2014 NFL Draft Top Five Series: The Cornerbacks

Connor Rogers ranks the top five cornerbacks in the NFL Draft

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.