By Alen Dumonjic
January 21, 2013
Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks is one of the top cornerbacks in this class. Tall, long and very instinctive. Does a good job of locating and tracking the football in the air and coming down with it. There are questions about his long speed, but they can be minimized with improved technique. Although he is also good in zone coverage, which he spent many of his snaps in at MSU, his physicality is lacking at times. He might be best served as a man cover corner in the mold as Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks or Antonio Cromartie of the New York Jets.
A boundary corner in Pat Narduzzi’s Quarters scheme, Johnny Adams is unlikely to be a high draft pick because of his lack of foot speed and size, but he does offer an intriguing skillset. He is willing to mix it up against the run, sticking his head in and bringing ball-carriers down. He is a better player downhill than in reverse because of his aforementioned lack of foot speed and his willingness to be physical at the line of scrimmage. That same physicality has cost him at times, with him sloppily missing the execution of the bump-and-run technique at the line. However, he appears to have solid feet and awareness as a pass defender, which could lead to some teams looking at him as a nickel corner with starting potential as a squat corner in Cover 2 dominated scheme.
A plus sized defensive back, Commings has spent time playing at cornerback and safety. His work at safety has consisted of play as a split-field safety and single-high safety. He has long arms and is usually patient in letting routes develop, which is a trait that not many young defensive backs have. However, he lacks effort in defending the run and often takes too narrow of angles in attacking the ball-carrier. The same concern applies to him at safety, where he will need to do a better job of getting over the top of vertical routes. He doesn’t have great range but with coaching and more discipline, may be an option at safety for some teams. In some ways, he compares to a poor man’s Dashon Goldson as a safety prospect.
A thin framed cornerback, Will Davis was very productive in his final season at Utah State. He has a lot of experience playing man coverage, specifically off-man and press, and a big reason why he’s able to do it is because of his quick feet and change of direction (COD) skills. He does a solid job of attacking the ball in the air, though has some issues turning his head around to locate it when attacked vertically. He’s been picked on with the deep ball quite a bit because of his apparent lack of long speed and aggressiveness. Despite this, he offers talent as an off-man or man under defender.
Oregon State’s Jordan Poyer is a versatile cornerback that has spent time playing on the outside and in the slot in the short and wide side of the fields. He possesses good ball skills, short area quickness and discipline as a zone defender. In zone, he does a good job of reading the quarterback in the three and five step passing game. However, he has run into some issues in man coverage, which is largely because of his technique and footwork. He likes to play with his hands loose and hanging by his side, and has a tendency to get too high in his backpedal. I’d like to see him clean these issues up because he has a lot of talent to work with.
Taylor is likely to be a fast riser once scouts get around to his tape because he offers a lot of talent. He’s willing to stick his head in against the run and is generally a sound tackler. Against the pass, he shows good feet that enable him to mirror well and the ability to plant and drive. He is instinctive, making all sorts of plays (FF, PBU, INT, etc.), and offers potential as a blitzer. However, he sometimes has mental lapses and has had issues playing press coverage. He struggles to slide his feet when rerouting, which leads to him losing ground to the receiver and having to play the ball from behind – a weakness of his. Overall, he appears to be best served attacking the ball downhill, as he did much of his time in Boise State’s Quarters scheme.
Connecticut’s Blidi Wreh-Wilson is a lanky corner with good athleticism for his size. He shows the ability to break down in space well enough and attack the ball downhill. He also does a good job of using his length to break up passes. Although he shows effort as a run defender, he is not of much help at all times because he doesn’t finish tackles and shows a lack of physicality in this area. Like most cornerbacks coming out of college, Wreh-Wilson needs to improve his technique.
The brother of Seattle Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant, Desmond is an intriguing corner that doesn’t have any outstanding traits but many above average ones. He shows good foot quickness and does a solid job of rerouting receivers when he gets his hands on them. However, he is very inconsistent as a force defender against the run, pinching inside when he’s supposed to be setting the edge. This may be partly because of the way the scheme is organized, asking him to play a lot of off-man coverage and away from the line of scrimmage. He doesn’t always do a great job of reading the game, as he is sometimes slow to react. Overall, he has a lot of solid skills to work with but none outstanding.
Connecticut's Dwayne Gratz might not be as popular as his teammate Blidi Wreh-Wilson but he also has talent to work with. In college, he’s spent a lot of time playing the shuffle technique and facing the play. He possesses quick feet and change of direction skills that enable him to mirror receivers well when asked to. He also is a willing run defender. I would like to see him tested vertically and in isolated man coverage, where he’s asked to play with less of a cushion and more technique.