Underrated Cornerbacks (Sleepers/Gems)

By Nolan Kuzmick, Ourlads’ Draft Analyst

Walt Aikens-Liberty, Sr: Long physical corner, plays best in press man. Makes contact at the line and throws off route timing. Nice turn and run, step for step with receivers. Has a good pop to jar the ball loose and makes sure tackles. Drives legs and wraps up. Good zone responsibility and can read the QB and make the pick, good job running with the ball in his hands. Could improve his breaks on routes and sticking with smaller shifty receivers that can create space from him. Low level competition, but did a nice job at the Senior Bowl where most of his trouble came from Jalen Saunders. Projected 5th-6th round, worthy of a 3rd-4th round selection

Antone Exum - Virginia Tech

Antone Exum- Virginia Tech, rSr: Leading tackler at safety, converted to corner in 2012 and out the majority of his senior season with an ACL/ankle. This defensive back is big, strong and physical from the line throughout the route. He is versatile with speed, capable of playing any spot in the secondary and will fit in well on special teams. Explosive out of his cuts. Can play tight man, lays the wood like a safety (needs to wrap up) and has a knack for breaking up passes, getting his hand on the ball at the last second. Ran man on Sammy Watkins and performed well. Fast close on the ball and reaches his arm in front of receivers to knock the ball down. Looked healthy at the combine, and he provides a lot of value to the team that takes a chance on his leg recovery. Projected 4th round, provides late 1st to 2nd round talent when healthy

Travis Carrie–Ohio, rSr: Solid size, speed and athleticism. Does a nice job of turning and running with the receiver and playing physical throughout the routes. Shows a fast jump on the ball, can beat receivers back to it and shows good hands to intercept the ball. Bump and run style frustrates receivers. Has experience returning punts and runs smooth with the ball in his hands, naturally flows to lanes. Likes contact, is a physical tackler that is always in the mix. Has been beat on the deep ball and could improve not letting receivers get behind him. Projected FA, shows 5th round talent

Demetri Goodson-Baylor, rSr: Transitions well from back peddle to turning and running with receivers. Good straight line speed. Breaks well on the ball and lays a nice pop coming back on the ball. Doesn’t get very involved in the running game often. Needs to work on his form tackling as he puts his head down and dives losing vision and missing tackles. Gets his hand between the receivers hands to prevent the completion. Positions himself and gets his hands on the ball, could improve his catching to turn those opportunities into turnovers. Has shown his vertical ability to go up and come down with the ball. Technique things to work on, but an impressive baseline ability to work with. Projected FA, looks like a 5th round talent

Keon Lyn- Syracuse, Sr- Big physical defensive back that packs power in his hits. Wraps up receivers and swings them to the ground. Looks natural with his zone reads and ability to find and play the ball. Gets up and tips the ball away, deflecting it from receivers or makes the pick. Good hands to bring in the interceptions and smooth as the ballcarrier. Suffered a leg injury that made his miss the majority of his senior season, which will enable a team to get a mid round talent in the last couple of rounds.  Projected 7th rounder, has 4th round talent

Chris Davis –Auburn, Sr: Great jump on the ball. Willing to take a risk to jump the route and take it to the house. Dangerous return man for punts, can’t forget his game winning return against Alabama. All over the receiver, makes his presence felt. Bigger receivers have outperformed him (Kelvin Benjamin the last drive of the Championship game). He really impressed me at the Senior Bowl practices. The most impressive look was when he held tight coverage down the sideline on Jordan Matthews and jumped up to play the ball and knock it out of the air not giving Matthews a chance to make the reception. The best part of his game is his ability to stick to the receiver throughout the route with good quick feet and hip movement and explosive cuts. Projected 4th-5th round, a 3rd round target with upside

BJ Lowery – Iowa, Sr: Quick feet and turn and run, sticks with wideouts and is physical throughout the route. Gets on the ball and reaches around to physically knock the ball down. Likes contact, is involved in the running game and lines up all over the field. Doesn’t have the quickest break on the come backs, but has a lot of talent and can contribute on special teams with the instinct, hitting ability and speed. Needs to turn and find the ball. Good size, hits and fills like a linebacker. Constantly batting the ball down with one hand pressing the receiver. All over receivers, but plays without many penalties. Nice job timing his jump on the long ball and can get up and make the one handed pick. Solid man coverage, blankets WRs. Gets on his heels and cannot come out of his breaks back to the ball soon enough, killed him a few times against ISU where Quenton Bundrage was able to cut back make the play and get past him for the TD. Improve his balance and not get on his heels, explode out of breaks and he’ll be a force. Projected FA, worth a 6th round pick

Andre Hal- Vanderbilt, Sr: Evades blockers and wraps up low to make the tackle in run support. Good pursuit angles, doesn’t give up on plays. Allows short ins and comebacks, but doesn’t allow yards after the catch, making the tackle immediately. Backpeddle to turn and run transition could be smoother, but runs well with the receiver and can get his hand in there and break up the pass. Once he has turned to run, has a hard time breaking back on the comebacks. In the redzone does a nice job of getting in front of the receiver and positioning himself to make the breakup or interception. Big targets can beat him behind and up high, needs to find and play the ball in those situations. As the receiver attempts to bring the ball in he gets his hand in there to jar it loose. Projected 7th round, worthy of 6th round

Courtney Bridget Jr- Hampton, rSr: Lanky corner that has good mobility and cuts for a tall player. Has good hip movement and foot placement to stick with receivers and keep himself in position. Shows a solid jump on routes and has good arm length to swat the ball away. Lacks ideal physicality, strength and tackling form/power. Will need to work hard in the weight room to add strength, improving his explosion and drive when tackling, as he often catches the ballcarrier instead of exploding through them. This would improve his ability to be physical jamming receivers and throughout their routes.  Projected FA, would be a developmental 7th round pick

Winston Wright- South Dakota State, Sr: This guy flies around the field making plays. Looks like a solid special teamer. Great job of making open field tackles while maintaining a high speed, first one down the field on kickoffs making the low hit without much time to break down. Breaks up passes by diving in front of balls and smacking them down. Has a high end speed, won’t give up on plays, chases players down from behind to save TDs, good pursuit angles. Lower level of competition, but one of my favorite sleepers at defensive back. Projected FA, worthy of a 5th round pick.

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