Cornerback and Safety Rankings w/ Scouting Blurbs
1. Trae Waynes, Michigan State
Good press CB with the speed to turn and run with starting NFL CBs. Rarely had safety help and still was extremely effective. Gets to top speed quickly with good closing speed. Makes WRs work for it. Grabs opposing WRs too much and could be called for penalties in the NFL. Doesn’t make the big interception. If he misreads a route, has trouble making the transition. Future starting NFL CB.
2. Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest
Great technique. Stays low and explodes through his hips. Excellent back pedal. Excelled with poor talent around him. Transitions from back pedal very well. Willing to tackle bigger players. Plays back too much and allows short passes. Will go for the big hit despite his size over sure tackling. Instincts are mediocre. Really natural CB who can improve mentally to be a starter.
3. Quinten Rollins, Miami (OH)
Former basketball player with natural CB ability. Smooth hips and footwork. Big time play maker who loves fighting and high pointing passes. Gets physical with his size. Could play safety. Instincts are developing. Backpedal and transition need work. Gets caught by head fakes and double moves. Will get beat by speed WRs. Could be a good press CB but still needs some development.
4. Jalen Collins, LSU
Workout warrior. Smooth, long, and big. Has deep speed but can still punish WRs with big hits. Loves to press cover. Has skills to play safety. Rangy and closes fast to break up passes. Little experience and couldn’t see the field. Not good at reading QBs eyes or tracking balls in the air. Can be caught out of position often. Has stud DB traits but has questions on his football IQ that could be a big barrier.
5. PJ Williams, Florida State
Big CB with long arms. Bump and runner who moves WRs off their routes. Strong upper body to resist hand fighting. Good instincts in reading routes and sticking in hip pocket of outside WRs. Plays high and can be tight hipped. Takes plays off. Inconsistent. Doesn’t use his size against the run. Arrested for DUI during predraft process. Has starting skills but needs to play up to his talent level consistently.
6. Ronald Darby, Florida State
World class speed. Loose hips. Good at tracking the ball while in the air. Has dominant performances against good competition. Also has long stretches of bad play against poor competition. Grabs WRs too much down the field. Not a willing tackler and often gives minimal effort when tackling. Won’t make many interceptions. Darby has starting CB ability, but is too inconsistent to trust.
7. Marcus Peters, Washington
Excellent size and speed combination. Drops his hips low and gets physical at the same time. Fights for contested passes. Footwork is not crisp and will have wasted movement. Seems to wear down as the game goes on. Very talented and potential starterm but has had major run-ins with coaching staff that led to dismissal from the team. (including a report that he choked an assistant coach).
8. Byron Jones, UConn
World Class athlete. Reads QBs eyes well and breaks to the ball quickly. Good tackling technique. Plays upright and can over extend his footwork to go off balance. Can close from off coverage to break up passes. Didn’t press much despite having the size and strength for it. Injury concern. Good athlete who will need some developing but could be a press CB or safety.
9. Lorenzo Doss, Tulane
Smooth athlete who has a good back pedal. Always keeps his head on a swivel and anticipates passes and routes extremely well. Can make the big play and turn interceptions into big returns. Is wild with his footwork and play style. Struggles when turning and running. Underrated slot CB who could be a game changer.
10. Alex Carter, Stanford
Good size and physicality. Willing to press at the line and will knock smaller WRs off of their routes. Very good zone CB with the instincts to break up passes in and around his zone.
11. DJoun Smith, Florida Atlantic
Extremely fluid hips. Swinging gate from back pedal to turning and running. Can make the big play. Good tackler against the run. Can be slow to react when WRs cut. Won’t give much press coverage. Plays off too much. Good athlete who needs some better recognition to really be effective.
12. Josh Shaw, USC
Big and physical. Powerful tackler with good ball skills. Good speed and burst. Has experience at safety. Very tight hipped. Struggles to transition into turn and run. Can lose the ball when tacking it. Suspended after lying about evading the police. Can be a good press CB who hasn’t hit his potential yet.
