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NFL Draft Positional Rankings: Cornerbacks

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NFL Draft Positional Rankings: Cornerbacks

The cornerback depth on the Packers roster is pretty well set. Barring injuries the Packers go about six deep including three rookies from last year. I can’t envision the Packers drafting a cornerback early but here are a few of the guys that the Packers could target if the value presents itself. I’ve only ranked players I feel comfortable enough to form a solid opinion/analysis on. It would be disingenuous to rank players I don’t have a strong opinion on.

Previous positional rankings:

http://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/nfl-draft-positional-rankings-quarterbacks

http://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/nfl-draft-positional-rankings-running-backs

http://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/nfl-draft-positional-rankings-wide-receivers

http://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/nfl-draft-positional-rankings-tight-ends

http://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/nfl-draft-positional-rankings-offensive-tackles

http://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/nfl-draft-positional-rankings-interior-offensive-lineman

http://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/nfl-draft-positional-rankings-nose-tacklesdefensive-ends

http://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/nfl-draft-positional-rankings-outside-linebacker-edge

http://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/nfl-draft-positional-rankings-inside-linebackers

Cornerbacks

1.       Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida St. - Ramsey is a top 5 prospect in the entire draft. The 6’1” 209lb defensive back has experience lining up at safety, in the slot, and on the boundary and has excelled at each of them. Ramsey is in the mold of Charles Woodson in that he plays the ball extremely well, is a physical tackler, and can blitz the quarterback. Ramsey is also one of the best athlete in the draft. Whatever team drafts Ramsey will be a getting a cornerstone for their secondary for the next 10+ years.

2.       Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida- Hargreaves is an undersized cornerback at 5’10” 204lbs but is an incredibly smooth athlete. Hargreaves plays with great technique to break on balls and stay in the pocket of receivers. He is a bit aggressive and can bite on double moves, but with his ball skills and body control Hargreaves should hear his name called in the middle of round 1.

3.       William Jackson III, CB, Houston- The 6’ 189lb cornerback gets his hands on a ton of footballs. Jackson has a smooth backpedal, good route recognition, and has the quickness to click and close on plays in front of him. Although he tested well in the 40 yard dash, on tape he didn’t display the great makeup speed when the receiver was able to get by him. Jackson isn’t overly physical supporting the run but his coverage skills are what will make him a starter in the NFL.

4.       Eli Apple, CB, Ohio St. - Apple is a physical cornerback who likes to put his hands on receivers. The 6’1” 199lb Apple has a great build and good speed for the position and although he can get grabby he has a lot of the tools teams look for in a cornerback. It may take a little time for it to Apple to adjust but he has a lot of upside.

5.       Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor- Howard is a big cornerback at 6’ 201lbs and has great physical abilities. Howard has fluid hips, and does a great job turning his head to locate the football. He gets his hands on a lot of passes, but he will also panic from time to time which leads to getting flagged for pass interference too frequently.

6.       Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson- At 5’10” 190lbs Alexander is a smaller cornerback, but he is a good athlete who is a very smart player. He doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to defend passes or make interceptions because he’s rarely challenged but teams are going to question whether or not he possesses ball skills.

7.       Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech- Fuller is coming off an injury but when healthy he’s one of the better cornerbacks in the draft. At 5’11” 187lbs Fuller is an aggressive player who can make plays on the ball as well as in run support. He can be susceptible to double moves but is overall a very solid prospect.

8.       Artie Burns, CB, Miami- Burns is a great athlete at 6’ 193lbs who has great ball skills and does a nice job baiting quarterbacks to throw his way. Burns is however a bit unpolished. A defensive back coach will have to teach Burns some technique including how to back pedal.

9.       Zack Sanchez, CB, Oklahoma- Sanchez is fun to watch but is also a bit frustrating. The 5’11” 185lb cornerback plays with reckless abandon. He can get his hands on a lot of footballs but also doesn’t mind diving at runner’s feet to make the tackle. The problem is he will too often whiff on the tackle or get burnt when trying to make a play on the ball.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (9) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Community Guy's picture

thanks Cody... i have been reading and enjoying your whole series. i wish you would extend the cornerback rankings into the next level.. the Packers may be interested in drafting a CB in rounds 3-5.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

Yeah its not going to be the first second or third pick but one will get picked.

dobber's picture

If there's a good CB hanging around in round 2 -- someone that has no business being there -- I wouldn't be surprised to see the Packers scarf him up.

Hayward played 914 defensive snaps a year ago, almost 90% of the defensive snaps...90 PERCENT! The only DB that played more was HHCD at almost 100%. The next closest was Randall at about 72%.

That's a lot of snaps to replace out of your top 4 CB. If you're thinking Ladarius Gunter is going to do it, I think you're asking a lot. The guy played 9 defensive snaps a year ago. He's an unknown. CB is a bigger need than people think because when one of Rollins-Randall-Shields gets hurt -- and one of them will -- the Packers are going to be hurting.

Evan's picture

If in the first round we pick a backup OT and in the second we pick a #5 CB, I'll be pissed...

DrealynWilliams's picture

Lol, man, I can't stand you

Evan's picture

Ha! Me??

dobber's picture

I would argue that a CB picked in round 2 would very likely be at least your #4 CB, and that guy might end up playing a lot.

Evan's picture

I know, I know...I'm just saying there are much bigger needs on the team. But I've learned to expect the unexpected with TT.

RCPackerFan's picture

There was a reason why the Packers let Hayward go. One reason they drafted Rollins to replace Hayward. Another reason is they know what they have in LaDarius Gunter and Robertson Daniel. Don't forget that they brought up Daniel late last year. And they brought him up over bringing up players at other positions of need.

I do expect the Packers to draft a CB. Thompson does just about every year.

I do agree with you that if there is an injury to the position it will hurt. But that is with every position.

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