2011 NFL Combine - Cornerback Analysis
Brandon Harris, Patrick Peterson, Prince Amukamara
Brandon Harris, Patrick Peterson, Prince Amukamara
Posted Mar 2, 2011

The corners were fast, fast, FAST at this year's Combine, but can any of them really play? Brandon Harris ran well, Patrick Peterson was as good as advertised, and Prince Amukamara solidified his position. Check out the breakdown and analysis of all the top corners for the 2011 NFL Draft. Coming tomorrow ... the Combine wrap-up, and then it's all about spring football.

2011 NFL Combine

Cornerback Rankings

2011 NFL Combine Results
- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | Cs | OTs | OGs 
- DEs | DTs | ILBs | OLBs | Ss | CBs

2011 NFL Combine Position Analysis
- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | Cs | OTs | OGs 
- DEs | DTs | ILBs | OLBs | Ss | CBs

  1. Patrick Peterson, LSU 6-0, 219
Positives: The near-perfect corner prospect. He has size, speed, quickness, ball skills, and all the athleticism that every team wants. … A true No. 1 cover-corner. He can line up and erase any receiver. He can get physical when he needs to and he can run with anyone. … Extremely confident, and not in a bad way. He knows he's good and he plays like it.
Negatives: Used to doing whatever he wants. He'll have to get used to being a big part of a system rather than being able to freelance. … Not necessarily consistent. He rose to the occasion, but he needed the challenge. … Might be a safety but will be paid like a corner.

2. Prince Amukamara, Nebraska 6-0, 206
Positives: An excellent combination of size, speed, and athleticism. He has the NFL look and skills to be a No. 1 corner for a long time. … A pure cover corner who doesn't play soft. He'll hit. … Strong in run support, and he made a ton of plays against the pass even though everyone stayed away from him.
Negatives: Didn't pick off a pass last year after taking away five as a junior. Broke up passes, but didn't come up with the really big play. … Okay at tracking the ball on deep plays, but not elite. Hands are just decent. … Not a huge player. Doesn't have a large frame.

3. Aaron Williams, Texas (FS) 6-0, 204
Positives: Versatile. He might be a free safety in the NFL and can be used in a variety of ways. He's athletic enough to do a variety of things extremely well. … A good, sound tackler. He isn't afraid to get physical and has the body to provide a bit of a pop. … Silky smooth in his cuts. Turns and runs well with extremely loose hips.
Negatives: Not fast enough to be a No. 1 corner. He wants to be a corner and wants to get paid like a corner, but he's likely going to be move to safety very early on. … Didn't pick off any passes last year and came up with just four in 37 games. … Will be a better pick because of his versatility than for any one position. He'll be a starter, but he might not be an elite player at any spot.

4. Brandon Harris, Miami 5-9, 191
Positives: Fast. Plays fast on the field and times well enough off of it. Doesn't get beaten deep. … Tough as nails. He's not soft in any way and he has no problems sticking his nose into a running play. … Great instincts. Doesn't make a lot of mistakes and doesn't waste any steps.
Negatives: Fast, but not a jaw-dropping blazer. He'll have to get used to facing faster receivers. … Didn't do enough when the ball was in the air. He only picked off four passes in 39 games. … A good all-around corner with zero bust potential, but he doesn't have elite skills.

5. Jimmy Smith, Colorado 6-2, 211
Positives: The measureables are there. He's very big, very fast, and is physical. He can shove around the bigger receivers. … Could end up being a killer of a safety. He's a corner for now, but with his skills and his frame he could be a Pro Bowl free safety with a little bit of time and work. … He has the frame to get bigger. He could end up being a big, cut 220 pounds without losing a thing.
Negatives: Smooth as a three-day beard. Tight, TIGHT hips and doesn't move all that well. He's big, and he moves like it. … Not a great pass defender. A better pass defender and tackler than a pure cover corner. … Will get blown away by any quick receiver he doesn't get his hands on.

6. Ras-I Dowling, Virginia 6-1, 198
Positives: Good size and length. Has a great frame and he uses it well. … Very quick and cuts well. He's fluid enough to be a decent No. 1 corner, and has the athleticism to be a rock of a No. 2. … Great character and a hard worker who doesn't miss a stop. He's not physical enough, but he's sound.
Negatives: Hurt. Missed most of last year banged up. He has to prove now that he can stay healthy. … Fast enough, but he's hardly a blazer. He's going to struggle against the smaller, jitterbug receivers. … Might need to be in the right system. He's not going to be for every defense and might need to be in a Cover-2.

7. Brandon Burton, Utah 6-0, 190
Positives: Quick. He cuts well and moves like an NFL corner. A good all-around athlete. … Makes plays. Erased the good receivers who lacked the big-time wheels and was great when the ball was in the air. … Instictive. He sniffs out plays well and knows how to get to the ball.
Negatives: Slow. Lacks the top-end speed and needs to be in the right system. … A willing tackler, but not strong enough to move to safety any time soon if needed. Not a big hitter. … Lack of raw speed a problem. He got beaten from time to time by the speed receivers.

