2012 NFL Draft Analysis - Corners No. 11-35
Virginia CB Chase Minnifield
Virginia CB Chase Minnifield
Posted Apr 7, 2012

From a college football perspective, here's the analysis of all the top cornerback prospects.

2012 NFL Draft Position Rankings

Corners - No. 11-35

By Pete Fiutak

- 2012 NFL Cornerback Rankings - Top Ten

11. Chase Minnifield, Virginia 5-10, 183
A good all-around football player, he knows what he's doing and he's smart enough to be ready to go right away. While he's a bit thin and he has no strength whatsoever – he came up with a pathetic seven reps on the bench at the Combine – but he's surprisingly okay against the run and he doesn't shy away from contact. A player that every coach would love to have, he's a leader, a good guy, and perfect for any locker room. However, he doesn't have the raw tools to do any one thing at a high level. He's not blazing fast for his size, and he despite his willingness to battle, he gets pushed around. He won't be anyone's No. 1 corner, but he'll be able to step in as a dime package playmaker right away and he should have a nice career as a swing backup who's ready to go at any time.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

12. Dwight Bentley, Louisiana-Lafayette (S) 5-10, 182
Versatile, productive, and very, very fast, he's a legitimate 4.4 runner whose speed translates well to the football field. Smooth, he cuts effortlessly and has the recovery wheels to take off and chase down a target when needed. Eventually he should become a good safety, and he could grow into a ball-hawking free safety with the attitude and the toughness to hold up against the run, but he's not a sure-tackler. With his speed he has to be tried out at corner early on and he has just enough skills to hold down a No. 2 job on the other side of a shutdown defender. The 13 reps at the Combine were light and his jumps were awful, but worse yet, he was lumbering through the quickness drills. Even with all the knocks, he's a football player whose production will be better than his workout numbers.
CFN Projection: Third Round

13. Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt 5-11, 192
A bit slow to be a top corner, and not quite athletic enough to hold up against the better receivers, he showed excellent quickness in workouts and might be one of the smoothest, cut-on-a-dime defenders in the draft. He makes up for his lack of raw speed with smarts and instincts, always seeming to sniff plays out before they happen, and he does big things when he gets there. Terrific when the ball is in the air, he tracks well and always seems to be in the right place at the right time. However, he's not a safety prospect with mediocre tackling skills and he isn't physical in any way. He'll be productive, and coaches will love him, but he might need to be in the right system that doesn't force him to do much against the run.
CFN Projection: Third Round

14. Shaun Prater, Iowa 5-10, 190
The raw stats aren't that great. He's not big, he's not particularly fast, and he's not great against the larger, more physical targets. However, he's a good football player who does a little of everything right and was a very solid, very productive star for the Hawkeye secondary. The one thing he can do is jump really, really well and he's great on jump balls, but he needs to lock up on the smaller receivers or else he'll be shoved around by the bigger ones. Never backing down from a challenge, he'll always fight to make a play and he'll do anything needed for a secondary. While he might not stick as a pure corner, he'll find a spot in someone's secondary.
CFN Projection: Third Round

15. Omar Bolden, Arizona State 5-10, 202
Really, really strong, cranking out a phenomenal 25 reps on the bench at the Combine showing that he could end up seeing time as a safety. Physical, he uses that strength to bully receivers and he's never afraid to come up with a big stop and a tackle, while he also has the quickness and athleticism to match up well against the speed targets. Smart, he doesn't make a slew of mistakes and he always seems to be in the right place at the right time. So what's the problem? He can't stay healthy. He tore up his knee early in his career and was always nicked and banged up. With his toughness and style, there's a chance he won't have a long shelf life.
CFN Projection: Third Round

16. Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina 6-0, 197
Slow, and that's the problem. He couldn't get under 4.6 and he'll never have the wheels to stay with the faster receivers. However, he was terrific at the lower level as one of the most productive playmakers in the FCS over the last few years. With nice size, good jumping ability, and an uncanny knack for being around the ball all the time, he could be a free safety in the near future. That future has to be now at 24 years old, and turning 25 during the season; he has maxed out on what he'll be physically. Good enough to be a reliable part of someone's secondary in some way, shape, or form, but he'll have a short career and needs to be what he's going to be right away.
CFN Projection: Third Round

17. Coryell Judie, Texas A&M 6-0, 194
With good enough raw speed to get by, he'll be a good late round flier with someone hoping to get a great athlete on the cheap. There's no problem with his size, and he looks the part of an NFL corner, but his biggest strength is his 4.48 speed and explosive jumping skills. Great on the field and not just in workouts, he's a football player who has no problems getting physical or battling to come up with stops against the run. However, while he timed fast, his speed is all straight line with mediocre quickness through the short drills. The biggest issue is his lack of durability with a slew of injuries throughout his career. He might not be for everyone, but he'll start out as a special teamer and should be used in a variety of roles.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

