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Joe Arrigo's 2012 Draft Series: CB Evaluations

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Arrigo, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. Arrigo

    Arrigo Cheesehead

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    When I look at the 2012 cornerback class I have mixed feelings. I see three really nice corners, but also some guys I wouldn’t want to draft in the mid rounds. This is a top heavy cornerback class with a couple late round sleepers.

    Here are my Top 10 Cornerbacks:

    1. Morris Claiborne – LSU – 5-11 – 188
    [​IMG] After Morris Claiborne was awarded the Jim Thorpe Award as the country’s top defensive back, for the second consecutive year the top defensive back selected in the draft will come from LSU. After Patrick Peterson set the NFL on fire with his return ability as a rookie, Claiborne enters the league with an equally-talented skillset that he’s ready to bring to a team. A two-year starter with 26 career starts for the Tigers, Claiborne produced 88 tackles, two tackles for loss, 12 pass breakups, and 11 interceptions in the past two seasons alone after tallying seven tackles in a backup role as a freshman; his best statistical season came in 2011 during his junior year when he recorded 51 tackles, one tackle for loss, six pass breakups, and six interceptions. Morris owns an elite skillset for the position with the height, length (33 inch arms), speed, and fluidity that you look for in a top prospect. An aggressive player, Claiborne is a natural in man coverage where he has shown over the past two seasons to be on the verge of developing into a potential shutdown cornerback. Experienced in both press and man-off, Morris is very effective when playing close to the line of scrimmage, as he has displayed a strong ability to get an effective jam at the line of scrimmage before riding the receiver down the field while staying in his hip pocket. A nimble defender with the quick-twitch athleticism needed to be a star, Morris has the loose hips and flexibility along with great short-area quickness to accelerate in and out of his breaks, and I really like his ability to flip his hips in transition with ease 219 before quickly turning and running down the field. He’s extremely quickly in small spaces, which allows for him to effectively mirror defenders down the field. Claiborne has shown an elite ability to drive downhill to make a play on the ball. Down the field, he does a terrific job of trailing right behind the receiver while at the last second either sticking his arm out to deflect the ball away or
    accelerating, turning his body, and then leaping to pluck the ball out of the air. Claiborne has some of the best ball skills at the
    cornerback position that I’ve seen in the past few years, and his body control to climb the ladder, extend out, and high point the ball is outstanding. In off-man coverage, Morris displays some of the same traits as in press, however he has a great understanding of how to read a receiver’s route as well as the quarterback’s eyes to put himself in better position to make a play. He’s a very heady, instinctive player who has a savvy understanding of the game and it appears to come easy to him. In zone coverage, Claiborne will need more refinement of his drops and technique, as there are times when he lets himself drift away from the area that he’s supposed to be covering and give the offense an opening, however with his range to close quickly on the action in front of him, as well as his ability to read the quarterback’s eyes before breaking on the ball, he has the tools needed to be effective in zone coverage as well at the next level. An aggressive player in defending the run, Morris will need to continue to get stronger and fill out his frame at the next level, as he’s still a rather lanky player, and could stand to add at least another 10-15 pounds to his frame. In the run game, I really like his ability to play downhill and react quickly to what he sees in front of him, however, he needs further development and refinement of his technique on how to break down in the open field and make a secure tackle, as there were a number of times the past two years when he would pursue the ball carrier before diving to attempt to make a shoestring tackle, and go right past the runner. Morris Claiborne has the talent, athleticism, physical tools, and instincts needed to develop into a Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback in the NFL. He will need minor tweaks with his technique in his game, however he has the skillset needed to contribute, and likely start immediately in the NFL.