8. Chimdi Chekwa, Ohio State 6-0, 191
Positives: A four-year producer who has been through the wars and has grown into a solid all-around defender. … Fast. He moves extremely well and gets in and out of his breaks in a hurry. … A good tackler who has no problems stepping up into run support. Gets physical for his size.
Negatives: Has used his good speed to make up for mistakes, but he won't be able to do that at the next level. … Not a lock-down corner. A good player, but he doesn't make enough plays. … Not a No. 1 corner and might end up being nothing more than nickel or dime defender. He'll have to get more physical to be a No. 2.

9. Davon House, New Mexico State 6-0, 200
Positives: A good all-around athlete with strong measurables. Has good size and just enough speed to get by. … Made a ton of plays for a bad defense. Teams stayed away from him and he still came up with 11 career picks and 37 broken up passes. … A solid tackler. Good in the open field.
Negatives: Mediocre ball skills. The numbers don't lie, but he has average hands and will drop balls. … Not an elite athlete. Good all-around skills, but not great ones. … Needs work. Is used to being a great player on a bad team, but he needs to prove he can produce when people are challenging him.

10. Curtis Brown, Texas 6-0, 185
Positives: A quick, tough corner who can fill a variety of roles. He's a corner, but he has just enough skills to eventually transition into a safety. … Smooth. Cuts on a dime and is fluid. Great hips and flies around effortlessly. … A special teamer who can be a return guy and will willingly do what's needed.
Negatives: Slow. He doesn't have the raw, flat-out speed to hang with the faster targets. … Strong, but he's not a great hitter. He's a decent tackler, but he's hardly special. … Only two picks in 52 career games. He broke up 32 passes, but he didn't come up with too many big plays.

11. Rashad Carmichael, Virginia Tech 5-10, 192
Positives: Very quick and very fast on the field. He makes up for mistakes with his athleticism. … A lot of picks. He came up with ten over the last two years and was great at coming up with big plays. … Will work to do more. Good, coachable character who'll make himself into a better player.
Negatives: The deep speed isn't there. He plays fast, but he won't time all that well. … Needs work on being more fundamentally sound. Got by in college on being far more athletic and quicker than everyone else. … Not a great run defender. Just an average tackler.

12. Brandon Hogan, West Virginia 5-10, 192
Positives: Very, very quick. Moves and cuts on a dime and can hang with the speed targets without a problem. … Has the right attitude to be a No. 1 corner. The raw skills are there and he knows it. … Great hands. He's still scratching the surface and could be a whale of a value pick.
Negatives: Seemed to take last year off in run support. He was a far more physical player earlier in his career. … Off-the-field concerns and lots of homework will have to be done on his character. … Not quite physical enough to be able to hang one-on-one with the bigger NFL targets.

13. Johnny Patrick, Louisville 5-11, 191
Positives: Grew into a ball hawker who came up with a terrific senior season. Became more of a pickoff artist while still being strong against the run. … Moves well on the field. Has no problems staying with the faster receivers. … Not a finesse player in any way. He doesn't shy away from contact.
Negatives: Not fast. He might be fluid, but the straight-line speed isn't there. … Not strong enough to be moved to safety right away. He might have a future in nickel and dime packages. … Not known for being a top-character guy. Will have to be coached up.

14. Kendric Burney, North Carolina 5-9, 186
Positives: A very effective tackler who made a ton of plays over the last four years. Not afraid to do the dirty work and is strong at coming up to help out against the run. Tough. … Smart and instinctive. He has a knack for being around the ball and making the play. He has nice hands and great ball skills. … Quicker than fast. Moves well and cuts smoothly.
Negatives: Slow. SLOWWWWWW. Will take ten minutes to get through the 40. … A better football player than an athlete. He'll have a limited upside because of his lack of raw skills and his smallish size. … Was abused in the Senior Bowl by Miami's Leonard Hankerson. Was picked on for a reason.

15. Chris Rucker, Michigan State 6-1, 195
Positives: Likes the challenge and will take on any receiver. Wants to battle against the best and has the attitude of a No. 1 corner. … Big and physical. He likes to jam receivers and he uses his strength and tougnhness well. … Doesn't miss stops. Could end up being a safety or a strong nickel and dime defender.
Negatives: Lacks the raw deep speed. If he misses the jam or he's not battling a faster receiver, it's over. … Inconsistent. He tends to give up a few too many key plays. Thinks he's better than he is. … Doesn't have the make-up quickness and will allow catches. He makes the tackle, but he gives up the play.

16. Shareece Wright, USC 5-11, 185
Positives: Turned into a great tackler. Came up with a surprisingly strong senior year making 73 stops and became the player everyone was hoping he'd be out of high school. … Great speed. Not a top-shelf burner, but he's fast. … Physical. He'll push around receivers and will jam without a problem.
Negatives: Injury issues. He missed most of 2008 with a broken neck and missed almost all of 2009 with academic problems. A one-year wonder. … Not enough elite physical skills to overcome the red flags. He's not all that smooth.

