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2008 NFL Draft - Ranking The Cornerbacks
Troy CB Leodis McKelvin
Troy CB Leodis McKelvin
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 12, 2008


CFN ranks the top 35 prospects with the deep sleeper and most overrated and underrated players.

2008 NFL Draft Position Rankings
The Cornerbacks 

Rankings & Breakdowns
Top 50 Players - 1 to 25 |
Top 50 Players - 26 to 50 | Quarterbacks
Running Backs |
Wide Receivers | Tight Ends | Offensive Tackles  
Offensive Guards |
Centers | Defensive Ends | Defensive Tackles    
Linebackers |
Safeties | Cornerbacks | Punters & Kickers

By Pete Fiutak

The Class Is ... Good, but it's not as great as many will make it out to be. After a lousy last few years of corner drafts, everyone is starving for a good crop of talents. There are several good prospects, but the top 10-to-15 are interchangeable. There isn't a sure-thing No. 1 corner in the lot, but there are plenty of No. 2s and it's extremely deep with prospects and potential.

The Best Value Pick Will Be ... Jack Williams, Kent State

Most Underrated ... Antoine Cason, Arizona (as a safety)

Most Overrated ... Reggie Smith, Oklahoma

The Deep, Deep Sleeper Is ...
Antwaun Molden, Eastern Kentucky

POTENTIAL NFL STARTERS

1. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB Tennessee State
The high riser of the corners after the Combine, Rodgers-Cromartie blazed off a 4.34 40. At 6-1 and 184 pounds he has great size to go along with that phenomenal speed and athleticism, and he's great at going after the ball and making something happen when he gets his hands on it. While he didn't see a high level of competition at Tennessee State, he looked like he could've been from LSU or Ohio State with the way he matched up against top receivers at the Senior Bowl. He needs to get stronger and he needs to be willing to become a better tacklers, but he has everything else you'd want in a No. 1 corner.
CFN Projection: First Round

2. Mike Jenkins, CB South Florida
A tremendous three-year starter on a good USF defense, Jenkins is a true shut-down corner who isn't afraid to get physical and can all but erase the top receivers when he has his game on. The question is his motor. If it's going full-tilt and he wants it, he looks like an all-star. When he suffers lapses or doesn't get up for the competition, he can be beaten by average receivers. He needs to bring it game in and game out. It would be nice if he picked off more passes, taking away just six despite being a four-year regular, but that's a bit misleading.
CFN Projection: First Round


3. Leodis McKelvin, CB Troy

He wasn't even the best defensive back on his own team last year; Elbert Mack had the better season. McKelvin has the speed, clocking in a 4.39 40, and he's big and strong enough to make plenty of big hits and not be pushed around by the bigger receivers. Not afraid to step up against the run, he's hardly a prima donna when it comes time to get dirty. He got banged up a bit and he needs to prove he can be consistent against the better receivers, but everything else is there, including the return skills, to be a starter for a long time.
CFN Projection: First Round


4.
Antoine Cason, CB/FS Arizona
Arguably the best defensive back in the Pac 10 for the last four years, Cason was a consistently great playmaker doing a little of everything well from making 253 career tackles to picking off 15 throws to breaking up 37 passes, including 19 in his senior year alone.  Not a blazer, but with good size, he could end up moving to free safety. He'll find a spot somewhere and will be a longtime starter, but he's not going to be a superstar.
CFN Projection: Third Round


5. Brandon Flowers, CB/FS Virginia Tech

Flowers grew into a big-time ball-hawker over his last two years at Virginia Tech breaking up 35 passes and picking off eight throws. A great tackler who seems to crave the assignment of facing a top-flight receiver, he has a safety hitting mentality in the body of a brash corner. His problem is his speed; he doesn't have much. In a draft with so many speed corners, running a 4.59 makes him no better than several linebackers. He'll eventually have to be moved to safety.
CFN Projection: Second Round To Third Round


6.
Tyvon Branch, CB/FS Connecticut
4.36. Branch was considered a nice prospect with good size and excellent production over the last few seasons, and then he came to the Combine and ripped off a 4.36. A great tackler, he made 168 over the last two seasons, but he only picked off three career passes. His value as a returner will only make him more attractive; he'll make an impact in some was on special teams from the moment he steps on the field. If he struggles at corner, he'd make a whale of a free safety.
CFN Projection: Third Round


