2013 NFL Combine
Top Ten Cornerback Rankings
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CFN Pre-Combine Safety Rankings, No. 11 to 25
1. Dee Milliner, Alabama 6-0, 201 (Jr.) Proj. 1
Positives: An NFL starter right out of the box when he went to Alabama. He had the hype and he had the pressure of being a top prospect, and he more than lived up to it by improving as his career went along while growing into an elite all-around corner. … The BCS championship game. Can he handle the bigger targets? He was assigned to Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert, and while he gave up a few passes, he was on his own and he took out the top weapon. … All the tools and all the right skills. He’s big and can move. Combine the talent with the right drive and he’s ready from the word go.
Negatives: Surrounded by NFL talent. He didn’t have to do everything by himself and he got a ton of help. He’ll have to prove time and again that he can be a shut down corner on an island against speed receivers at the next level. … Not necessarily a form tackler. Does what he must to get a man down, but he doesn’t do the same thing right every time. … He can be bowled over. He’ll make the tackle, but it’s too often after giving up a few yards.
Really, What’s He Going To Do In The NFL? It’s all there to become a perennial Pro Bowl playmaker and a key part of a defense. He’s going to be drafted like a franchise player, and he’ll play like it.
2. Xavier Rhodes, Florida State 6-1, 210 (Jr.) Proj. 1
Positives: Prototype size. He looks like an NFL corner out of central casting with the right size, frame and body. Great at jamming his man and erasing him from the play. … A good enough run defender to be used in a variety of ways. He’s not just a good cover corner; he’s an intimidator who packs a pop. … Speedy and smooth for a player of his size. Cuts easily and effortlessly.
Negatives: Has to keep his head in the game for a full sixty minutes. He’ll get burned from time to time when he doesn’t seem to have the right focus. … Durability. His knee injury from a few years ago didn’t seem to be a problem last season, but it might be a concern if he starts to slow down a wee bit. He doesn’t have the make-up speed to lose a step. … Not the most consistent of tacklers. For a player of his size and with his physical skills, he needs to be more of a form hitter and has to be better against the run.
Really, What’s He Going To Do In The NFL? There are few corners with his size, toughness and physical play. He’ll be a starter from the moment he hits camp.
3. Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State 6-2, 185 Proj. 2
Positives: Fantastic size with a great frame and the right body type. He stays with the bigger receives and wraps around the smaller ones. He’s tough to get the ball through when he’s in range of his man. … A big-time ballplayer. Makes big plays and produced at the highest level. He was fantastic when the ball was in the air. … Great character. A self-motivated firestarter who’ll do whatever is needed to improve.
Negatives: He could stand to add a few more pounds. His functional strength needs to get a little bit better; he can be pushed around. … A bit of a tweener. He’s a safety playing corner, but he’s not quite physical enough to be an NFL safety. … His instincts are average for a player who makes as many plays as he does. There’s a chance his game doesn’t translate to the next level; he might be just a half-step off.
Really, What’s He Going To Do In The NFL? A long, lanky ball-hawker, he’s a turn-key defender who’ll be an instant starter. He’ll need safety help, but he can be good on short-to-midrange plays. He’ll win his share of battles.
4. Desmond Trufant, Washington State 6-0, 190 Proj. 2
Positives: The prerequisite NFL tools are there, including the bloodlines with his brothers Marcus and Isaiah each in the league. He’s big, fast and moves like a professional defensive back. … Terrific at sticking to his man. Covers extremely well and moves fluidly to stay glued. … A fighter. Excellent ball skills and the ability to battle his man to make the play.
Negatives: Not a great all-around tackler. He’ll make the play, but it’s not always pretty. Not a top run stopper. … Relies on his way ability way too much. Some of his skills and techniques will have to be broken down before they’re built back up. … Gets burned too often for a player of his talent. He didn’t shut it down as much as he should’ve.
Really, What’s He Going To Do In The NFL? Once he gets just a little more seasoning and with some good coaching, he’ll grow into a good starter who’ll last in the league for a long time.
5. Logan Ryan, Rutgers 5-11, 191 (Jr.) Proj. 2
Positives: Good size and solid strength. He has the right frame and the right look of an NFL starting cornerback. He’ll bully the smaller receivers. … Phenomenal tackler. A stat guy who really is that good against the run. He doesn’t back down from a run stop. … Moves nicely. Cuts well and looks the part. Fluid when he has to stick his foot in the ground and go.
