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Top 10 Defensive Backs in the 2015 NFL Draft
By Matt Horkman

1. Trae Waynes, Michigan State
Waynes is a phenomenal athlete, who solidified himself as the draft’s top corner with an outstanding combine workout. He’s a press corner that beats up finesse receivers at the line of scrimmage. He does a great job of finding the ball in the air. He also reads and undercuts routes very well. Sometimes he plays too high, but that’s a minor complaint in what is an otherwise stellar resume.

2. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon
Versatility is among Ekpre-Olomu’s biggest strengths. He played both the left and right side for the Ducks, as well as the slot. He shows the effort in run support, though he needs to wrap up better. He has great closing speed, and could be a Ifo Ekpre-Olomudangerous punt return man. He tore his ACL just before the College Football Playoffs. As a result, he may fall to the third or fourth round. However, when healthy, he is an aggressive press corner who is up to the challenge of shadowing a team’s No. 1 receiver.

3. Landon Collins, Alabama
Collins is every bit as good as former teammate Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who went to Green Bay with the No. 21 pick in last year’s draft. Collins is an excellent tackler; he led the Crimson Tide in tackles last season. He shows terrific pursuit and is a good athlete. He displays the ability to go sideline-to-sideline. Finally, he’s a big hitter. Any team that drafts him is giving themselves an intimidating presence on the backend at safety.

4. P.J. Williams, Florida State
A man-to-man corner, Williams plays his best when he’s allowed to get physical with receivers. His ability to bully receivers helps him overcome limitations with his speed. He’s a good tackler, playing with a strong safety mentality. He was Florida State’s defensive star against Auburn in the 2014 BCS Championship, putting forth a performance that solidified his draft status going into the next season.

5. Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest
Good height, technique and coverage skills should place Johnson in the backend of round one. He’s a long corner, who’ll stick to the outside. At just 188 pounds, he’s a bit on the lean side. Whoever drafts him will want him to bulk up.

6. Marcus Peters, Washington
Talent isn’t an issue for Peters. He’s a press corner with terrific ball skills. He also has good size and length. However, he comes with baggage. He had several ongoing issues with his coaches. After receiving a personal foul penalty in a game, he threw a temper tantrum on the sideline. This prompted Washington to suspend him for a game. For his part, Peters has openly admitted to making mistakes as a teammate.

7. Senquez Golson, Ole Miss
Scrappy due to his height (5-foot-9), Golson is a ball-hawking cornerback (10 interceptions last year). His height suggests he’ll struggle on the outside, likely causing teams to view him as a slot corner. Regardless, he’ll be a very polished slot corner. He shows good hip work and excellent recovery speed, running a 4.46 forty at the NFL Scouting combine. What he lacks in size he makes up for in athleticism, effort, and awareness.

8. Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss
A ball-hawking safety (12 career interceptions) who tackles well is usually a hot commodity leading into the draft, yet Prewitt has continued to fly under the radar because of an underwhelming pre-draft process. He didn’t deliver the goods at the NFL Scouting combine, timing poorly in the forty and agility drills. In addition, his Senior Bowl performance drew mixed reviews. Scouts and coaches do most of their homework watching tape, though, and Prewitt’s is very good.

9. Damarious Randall, Arizona State
Athletic and productive, Randall is vying to be the first safety off the board. He has good movement skills, which he displayed at his pro day and at the combine. He’s capable of covering the slot, and he’s a very good tackler. In fact, he led Arizona State with 106 tackles last season.

10. Doran Grant, Ohio State
Grant has quick feet, good technique and runs well. He’s good in run support and built well (5-foot-10, 200). He was also productive, earning All-Big Ten honors in 2014.

On the Bubble
Jalen Collins, LSU
Ronald Darby, Florida State
Byron Jones, Connecticut
Josh Shaw, USC
Kevin White, TCU


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