    2. Stephon Gilmore – South Carolina – 6-0 – 190
    [​IMG] A former top recruit with the combination of size, speed, and athleticism that you desire at the cornerback position, Stephon Gilmore is a high-upside player whose best football may be coming in his future. A three-year starter with 40 starts for the Gamecocks, Gilmore produced 176 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, seven sacks, 17 pass breakups, and seven pass breakups; his best statistical season came as a sophomore in 2010 when he tallied 79 tackles, six tackles for loss, three sacks, two pass breakups, and three interceptions (41 tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, seven pass breakups, three interceptions as a junior in 2011). A former high school quarterback who only began to fully concentrate on playing defensive back as a true freshman, Gilmore is still in the early
    development stages of understanding the full nuances of the position, however he offers significant upside and promise given the
    220 production he’s amassed in just three years of playing the position full-time. Owning an ideal blend of height, length (31 inch arms), speed (4.40 40), and fluid athleticism, Stephon has all of the physical tools needed to have a successful career in the NFL. A natural in man coverage, Gilmore has more experience playing off-man than in press, however he has the tools needed to get an effective jam at the line of scrimmage. In off-man, he will give up too much cushion, however he understands how to sit low in his backpedal with great flexibility and balance while mirroring the receiver down the field. As he continues to gain experience at the position, the cushion will become a minor issue. Down the field, he displays the quickness and acceleration in and out of his breaks needed to make a play on the ball. Having recorded 24 passes defended in three years, he has natural ball skills with the vertical (36 inches) needed to compete with receivers for jump-balls down the field; in addition, his body control and awareness to put himself in the best position to make a play on the ball is very good. Gilmore displays inconsistent technique and instincts for the position, as there are times when he will diagnose the play and locate the ball wonderfully, however there are other times when he seems to struggle reading the action in front of him. His technique in playing man coverage is something that doesn’t worry me, as that will come with further coaching, as will the instincts. The more experience he gains playing the position, the more his instincts will improve, which is something that showed throughout his three-year career with the Gamecocks. I do feel that Stephon has some upside and potential in zone coverage and wouldn’t be opposed to moving him to safety. With his instincts and understanding of the game from a former quarterback’s perspective, as well as owning the straight-line speed, range, and ball skills that you look for at safety, I believe he could also have a lot of success here. An active defender in the run game, Gilmore does a great job of driving downhill when he has the opportunity to make a play behind the line of scrimmage, and has shown the short-area quickness and burst needed to be an effective blitzer in passing situations (seven career sacks). Stephon Gilmore offers the physical tools, talent, athleticism, and intangibles needed to develop into a very good defensive back in the NFL. He’s going to need more development as a cornerback and is far from a finished product, however I believe that as a safety prospect he could produce relatively early in his career because of his understanding of the game and style of play.

    3. Dre Kirkpatrick – Alabama – 6-1 – 186
    [​IMG] The top cornerback recruit in the country coming out of high school, Dre Kirkpatrick enters the NFL after having helped Alabama win two National Championships during his career. A two-year starter with 24 career starts for the Tide, Kirkpatrick has great experience from playing in the SEC and leaves Tuscaloosa having produced 91 tackles, eight tackles for loss, 16 pass breakups, and three interceptions over the course of his career; his best statistical season came in 2010 during his sophomore year when he tallied 53 tackles, four tackles for loss, seven pass breakups, and all three interceptions. A very confident cornerback who plays with a swagger, Dre is one of the most physical defensive backs in this year’s class and owns the combination of height, length, and speed needed to develop into a starting corner at the next level. Experienced in man coverage with the skillset that projects to both press and off-man at the next level, Kirkpatrick is a fluid athlete with no wasted motion when turning and running with the wide receiver down the field. An aggressive corner who fires his hands into the receiver to get an effective jam at the line of scrimmage, Dre rides the receiver down the field in man coverage while showing little hesitation to make contact to attempt to deflect the pass away. An explosive athlete who owns quick feet in and out of his breaks, Kirkpatrick offers the tools needed to match up with most receivers in man coverage at the next level, however lacks elite speed to stay with the fastest of wideouts that he’ll be matched up with. Dre is an instinctive player who reads and reacts very well to what he sees in front of him, and at times will trust his eyes too much. He takes some risks, which will result in pass breakups or interceptions, however they have also resulted in him getting beat deep for touchdowns, so this is something that he’ll need to continue to work on at the next level. In off-man coverage, he does a great job of smoothly dropping back while sitting low in his back pedal and reading the receiver’s route before accelerating out of his break to arrive at the receiver at the same time as the ball to bat the pass away. He has a heady understanding of how to plant and drive downhill, which also has translates well in the run game as well. Dre will need to play with more discipline with his physical play down the field, as he has been known to draw pass interference or illegal contact penalties down the field, and those only stand to increase if he doesn’t develop better discipline here. Kirkpatrick’s instincts and physical style of play project well to zone coverage as well, although he doesn’t own nearly as much experience there as he does in man. Dre’s ball skills and body control to elevate (35 inch vertical) are both what you look for at the position, however I wouldn’t consider him to be a ball hawk after producing just 19 passes defended in three years. Dre Kirkpatrick is a talented, athletic defensive back who owns the tools and skill-set needed to develop into a quality starting cornerback in both man and zone coverage schemes. He’ll need to continue to get stronger and develop better
    discipline with his physical nature, and because he is still an underclassman he may need some time to develop and transition to the
    speed of the next level. However, Kirkpatrick has everything that you look for in a future starting cornerback in the NFL.

