Andrew Harbaugh|Aug 13th, 2019
Last year we had several positions that analysts and insiders felt were deep, cornerback was one of them. However when the draft came to pass on;y one corner went in the first round and we saw several, including consensus top corner prospect Greedy Williams, fall into days two and three of the draft.
Below is a recap and links to all the previous positions I have ranked so far.
- Running Backs
- Wide Receivers
- Tight Ends
- Offensive Tackles
- Interior Offensive Linemen
- Defensive Linemen
- Edge Rushers
This years corner class, based on summer evaluations can be between five to ten quality players deep. Two conferences seem to be leading the way in producing these talents and that is again the case this year. Of my top ten, the ACC and SEC contribute six of my top ten corners in this talented position group, and based on recruiting and the way these conferences develop players look for that to be the new norm.
Now, keep in mind while reading to let me know what players I’m missing out on, what players I’m low on, and what players I’m too high on. The beauty of the NFL draft is everyone has an opinion and it is important every gets a chance to share how they feel on players.
No more small talk though, let’s cover this year’s early cornerback rankings.
When I watched Paulson Adebo this summer, I felt like I was watching the closest thing I had seen to a perfect game from a prospect this summer. His game against Oregon this past year blew me away and the craziest part was he got better as the game went on.
The traits and skills he showed against Oregon last year were executed to such a high level that it blew my mind he hadn’t been talked about more this summer. On tape, he displays great length, hand usage, and bursts of speed that allows him to compete with any receiver at the college level. He was able to be a pain and challenge Justin Hebert to throw perfect passes to beat him, which he did at times, against lesser competition though he continued to show he was an elite prospect.
The biggest thing for Adebo is to make sure we don’t see a fallout or that people have figured him out. If he can play at the same level for a whole season and remain healthy we may be looking at a top ten prospect.
School: Ohio State
Year: Ohio State
Jeffrey Okudah is a prime example of how a game at the end of the year can lead to giant expectations the following year. He dominated in the Rose Bowl against Washington and because of that he has earned a solid grade from me heading into the year.
Okudah shows great cover skills in locking down Washington and limiting Jake Browning more than he already was. Okudah displayed great speed, recovery, and overall ball skills that will make for a great cover corner in the NFL.
Similar to Adebo, Okudah needs to put it together for a whole season if he is to justify this top-end ranking come draft season. He has the athleticism to test out of this world, pair that with a great year of tape and we may be talking about him being a top-five pick like former teammate Denzel Ward.
My top cornerback prospect in my mind at the end of last year was C.J. Henderson. While on tape he was exactly what i thought he was he just couldn’t hold up against Adebo and Okudah.
What separates Henderson from the rest of the corners on this list, both in a literal and figurative sense, is his track like speed. Last year when I was watching Deebo Samuel he took a slant almost to the house against Florida. He had no defenders near him on tape and then out of nowhere Henderson appears to tackle him short of the endzone. It was a display of not just great speed but effort which is so important for corners.
I feel like being the third-ranked corner is his floor by seasons end but he has a very real chance of being the top corner in this class when it’s all said and done.
One of the rare seniors to make my top ten, Fulton has been behind so many talented corners that he has had to wait to be the guy. Now that he is, look out.
Fulton does so many things well that he is able to hide any deficiencies he may have or plays that he is beat on. Fulton is a great cover man and is able to completely take away a receiving option for any team facing off against LSU. Week one he will be going up against one of the top quarterbacks in Sam Ehlinger. Fulton does a great job disguising himself in coverage so we get a fun match-up right off the bat.
Fulton will be the guy as I mentioned earlier which means without Greedy Williams being in Baton Rouge it’s all on Fulton. He will be tasked this coming season with covering teams top receivers such as Jerry Jeudy, Tyrie Cleveland, and Collin Johnson. If he can keep them contained and out of the game plan then we may see a giant jump for Fulton in my rankings.
I won’t even hide my fandom here for a moment, I am a Browns fan and would love a guy with as much fight in him as Jaylon Johnson has on my team.
Johnson has the best motor and determination of this group of five. He plays on a very complete defense that Kyle Whittingham has assembled at Utah and Johnson has a chance to be the best player on it. His tackling ability is what I found to be his best asset when watching him though. So many offenses in the NFL use screens, dump-offs or outside runs that having a corner that can tackle is almost priceless at the next level.
Regardless of where Johnson ends up on the rankings after this coming season, I think he will be the safest pick of these five as far as panning out in the NFL.
Questions and comments?
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