NFL scouts want to see.
34) Cortez Allen, CB, The Citadel- 6’1 1/4 197
Allen isn’t blessed with great speed, but his quickness and size combination is quite fantastic. He’s got a lot of room to grow, being quite raw, but the upside as a run support/man coverage corner is there.
35) Charles Brown, CB, North Carolina- 5’10 205
Brown’s ability lies in a press coverage format. He can jam the receiver at the line, just don’t expect him to keep up with the receiver down the field. He’ll help out in run support.
36) Quinton Porter- UNLV- 5’10 185
Porter is the unsung hero in the UNLV secondary. Porter has a nice blend of speed and toughness. He is a solid wrap up tackler who can actually stick his man without needing much help over the top.
37) Chris Harris- Kansas- 5’10 190
38) Darian Hagan- Cal- 6’0 180
39) James Dockery- Oregon State- 6’1 184
40) Byron Maxwell- Clemson- 6’1 205
41) Ochucko Jenije- Florida State- 5’10 188
42) Devon Torrence- Ohio State- 6’1 200 6th
43) Julian Posey- Ohio- 5’11 185
44) Ramon Broadway- Arkansas- 5’9 175
45) Eric Hagg- Nebraska- 6’2 200
46) Justin Rogers- Richmond- 6’0 1/2 180
47) Darrin Walls- Notre Dame- 6’0 190
48) Jason Teague- TCU- 6’2 197
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