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2016 NFL Draft: Which Of These Anonymous Cornerbacks Could Help The Rams Most?

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With the 2016 NFL Draft just over two weeks away, we’ll continue to take a look at the Los Angeles Rams’ positions of need, and ask that you help [by voting] find the best fit for each.

We’ve already covered a couple, and in case you missed them, you can check out how Ohio State’s Michael Thomas was the fan favorite for wide receivers, while Jared Goff is holding a slim lead over Cody Kessler for quarterback.

What we’ve done so far is anonymously list the Top 5 players ranked by Pro Football Focus from their very first NFL Draft Guide.  By keeping names out of it, it allows the voter to make a more informed decision as to which player actually fits the Rams’ needs...as opposed to simply giving you the names, and just having it be a popularity contest.  I think the results of the polls are proof that name recognition plays a factor in our decision-making far too often.  

Now, let’s have a look at another position the Rams could use a little help with:  the cornerbacks.

For this one, we’ll switch things up.  As opposed to using PFF"s guide for the third consecutive time, let’s give CBS Sports’ NFL Draft expert Dane Brugler a crack at it.  Dane does great work scouting the players, and his draft guide is also available for purchase...for only $6.99.  That’s a heck of a deal for 196 pages of draft content; to include rankings, prospect profiles, statistics, grades, and more. In an effort to not have it be too wordy, or give away the prospect, I’ve selected the top 5 strengths and top 5 weaknesses from Brugler’s profiles.

It’s simple. Read the strengths and weaknesses of the anonymous players listed, and then vote below.  I’ll reveal the names of the players after a fair amount of votes.  If you’ve already purchased Brugler’s draft guide, I’d kindly ask that you don’t spoil it for others by listing the names in the comments section.  Thanks!

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Player 1

Strengths: Tall, smooth-muscled body type with a large wingspan...above average arm length for the position to expand his pass defense radius and get his hands on the ball...natural ballskills to highpoint and disrupt the catch point...speed to stay stride-for-stride down the field...brackets receivers against the sideline to gain proper body position...balanced off the snap and extends his hands to jam in press-man coverage

Weaknesses: Leggy athlete and feet can get clunky in his transition...quick to open his hips and bail, making it tough for him to redirect and attack underneath routes – not silky smooth and shows hip tightness...allows receivers to drive him off the route with hard-stops or physical push-offs...will panic and get grabby at times, attracting obvious penalties...needs to better square up his targets as a tackler, allowing his feet to tie up when attempting to break down – can be juked in space

Player 2

Strengths: Quick-footed in his transition with the speed to match receivers off the line of scrimmage...fluid hips with the lower body muscle fibers to spring in any direction...nimble drive process to click-and-close...uses his body to cut off routes, understanding how to leverage the field and sideline...keeps an eye in the backfield to jump routes and intercept angles

Weaknesses: Lacks elite size and arm length for the position...played mostly press-bail technique in college, flipping his hips early in the play, causing him to get turned around instead of staying square to the receiver...not as comfortable in off-coverage and still developing his route anticipation and understanding of coverage indicators...struggles to locate the ball once he takes his eyes of the backfield and needs to improve his feel with his back to the ball...suspect ballskills and will leave production on the field

Player 3

Strengths: Well-built for the position with proportionate body mass...uses his long reach efficiently to keep receivers within arm length...balanced footwork to plant-and-go, unlocking his hips and playing loose...throttles between gears very well for his size to stay in phase...above average ballskills, getting his head turned to find the ball and make a play – anticipates well at the stem with a nose for the ball

Weaknesses: Average-at-best long-speed for the position...doesn’t have the twitchy burst to match some wide receivers on in-breaking routes...upright in his pedal and doesn’t rely on technique in coverage...needs to improve his sink when transitioning to better redirect at the top of routes...looks to slow down receivers downfield and gets too handsy, attracting penalties

Player 4

Strengths: Tall, athletic frame with long arms and solid build...coordinated athlete to bracket receivers downfield and consistently stay in phase...controlled hop and footwork in his transition, using clean hip motion to mirror in man coverage...disruptive and uses his length to keep receivers uncomfortable...highly aggressive at the catch point with a "my ball" mentality

Weaknesses: Too hands-on downfield and lacks savvy at the top of routes...obvious target for penalties due to undisciplined hand placement, grabbing too much cloth...experienced in press coverage at the line of scrimmage, but needs to improve his balance and jam technique...tends to open his hips too early and struggles to recognize routes from bail position, creating too much of a cushion and allowing too many comeback completions...plays too fast in pursuit, leading to overaggressive angles and missed tackles – bad habit of lowering his eyes and making the tackle attempt more difficult

Player 5

Strengths: Adequate build for the position...above average athleticism with controlled play speed and footwork...good drive mechanics and throttles down well to make stops...smooth pedal and quick feet in his transition to shadow receivers – body control and vision always in sync...excellent secondary burst to close on routes and as a blitzer

Weaknesses: Shorter than ideal and his lack of length and size will show up at times...needs to continue and develop his functional strength to be a more sound run defender – will get himself in trouble trying to rip the ball out instead of making the sure tackle...needs to improve his cushion and spacing in coverage, allowing his eyes to spend too much time in the backfield and losing track of his man...needs to do a better job getting his head turned to locate...needs to keep his aggression in check to avoid late hits

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And there you have it. Get to voting, and we’ll see if the results of the poll look anything like Brugler’s rankings.  Again, I’d highly recommend buying his draft guide, if you’ve got a few bucks to spare.