Top 10 Cornerback Draft Prospects – 2020 (CPGM Drew)
1. Jeff Okudah – Ohio State
The complete package! Man, zone, it doesn’t matter. Smooth hips, ball skills, willingness to tackle, the swag, the confidence, the patience, necessary physicality, quick twitch, click and close and the understanding of what is taking place in front of him in both man and zone coverage. It didn’t matter what type of receiver he was facing he won consistently. Zone appears to be when he’s at his best as he was always able to close the gap between him and the receiver. He was so good at this he was able to bait the quarterback into throwing a ball that shouldn’t have been thrown. In man coverage, if the receiver he was facing wasn’t twitchy enough or ran a poor route he ran the route for them and was in position to make a play on the ball. I had one nit-pick and it had to do with him in man coverage and lapses at times where hew would allow a catch that I felt could’ve been prevented. I truly don’t see this being an issue as he will be playing dogs week in and week out in the NFL!
2. CJ Henderson – Florida
Plays to his size when handling the would be receiver whether at the line of scrimmage or in off coverage. Re-routing the receiver over and over and would use the one arm stab to his advantage controlling the receiver at the snap or at the stem of the route in off coverage. Played outside the numbers and in the slot. Will attack the football in the air, has great turn and run abilliy, fluid hips, stays in the hip pocket of the receiver in man coverage, and is physical at the point of attack. In zone he will close out quickly when the ball is in the air. I wasn’t a fan of his (in)ability to come up and support in the run game. He would either miss the tackle just throwing his body in there or was slow to disengage from blocks. Henderson is a different type of cornerback but gets the same results as Okudah for me.
3. Jeff Gladney – TCU
Quick twitch, click and close, feisty, physical, high energy, high effort, bounce and pop to his game. You are getting all of him every play regardless of play call and who’s in front of him. Played in both the slot and outside the numbers. Physicality extends beyond press coverage as he shows up in run support as well. Hip pocket king, routinely in position to make a play. As good as his man-to-man cover skills are he looks extremely comfortable with his eyes on the quarterback closing in on where the ball is going. Reminded me a lot of Jaire Alexander my CB1 in the 2018 NFL Draft Class.
4. Kristian Fulton – LSU
Touch and lean player who is all about the fight at the line of scrimmage as well as down the field. Eats up shorter routes. Feisty, aggressive player who looks to make a play on the ball. I love his mentality and mindset. If you’re going to be a chance taker like Fulton is, you better have a short memory and he most certainly does. His aggression will get him out of position at times leaving him a step or so behind the receiver. He can play in both a zone or man scheme due to his ability to attack the football. If he employed the stab move more frequently at the line of scrimmage to disrupt or re-route the receiver in conjunction with his ability to hang in the hip pocket he would mitigate the instances in which he is out of position.
5. Jaylon Johnson – Utah
This is the type of CB that will eat short routes up for breakfast short area movement seems to be a strong suit for him. When he gets his hands on the receiver they are basically non-existent. Johnson at the snap was in a position to jam but would employ the turn and run technique which I thought he did well in but I believe press, bump & run coverage is where Johnson should live. Excellent recovery when missing the jam or false step. Smooth every step of the way except at the moment of truth, either fell, slipped, or didn’t turn his head. But was routinely in position to make a play on the ball.
6. A.J. Terrell – Clemson
Long, rangy, tall CB who has excellent feet and change of direction. Plays both man and zone very well. A guy who plays to his size as he is physical at the point of attack and maybe a little too much at times… but I’ll take it. Change of direction for that size is almost to good to be true, but it’s real. Appeared most comfortable in zone coverage where he could keep his eyes on what was in front of hime so he could read and react accordingly. This was backed by the fact that even in man he would be looking back at the quarterback while in man coverage. Typically recovered quickly from any missteps. No issues in run support as he will come up and let the running back KNOW he is there. Headsy guy as there were plenty of games on the back end where he was switching off receivers with other defenders and looked smooth and comofortable doing so.
7. Trevon Diggs – Alabama
May be the best “moment of truth” cornerback in the class. Touch and lean player in man coverage. Long, strong and plays to every bit of his size. Aggressive and a guy who will stick his head in there on run support. Has a stab move that I love at the snap in man press that gives him the advantage allowing him to position himself and dictate where the receiver is going. If he misses that stab move or two hand jam, Diggs doesn’t have the ability to recover leaving his man to run wild and free. Good awareness and understanding of his responsibility in zone. You could see his click and close when playing in zone coverage where he looked extremely comfortable and at home. Diggs is a prototypical Cover 2/3 cornerback who I believe coaches will pick their spots in having him play man coverage.
8. Noah Igbinoghene – Auburn
Sticky, physical, quick twitch defender who has great start and stop ability. Flipping those hips on those down field throws along with attacking the football were a plus. Can hang in the hip pocket of receivers. Played both in the slot and outside the numbers. Lacks strength in press and run support when defeating blocks. Will lose his balance more than I liked when jamming at the line of scrimmage; this being both a technique and strength issue should be corrected once getting NFL coaching from both players and coaches. If he can clear the block he is coming with bad intentions for the ball carrier. What he lacks in strength and technique he makes up in physicality. Igbinoghene is like a one-side seasoned, raw steak just being placed on the grill.
9. Bryce Hall – Virginia
A true read-react player who can play up close and personal and in off coverage. Has the ability to play in the slot. Comes downhill taking on blocks and stopping the ball carrier dead to rights. I also think Hall has the potential to play safety. Once he knows where the ball is headed he is there like a man on a mission. Will attack the football when in the air.vIf he can employ the touch and lean and stab technique at the snap in man coverage the sky is the limit for him. For now zone coverage is where he is at home where he can see ball, get ball! Shades of Ronde Barber.
10. Cameron Dantzler – Mississippi State
The man is always around the ball and at corner back that is saying something. He positions himself to make a play on the ball a lot when in the air consistently. Long, rangy, and tall. Also a great blitzer with timing and closing ability. That closing ability applies in pass coverage as well and due to this he is best suited to play in a zone scheme where he can go and attack the football and most likely come away with it. Speed is a question and after the combine you wonder if he can hold up down the field but playing in zone should mitigate this some.