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April 15, 2008

NFL Draft: Ranking the cornerbacks


Frank Coyle's analysis of the class:

This is a very good group of cornerbacks that was strengthened significantly by the addition of four juniors who figure to be among the top 100 selections.


POSITION
GRADE
B+

This is one of the most demanding positions in the NFL and one that has been heavily picked in the early rounds. This year should be no different.

The top corners competed at the NFL Combine for the No. 1 spot at the position. Seniors Leodis McKelvin, Mike Jenkins and Antoine Cason performed well, as did juniors Brandon Flowers, Reggie Smith, Justin King and Aqib Talib. They will all challenge for a first-round selection off their impressive workouts.

2008 NFL Draft Cornerback Rankings
1. Leodis McKelvin, 5-11 190, Troy
A quick cover man and return specialist, McKelvin flashed his talent with huge performances in Senior Bowl practices. He followed that up with a strong overall workout at the NFL Combine, which guarantees an early selection.
3. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, 6-1, 185, Tennessee State
This athletic senior corner has been a shutdown cover man who came up big during Senior Bowl week - both in practices and in the game. His Combine workout was simply outstanding, and he may be the first corner off the board in April.
2. Mike Jenkins, 5-11, 200, South Florida
This big, athletic corner finished an impressive season and postseason with a strong effort at the NFL Combine. He ranks near the top at this vital position.
4. Antoine Cason, 6-0, 182, Arizona
This rugged senior corner has well-developed coverage and ball skills. He faced critical questions about his speed at the NFL Combine, but he silenced many doubters with his performance in Indianapolis.
5. * Brandon Flowers, 5-10, 190, Virginia Tech
Flowers is a quick, tough junior corner who displays fine coverage skills and technique. He has the playmaking ability to battle the best receivers. He ran an ordinary time in Indy and needs a big pro day March 27 to move up further.
6. *Reggie Smith, 6-0, 190, Oklahoma
Smith is an athletic junior cornerback who has fine triangle numbers (height, weight and speed). Smith has the ability to develop into a shutdown pro defender.
7. * Aqib Talib, 6-1, 180, Kansas
Talib is a gambling junior corner and playmaker with the talent to become an NFL shutdown cover man. He has the skills scouts love in a prospect.
8. Pat Lee, 6-0, 200, Auburn
Lee, a fast senior defender, has the athletic package to become a fine pro. He had a big final season that carried over to the Senior Bowl.
9. * Justin King, 5-11, 186, Penn St.
King is an agile junior cornerback who has a fine athletic package for the position. He solidified an early grade this postseason with a great NFL Combine effort that may even move him into the top 40 rankings.
10. Tracy Porter, 5-11, 185, Indiana
An athletic senior cornerback, Porter performed well in coverage over his career and lit it up at the Combine to earn an early selection in April.
11. Charles Godfrey, 6-0, 205, Iowa
This senior corner from the Big Ten had a solid career vs. NFL caliber receivers. Godfrey had a good week in Mobile that solidified a top-100 grade at this point.
12. Terrell Thomas, 6-1, 200, USC
This veteran cornerback impressed against top receivers in the Senior Bowl to elevate his rating after an average and inconsistent final season.
13. Jack Williams, 6-0, 185, Kent State
14. Terrence Wheatley, 5-9, 185, Colorado
15. Antwaun Molden, 6-1, 200, Eastern Kentucky
16. Chevis Jackson, 6-0, 190, LSU
17. *Jack Ikegwuonu, 5-11, 190, Wisconsin
18. Justin Tryon, 5-9, 175, Arizona St.
19. Zack Bowman, 6-0, 200, Nebraska
20. Orlando Scandrick, 5-10, 190, Boise State
21. Trae Williams, 5-9, 190, South Florida
22. DeJuan Tribble, 5-9, 190, Boston College
23. Wilrey Fontenot, 5-9, 175, Arizona
24. Jonathan Wilhite, 5-10, 185, Auburn
25. Reggie Corner, 5-9, 175, Akron

FRANK COYLE'S NFL DRAFT POSITION RANKINGS:
QB | RB | WR | TE | FB | OT | OG | C | DE | DT | ILB | OLB | CB | FS | SS | K/P

Frank Coyle is a nationally known NFL scout who publishes Draft Insiders' Digest and www.draftinsiders.com. In it's 16th season, Draft Insiders' Digest is dedicated to year-round coverage of NFL and NCAA Football. He covers the NFL Draft and free agency extensively with a veteran scouting staff that provides insightful and unique information on players and team potential in the coming seasons. Draft Insiders' Digest is an extensive publication that produces 15 issues throughout the year and a Draft Yearbook with over 450 in-depth scouting reports.



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