Tre’Davious White was a great pick last year, considering we also got the 22nd pick in this years draft by trading back to get him. Vontae Davis will be the other corner. I assume that Phillip Gaines will be the Nickel back,, but possibly Lafayette Pitts or Breon Borders will take that role. I was puzzled when we traded Ronald Darby this year. I thought Darby played well for the Bills. I think he did not fit Coach McDermott’s system of defense so well and they moved on, getting that third round pick and one injured year for Jordan Matthews. You can never have enough good corners and I feel the Bills should think corner for every pick on day 2 and 3. We should get a corner in this draft and there are lots of them to choose from. Besides Denzel Ward, a top 10 talent, I am not sure there is much difference between the 2nd and 22nd prospect. There is only one for sure 1st round pick, but there is a very deep pool of impressive corners. Big ones and small ones. Fast ones and faster ones.
Coach McDermott and Brandon Beane were involved in drafting Josh Norman for the Panthers. He went on to become a pro bowler under McDermott’s tutelage and then signed a huge free agent contract with Washington. Here are the stats for Josh Norman at the combine 6 years ago. Norman was a small school player from Coastal Carolina I think.
Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina, 6’0″, 197 lbs., 4.66 40, 14 reps, 33″vertical, 124″ broad, 7.09 3-cone, 4.23 short shuttle, 323/4″ arms, 91/4″ hands. A long corner who was a great tackler and could really ball hawk that zone defense that McDermott runs. He was not super fast or super quick. He was a relentless player like Tre White. Maybe this is what Beane and McDermott are looking for, rather than a man cover corner like Ronald Darby. Anyways, here goes on my evaluations of this year’s top cornerbacks for the 2018 NFL Draft.
1)Denzel Ward, Ohio St., 5’10”, 191lbs., 4.32 40, 16 reps, 39″ vertical, 136″ broad. Another great cornerback from Ohio State. He is only 5’10” but he is super athletic. His 39″ vertical makes him more like 6’4″ going for jump balls against average jumpers. His size doesn’t seem to hinder him one bit. He is super fast. Will jam hard and direct at the line of scrimmage and he can ride in the receivers hip pocket. No issues whatever. A top 10 pick.
2)Jaire Alexander, Louisville, 5’11”, 192 lbs., 4.38 40, 14 reps, 35″ vertical, 127″ broad, 6.71 3 cone and super shuttle speed of 3.98. Like Ward another lightening fast cover corner. He is also plenty strong and a good tackler. Played hurt for the middle half of this past season and his play suffered. Looked hard to beat the last few games of the season. 1st or 2nd round.
3)Isaiah Oliver, Colorado, 6’1″, 190 lbs, 4.50 40, 35.5″ vertical. 6.94 3-cone. Another longer corner. Not as blazing fast as the first 2 on this list but plenty fast and quick enough. A strong tackler. Another 1st or 2nd rounder.
4)Joshua Jackson, Iowa, 6″1″, 191 lbs., 4.56 40, 18 reps, 38″ vertical, 123″ broad, 6.83 3cone, 4.15 shuttle. Was sensational in 2017 for Iowa. A long corner with the nose for the ball. Very quick. Had a ton of interceptions this year. Solid run support. 1st or 2nd round.
5)Mike Hughes, Central Florida, 5’11” 191 lbs, 4.53 40, 20 reps, 35.5 vertical, 6.7 3-cone, 4.13 shuttle. I picked up on Hughes as Central Florida’s undefeated season progressed. It was clear this team was successful due to a lot of quality players and Hughes might be the best. He was a shut down corner. Another 1st or 2nd rounder.
6)Carlton Davis, Auburn, 6’1″, 203 lbs., 4.50 40, 16 reps. 34″ vertical. A big strong and long corner. Tackles with authority. Played a lot of top receivers in the SEC and more than held his own. A 2nd rounder IMO. Could fit the Josh Norman mold.
7)Donte Jackson, LSU, 5’11”, 175 lbs., 4.32 40. 7 reps. A smaller corner but with sprinter speed and an attitude to match. He is a man type corner who will get in your hip pocket and stay there. He will hit you but not as good in run support as the bigger corners above. A day 2 selection.
8)MJ Stewart, North Carolina, 6’0″, 200 lbs., 4.54. 18 reps, 35″vertical, 6.9 3-cone. He was really good at NC. A bigger and stronger corner with real quickness. Plays both wide and in the slot. A strong tackler. Does kick returns. Another day 2 selection.
9)Duke Dawson, Fla., 5’10”, 208 lbs., 4.46 40 and 15 reps. A fire plug on wheels. He likes to hit, but is plenty fast enough to cover. Would be an outstanding slot corner. Worth a third round pick. Could even start at nickel for us this year. He is really good.
10)DJ Reed, Kansas St., 5’9″, 188 lbs., 4.51 forty., 11 reps. 36.5 vertical. A smaller corner but he can play. Great cover and he looks like he loves to hit. One of the strongest tacklers in this corner class. He would also be a great slot corner. Probably goes early on Day 3.
I’ll do the 3 Alabama Corners in a row. They fit in here in the middle of the group.
11) Anthony Averett, Ala., 6’0″, 185 lbs., 4.36 40, 13 reps, 6.93 3 cone. Was hurt some the past two years but when he was healthy he was really good at Alabama.
