FanPost

Scouting Reports 2014: Cornerbacks

Sports_ej_gaines_mizzou_football_medium

via www.komu.com

It's that time again!!!!!!!!!!!! Scouting reports are my one of my favorite pastimes, and have been for a very long time, since I was about 15 to be exact!

Scouting reports to me are so much better when you do it yourself rather going by what someone else says and/or a players stats. You learn so much more by taking the time to watch the tape and really study each position and the players that come with it. Remember the film NEVER lies.

Next up we have the group that always has the biggest egos. The cornerbacks. Much like this years class of receivers, this years class is cornerbacks is very deep. And again, no, I did not forget "this guy (insert name)" because I didn't list him. I listed the prospects I would not mind seeing in the horns but also would be a nice fit and/or brings something different or extra to what we already have. I question if they can go toe to toe with the depth and talent of the receiver position but, nevertheless, they have plenty of talent of their own. There are lots of ball hawks and a lot of guys that love to go mano y mano and play in your face man to man. This is a very exciting class!!!

Justin Gilbert

OSU 6' 200lbs

Justin Gilbert #4 Oklahoma State Career Highlights (via Next2Greatness)

GOOD

  • Long and athletic
  • Very fast
  • Good recover ability
  • Very good man skills
  • Great hips
  • Good ball skills
  • Quick Feet
  • Return Ability
  • Disengages Blocks
  • Violent hands
  • Very good leaper
  • Very good COD

BAD

  • Tackling technique
  • Needs some polish with technique
  • Has to be more consistent with footwork
  • Needs to show better awareness in zone
  • Tends to slide off when jamming at the LOS

Player comparison: Patrick Peterson. He is not quite as big as Peterson (6'1" 217), but they share a very similar skill set. Both guys have an elite level of agility and are very special return man, making them even more scary when they pick the ball off. He is not as polished as Peterson, but he displays very good man to man ability, and has some amazingly quick feet. He breaks on the ball very quickly and is a willing tackler, but needs to do better at wrapping up. Gilbert has very smooth hips and uses that to his advantage when covering speedy receivers.

Jason Verrett

TCU 5'10" 176lbs

Jason Verrett TCU Highlights ᴴᴰ "You Can't Stop Me" (via Harris Highlights)

GOOD

  • Very quick
  • Can break on the ball with the best of them
  • An ideal slot corner
  • Very good awareness
  • Locates the ball easily
  • Very scrappy
  • Willing stick his nose in the run game
  • Loose hips
  • Good agility

BAD

  • Very small
  • Lacks muscle
  • Not a great leaper
  • Struggles to get off blocks
  • Misses a lot of tackles due to size

Player comparison: Cortland Finnegan. Think Finnegan of the early years. This kid is terribly undersized and you can tell he uses that as a chip on his shoulder from his very high level of scrappiness. He flies around and is all over the field. He also gets into the head of his opponents often frustrating them with his physicality. It is like an annoying fly that keeps trying to land on you and you can't stop. His tenacity and quick fit will help him last longer than his size will indicate.

Darqueze Dennard

Michigan State 5'11" 197lbs

Spartan Highlights - Darqueze Dennard (2014 NFL Draft) (via Pietrang5)

GOOD

  • Very good in man coverage
  • Physical
  • Can be put on an island
  • Very good tackler
  • Very good jammer
  • Gets his hands between the receivers often
  • Smart
  • Has very good strength
  • Fundamentally sound
  • Good in zone

BAD

  • Doesn't have a lot of speed
  • Not the most agile
  • Does not recover that well
  • Stuggles with speedy receivers

Player comparison: Darrelle Revis. Like Revis, Dennard is not the player he is because of exceptional athletic ability. Although Revis was much fast entering the NFL, he mad his name off of a dangerous jam and being fundamentally sound. Dennard does not have more than an average level of athletic ability, but he abuses receivers at the LOS and stacks their routes as well as anyone. He is also very physical and a good tackler. He has the ability to play for a long time.

Bradley Roby

Ohio State 5'11" 192

Bradley Roby Sophomore Highlights 2012 | HD (via Juice Bringers [Buckeye Highlights])

GOOD

  • Amazingly quick
  • Breaks on the ball very fast
  • Great ball skils
  • Good man to man skills
  • Top of the line COD skills
  • Physical
  • Run support
  • Bates QBs when in zone

BAD

  • Takes a lot of risks
  • Can get caught flat footed
  • Loses focus
  • Inconsistent
  • Does not always wrap up

Player Comparison: Janoris Jenkins. Roby is a Jenkins clone. He is not as polished as Jenkins was coming out, but shares the same skill set and playing style. He is a very gifted corner and, much like Janoris, at times it seems like he was he was born to be a corner. He needs to be more consistent and keep focus. His cockiness can get him in trouble at times. Roby plays fast and furious, and has the skills to develop into one of the best.

Stanley Jean-Baptist

Nebraska 6'3" 215lbs

The Supreme Stanley Jean-Baptiste Highlights (via MockingNFLDraft)

GOOD

  • Disengages well
  • Good press
  • Good tackler
  • Better foot speed than size would indicate
  • Long
  • Good leaper
  • Very well built

BAD

  • Needs to improve field awareness
  • Caught flat foot footed too often
  • Slight stiffness in hips
  • Lacks recovery speed
  • Not as physical as size would indicate

Player Comparison: Sean Smith. Jean-Baptist has the size at the corner position that in recent years have been the rave in the NFL. But he does not always play like his size would indicate. He tends to try to be more finesse but does not have the skill set of a finesse corner. He leaves a lot to be desired in the physicality department. He does a good job pressing receivers and locates the ball well when doing so. He is the type of corner that will stuff the stat sheet in the tackle department.