7.
Aqib Talib, CB Kansas
At 6-1 and 197 pounds with 4.49 speed, Talib has the measurables. He had few problems against any receiver with size and could stay with most speed receivers, but he had a few problems in some big games. Kansas State's Jordy Nelson ate Talib alive. A superior athlete, he was used as a receiver before finally settling into the defensive backfield full-time last year. There's an attitude, for good and bad, and he's been used to being a special player on a team full of overachievers. He'll have to be ready to be humbled a bit and use it for motivation to get better; he can't just assume he's the most talented player on the field anymore.
CFN Projection: Second Round


8. Jack Williams, CB Kent State

While he's not huge, at just 5-9 and 186 pounds, he throws his body around well and makes a ton of tackles. An ultra-productive four-year starter, he closed out with a brilliant 93-tackle campaign as he did more than ever for the run defense despite being hurt and playing through some big problems. Speed is hardly a problem with 4.44 wheels, and he has improved when the ball was in the air.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round


9. Jack Ikegwuonu, CB Wisconsin

If he can be consistent and if he can become tougher, he has the potential to be a great pro. The first issue is a knee injury suffered right after the season ended in a pre-draft workout. The second issue is his character. He got in trouble off the field and the coaching staff openly questioned his toughness in a few big games when he got dinged up. Outside of allowing a huge pass play to Michigan's Mario Manningham last year, he shut down most of the top receivers and showed off his speed by chasing down Darren McFadden in the 2007 Capital One Bowl.
CFN Projection: Third Round To Fourth Round


10. Reggie Smith, CB/S Oklahoma

Smith's ability to play either corner or safety will allow a defensive coordinator to play around with him in several situations. A good hitter, he made plenty of stops over the last three years and became more of a ball-hawker last season when he settled into more of a corner role. Not a blazer, he can get beaten deep and he gave up way too many home runs when he was at safety. Basically, he's a good NFL prospect at several positions, but not great at any one.
CFN Projection: Second Round To Third Round


11. Justin King, CB Penn State

Really, really fast. King's 4.37 40 confirmed what everyone already knew that he was among the fastest players in the draft, but for all his speed and all his athleticism, he wasn't all that great a cover-corner on a consistent basis. He had some big games when he erased the No. 1 receiver, and then he got destroyed by some, like Indiana's James Hardy, who lit it up with 14 catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns. He has the measurables, but not the talent or the consistency to be anyone's top corner.
CFN Projection: Second Round To Third Round


12.
Patrick Lee, CB Auburn
With great speed and excellent size, he looks the part of a top-flight corner and he's not afraid to play like it both against the run and when the ball is in the air. He'll do whatever is needed and is a very willing worker who'll try to do whatever is needed to help the team. He only started for one year and he needs time to learn how to be an elite corner, but it's all there for him if someone is willing to be a little bit patient.
CFN Projection: Second Round To Third Round

13. Tracy Porter, CB Indiana
Arguably the best corner in the Big Ten that no one paid any attention to, Porter was a great three-and-a-half year starter with nice 4.49 speed and good shut-down ability. He made a lot of tackles, including 83 last season, but he's not the best run stopper and he'll get shoved around by the bigger, stronger receivers. He should be a nice second corner and a tremendous third man in the mix.
CFN Projection: Third Round


BEST OF THE REST

14. Charles Godfrey, CB/FS Iowa
The measurables are there. He's close to six-feet and 207 pounds with 4.48 speed, he could be a nice corner or a killer free safety. A good tackler, he doesn't miss many stops and he has no problem being physical. While he made five interceptions last year, he doesn't attack the ball on a consistent basis and needs a ton of work on his style and technique. He'll be a better pro than a college player in a few years when he moves to safety full time.
CFN Projection: Third Round


15. Terrell Thomas, CB USC

Strong with good size and good quickness, he's a good form corner who isn't afraid to take chances, for good and bad, and isn't afraid to hit. While he's not a blazer, he's able to keep up with the speedier receivers and can bully the smallish ones. He's had injury problems and he doesn't have the talent to be a No. 1 NFL corner, but he'd be a good two and he could end up moving to safety as his career goes on.
CFN Projection: Third Round


16. Terrence Wheatley, CB Colorado

While he's not all that big at just 5-9 and 187 pounds, he hits like a much bigger player and has elite speed. Because of his size he'll have injury problems, and missed all of 2005 with a wrist injury, but he's not going to stop hitting and he should play a role in some was as a nickelback or as a No. 2 cover-corner. As long as he knows what his role is and doesn't try to be something he's not, he should last in the league a long time.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round