12)Levi Wallace, Ala, 6’0″, 181 lbs., 4.63 40. He also was hurt off and on but when he played he also looked really good. He played fast with good anticipation.
13)Tony Brown, Ala, 6’0″ 198 lbs., 4.35 40, 14 reps, 6.78 3-cone. 4.11 shuttle. Didn’t play as much behind the super stocked Alabama secondary, but he was a special teams ace for the tide this year. He will stick just based on his special teams and could turn out to be a really good corner.
We’ll discuss Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison under safety. Nick Saban coaches the defensive backs himself at Alabama. He is the best secondary coach in college football. These Alabama backs make very few mistakes. I’d like to see the Bills get any of these 5 Alabama secondary defenders.
14)Quenton Meeks, Stanford, 6’1″, 205 lbs, 11 reps, 6.72 3-cone. A bigger longer safety with a lot of quickness for his size. Not spectacular but good in every aspect of playing corner. Could be a good safety also.
15)Holton Hill, Texas, 6’3″, 200 lbs., 4.49 40, 14 reps, 6.83 3-cone, 4.15 shuttle. A really long corner who is fast and very physical. Could be the next Richard Sherman. Had suspension at Texas and would need to pass the Bills character test in interviews.
16)Parry Nickerson, Tulane, 6’0″, 4.32 40, 15 reps. Good size, plenty strong, and blazing speed.
17)Tavarus, McFadden, Fla. St., 6″2″ 198 lbs., 4.67 40, 38.5 vertical. Came into the year as probably the top corner on my board based on 2016 play but was not nearly as good this year. I am not sure why. He is big and long. Not as fast as most of my other prospects at corner but he compares favorably to Josh Norman’s 4.66 40 speed. Could fit into McDermott’s zone scheme.
18)Brandon Facyson, Va. Tech, 6’2″, 197 lbs., 4.53 40, 16 reps. Has had a rocky career at Va. Tech due to a recurrent lower leg fracture that was eventually repaired with a bone graft. Played the entire 2017 season without any problems, so it appears the leg is now fine. He is another big and long corner. He was good this year and looked really good later in the season.
19)Greg Stroman, Va. Tech., 6’0″, 180 lbs., 4.48 40, 16 reps. He was the other safety at Va. Tech. I had a hard time deciding whether I liked he or Facyson better. They are both good. I watched a lot of Va. Tech. games, mainly to watch Tremaine Edmunds, but that Va. Tech. defense was loaded with defensive prospects.
20)Grant Haley, Pa. St., 5″9″, 190 lbs., 4.44 40, 15 reps., 6.51 3-cone, 3.94 short shuttle. A smaller but lightening quick corner. Would make a really good Nickel corner for the Bills.
21)Michael Joseph, Dubuque, 6’1″, 181 lbs., 17 reps, 6.89 3- cone, 4.2 shuttle. A long but lean corner from a small school He is very quick. A late round pick.
22)Nick Nelson, Wisconsin, 5’11”, 208 lbs., 4.52 40, 17 reps, 6.69 3-cone, 3.88 short shuttle. Nelson is really good. I read reports that he has a serious knee injury suffered in training last week. I dropped him out of my top 10 because of this. If his medicals are good he vaults up this list. He had 19 pass breakups this year. He is a stocky corner but quick as a cat. I’d love to see him a Bill, even if we have to stockpile him for a year recovering from his knee injury.
23)Isaac Yiadom, BC, 6’1″, 187 lbs., 4.53 40, 8 reps., 4.18 shuttle. Longer and leaner and not as strong or physical. However, my note after watching him play was “sticky”. He sticks to the receiver. Not as great in run support and that is why he is down my list, but he is worth a late round pick. If he gets stronger he could be really good.
24)Taron Johnson, Weber St., 5’11”, 192 lbs., 4.50 40, 17 reps, 7.03 3-cone, 4.28 shuttle. He is a shorter, thicker corner with real strength compared to some of the other corners. He probably fits best as a nickel corner.
25)Avonte Maddox, Pitt, 5’9″, 180 lbs, 4.39 40, 13 reps, 37″ vertical, 125″ broad, 6.51 3-cone, 4.0 shuttle. Another smaller but fast and cat-like quickness. He is athletic and can play inside or out but I think he is another slot corner.
26)Andre Chachere, San Jose St., 6’0″, 200lbs, 4.49 40, 13 reps, 38″vertical, 6.78 3-cone, 4.07 shuttle. A small school corner with plenty of speed and quickness. He has all the tools.
I’m stopping here. I have notes on 62 corners that I noticed at least some NFL qualities. There are blazing fast corners, big and long corners and a plethora of slot corners and pretty much everything in between. It depends on what you want. There are some really good slot corners, and with Leonard Johnson gone, we could use a really good nickel corner. I would probably take a corner on day #3 of the draft. My reasoning:This is a really deep corner and safety year. There are even more good safeties than corners. Besides Denzel Ward, I don’t think there is a huge difference between my #2 prospect and my #26 prospect. There will be some good corner prospects on Day #3. Let’s get one then, either a Nickel Corner or one of the corners that fits the McDermott/Beane profile for outside corners.