1- Alfonso Dennard, CB, Nebraska
Analysis: Dennard is probably the best corner in this draft class and I noticed his ability last year even while watching Prince Amukamara. He teamed up with Prince to help form what was probably the best cornerback combination in the entire nation last year, but this year he will be the leading man for Nebraska. Dennard is a physical corner who can jam at the line of scrimmage, turn and run with the receiver and he locates and plays the ball well in the air. I am really excited to watch him this year. At 5’10”, 205 pounds with a listed 4.49 40 yard dash he definitely has upside, plus last year he produced 30 total tackles (18 solo), 4 INT’s (1 TD), 7 pass break-ups, and 1 FF. I think he will be able to replicate these stat’s pretty easily even with teams avoiding him to attack Nebraska’s number two corner.
2- Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
Analysis: A lot of people are going to be surprised that I have Jenkins this high, but he was one of the best corners in the nation last year and the fact that he transferred to North Alabama does not change his level of ability. He has some definite character issues that will have to be sorted out, but there is no denying his talent on the field. I’m not saying he is going to be the second corner off the board next April, but I am saying he is one of the best cornerbacks in the nation even if he is not at Florida anymore. It will be interesting not only to see how well he plays this year, but also to see if he gets in any more trouble or if he matures at all. I really hope he does because he has an abundance of talent that belongs in the NFL.
3- Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia
Analysis: Minnifield was one of the players I highlighted in my break-out post a few weeks ago and I think he definitely warrants this high ranking even though not a lot of people have seen him play. He has a good combination of size and speed as he stands at 6’0″, 185 pounds and has a 4.48 listed 40 yard dash time. He was productive last year as a junior and I expect him to replicate this season again this year. Last year he produced 48 total tackles (34 solo), 3.0 TFL, 0.5 sacks, 6 INT’s, and 4 pass deflections. I am excited to see him play more this season.
4- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Analysis: Kirkpatrick is a guy that I was impressed by when I watched Alabama last year to get a feel for all of their prospects on each side of the ball. He looked good in man coverage and showed a good burst to close which I liked to see. He has impressive size at 6’2″, 192 pounds and has a listed 4.49 40 yard dash time. Last season he produced 53 total tackles (39 solo), 4.0 TFL, 3 INT’s, 7 pass deflections and 1 FF. He is going to be returning to a secondary that returns all of it’s starters if I remember correctly, so they should be one of the better secondaries in the SEC at least.
5- Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon
Analysis: Cliff Harris is another uber talented player that does not seem to have his head on straight, similar to Janoris Jenkins. However, the talent he has is undeniable. He is a playmaker as a cornerback and as a punt returner as evidenced by his 33 total tackles (24 solo), 1.0 TFL, 6 INT’s (1 TD) and an amazing 17 pass deflections. Additionally, he produced 143 yards as a kick returner (20.43 yard average per return) and an incredible 546 yards (18.83 yard average per return) returning punts along with four touchdowns in one year. He is a very dynamic playmaker and while he is only 5’11”, 180 pounds he has great speed and ball skills, making him a very intriguing corner prospect. It will be interesting to see if this last off-field incident helps him get his head on straight or if he will continue to have problems.
6- Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
Analysis: Hosley is another dynamic playmaker in this potential cornerback class but he does not have the character questions that Jenkins and Harris both do. He does have the productivity though, as he produced 39 total tackles (34 solo), 1.0 TFL, 9 INT’s, and 8 pass deflections. Plus, he had 190 kick return yards (21.11 yards per return) as well as 239 yards returning punts (12.58 yards per return) with one punt return touchdown. I am really excited to see him play again this year, however without Rashad Carmichael opposite him he is probably not going to get targeted as often because teams know that he can and will make them pay. So while his stats might drop this year, I don’t think it will necessarily be an indication of a drop in performance.
7- Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt
Analysis: Hayward is a guy that I have not seen much of, but I am definitely going to be looking into Vandy this year as they have a couple prospects for me to watch. Hayward is definitely one of them. He has good size at 6’0″, 185 pounds and has a 4.53 listed 40 yard dash time. Last year he produced 70 total tackles (56 solo), 2.0 TFL, 6 INT’s, 11 pass break-ups and 1 FF. He definitely has ability and while Vandy probably won’t be very good this year you have to keep in mind that he is putting these numbers up on a bad team against very impressive SEC competition for the most part. That is really intriguing.
8- Donnie Fletcher, CB, Boston College
Analysis: Fletcher has a good combination of size and speed for the position as he stands at 6’1″, 200 pounds and a 4.53 listed 40 yard dash. He was productive last year for Boston College as he amassed 56 total tackles (43 solo), 2.5 TFL, 5 INT’s, 1 FR and 3 pass deflections. He had a productive season last year and while I haven’t seen him play much yet I am excited to get a good look at him this upcoming season.
9- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Analysis: Claiborne seems to be the heir apparent to Patrick Peterson this season at cornerback for LSU. He has a good combination of size and speed as he is 6’0″, 178 pounds and has a listed 40 yard dash time of 4.45. He is skinny though so he needs to get stronger, but despite that he produced 37 total tackles (19 solo), 1.0 TFL, 5 INT’s and 6 pass break-ups. It will be interesting to see how he does without Peterson opposite him this year, but I think Claiborne can step up to help replace him.
10- Coryell Judie, CB, Texas A&M
Analysis: Judie has a nice combination of size and speed as he is 5’11”, 188 pounds and has an impressive listed 40 yard dash time of 4.42. Last season he produced 57 total tackles (29 solo), 2.0 TFL, 4 INT’s, and 4 pass break-ups. Additionally, he totalted 605 kickoff return yards (30.25 yards per return) and two touchdowns as a return man last year. He definitely has potential and I am excited to see him play this season, I never saw him play much last year.
Hopefully you enjoyed reading through my cornerback rankings! This corner class definitely has a lot of potential and a number of the corners I have ranked here are also productive return men. That versatility is always intriguing. Feel free to comment and as always thanks for reading!