    4. Janoris Jenkins – North Alabama – 5-9 – 191
    [​IMG] One of the most talented players in this year’s draft with some of the best all-around athleticism of any player available for selection in 2012, Janoris Jenkins is a player who must overcome significant character and attitude question marks in order to win over teams and be a top pick this year. After signing with the Florida Gators out of heralded Pahokee High School, Janoris was a star for the Gators for the first three years of his career before he was kicked off the team in the spring of 2011; in addition to being arrested once in 2009 after being involved in a fight, he was also arrested two times on drug-related events in a span of three months, the final straw being an arrest in April of 2011 on marijuana possession. After briefly considering entering the 2011 Supplemental Draft, Janoris opted to transfer to North Alabama. For Jenkins, who claims that he has matured and changed since he was kicked off the team at Florida, he will have an uphill battle leading up to the draft as he hopes to change his image for teams. A three-year starter at Florida and one-year starter at North Alabama, Jenkins was only the second true freshman in Gator history to start at cornerback on opening day. Throughout his four-year collegiate career, Janoris totaled 174 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 29 pass breakups, and 10 interceptions; after recording 121 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 25 pass breakups, and eight interceptions in 36 career starts at Florida, Janoris tallied 53 tackles, four tackles for loss, four pass breakups, and two interceptions in his lone year at North Alabama. As confident of a defender as there is in this year’s draft, Janoris plays with a swagger on the field and does not back down from competition, rather sticking his nose into the mix no matter what the situation. A very instinctive player who reads and reacts very well to what he sees in front of him, Jenkins is a smooth and fluid athlete who flips his hips very quickly to turn and run down the field with a receiver. A quick-twitch defender whose explosion and burst to the ball are elite, Janoris has all of the skills that you look for in a shutdown cornerback in the NFL. To prove just how high his upside is at the next level, as a junior, Janoris matched up with both former Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green and former Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones, two Top 10 overall picks in the 2011 Draft, and held them to a combined eight catches for 61 yards. Owning fantastic ball skills, Jenkins attacks the ball while it’s in the air with little hesitation to throw his body at the receiver to attempt to dislodge the ball on contact. He does a terrific job of positioning himself correctly to make a play on the ball and to shield the receiver away, and while he may not out-jump taller receivers, he displays great body control as he extends out to bat the ball away or intercept it. Janoris Jenkins has the talent, athleticism, tools, and skill-set needed to develop into a Pro Bowl starting cornerback for a team in the NFL. There will be risk with selecting him due to the off-field concerns, however if he can keep his head on straight at the next level, Jenkins has everything that I look for in a premier player capable of developing into a shutdown cornerback in the NFL.

