This is not a Big Board for Cornerbacks, this is a ranking of how good the cornerback is today and doesn’t take into account the potential that each player has. Ties will be decided by which player I see as a better prospect.
21. Ross Cockrell – Duke – 6-0 – 191 lbs. – 4.56
Cockrell is long, but is very thin, average athletically, and struggles with double moves and breaking routes. He can provide depth for a team in the NFL but he has no special skills that separate him from the other prospects.
20. Andre Hal – Vanderbilt – 5-10 – 188 lbs. – 4.50
Hal is small, but he is a very confident and aggressive player, his top end speed is good but he lacks elite quickness, he may find a niche in the NFL as a nickelback.
19. Marcus Williams – North Dakota State – 5-11 – 196 lbs. – 4.60
Williams is a physical player with average size, he is willing to tackle and make plays in the run game, at the NFL level he is going to struggle in coverage but he understands how to play and will make an NFL roster.
18. Chris Davis – Auburn – 5-10 – 202 lbs. – 4.56
Chris Davis struggles in coverage, he doesn’t have great ball skills and has tight hips, he is willing to tackle and sets the corner on run plays which is valuable. Davis can be a valuable special teams player and provide depth in the NFL.
17. Loucheiz Purifoy – Florida – 6-0 – 190 lbs. – 4.61
Purifoy is a great talent, he shouldn’t be this low on the list, he has great feet, good hips, and is one of the most confident players you will see. The downside is that Purifoy has character issues, he is known to be lazy, he is not willing to tackle. If somebody motivates Purifoy they have a long and skilled cover corner, but Purifoy could just as easily be out of the NFL in two years.
16. Walt Aikens – Liberty – 6-1 – 203 lbs. – 4.49
Aikens comes with baggage after being kicked off of the Illinois football team in 2011 but their is no question he is talented. He is a long rangy athlete with good quickness and average top end speed. Aikens could be a quality cornerback in the NFL, and excels in press coverage.
15. Marcus Roberson – Florida – 6-0 – 191 lbs. – 4.61
Roberson is another talented cornerback out of Florida, he is very aggressive and that is one of his biggest issues, he is not disciplined and too often tries to make a big play. Roberson is also poor in run defense and does not set the corner on screens or outside run plays. Roberson has the ability to be an above average cornerback in the NFL.
14. Bashaud Breeland – Clemson – 5-11 – 197 lbs. – 4.62
Breeland is an adequate run defender with solid size. He is a smart player and has great ball skills, but he is too often beaten. Breeland does not have great acceleration and when he is beaten he starts grabbing the receiver. Breeland has NFL talent but doesn’t quite know how to use it yet, when he does he will be a good player.
13. Keith McGill – Utah – 6-3 – 211 lbs. – 4.51
McGill has great size, length, and speed making him a fantastic prospect with high upside. The downside to McGill is that he is not very experienced and often finds himself out of position. He is nothing more than average against the run. McGill needs to play smarter and better understand his job on each play but he has the potential to be a good starter in the NFL.
12. Stanley Jean-Baptiste – Nebraska – 6-3 – 218 lbs. – 4.61
Jean-Baptiste possesses fantastic size for a cornerback but he doesn’t use it effectively, he is not a factor in the run game and isn’t an aggressive tackler. He is surprisingly polished and smart in coverage but he is quicker than he is fast allowing him to get beat deep, I wouldn’t be surprised if he moves to safety. Jean-Baptiste will need time to develop but he will be a starter in the NFL for a long time.
11. Phillip Gaines – Rice – 6-0 – 193 lbs. – 4.38
Gaines has great speed and good length for an NFL cornerback. He is a willing tackler and is able to consistently wrap up and bring down the ball carrier, but he is not great at fighting off blocks in the run game. Gaines has above average coverage abilities but does not have good ball skills. Gaines is a risk, but his measurables and coverage skills will make him a hot commodity in the NFL draft, and a very good cornerback in the NFL.
10. Shaquille Richardson – Arizona – 6-0 – 194 lbs. – 4.44
Richardson has solid coverage ability including fluid hips, but he often is caught guessing the route the wide receiver is going to run. Richardson is not very aggressive against the run but he is a solid tackler. Richardson has a lot of potential but he will never become a star, he has too many flaws, still Richardson can become an average starting cornerback in the NFL.
