The NFL Draft is fast approaching and the Combine starts in earnest tomorrow so TFDS is finishing up our rankings for each of the positions.
Today, we look at cornerbacks,a position that the Raiders so desperately need to upgrade from 2012:
1. Dee Milliner 6’2 200 lbs Alabama
Milliner has good size and fluid hips for the position. He shows great man to man skills, pressing his man at the line and running with him stride for stride.
He attacks the ball well in the air, with his head on a swivel and he’s always aware of where the ball is.
He will have trouble in zone coverage and most especially with backpedaling, not doing much of it at Alabama. A hitter more than tackler, Milliner nevertheless reads the play well and can stop his man when needed. He’s also able to rush up and support the run on the edge.
He may lack the speed to be a top pick but if he posts a 4.4 – 4.5 40 yard dash, it could put him in the discussion for the top 10.
Pro Comparison: Derek Cox (not as fast)
2. Johnthan Banks 6’2 190 lbs Miss State
Banks is a long, rangy athlete with 4.4 speed. He reads QBs and receivers well. A natural ball-hawk and the 2012 Jim Thorpe award winner, Banks always seems to be in the right place to make the play.
He needs to improve in the run game and I’d like to see more roughness in his game as he’s more of a finesse player.
However, he’s a hard-working, great personality that strives to be great and he has a great story behind him.
Pro Comparison: Nnamdi Asomugha
3. Xavier Rhodes 6’2 215 lbs Florida State
Rhodes is built from the ground up with a solid frame although he still has the the speed to take on NFL wide receivers. He gives good press at line of scrimmage, getting his hands on the wide out and re-directing his routes.
He runs with his man well down the field and reads the ball well to make the play. His over aggressive style could draw a lot of flags in the NFL, though.
He’s more of a hitter then tackler and he’ll need to work on wrapping up so that he can play well enough in run defense at the next level.
NFL Comparison: Dominique Rodgers Cromartie
4. Jordan Poyer 5’11 190 lbs Oregon State
Poyer really showed up well for Oregon State this year, making big play after big play and finishing the year with 7 interceptions. In fact, opposing teams stopped throwing his direction later in the year.
He shows great feet and hips when back pedaling and turn and run with his man. He reads plays well when in zone coverage because he played a lot of it at Oregon State.
He’s not a flashy guy in the return game but he definitely can do the job if needed.
Pro Comparison: Jabari Greer
5. Terry Hawthorne 6’0 190 lbs Illinois
He has all the tools to be a starting NFL Cornerback and he’s strong against the run. He can come up and defend a gap when the runner bounces outside.
Hawthorne doesn’t have strong press skills and he has a tendency to be too aggressive in his man coverage which, if he doesn’t temper himself with calculated risk, will either cause himself to be flagged or result in him getting beaten by the NFL’s bigger, stronger receivers WRs.
Hawthorne is better suited for a zone or Tampa 2 defense where he can sit in his zone and read plays, using his instincts to make plays.
Pro Comparison: Asante Samuel
6. Blidi Wreh-Wilson 6’1 190 lbs UCONN
A solid man-coverage cornerback with a rangy frame and good speed. He hasn’t really been tested because opposing teams seem to throw away from him.
He’s not great but he’s at least decent against the run. It may have been because he was coming back from an injury but he seemed stiff this year.
He does have a history of injuries which is a concern in the NFL. In fact he missed all of 2011 with torn ACL.
Pro Comparison:Ras-I Dowling