13. Ifo Ekepre-Olomu, Oregon
Fluid and quick. Changes direction extremely well and will close on passes effectively. Will make big interceptions and take them the other way. Experienced. Willing tackler. Footwork can be all over the place. Tries for the big play too much and does whiff. Small for a boundary CB. Major knee injury after regular season. May be a better fit at safety. Very good player whose injury and size have pushed him down.
14. Steven Nelson, Oregon State
Ideal nickel CB. Attacks smaller WRs with physicality and strength. Sticks in the hip pocket. Good tackler for his size and will go after bigger RBs/WRs. Can be stiff if he gets behind a wideout. Not the ideal length and struggles covering WRs who can match his strength. Should find a role covering smaller slot WRs in the NFL.
15. Kevin White, TCU
Excellent football IQ. Anticipates QB passes and WR cuts to stay in coverage. Good backpedal footwork and stays low. Can make the big play. Very short and small. Not very fast for his size. Is stiff when turning and running. Doesn’t do well against speed. Great college production and tape but may lack NFL measureables to be effective.
1. Landon Collins, Alabama
Physical downhill tackler. Reads and reacts to the run and fills the gap quickly. Good explosion and change of direction skills in the box. Good tackling technique in space. Jars the ball loose against receivers with good technique. Fights for contested passes. Not much of an interception threat. Struggles with hip movement to turn and run with receivers. May not have the instincts to be a deep safety. Good safety with decent cover ability and great in the box.
2. Eric Rowe, Utah
Played FS and CB in college. Long, tall, and fast. Very physical at the line of scrimmage. Good tackler against the run. Good closing speed to break up plays. Takes good angles. Struggles if his jam fails. Tight hipped when trying to play man to man coverage. Might be a better safety than CB. Teams could try Rowe as a physical press CB or a potential FS with good all around skills.
3. Damarious Randall, Arizona State
Super athletic. Can blitz, cover, and play the run. Closes quickly with good angles. Fights for contested passes. Can make interceptions and big plays. Very undersized. Can sometimes play too far back in coverage and let easy passes through. Gets caught up in traffic. Can go for the big hit too often. Really talented safety who could be a 1st round pick but his size holds him back.
4. Derron Smith, Fresno State
Plays well deep and can run with WRs in coverage. Very fluid. Changes directions well. Can lay the lumber. Makes plenty of interceptions. Can take too wide of angles and miss tackles or coverage. Doesn’t react fast enough to receptions. Undersized. Could be a good starting FS with a bit more development.
5. Jaquiski Tartt, Samford
Well built, strong, and powerful. Devastating hitter. Wraps up well when needed. Very aggressive during contested passes. High cut. Hips are tight when swiveling. Can get too aggressive at times and be slow to react. Future starting SS if he can develop some cover skills.
6. Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss
High football IQ. Reads QBs eyes well and anticipates routes due to film work. Good closing speed. Not as athletic as you would want and doesn’t move sideline to sideline well. Can get bullied by bigger RBs and WRs. Good FS/SS tweener who could develop in the right system.
7. Gerod Holliman, Louisville
Huge playmaker. Natural ball skills and can turn interceptions into big plays. Very fluid hips. Transitions well. Closes extremely quick while the ball is in the air. Doesn’t tackle well at all and avoids contact at all costs. Goes for the big play even when it isn’t there. Can get burned down the field. Struggles in the box. Effort concerns. Good playmaker who needs to mature and get more physical to be a starter.
8. Anthony Harris, Virginia
Reacts quickly to passes in the air and gets to the ball fast. Can make the big plays and uses his footwork to stick with WRs. Has good technique when tackling. Lanky and thin. Doesn’t do well with speed or quick WRs. Seems disinterested in playing the run often. Solid player who may have limited upside.
9. Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State
Big body with fluid hip movement. High football IQ and reads the QB well. Solid speed and quickness for his size. Can make big plays. Not a great tackler. Struggles to wrap up head on with targets. Plays high cut. Back-up FS type.
10. Ibraheim Campbell, Northwestern
Very productive. Tenacious in the box. Tries to force fumbles. Transitions pretty well from pass to run. Gives up too many deep plays. Gets caught flat footed often. Doesn’t have good instincts in coverage. SS only with box potential but likely a back-up and special teamer.