I feel bad for the modern-day cornerback. They are set up by the league to fail at there job. All of the rules are geared for wide receivers and quarterbacks to have more impressive stats. Imagine trying to cover the best athletes in the world but you can barely touch them most of the time. The crazy thing is that sometimes corners are in perfect position but still get beat because receivers and quarterbacks are that good right now.
Last year’s corner group wasn’t exactly a deep group of players. Players like Greedy Williams and Byron Murphy headlined the class for a lot of scouts on Twitter but neither player was drafted in the first round. This year, the corner group is probably the most impressive position group I’ve watched so far this summer. I complained last week that I didn’t have enough good linebackers but this week I have too many good corners. If you feel like a corner you love is super low on the list don’t fret because there is a good chance I actually liked them. This class is so deep that I ran out of time to get to a couple of players I think have the potential to be top 50 players. Here’s the crazier part, however, I believe that all 5 of the corners I will highlight today could be first-round picks when April rolls around.
As always any comments or questions hit me up on Twitter @DanteCollinelli.
Paulson Adebo, Junior, Stanford
The Paulson Adebo hype train has officially left the station on draft Twitter, and I am on board. Adebo was one of the last players I watched this week and he blew me away right off the bat. His natural length and athletic ability are just off the charts, especially when closing on the ball. He competes at the catch point on every play while his long arms give him plenty of opportunities to make PBUs and interceptions. This kid makes up so much ground when asked to close on the ball its insane. Adebo closes horizontally with pure speed and burst so often that teams don’t even run crossing routes at him anymore. Obviously, with all of these skills you want to see great ball skills and Adebo has those too. It’s hard to find a rep where Adebo gets legitimately beat. Sure, you will find reps where he gives up a catch but he’s always in the correct place at the correct time sometimes QBs and WRs are just that good. He stays sticky in coverage and always puts himself in a position to make a play on the ball by understanding leverage. If Adebo declares this season I would be beyond shocked to see him fall out of the first round. His natural skillset combined with technical prowess is just to good to pass up.
Bryce Hall, Senior, Virginia
Oh, baby! I’m so excited that Byrce Hall is finally going to be in a draft class and can’t go back to school this year. You have to understand that Adebo and Hall are less like 1 and 2 and more like 1A and 1B. I scouted Hall last season because there was a chance he could have come out. I was ready to make him my CB 1 in 2019 but then he broke my heart and decided to go back to school. Bryce Hall is the best down the field cornerback that I have scouted so far in my career. This man funnels people to the sideline and then bullies them at the catch point so efficiently that you should stick to throwing underneath routes against him. His length and acceleration don’t make throwing underneath routes any better though. Hall closes on the ball so quickly with burst and anticipation he makes QBs think twice even if there appears to be an opening. Hall is a smooth mover with fluid hips and quick feet too. Like Adebo, there just isn’t a lot of things that he doesn’t do well. One thing that stuck out with Hall is that he fills his gaps in the run game extremely well. His tackling isn’t fantastic but it’s rare to find a sure tackling corner. Hall’s mentality in the running game is what counts, if you ask me, and his tough mentality stays with him while in coverage. The battle between Adebo and Hall for my CB 1 will be one of the most hotly contested spots on my board.
Kristian Fulton, Senior, LSU
In a lot of other classes, I think Fulton is probably an unquestioned CB 1 but this year is just stacked. Fulton shines when asked to change directions in coverage and mirror receivers down the field. He always established good positioning down the field and made plays on the ball. His athletic ability shows up when has to compete with bigger, faster receivers. He’s got the long speed and burst to keep with anyone at any spot if that wasn’t clear already. I love how smart of a player he is too. Fulton understands route stems and when to break on routes that are developing in front of him. Even at the catch point, you can see him do things that are considered “veteran traits”. He attacks the elbows of receivers and always follows through their hands which allows him to affect the ball without actually touching it. So, I guess the question now is: Why is he down here at number three? Two things bothered me ever so slightly about him. One, he got a little dinged up last year but nothing too serious. Two, I saw him get beat by a couple of double moves while peaking into the backfield. It’s not a gigantic problem for him it just happens once in a while. Overall, Fulton is a smooth, athletic, and smart corner who still has a shot to be CB 1.
Jeffery Okudah, Junior, Ohio State
Wow, really shocking that Ohio State has another top of the line CB prospect but here we are. I am convinced that the Atlanta Falcons were watching Jeffery Okudah instead of Kendall Schefflied and then were shocked when he was available in the fourth round. Anyway, lets actually talk about Okudah instead of making fun of his former teammates. The first thing that jumped out to me about Okudah was how good he was of tracking and staying with receivers all over the field. The first play on the thread below is one of the more impressive reps I saw from any corner this summer and shows off exactly what I’m talking about. Okudah has the length to make an impact on the ball at the catch point and he does when coming downhill. His closing speed in zone coverage is great and his long speed is perfect for man coverage. For Okudah, I think his stock would soar if he improved his ball skills just a little bit. Yes, he makes plays on the ball downhill but vertically he can get out of position at times. Interceptions aren’t the end all be all of corner play but I would like to see some more from him this year. Okudah has all the tools to be a press-man corner at the next level which we know the NFL is salivating for.
Trevon Diggs, Senior, Alabama
Hey, here is another shock right? Alabama with a good cornerback? That never happens. All jokes aside Trevon Diggs might be the most underrated good cornerback in the 2020 class which is amazing because he plays at Alabama. Diggs has vines for arms. He’s got some crazy length and it shows up all the time. Think you are gonna outreach him at the catch point? Well, let me be the first to tell you that you will not be able to. His mirroring skills down the field are also impressive. He moves smoothly for a bigger player and does a great job flipping his hips when he needs too. His long speed might be his best trait when comes down to it. If you watch him play against DK Metcalf last year you will see that he was keeping up with him stride for stride. Some of the areas I would like to see Diggs improve in are route recognition and reaction time. Occasionally receivers will set him up for inside routes and he’s just a little late catching on allowing for the completion to be made. Once he gets better in that area then there is nothing stopping him from becoming a bonafide first-round corner.
Number 6: AJ Terrell, Junior, Clemson
Number 7: CJ Henderson, Junior, Florida
Number 8: Mark Gilbert, RS Junior, Duke
Number 9: Jaylon Johnson, Junior, Utah
Number 10: Damon Arnette, Senior, Ohio State
Number 11: Julian Blackmon, Senior, Utah
Number 12: Troy Pride Jr, Senior, Notre Dame
Number 13: Levert Hill, Senior, Michigan
Number 14: Chase Lucas, RS Junior, Arizona State
Players I need to Watch:
Number 1: Linwood Crump, Senior, Temple
Number 2: Harrison Hand, Junior, Temple
Number 3: Chris Fredrick, Senior, Syracuse
Number 4: Jeff Gladley, Senior, TCU
Number 5: Kindlor Vildor, Senior, Georgia Southern