18. Jamell Fleming, Oklahoma 5-11, 206  
The tools are good enough to go along with the size to be tried out in a variety of roles. The 4.53 40 at the Combine wasn't good, but he's been timed under 4.5 in workouts, cranked out 23 reps on the bench, and flew around the cones in Indy. Smart and instinctive, he manages to sniff out plays and he does good things when he gets to the ball-carrier. While he has decent size, he's not the best of tacklers and he tends to stay blocked too easily. The speed is there, but he's not necessarily a shut-down corner in man coverage and will have to be in the right system. As long as he's surrounded by hitters, he'll be productive.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

19. Robert Blanton, Notre Dame 6-1, 208
Is he a corner or a safety? Corner is his natural position, but the 4.69 40 might make him a free safety from the start. However, he only came up with 12 reps on the bench at the Combine. No, he's not great in the weight room, but he beats up receivers and he's not afraid to get his nose dirty. While he doesn't have the best of tools, he's a good athlete and he's quicker than fast when he has to deal with the speed receivers. Can he be a better pro than a collegian? He was okay for the Irish, but he was never really a standout star, more functional than special. With his smarts and his skills he can eventually become a good nickel back, but he'll be tried out at corner early on.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

20. Cliff Harris, Oregon (Jr.) 5-11, 175
A terrific college player when he was able to get on the field, he has a slew of blazing red flags that might make him undraftable on some boards. The knucklehead streak is his biggest problem, getting nailed for a variety of issues and didn't take advantage of chance after chances. His character concerns are one thing, but the 4.63 40 time was absolutely disastrous to his draft stock. Considering he's a rail-thin 175 pounds on a 5-11 frame, he has to play faster than he timed. A tremendous special teamer and return man at Oregon, and a difference maker in the secondary, his tape is great and will be a good late round, no-second-chance flier.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

21. Charles Brown, North Carolina 5-9, 202
If he makes it, it'll be as much for his punt return skills as his defensive abilities. A 4.6 runner, he's much quicker than fast and he's able to cut on a dime. What he's not able to do is blaze away with the speed receivers and can't lock down on an NFL No. 1 target. Some who don't do their homework will have concerns about his character after issues with his academics and after being suspended for a stretch, but he's not known for being a bad guy. A swing backup, he'll be used as a reserve nickel back and corner, and if he can show he can be a special teams star, he'll stick.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

22. Donnie Fletcher, Boston College 6-0, 201
The size is there with a tall frame and a good, athletic look – he comes from out of central casting for an NFL defensive back. He knows what he's doing, he can be a jack-of-all-trades defensive back who can fill a variety of roles. However, he was mediocre last year and awful in offseason workouts when the spotlight was on; his stock has dropped in a huge way. The all-around package is good enough to try out as a corner, but his money will be made in nickel and dime packages.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

23. Trevin Wade, Arizona 5-10, 192
Far better on tape than in workouts, he didn't do much in the short drills and his best time was a 4.56. However, he hovered around the high 4.6s at times. Even so, he's great when the ball is in the air and is a proven tackler who can come up with the stop in the open field. No, he's not a blazer, but he can kick it into gear when he's able to gear up to another level. There are concerns about his consistency and he doesn't always seem to have the light on, but he's a good enough talent to be tried out as a backup corner and dime defender.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

24. Ryan Steed, Furman 5-11, 195
Ultra-productive at the lower level, he's a good tackler, is strong against the run, and he has functional speed on tape. The problem, though, is that he doesn't have the raw tools to overcome the small school stigma, running in the high 4.6s and only coming up with 12 reps at the Combine. He's not a great athlete, but he's quick enough on the field to not get lost. Possibly better as a run defender at the next level than a playmaker against the pass, he needs to shine on special teams and in a variety of roles to make a team.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

25. Keith Tandy, West Virginia 5-10, 202
It all depends on where someone wants to play him. The speed is just good enough to work from time to time at corner, and he's a smart defender who always seems to be around the ball including coming up big against the run. Great when the ball is in the air, he attacks the play and he's always hustling to make something happen. The tools aren't there, though, with mediocre speed and without the shiftiness to hold up against the quicker targets. He needs to be in a zone scheme and could be used as a safety, but he'll always be ready no matter where he plays.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

26. Ace Jackson, Cal Poly 5-10, 191
27. Mike Harris, Florida State 5-10, 188
28. Ron Brooks, LSU 5-10, 190
29. Cody Sensabaugh, Clemson 5-11, 189
30. Micah Pellerin, Hampton 6-0, 194
31. D'Anton Lynn, Penn State 5-11, 206
32. Antonio Fenelus, Wisconsin 5-8, 190
33. Jeremy Lane, Northwestern State 6-0, 183
34. Terrence Frederick, Texas A&M 5-10, 187
35. Antwaun Reed, Pitt 5-10 188

- 2012 NFL Cornerback Rankings - Top Ten