Top 10 Cornerback Draft Prospects – 2020
1. Jeff Okudah – Ohio State
Ohio State continues to produce big time corner back prospects over the last 4 years. In 2017 it was Marshon Lattimore, in 2018 Denzel Ward, and this draft season you have my number 1 corner prospect Jeff Okudah. Okudah is very comfortable in press as his technique is sound and hips are fluid. He utilizes his length well at the line of scrimmage and at the catch point to disrupt opposing receivers. He is scheme versatile to play in a zone defense, but he excels in man due to his quick feet, and mirroring ability. Okudah shares similarities with Ward, but where he separates himself from Ward is with his toughness and physicality.
2. Kristian Fulton – LSU
There seems to be a standout corner from LSU in every draft class and Fulton fits the bill due to how sticky he is in man coverage. He is not afraid of opposing receivers’ speed to blow by him as he loves to get his hands on receivers at the line to throw off route timing. Another guy with fluid hips in and out of breaks to stay mirrored with receivers. While Fulton has a bunch of enticing strengths, he likes to sit on shorter routes and can be vulnerable deep down the field and in the run game.
3. Jeff Gladney – TCU
The 2019 tape wasn’t as good as what he did in 2018, but Gladney is a feisty in your face corner that will compete for everything. Unlike the top two CBs in the class, Gladney is with all the smoke and will come up to make a difference in the run game. He also has excellent feet and hip mobility to stay in the hip pocket of receivers. He can clean up some things from a technical standpoint and turning his head around quicker on the perimeter, but he is a scheme versatile corner that can click and close in a hurry, get his hands on WRs to throw off route timing, and can even slide inside to take away slot receivers.
4. Bryce Hall – Virginia
Another guy with a strong 2018 tape as Hall’s 2019 season was cut short by an ankle injury. The first thing I noticed when watching Hall is his stature and length on the outside. He’s not one of those twitchy CBs, but his feet and technique are patient and sound. Due to lack of twitch and man skills ability, he’ll fit perfectly in a cover 3 zone scheme where he can utilize his length, ball skills, and eye discipline. The best thing about Hall’s draft prospects is that he will be a bargain for a corner back needy team as his ankle injury will have him fall to a possible Day 3 steal.
5. C.J. Henderson – Florida
I am fully aware that Henderson will be off the board earlier than many of the guys I have above him in my rankings. Although Henderson is extremely talented, I see him as more of an athlete at this point instead of a technical, savvy corner that understands the nuances of the position. He can definitely improve in the mental part of the game, so the ceiling for Henderson is through the roof. His closing speed to click and close in the run and short passing game is exceptional. He looks more comfortable in off ball zone defense, but he needs to improve tackling and overall urgency to the ball carrier. All the physical components and athleticism are there for Henderson to thrive, he just has to put it together and showcase the “drive” to be great at the next level.
6. Damon Arnette – Ohio State
Arnette may be considered the other Ohio State corner back in this class, but I see an underrated talent that may have gotten overshadowed by Jeff Okudah. Arnette has great closing speed to the ball carrier and loves to come up and throw his pads around. He plays man and zone equally effective. I like him better when he is in press position as he puts hands on opposing WRs, attacks the football through catch point, and battles through the whistle. I call him the “pass broken up beast” as he deflects a bunch of passes in coverage. Also, Arnette has improved every single season so the arrow is pointing up for him.
7. Trevon Diggs – Alabama
Diggs compares a lot to Bryce Hall as both will be a lot more comfortable in a cover 3 zone scheme at the next level. The Alabama product is the younger brother of Stefon Diggs and plays the corner position like a wide receiver. He’s a tall, lanky outside corner that has great instincts and attacks the ball marvelously in the air when he’s able to see what’s in front of him. However, when his back is to the quarterback he needs to improve at the moment of truth by looking back for the football. Diggs uses his arm length to beat receivers up at the line but his hips are a bit stiff which limits his mirroring skills.
8. Reggie Robinson II – Tulsa
A late riser in the draft process, Robinson offers tons of upside. He’s a 6’1 long corner that runs a 4.4. It’s not just his athletic testing that might land him on day 2 of the NFL Draft, but his play on the field really stands out when watching the tape. It was eye opening how much Tulsa trusted him on the outside to go man to man against Tylan Wallace without any safety help. Robinson has a physical demeanor on the football field as he loves to get hands on his opponents and run stride for stride down the sideline while locating and making a play on the football. The sky is the limit for Robinson as he has the toolset and technique that can make him an immediate starter at the next level.
9. Dane Jackson – Pittsburgh
Here is one of my draft favorites as the tape made me a fan. Jackson may not be the athlete like some of the other prospects, but his movement ability with his feet and hips working in unison makes him a sticky corner that will be hard to separate from. That skill-set offers versatility to slide Jackson inside at the next level and defend some of the more slippery slot receivers that have taken over the league. Jackson is usually in the hip pocket of receivers and competes at the catch point to break up pass attempts. His competitiveness stands out in the pass and run game but long speed, athleticism, and ball skills are all question marks.
10. Amik Robertson – Louisiana Tech
There is a lot of hype surrounding the 5’8 diminutive corner from LA Tech. He might be small but Robertson packs a heavy punch which was evident when he faced off against 6’5 wide receiver Collin Johnson. When he was asked to play man press he had no fear as he staggered Johnson a few times at the line throwing off the timing of his route. Although he was effective in man press, he played a lot of off man zone where he utilized his click and close ability to make a play on things in front of him. Robertson’s ceiling can very well be as an inside corner at the next level as he showcased his ability to play man to man and break on the route and make a play on the ball. His size can be a detriment on the outside, but Robertson is a feisty competitive corner whose ball production can translate well at the next level.