17. Buster Skrine, UT Chattanooga 5-9, 186
Positives: Fast. FAST. Extreme speed with the raw athletic ability to use in a variety of ways. … Smooth as glass. Cuts on a dime and effortlessly flies around. Fluid. … Could become a whale of a return man. Could be a gamechanger.
Negatives: Really, really raw. An athlete more than a football player and needs technique work. … Not big. He doesn't look the part. Very lean and short. … Not physical. He' won't push anyone around. Strictly a speed corner.

18. Jalil Brown, Colorado 6-1, 204
Positives: Good size. He could quickly be turned into a safety or a tough nickel defender. … Extremely strong and makes lots of tackles and lots of plays. He brings a good attitude and will do whatever a coaching staff wants. … Battles hard. He's a competitor.
Negatives: Not quite as physical as he should be for his size. He should maul more receivers and bring far more pop. … Lacks the deep speed and will struggle against the faster receivers. Will need help and can't be on an island. … Will get by on want-to and attitude more than physical ability. He'll get picked on.

19. Chykie Brown, Texas 5-11, 190
Positives: Very quick and good all-around athleticism. Fluid, he moves extremely well and changes directions on a dime. … Good size and a nice frame. He's long and could put on another few pounds without a problem. … Scratching the surface. Could be a far better pro than a collegian.
Negatives: Mediocre production. Only two picks, both in 2009, in 47 career games. ... Nothing special against the run. He'll tackle, but he's not great at it. … Doesn't seem to have the same feel for the game like other top Texas defensive backs.

20. Chris Culliver, South Carolina (FS) 6-0, 199
Positives: Part safety and part corner, he's versatile enough to play just about anywhere in the secondary. … Extremely fast and moves well. He runs well enough to handle himself at corner and looks like he belongs one-on-one against a receiver. … Decent size. Physical enough to get by.
Negatives: Not really a NFL corner and not really an NFL safety. There's not a sure-thing place and position for him. … Not a big hitter. He'll tackle, but he's not going to blast anyone. … Looks the part more than he plays it. He'll test well, but he'll have to be a cog in a system.

21. Marcus Gilchrist, Clemson (FS) 5-10, 195
Positives: Extremlely strong. He's tough enough and strong enough to eventually be a safety, even at his size. … An elite tackler. Made a whopping 107 stops as a junior and 66 last year. Very willing and very productive against the run. … Good energy and good fire. Always fired up and doesn't take plays off.
Negatives: Not fast. He's not a blazer to be a corner and will make most of his plays in run support. … Lacks the raw size to be a thumper of a safety. He's a bit lean and not bulky at all. … One pick in 53 career games.

22. Devon Torrence, Ohio State 6-0, 199
Positives: A good tackler who can get physical. He has good size and good upside. … Moves well. Quicker than fast, he's better in short range and sniffs out plays in a hurry. … Decent ball skills. Still developing and could just be scratching the surface.
Negatives: Still needs a lot of work. The instincts aren't quite there as he's still learning on the fly. He's a former receiver. … Needs to be in the right system and used in the right way. He doesn't have the speed to be anyone's lockdown corner.

23. Curtis Marsh, Utah State 6-0, 192
Positives: Extremely quick. Moves easily and cuts on a dime. … Fast. He stays with every speed receiver without much of a problem and has just enough size to hang out with the bigger targets. … Has grown into a ball hawk. Has a nose for breaking up passes.
Negatives: A former running back who's still learning how to play the position. … Fast, but not a blazer. He doesn't have elite deep speed. … Just okay in run support. A good tackler, but he's not going to beat anyone up.

24. DeMarcus Van Dayke 6-1, 176
Positives: Fast, fast, fast, fast, fast. Elite top-end speed and won't get beaten by any NFL receiver deep. … Moves extremely well. Cuts and changes direction without a problem and gets into his speed well. … Could be used in a variety of ways just to get his speed on the field.
Negatives: Way undersized. Tall and thin. Not built to make an NFL tackle. … Couldn't stay on the field in a starting job. Only a spot starter on a team that could've used more help in the secondary. … Raw. He has uncoachable speed, but he needs to become more of a football player.

25. Josh Thomas, Buffalo 5-10, 191
Positives: Fast. Good enough speed to get by and is strong for his size. He'll push some people around. … Moves well. Cuts well enough and he closes in a heartbeat. … A good four-year producer against the run who made a lot of tackles. More than willing to help out in run support.
Negatives: Not an elite athlete and lacks top-end speed. He's not a blazer. … Didn't come up with enough big plays with just two picks in 47 games and one in the last three seasons. … Doesn't do any one thing at a high level. He might be on a team for a while, but he won't be more than a backup.