2017 NFL Draft big board: Top 10 cornerback prospects
By Dan Dahlke
With the 2017 NFL Draft only a few months away, it’s time to continue our position-by-position look at the upcoming draft class. Today, we’ll turn to a need on the Green Bay Packers defense and discuss the cornerback class.
Rankings are subject to change based on player workout numbers and injury updates this spring, but for these early rankings, I go solely off of the film grade.
When evaluating players, I use a 12-trait system with certain traits weighted more than others depending on the position. The scoring adds up to 100 possible points. I also watch a minimum of four games per-player before assigning a player grade.
This is a very deep class of cornerbacks, and frankly, a tough one to rank. There isn’t a lot separating the top 5-6 guys. They’re all so good and could have a chance of going in the first round.
Honestly, it was only the smallest detail that led me to favor one cornerback over another, and some of it even came down to personal preference. I went back and forth a lot and rewatched several games before I finalized my grades for the top six players.
Quincy Wilson and Marlon Humphrey head the class, and their ability to excel in man coverage, while also having great size and length give them a slight nod over the other cornerbacks in the class. Wilson is the top lockdown corner of the class, and Humphrey is physical and has a ton of raw ability.
Sidney Jones, Teez Tabor, Marshon Lattimore, and Gareon Conley all have similar size and are excellent athletes with tremendous ball skills. They make a ton of plays and could find an immediate role in the NFL. You could make a case that any of these four are the top corner in the class, and it would be hard to dispute.
Desmond King is a physical defensive back with good playmaking ability, who can make his presence felt near the line of scrimmage. However, he’s an average athlete with subpar speed who may fit better at safety or in a nickel role in the NFL.
Cordrea Tankersley and Kevin King are bigger boundary corners who could go on Day 2 of the draft, while Jourdan Lewis and Adoree Jackson are phenomenal athletes who could be outstanding nickel corners at the next level.
Rasul Douglas and Howard Wilson are two guys that are generating a lot of buzz. I have only watched a handful of games on each prospect and I currently have mid-round grades on them. However, they could be guys that climb up my rankings the more film I watch on them.
Personally, one of my favorite players to evaluate of the group is Colorado’s Chidobe Awuzie. He’s not a traditional lockdown man cover corner. However, he’s a tremendous zone player where he can keep his eyes on the quarterback and use his instincts to drive on the ball and make plays. He’s a very physical defensive back who’s great in run support and playing up near the line of scrimmage.
Most Underrated CB: Chidobe Awuzie
Most Difficult CB to Project: Desmond King
CB that needs Further Evaluation: Howard Wilson/Rasul Douglas
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the specific breakdowns on each of the top 10 cornerbacks who will be available in this year’s NFL Draft …