When the 2014 NFL Draft prospect list began to be finalized, it was easy to see how talented the class was overall. One of the biggest and most underrated parts of the draft is the depth of the CB class. What makes the mid round CB class special is they all have ability to become starters at positions over time. Below I’ll take a look at three CB’s who could become starters after some developing for their respective teams.
Pierre Desir was one of the most unknown players heading into the all-star circuit due to his level of play he was coming from. After two impressive all-star circuit games, teams began to go back and watch film on Desir and they were certainly impressed with what was shown on film. Desir is a lockdown corner coming from D-2 football and showed the ability to blanket the top receivers at the different circuits he participated in. After continuing that momentum all throughout the offseason teams have pegged Desir somewhere to go in that possible 3rd round range, but could also rise if there is an early run on CB’s in the draft. Desir shows top end ability, but still there will be a bit of a learning curve as he moves up to playing against NFL talent each week. Desir has the talent to be a starting CB, but will need some seasoning before he reaches that point.
Another player who benefited from the postseason all-star circuit, Lawson is a CB who uses his aggressiveness to be successful. Lawson isn’t the biggest player on the field, but what he doesn’t have in height he makes up for with his aggressive play and ability to play both in off-man schemes and in press coverage. Lawson is most effective when playing in press coverage, as he’s able to redirect WR’s off their routes, but also leads to a lot of Lawson’s issues as he can become too aggressive and it leads to penalties. Lawson on film though shows very fluid hips and the ability to cover outside receivers despite his height. Lawson is another player who has seen his stock rise from the later rounds to now into the 3rd to 4th round range. Teams will have to decide early on if they want Lawson to play more in the slot or outside, but if they commit to it early Lawson can become a starting CB for a while in the NFL.
Continuing the theme of guys who have worked their names up the rankings with their performances at the all-star circuit, Walt Aikens drew the attention of teams with his ability shown. Aikens comes from the 1-AA(FCS) ranks where he was a very good cover corner that showed the ability to play both in off man and press coverage, but played best in press coverage. Aikens is a physical player and that leads to a lot of his penalties as well, similar to what was mentioned with Lawson earlier. Aikens will need a good amount of seasoning as he needs to work on playing more with technique and not just relying on becoming a “grabbing” CB in the NFL. If Aikens can improve on his technique moving into the NFL he could become a starting CB as he shows the ability to flip his hips and play with all receivers no matter what their speed or height is. Look for Aikens to come off the board in the 4th round and become a very good developmental pick who could very well turn into a starting CB in the NFL.