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2012 NFL Draft Analysis - Cornerbacks
Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard
Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 7, 2012


Breaking down and analyzing the top pro cornerback prospects.

2012 NFL Draft Position Rankings

Top Ten Cornerbacks


By Pete Fiutak

- 2012 NFL Cornerback Rankings - No. 11 - 35

2012 NFL DRAFT
- Safeties

2011 NFL DRAFT

2011 NFL Prospect Rankings & Breakdowns
- QBs | RBs | FBs | WRs
- TEs | OTs | OGs | Cs 
- OLBs | ILBs | DTs | DEs
- CBs | Ss

2011 NFL Post-Combine Draft Rankings
- Top 32 Talents
- 2nd Rounders
- 3rd Rounders
- 4th Rounders
- 5th Rounders
- 6th Rounders
- 7th Rounders & Top Free Agents  

THE 2010 NFL DRAFT


2010 CFN Talent Rankings
- 1st Rounders
- 2nd Rounders
- 3rd Rounders
- 4th Rounders
- 5th Rounders
- 6th Rounders
- 7th Rounders 
- Top Free Agent Talents 

2010 CFN Position Rankings & Analysis

- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DEs
- DTs | ILBs | OLBs
- Ss | CBs
 
This Class Is … Deep, but not all that great up top. LSU’s Morris Claiborne is an elite cover-corner, but there are huge question marks beyond him. Janoris Jenkins and Dre Kirkpatrick are just talented enough to be high on a lot of draft boards, but they’re just risky enough to see several teams pass. Even so, there’s good value and promise among the 20s on the draft board with versatility the key.
The Best Value Pick Will Be … Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
Most Underrated … Josh Robinson, UCF
Most Overrated … Brandon Boykin, Georgia
The Deep, Deep Sleeper Is … Dontrell Johnson, Murray State

1. Morris Claiborne, LSU (Jr.) 5-11, 188
It’s easy to focus on what he’s not. He’s not huge, he’s not Patrick Peterson, and he’s not lightning fast. He has good wheels, but he’s not a blazer who won’t be a sure-thing shutdown defender against the speedier receivers. The lack of leaping skills won’t make up for his okay height, and struggled in the short drills at the Combine. To add to the concerns, he’s also not good at the Wonderlic, scoring a miserable, hard-to-do-even-if-you-tried 4, and he’s not all that great against the run and isn’t all that physical against the bigger targets. However, he has a great frame, is smooth as silk, and he never had any problems against SEC receivers. Able to stand out even on a team full of defensive stars, he’s a playmaker with most of the tools to handle himself without a problem on an island – fine, his speed is good enough. Better on the football field than in workouts, he’ll be just fine in any system and in any secondary with great ball skills and an uncanny knack to make the big plays at the right times. Forget about the Wonderlic; he’s a good guy and won’t give anyone any issues. There aren’t any of the typical prima donna issues most elite corners have.
CFN Projection:
First Round

2. Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama 5-10, 193
Take away the character issues and he’d be a sure-thing top 20 pick. While he’s not huge, he’s big enough to get by and doesn’t have a problem against the bigger receivers. Lightning fast, he has the 4.4 wheels in workouts and he plays just as fast on the field with the ability to close on a receiver in a heartbeat. He’s a willing tackler, he’s great at tracking the ball, and he proved himself time and again when he was at Florida. But all of the positives are wiped away by the major warning signs that’ll make him undraftable on some boards. Along with his major-league attitude, he had a slew of off-the-field problems including an arrest for marijuana possession that got him the boot from Florida. He was banged up, and with his style he’ll always be hovering around the injury report. Will the concerns outweigh his incredible talent? On the right team he’s a No. 1 corner and a Pro Bowl talent.
CFN Projection:
Second Round

3. Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama (Jr.) 6-2, 186
Build like a safety but with corner skills, he’s quick for his size and has just enough speed to get by. No, he’s not a blazer and he’s not a 4.4 guy, but he’s an athlete who’s even bigger with good jumping ability. While he’s not the most consistent tackler, he’s an intimidating force when he gets the chance and he’s a willing hitter who won’t shy away from contact. While he’s a great talent and was a star recruit among star recruits, he was also surrounded by a ton of elite talents and he didn’t have do too much work on an island. That’s part of the reason for his paltry three career picks, but there’s a concern that he’s just not that much of a playmaker. With enough talent to be a good, solid, long-time starter, he has to keep his attitude in check and he has to prove he’s willing to work for it and make good decisions both on and off the field. Getting nailed for marijuana possession in January when the NFL spotlight was on wasn’t exactly the brightest of moves. Even with the concerns, there are enough positive to take a chance on him somewhere to the mid-to-late second round.
CFN Projection:
Second Round

4. Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska 5-10, 204
While he’s not the athlete that former Husker and first round pick Prince Amukamara is, he moves well and has the size to potentially move over to safety if he doesn’t work out at corner. Thick and tough, he beats up receivers and he’s not afraid to mix it up – just ask Alshon Jeffery. He’s able to make up for his lack of elite speed by getting a jam on receivers and he’s able to make up for his okay height with tremendous leaping ability. There are no problems staying with the better receivers, even though he doesn’t quite have the raw skills teams would like in a No. 1 coverman. Banged up throughout his career, his style doesn’t necessarily translate well to the next level in terms of a long shelf life. Eventually, he might flourish as a fifth defensive back or a free safety, but he’ll be good to start out as a No. 2 corner against the bigger targets.
CFN Projection:
Second Round

5. Josh Robinson, UCF (Jr.) 5-10, 199
One of the high-rising prospects over the draft process, he went from being a good mid-range prospect to a must-have after a tremendous set of workouts. With a blazing 4.33 at the Combine, he showed off the raw wheels lacking in several of the top corner prospects, and he was smooth as glass running through the short and quickness drills. Throw in the corner-best 11’1” in the broad jump and a 38.5” vertical and he proved he had all the raw tools. Not afraid to step up to a challenge, he seemed to like the big games and the big moments; confidence isn’t an issue. However, he’s not a big tackler – but he doesn’t whiff - and he got by a bit too much on his speed and athleticism. If he’s willing to work for it and is ready to take on the challenge of wanting to be a top defender, the upside is limitless. Some team will be ecstatic to get him for a relatively cheap draft pick after the first round.
CFN Projection:
Second Round

6. Trumaine Johnson, Montana (S) 6-2, 204
Very big and very versatile, he could be used as a safety – his more likely position – or as a huge, physical corner. While he has good football speed, he doesn’t time fast and doesn’t cut like he’ll need to against the smaller speed targets. But his size and outstanding leaping ability make him perfect to deal with the bigger, Calvin Johnson-like targets, and he’s not going to back down from a challenge. With a little more time he could be a tremendous nickel defender. He’ll have to work to be great. It’s all there, but he has to do all the little things right to be special. The attitude has to be dialed down a bit and he’s not as good a tackler as he should be for his size and skills, but there’s a world of upside as a longtime starter n someone’s secondary.
CFN Projection:
Second Round

7. Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina 6-1, 190
Fast, athletic, and big, he has all the tools and looks the part of a No. 1 cornerback. At 6-1 he has great size to go along with 4.4 speed, terrific quickness, and solid leaping ability. A workout warrior, he’s the type of corner that everyone sees move, jump, and run, and then falls in love. A good tackler, he’s more than willing to step up and make a stop when he needs to, and he’s not going to shy away from being physical. However, while he works out well, he doesn’t always play like it on the field and he lacks the finer points and techniques. He’ll tackle, but he also gets flattened and gets blocked a bit too easily. But the speed, size, and upside are all too great to not take a chance on somewhere in the top 50. If patient and with a little bit of tweaking, some team could be getting an elite talent.
CFN Projection:
Second Round

8. Brandon Boykin, Georgia 5-10, 182
Boykin is what a pure cornerback should look like. He’s not all that big to be put at safety, and might seem a bit smallish, but he’s rocked up and can really, really move. A phenomenal athlete, he can jump out of the stadium and can run like a top-shelf NFL prospect. Fast, quick, and smooth, again, he looks the part. Throw in his excellent return skills and he’ll be a valuable prospect in a variety of ways. However, while he has the tools, they don’t necessarily translate to the field with mediocre tackling skills, little physical ability against the bigger receivers, and injury issues. He’s not quite built to take a beating and he doesn’t have any room whatsoever to get any bigger. If nothing else, he’ll be an elite return man who can be used a bit in various defensive packages, but for where he’s going to be taken, he needs to cover someone.
CFN Projection:
Third Round

9. Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech (Jr.) 5-10, 178
Very fast and very productive, he was a terrific college football player who somehow flew a bit under the radar in terms of national stardom. He’s a 4.4 runner who put up a 4.47 at the Combine – he’s fast – and he uses his wheels well closing on a receiver and as a returner. A ball-hawker who was always making plays, he came up with 12 interceptions over the last two seasons partly because of his speed and partly because he works to do what’s needed to learn where he needs to be. He’s not going to hit anyone and he’s not all that strong in the weight room or functionally, but that’s not his game. He’s a speed defender who has extra value as a return man and instincts. With a bit more work on his technique, he could be a nice mid-range pick.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

10. Leonard Johnson, Iowa State 5-10, 196
Very feisty and a very tough, he’s a baller and he’s a fighter who never backs down from a challenge. While he’s not all that big, he doesn’t necessarily play like it. However, he has come up with a few disastrous workouts this offseason with a 4.71 40 at the Combine and with his fastest dash just 4.64. While he’s quick, and he’s a better football player than an athlete, he’s not explosive in any way and will be severely limited against the speedier NFL targets. Eventually he’ll be a nice safety and he could limit his exposure in a secondary with great athletes, but he’ll be tried out early on as a corner and a kick returner.
CFN Projection:
Fourth Round

- 2012 NFL Cornerback Rankings - No. 11 - 35