1. Joe Haden– Haden has some competition in this draft class, but he still remains the top corner in this group. There are some concerns with his speed and preparation for the Combine, but really that is nitpicking on a top prospect. On film Haden time and again showed he was an elite cornerback prospect. Haden is also a very high character guy, and has always shown a willingness to accept coaching. Given his natural talent and the head on his shoulders, Haden is about as sure of a thing as there is, and should be a number 1 corner from day one.
2. Kyle Wilson- Kyle Wilson to me really should be ranked as 1B here to Haden’s 1A. I think Wilson has tremendous upside, and it wouldn’t shock me to look back at this draft 3 or 4 years from now and think that Wilson should have been the top corner. He has amazing ball skills and can develop into a shutdown corner. He also has been an excellent punt returner in college, giving him added ability to help on special teams.
3. Kareem Jackson- Jackson is a corner I really like, and in most years would consider him the number one prospect in the class. He does everything really well, and is pretty fundamentally sound. He still can refine a few areas of his game, as he has a tendency to be overaggressive and can bite on double moves and pump fakes, but overall he is a frontline starter.
4. Patrick Robinson- Robinson has some detractors, but remains high on my list given his consistency and athleticism. He has very good speed and closing burst. While his instincts aren’t yet elite, he has made up for it with his ball skills and ability to read the quarterback. He struggles some against the run, and could have a trouble early on against big physical receivers, but has the work ethic to overcome it. He also is one of the better corners at using the jam to his advantage. He remains a late 1st round-early 2nd round prospect.
5. Devin McCourty- McCourty is an fantastic corner prospect and the fact that he ranks only 5th on this list shows the depth of this class. He is a little raw fundamentally, which is a bit of a draw back but it shouldn’t be a major issue. At times he gets caught guessing, and doesn’t have the best recovery ability, but he has the talent to develop into a top number 1 cornerback. McCourty should be taken in the top half of the 2nd round (if not sooner) and can start from day one.
6. Perrish Cox- Cox has displayed excellent ball skills and coverage ability during his time at Oklahoma State. He is a little weak in the running game and doesn’t always have the best instincts, gambling at times when he shouldn’t. Overall though there is a ton of potential in Cox, and he seems like a safe bet into being a good number 2 corner in the NFL.
7. Chris Cook- Cook has had a great off-season, particularly his Senior Bowl week, which has moved him solidly into the 2nd round. Cook is a big physical corner, who shows impressive speed, quickness and closing burst. There is a chance he could move to free safety, but with the coverage ability he has shown I’d keep him at corner. I really like Cook’s upside and think he could be a starter right off the bat.
8. Akwasi Owusu-Ansah- Owusu-Ansah may get overlooked since he played his ball at Division II IUP, but he is one heck of a football player. He might end up being a free safety in the NFL, but at either position Owusu-Ansah has a bright NFL future. He displays extremely advanced ball skills, and has top line speed. He’s not afraid to step up and support the run game either. Owusu-Ansah was a complete ball hawk in college and has an uncanny ability to take the ball to the endzone when it is in his hands. He is recovering from shoulder injury, which could slide him down in the draft some. While raw, I think he is a fantastic prospect who should develop into a top starter.
9. Dominique Franks- Franks is a solid corner and I think he could really develop into a good starter in the NFL. He is a bit raw in his decision making and ability to read the quarterback, but displays top-end ball skills. In this deep corner draft he likely won’t here his name called in the top 50 picks, but he is a great young corner prospect.
10. Amari Speivey- Speivey is a solid late 2nd round corner prospect. He isn’t exceptional in any one area, but should contribute as a nickel back as a rookie. He doesn’t have top end speed, but gets by with exceptional football instincts, and is great at reading quarterbacks.
Best of the rest: Corner could be the deepest position in this draft class, with a number of fine prospects still on the board. Brandon Ghee and Walter Thurmond both should be solid contributors with bright futures. Donovan Warren has fallen in this class due to a lack of speed, but the upside is there, a possible switch to free safety could make sense. Jerome Murphy, Walter McFadden and Myron Lewis all offer great mid-round value. Two small corners Javier Arenas and Syd’Quan Thompson, make up for their lack of height with impressive all-around games.