Negatives: For good and bad, he needs work. There’s plenty of upside, but he also has to work on improving the finer points. It might take a little while before he’s a finished product. … Not a pure cover corner. If he’s not being physical, his game won’t work. … Fast, but not fast enough. Again, he has to get his hands on a receiver early and get the jam to be effective. He can’t work as well in zone coverages.
Really, What’s He Going To Do In The NFL? Upside, upside, upside. It’s going to take a year or so of seasoning, but once he gets his technique down the sky’s the limit. He could be a steal.
6. Jordan Poyer, Oregon State 6-0, 191 Proj. 2
Positives: A baller. He’s great at making big plays and is a pure football player. He’s a cornerback. He plays like it doing almost everything right. Great skills. … Speedy and smooth as glass. Cuts on a dime and stays with the smallish quick receivers with no issues. … Can do everything right and fits every system. Coaches are going to love him.
Negatives: Doesn’t have the raw speed to stay with the faster receivers. He’s going to do everything technically right, but he could struggle with the blazers. … Not a form tackler. He’s a cover-corner who’ll make the occasional play in the open field, but he’s not going to be much for run support. … A better football player than a pure prospect. There will be a hard ceiling.
Really, What’s He Going To Do In The NFL? He might not be a flashy corner, but he’ll start and will handle himself fine with a little safety help.
7. David Amerson, NC State 6-1, 205 (Jr.) Proj. 3
Positives: A big-time attitude for both good and bad. He brings shutdown mentality of a No. 1 corner. … A terrific ball-hawk. Makes play after play after play with the ability to fight for the ball and beat his man time and again. … Terrific size with the ideal frame and good enough quickness to handle most of the smaller receivers. Uses his strength well.
Negatives: Again, the attitude. It’s mostly good, but he can’t be caught thinking he can do the same things at the next level that he did in college. He doesn’t have the raw tools. … Needs to use his frame a little bit better. He has to jam and ruin a receiver at the line on a regular basis rather than accept the play in space. … Doesn’t move all that well. A bit lanky, and runs like it.
Really, What’s He Going To Do In The NFL? With his ball skills, he’ll be a good playmaking starter who could eventually thrive as a free safety.
8. Jamar Taylor, Boise State 5-11, 192 Proj. 2
Positives: Good size. Physical with linebacker strength. Great in the weight room, the work translates to the field. … Uses his toughness to jam and beat up receivers. He’ll win most battles to fight off receivers when the ball is in the air. … A run stopper. Moves like a corner, hits like a safety.
Negatives: Slight durability concerns. He came back fine after suffering a broken leg and didn’t show any loss in speed, but his past bears watching. … Okay in coverage. If he doesn’t get the jam, he can be beaten on a couple of quick moves. … Tries to use catch-up speed to make plays, but it doesn’t always work. He has to be stickier at the next level.
Really, What’s He Going To Do In The NFL? One of the most physical corners in the draft, he’ll work well as a run stopper. His coverage skills are just good enough to get him a starting gig.
9. Leon McFadden, San Diego State 5-10, 193 Proj. 4
Positives: Good ball skills. Attacks the ball when it’s in the air and comes up with big plays. A fighter to break up the pass. … An experienced veteran, he has grown into a whale of a cover corner who is doing most of the little things right. He’s polished. … Smooth. He looks the part with the right feet and the right recovery quickness. Moves extremely well.
Negatives: Not a good open field tackler. He’s a cover man and he’s not really built to ever move over to safety or in dime packages. … Will get erased by any block. Bigger, stronger receivers will take him out of the play. … Not huge. Size isn’t a liability, but there’s little room to get any bigger. This is it physically.
Really, What’s He Going To Do In The NFL? With a big-time attitude and the solid ball skills to match, he’ll be a playmaking No. 2 corner.
10. Darius Slay, Mississippi State 6-0, 192 Proj. 4
Positives: A fantastic all-around athlete with terrific speed and good strength. He has the raw tools and abilities. … Busts his tail. Doesn’t have a problem doing all the work needed to get better. Self-motivated and doesn’t need a ton of coaching. … A great hitter against the run. He’ll mix it up and he’ll do what he must to make a play. He could work at safety if needed.
Negatives: While he moves well and has great straight line speed, he doesn’t necessarily cut on a dime. He doesn’t have elite cutting ability. … More of a tough guy than a finesse corner. He’ll start out on the outside, but he’s probably not built for the spot in the NFL. … Needs to be surrounded by athletes. Yes, he’s athletic, but he doesn’t always play up to his skills.
Really, What’s He Going To Do In The NFL? He’ll start out as a No. 2 corner but will spend a bulk of his career as a safety.
CFN Combine Cornerback Rankings, No. 11 to 25