LaMarcus Joyner

FSU 5'8" 195lbs

Ultimate Lamarcus Joyner Highlights | HD (via TheFootballman175)

GOOD

  • Very Smart
  • Competitive
  • Fiesty
  • Good Tackler
  • Versatility
  • Very good at blitzing
  • Nonstop motor
  • Very good speed
  • Very good leaping ability
  • Quick feet
  • Good COD skills
  • Good ball skills
  • Physical
  • Great tackler
  • Special teams dynamo

BAD

  • Short
  • Will struggle with bigger/stronger receivers

Player Comparison: Charles Woodson. You know you are good when the only thing people mention when speaking of your negatives is that you are short. If Joyner was 6' he would be a top 10 selection. Like Woodson he can play all over the field. But the thing about him that compares best to Woodson, is the ability to play the slot and blitz the QB. He also can play FS and has shown very good range when in that role. He plays fast and fearless and is all over the field. He kind of reminds me of the Tasmanian devil when he plays, short but very destructive. He is the type of player whose real value cannot be measured by stats or his physical dimensions.

E.J. Gaines

Missouri 5'10" 195lbs

EJ Gaines (CB Missouri) vs Oklahoma State, 2014 Cotton Bowl (via Aimal Arsalla)

GOOD

  • Very good in zone
  • Good footwork
  • Tackles well
  • Good ball skills
  • Above average speed
  • Reads the quarterback very well
  • Good man to man

BAD

  • Shows some stiffness
  • Doesn't always use the the best technique
  • Below average recover ability
  • Needs to work on pressing at the line

Player comparison Joe Haden. Gaines is a poor mans Joe Haden. He lacks the polish of Haden coming out but shares the same skill set. Neither player has ever been accused of having remarkable recover speed. But neither player puts them self in the position to need that recover speed. Both players use their strength, smarts and awareness to stick with receivers. Gaines has the ability to develop into a true number one corner but needs to brush up on his mechanics and develop more flexibility in his hips.

Pierre Desir

Lindenwood 6'2" 204lbs

PIERRE DESIR HIGHLIGHTS 2013-14 (via 21SPICY)

GOOD

  • Arguably the best ball skills of this cornerback class
  • Very light on his feet
  • Loose hips
  • COD skills
  • Breaks very well
  • Long and athletic
  • Leaping ability
  • Good speed

BAD

  • Inconsistent tackler
  • Needs to be more consistent with physicality
  • Not as strong as size would indicate
  • Can get caught peeping into the backfield
  • Level of competition

Player comparison: Trumaine Johnson. He and Johnson have a lot in common. From size, to smaller schools, to a lot of interceptions. They both like to go for the home run rather than knock the ball down. I do think that he might prove to be a better athlete than Johnson, but overall they are very similar. Johnson might be a bit taller but Desir has the advantage in leaping ability. The idea of safety will probably be floated around but he is a natural corner. Funny thing about this kid is in early December I posted a big board with him on it for the Rams. I mentioned he was a sleeper prospect with massive upside being viewed as a 4-5 round guy. One month later he killed the east west game practice week and earned a trip to the Sr. Bowl. Let's just say he is not longer a sleeper prospect.

Ross Cockrell

5'11" 183lbs

Ross Cockrell vs Miami 2013 DB (via Daniel Stebbins)

GOOD

  • Breaks on the ball VERY quickly
  • Knows when to break up the pass of pick it off
  • Awareness
  • High motor
  • A lot of agility
  • Runs with the receiver very well
  • Scrappy
  • Tough

BAD

  • Needs to work on technique
  • Has learn how to tackle bigger players
  • Not the greatest leaper around
  • Needs to add weight

Player comparison: Brent Grimes. When watching his film the first player that came to mind is Brent Grimes. He plays exactly like him and their size is almost identical. He does not have the extreme leaping ability of Grimes but he plays aware, fast, fiesty like grimes. He also has a knack for breaking on the ball at the right time more often than not. This kid stole the show at the East-West shrine game. Has has big time cover skills.

Kieth McGill

Utah 6'3" 214lbs

Keith McGill vs UCLA (2013) (via Josh DB)

GOOD

  • Better COD skills than his size indicates
  • Fundamentally sound
  • Good tackler
  • Good ball skills
  • Good awareness
  • Plays tough
  • Above average leaping ability
  • Very long

BAD

  • Less than ideal speed
  • Needs to be more physical at LOS
  • Lacks consistency
  • Looks lost in zone
  • Will get burned when he can't stack
  • Smaller quicker receivers causes headaches

Player comparison: Richard Sherman. He plays the game very similar to Sherman. Nowhere near as fundamentally sound, but the fundamentals that he does have are what keeps him alive. When he gets away from those fundamentals he tends to get beat often. He needs to develop more speed and quickness. He has the loose hips but lacks the acceleration. He plays very aware and seems to see everything around him, and looks to have a good understand of the route tree.

My top ten cornerbacks (entire class) are:

  1. Justin Gilbert
  2. Darqueze Dennard
  3. Bradley Roby
  4. Lamarcus Joyner
  5. Kyle Fuller
  6. Jason Verrett
  7. E.J. Gaines
  8. Pierre Desir
  9. Marcus Roberson
  10. Victor Hampton

Most pro ready:

Darqueze Dennard

Most Potential:

Bradley Roby

Most Explosive:

Justin Gilbert

Biggest bust potential:

Bradley Roby

Sleeper:

Victor Hampton

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