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2014 NFL Draft Rankings: Cornerbacks
By Matt Horkman

1. Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
Dennard thrives in man coverage because of his physicality. He is excellent at jamming wide receivers at the line of scrimmage, though sometimes he’s too grabby downfield, making him susceptible to holding calls. He shows good run support and his straight-line speed is better than advertised. Vastly underrated, Dennard’s measurables and style compare with all-pro Darrelle Revis. Like Revis, his athleticism and size may not wow you, but his tape is very, very good.

2. Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State
A playmaking cornerback, Gilbert does a terrific job of undercutting routes. He had five interceptions in 2013, emerging as one of college football’s biggest playmaking defensive backs. He plays the ball so well that sometimes it looks Justin Gilbertas if he‘s the receiver rather than the defender. His athleticism is off the charts, evident by his combine and pro day workouts. Moreover, his athleticism translates well to the field, and he has the ideal size (6-foot, 202 pounds) to compliment it. He’s a bit raw, though, especially in his technique. His tackling also needs significant work, but Gilbert’s physical attributes and playmaking ability will likely make him a first day pick.

3. Jason Verrett, TCU
Verrett displays good recovery speed, ball skills, and instincts. His size (5-foot-9, 190 pounds) is an issue. In fact, it may be the only issue. He had a terrific combine, posting a 39-inch vertical leap and a 4.38 in the 40-yard dash. He also looked smooth in position drills. While Verrett can play the outside, I think he’ll thrive as a slot corner. He did have surgery on a torn labrum, but it doesn’t appear serious.

4. Bradley Roby, Ohio State
An impressive 2012 campaign gave Roby momentum entering the 2013 regular-season, but he failed to meet expectations, creating the possibility he’ll last until day two. A strong combine performance, however, may have elevated him back into round one. He was terrific in drills and showed off his great straight-line speed by running a sub 4.40 in the 40-yard dash. He’s a willing tackler in run support, exhibiting the discipline to contain the outside. He also reads and reacts like a safety. Wisconsin receiver Jared Abbrederis torched him for the tune of 10 catches for 207 yards and a touchdown. In conclusion, Roby is a developmental cornerback with the athleticism and size to develop into a quality NFL Starter.

5. Keith McGill, Utah
Good size and length makes McGill an interesting prospect. He’s strong, using his strength to overwhelm receivers in press coverage. He does a great job of finding the ball in the air. In fact, sometimes he looks like the receiver. He needs to cleanup the little things (his back pedal), but McGill fits today’s profile of big, long corners. His upside is high. He'll hear his name called on day two of the draft.

6. Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech
The measurables are there for Fuller. He has good size (6-foot, 190 pounds) and near 33-inch arms. His tackling needs improvement, though he puts forth a good effort. He has good instincts and recognizes routes, consistently making plays on the ball. Overall, Fuller is a day two corner who figures to play a lot of zone. His best football is ahead of him.

7. Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska
Once a receiver who converted to cornerback, Jean-Baptiste makes for somewhat of a buzz worthy prospect. At 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds, he is an ideal prospect for any team looking to copy Seattle’s philosophy of big, long cornerbacks. Given his size, Jean-Baptiste displays good ball skills. His instincts and physicality are also good, though his straight-line speed is suspect. His run support also needs improving.

8. Marcus Robinson, Florida
Robinson is an intriguing prospect. He’s a man cover corner, who is excellent in press coverage. There are durability red flags regarding a knee issue and he served a suspension in 2013 for violating team rules. In addition, his straight-line speed is underwhelming. Still, he has the instincts, ball skills, and technique to develop into a No. 2 or No. 3 cornerback. 

9. Antone Exum, Virginia Tech
Injuries will cost Exum. He tore his ACL in January of 2013, but fought his way back on the field. However, an injury to his ankle forced him out of several games. His 2012 tape is very good, though. He converted from safety to corner where he looked good in press coverage.

10. Victor Hampton, South Carolina
Hampton was second-team All-SEC in 2013. He’s a good tackler, who does a nice job against the run. He’s aggressive. He’ll routinely look for the interception, making him susceptible to double moves as a pro. His underachieving suggests he’ll probably never live up to his potential.

Best of the Rest
Bashaud Breeland, Clemson
Ross Cockrell, Duke
E.J. Gaines, Missouri
Phillip Gaines, Rice
Rashaad Reynolds, Oregon State

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