9. Aaron Colvin – Oklahoma 5-11 – 177 lbs. – 4.51
Colvin tore his ACL at the Senior Bowl and will fall in the draft, but teams should not forget how good he was before the injury. Colvin had a fantastic season, he is a smart and disciplined player who can contribute as soon as he is healthy. Colvin has average speed and quickness but he is physical and smart which allows him to be successful. He makes plays in the run game and will rarely get beat deep in coverage. If Colvin heals from his ACL injury he will be a reliable starter in the NFL.
8. Rashaad Reynolds – Oregon State – 5-10 – 189 lbs. – 4.51
Reynolds is not your prototypical mid-round prospect, he is a polished cornerback, although undersized and not a great athlete, he is smart, instinctive and a ball hawk. If you float a pas Reynolds will find the ball and fight for it, he is also aggressive in the run game and will never shy away from making a tackle. Reynolds size will not be an issue and he will become one of the NFL’s best ball hawks.
7. Bradley Roby – Ohio State – 5-11 – 194 lbs. – 4.39
Roby has wold class speed and acceleration along with fluid hips allowing him to be a shutdown cornerback. Roby allows receivers to release inside too easily and gives up a lot of short completions due to backpedaling too aggressively. Roby can also play lackadaisically at times and chooses when he is going to stop the run. Roby has star potential but he needs a coach who will motivate him and teach him.
6. Pierre Desir – Lindenwood – 6-1 – 198 lbs. – 4.59
Desir has every physical trait you could ask for, size, speed, acceleration, agility, and flexibility. Desir has elite upside but playing against such poor competition he often forgot the fundamentals of the position and tried to play off of pure skill, he is such a great talent that he was still effective while doing this. Desir also needs to improve as a run defender and stick to his fundamentals when tackling. Desir has the potential to be one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL if he reaches his vast potential.
5. Lamarcus Joyner – Florida State – 5-8 – 194 lbs. – 4.55
Joyner comes into the draft as a wild card, nobody knows if he is a cornerback or a safety, but one thing is sure, Joyner is a football player. Joyner is an aggressive tackler and a hard hitter, he is an effective blitzer and makes tackles behind the line of scrimmage, he is also a solid coverage player on short to intermediate routes. Joyner doesn’t possess great quickness or speed, this limits his ability as a coverage cornerback. Joyner’s best role will be as a player who plays both safety and cornerback while being used as a blitzer occasionally.
4. Jason Verrett – TCU – 5-10 – 189 lbs. – 4.38
Verrett is an extremely talented cornerback, he is physical and smart, he can cover inside or outside receivers. Verrett has good speed and a quick backpedal, allowing him to stay with any receiver. He is also an aggressive run defender who is willing to set the edge, his effectiveness is hindered by his size though. The biggest knock on Verrett is that he has been injury prone. Verrett will become one of the best nickelbacks in the NFL within 3 years.
3. Darqueze Dennard – Michigan State – 5-11 – 199 lbs. – 4.51
Dennard is best known for leading “The No Fly Zone” in college, but Dennard is a great NFL prospect. Dennard is physical at the line of scrimmage and has great closing speed. He is not often beaten but when he is he tends to grab at the receiver. Dennard has good ball skills and wants to get in on tackles. The only knock on Dennard is his lack of top end speed which shouldn’t matter due to his great quickness and his press coverage ability. Dennard will be one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL.
2. Justin Gilbert – Oklahoma State – 6-0 – 202 lbs. 4.37
Gilbert is the best cover cornerback in this draft class. He is polished in press coverage and has great athleticism, the only faults noticeable in his coverage ability is that he is over aggressive but that is okay when you have world class ball skills, and Gilbert has tighter hips than you would like. He needs to be more willing to fight through blocks and drive the ball carrier to the ground but he is an adequate tackler. Justin Gilbert will be the first cornerback drafted due to the value of a shutdown cornerback in the NFL.
1. Kyle Fuller – Virginia Tech – 6-0 – 190 lbs. – 4.49
Fuller had the best season out of any cornerback in the 2014 NFL Draft. He is a fantastic run defender, he fights off blocks, keeps his outside arm open, and wraps up and brings down the ball carrier. Fuller lacks great top end speed but he is a smart player with good ball skills who uses his fundamentals to slow down elite receivers. Fuller is not a shutdown cornerback but he can play both man and zone coverage very effectively, he makes plays on the ball, he plays aggressively, and he is a willing tackler and that is what makes him the best cornerback in the 2014 draft class.