2014 NFL Draft Top Five Series: The Cornerbacks

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After failing to land a top notch corner in free agency, the Jets may look to add one early in the draft. Let’s take a look at the five best cornerbacks in this year’s draft.

1) Darqueze Dennard – Michigan State

Dennard has all of the traits many teams look for in cornerback prospects. He’s 5’11, 200 pounds and plays extremely physical versus both the pass and the run.

Although he has average speed, Dennard jams receivers at the line and forces them to play at his level. He is an extremely efficient tackler for a defensive back, even when playing up at the line of scrimmage.

Dennard will be coveted by many teams in the top twenty and may be a day one starter as a rookie.

2) Jason Verrett – Texas Christian University

The main knock on Verrett is that he is not big enough to play outside in the NFL due to his 5’9 height. Although height does factor in, Verrett is easily the best pure cover corner available in this draft.

He possesses top flight anticipation skills (think of Alterraun Verner, who is only an inch taller than Verrett) and also plays the ball extremely well. Verrett will most likely begin his NFL career as a slot corner but could transition to a complete outside corner after a year of experience.

3) Bradley Roby – Ohio State

Roby is the wildcard of the cornerback group. When you watch his 2012 tape, you would most likely assume he would be the best corner in the 2014 draft class.

Unfortunately, his 2013 was not exactly dynamite. Although he always flashes brilliance and is physically gifted (5’11, 190 – sub 4.39 speed), he struggles to find consistency. After a tough outing against Wisconsin’s Jared Abbrederis, the question marks came in fast for Roby’s draft stock.

Roby is the type of player that makes a ton of sense for the Jets because of the scheme they run and the coaching they have. If anyone can get Roby’s game back to the focus he had in 2012, it is Rex Ryan.

4) Kyle Fuller – Virginia Tech

Fuller is another name connected with the Jets due to his physical style of play and pure cover ability.  Much like Darqueze Dennard, he has a hard nosed style to his game versus both the run and pass.

Where Fuller struggles is his recovery speed, occasional biting on double moves, and is a shaky tackler at times. Many have him as a first round pick, but I view him as a much better fit in other places than the New York Jets.

5) Justin Gilbert – Oklahoma State

Gilbert is the number one corner on plenty of draft boards. He possesses elite size and speed for a defensive back. He has a knack for making the highlight reel play on both interception returns and kick offs.

Gilbert reminds me of a young Antonio Cromartie. There is a ton of discipline his game lacks, especially in his tackling and short route coverage. He has the strength to press at the line but needs to refine his technique if he wants to be an NFL caliber starting corner.

If the Jets had time to take on a project, I would be all for Gilbert. At the end of the day, he does not really make much sense as a first round pick.

13 thoughts on “2014 NFL Draft Top Five Series: The Cornerbacks

  1. Nice work Connor…Have you had a chance to look at Aaron Colvin at all? If so, where do you see him falling in this draft after his injury?

  2. Wonder if Roby’s arrest allows him to slip in the 2nd round, where the Jets could potentially pounce?

  3. @Nolan:

    I have seen Colvin and I will tell you he will be a classic 6th-UDFA type project. There are serious injury concerns there and he has as lanky as a frame possible (5’11, 175 pounds) with little muscle.

    His length is intriguing and he shows the will to be physical, but he needs refinement just as much as anyone in this draft. As much as I do not like any of Florida’s CB’s, I think they have more raw skill to work with as projects rather than a guy like Colvin. He’ll get a shot somewhere though.

    @TOJ Joe:

    Roby’s arrest was significantly blown out of proportion. I heard the amount of alcohol in his system was equivalent to him having one beer in the past hour. Although this is minuscule, these pre draft incidents scare teams. He is a 28-50 range prospect in this draft.

  4. A top WR in round one and Roby in round 2 would be a great way to start out the draft in my opinion.

  5. Great article. I’m surprised to see you have Gilbert ranked fifth. I’d like to see the Jet’s take WR in the first, and someone like Marcus Roberson out of Florida, in the second. Although I wouldn’t be disappointed with Dennard.

  6. Nice run-down. My sense of the position is that if Dennard is available at 18, the Jets should take him. If not, they should go with Cooks or OBJ, and take a CB in the 2nd, Of course, I think we can count on Idzik to have his own particular take on the situation–and we could have a corner taken anywhere from the first to the fourth, and possibly even have multiple corners (say a 1st round and 6th round “project”). If we don’t take Dennard in the first and Verrett drops to us in the 2nd, I’d be more than happy.

  7. I don’t see CB or WR as positions we need to force this year. We will be a tremendous ball control offense, and we have at least Decker and maybe Hill to “take the top off” the defense already.

    As far as corners, we have 10 on the roster, and I highly doubt we “need” to take any position at all. This time last year all of the experts had us taking a WR (coredell patterson/Tavon Austin) or a pass rusher (mingo/jarvis jones).

    Turns out our pass rush was fine and both patterson and austin are better punt returners than receivers. This time around I am hoping we continue to smoke screen it up and take the best player we can find (secret crush on Kony Ealy/Kareem Martin to replace Pace)

  8. Have any thoughts on the kid Gaines out of Rice? This is the kid that shut down Evans from A & M. If we go offense the first 2 rounds he may be a nice pick in the third.

  9. This is a nice series, would it be possible for the rest of the series to include links to the previously published articles for easy reference? And maybe links to the whole series (or at least the articles that include Jets draft picks) in whatever post-draft analysis gets published?

  10. @Perezfootball:

    I’m not as high on Fuller as others. He does show that he is a physical defensive back but I have injury concerns with him in the NFL. He also bites on double moves, a huge no no in a system where the corner is left by himself on the outside very often. At the same time, these things can be fixed and I would not be mad if the Jets take him. I just like Dennard, Verrett, and Roby better.

    @Tony:

    I like Gaines a lot. He has all the make up of a Rex Ryan corner. He will come off the board on day 2.

    @Jeremiah:

    Thank you. I will definitely try to do that for the rest of the series, just to keep it all together. Thanks for the suggestion.

  11. I’d take Ealy in the 2nd round. In fact the draft is so deep that I like everyone in the 2nd round. I would trade back if I could, and then trade up from 3 so as to have 4 picks from 30-50. They’d all rate as 1st round talent in any other draft, and they are so close that you cannot get a consensus on who’s better from pick 10 through pick 50.

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