17. Chevis Jackson, CB LSU

Jackson got lumped in with past LSU defensive backs as many assumed he'd be just as good as a LaRon Landry (who played a different position) among others, and while he was fine as a three-year starters at a high level, and had a whale of a senior season, he's not quite an elite player. Too stringy at 6-0 and 192 pounds, and way too slow with 4.62 speed, he'll be limited unless he bulks up and becomes a safety. Even so, he's a football player and will be better than his measurables.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round


18. Trae Williams, CB South Florida

Overshadowed by running mate Mike Jenkins, Williams had just as productive a career as a terrific starter for almost four years. He was fantastic whenever anyone stayed away from Jenkins picking off 13 passes in the last two seasons alone and worked his tail off to become a better tackler. He has good speed, but not elite-level wheels, and he's a bit small and isn't too physical, but he's a good, sound defender who'll be good enough to stick around the league for a long time if he's in the right system.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round


19. Orlando Scandrick, CB Boise State

Blazing fast, running a 4.36 at the Combine, Scandrick upped his stock after a good but not great three-year career. He has decent size, but he doesn't use it enough and isn't too physical and has a major question mark about his toughness. On speed alone he'll be worth playing around with in the secondary at several spots, but he needed to stay in school another year to up his stock.
CFN Projection: Late Fifth Round To Early Sixth


20. Justin Tryon, CB Arizona State

Expected to be one of the faster corners in the draft, he tested a tad slow, for him, registering a 4.52; a far cry from the sub-4.4 level he was supposed to run. He played bigger than his size and is a good tackler, but he's a good athlete who could be a good return man and should be able to hang with the speedier receivers. He'll just get shoved around by the bigger ones.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round


21. Michael Grant, CB/FS Arkansas

A great tackler with excellent speed, he can be a solid corner or moved to safety if he's able to beef up a bit. A willing special teamer, he'll be able to make a team on his overall versatility. However, he's too small to be a regular safety and he's not quite talented enough to be an every day corner.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round


22. Antwaun Molden, CB/FS Eastern Kentucky

Really fast with good size, he has the look of a starting corner, and he proved in workouts to have the strength to match up with any big receiver. While he has the athleticism and the measurables that some of the top corner prospects would die for, he's not a great football player. While someone will fall in love with the size/speed ratio, he needs work before he's a player.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round


23. DeJuan Tribble, CB Boston College

Too small at just 5-8 and 196 pounds, and too slow with a 4.69 40, he doesn't have the measurables to make much of an impact. However, he's a good ball-hawker, was a good starter for the last three years at a high level, and plays quicker than he is.  He should make for a good backup and a key nickel defender, but he'll be picked on if he has to start.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round


24. DeMichael Dizer, CB Grambling State

A safety moving to corner, he's a bit smallish to ever dream of being anything other than a No. 2 corner, at best, and while he's quick and athletic, he's not a blazer. It's going to take a while before he can hit the field in a regular role and he needs a ton of polish, but there's good upside. First he has to learn how to play corner.
CFN Projection: First Round


25. Jonathan Wilhite, CB Auburn

Injuries kept him from having the career he was supposed to. He struggled with knee and shoulder problems and didn't do enough when he was healthy. Even though he didn't do enough at Auburn and even though he's a bit small, he showed great speed in off-season workouts. On speed alone he's worth a look, but he's a project.
CFN Projection: Seventh Round


26. Dwight Lowery, CB/FS San Jose State

Coming over from the JUCO ranks, Lowery made a huge splash with nine interceptions as a junior and four last year. He's a good pass defender and made the most of his opportunities, but he'll have to work his way into a safety role to stick around the league for a while. He's not a good man-on-man defender and he doesn't have the speed to become a starting NFL corner.
CFN Projection: Seventh Round


27. Reggie Corner, CB Akron

A small, feisty corner, he has just enough speed and quickness to make up for his 5-9, 175-pound size. He did a good job against the better receivers and he played bigger than he appears as his career went on. A four-year starter who picked off seven interceptions as a senior, he always found his way to the ball. He'll find a role somewhere in a secondary, but there's a rock-hard ceiling on what he can become.
CFN Projection: Seventh Round

ON THE RADAR

28. Marcus Walker, CB Oklahoma
29. Trey Brown, CB UCLA
30. Brandon Foster, CB Texas
31. Jonathan Hefney, CB Tennessee
32. Zackary Bowman, CB Nebraska
33. Darnell Terrell, CB/FS Missouri
34. Justin McKinney, CB Kansas State
35. Brandon Sumrell, CB Southern Miss