    5. Josh Robinson – Central Florida – 5-10 – 199
    [​IMG] A player who has the potential to be one of the gems of this year’s draft, Josh Robinson has a rare combination of elite physical tools and exceptional instincts for the cornerback position. A three-year starter with 36 career starts for Central Florida, Robinson produced 176 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 36 pass breakups, and 10 interceptions throughout his college career; the most productive season of his career came in 2009 during his true freshman season when he made 69 tackles, one tackle for loss, eight pass breakups, and six interceptions. Although shorter than you’d prefer, Josh was the fastest player at the NFL Scouting Combine and offers elite physical tools with outstanding straight-line speed for the position. A natural in man coverage who offers the loose hips and fluid athleticism to mirror top receivers down the field, Robinson transitions very well in the open field and has no trouble turning and running down the field. Sitting low in his backpedal, Josh accelerates quickly out of his breaks with very nimble feet to make plays in small areas. He’s an explosive player who displayed his great athleticism at the Combine when he jumped 11-feet, 1-inch in the broad jump. Robinson is more experienced playing off than press in man coverage, however he does have the long arms (31 inches) and upper body strength ( 17 reps on bench) that you look for here to develop as a press corner At times, he will get a bit high when turning and getting vertical, however this is a minor technical flaw that can be coached up at the next level and should not impact where he gets drafted. For a cornerback to have 46 passes defended in just three years is simply extraordinary. Josh is a ball hawk who displays fantastic ball skills with his ability to read the quarterback’s eyes and break on the ball to make a play. In man coverage, he does a great job of trailing the receiver down the field before closing quickly at the last second to either bat the ball away or cut in front of the wideout to make the interception. Although his lack of height won’t help him in jump ball situations, his 38.5-inch vertical jump and great body control both help to make up for it, giving him the ability to climb the ladder and compete with taller receivers for the ball. Although it’s nitpicking, you’d like to see him turn some of his 36 pass breakups into more interceptions. Owning a skillset that also projects favorably in zone coverage, Robinson is a savvy defender with his ability to drop back, diagnose the play in front of him, before breaking on the ball. His timing and awareness are both excellent, showing an instinctive ability to drive on throws and has proven to be a true playmaker throughout his career for the Knights. After making the interception or recovering a fumble, Josh has a heady ability to get up the field quickly with great vision, and with his elite straight-line speed, has shown the ability to make plays with the ball in his hands, having returned two interceptions and one fumble for touchdowns during his career. An active defender in supporting the run, Josh locates the ball quickly and displays the reliability that you look for out on the edge to make a tackle in the open field. Josh Robinson has the tools to develop into a future No. 1 starting cornerback for a team. With his ability to play both man and zone coverage, experience as a returner, and elite physical tools and instincts, Robinson is a play that I am very high on.

    My Next 5
    6. Jayron Hosley – Virginia Tech – 5-10 – 178
    7. Casey Hayward – Vanderbilt – 5-11 – 188
    8. Trumaine Johnson – Montana – 6-1 – 204
    9. Alfonzo Dennard – Nebraska – 5-10 – 203
    10. Josh Norman – Coastal Carolina – 6-0 – 197

    Overrated: Norman- There are questions about his attitude and character. While he can play, do you trust him or will your team trust him after he gets paid? He also is not the smartest player on the field. He takes poor angles and struggles to break down when tackling. Lastly, Norman needs to fill out his frame, he is skinny.

    Underrated: Josh Robinson- He has been the best cornerback in his conference for two years in a row. He is a playmaker and will come up and play the run effectively. He blew-up the combine when he ran great 40 time, but his tape is even more impressive.

    Small School Sleeper: Chris Greenwood– Albion – 6-1 – 193: Greenwood has the size (6’1/196) and speed (4.41) to intrigue teams late in the draft. The level of competition is a huge question with Greenwood. He literally shut down half of the field for 3 years while attending Albion. Greenwood also has the type of personality that would make him a perfect fit in the locker room, humble, hard working and eager to learn. This kid is more of an athlete then CB right now, but if a team can tap into his potential, they could have a diamond in the rough .
     
  2. HyponGrey

    HyponGrey Caseus Locutus Est

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    Interesting... should we move Woodson back...
     
  3. okcpackerfan

    okcpackerfan Cheesehead

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    there are a lot of really complicated answers to your question, considering the packers defense and the fact woodson plays a cornerback, safety, and linebacker position throughout the course of almost every game. The short answer is no, I still trust woodson on almost every teams top receiver.
     
  4. HyponGrey

    HyponGrey Caseus Locutus Est

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    Not a question, more of an "if." If we move Woodson we have some viable options with a good pick likely to be available in the middle rounds. I still agree with you that I like him where he is though
     
  5. FrankRizzo

    FrankRizzo Cheesehead

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    The Packers like Chase Minnifield, and feel his knee checks out okay.
    Remember the name.
     
  6. ExpatPacker

    ExpatPacker Cheesehead

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    Arrigo: In your opinion will Josh Robinson still be around for the Packers to draft in round 3?

    Also I agree with Rizzo, what about Chase Minnifield?
     
  7. TJV

    TJV Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    This is Pro Football Weekly's draft value chart for CBs - not their evaluations but their guess at a league consensus about how teams value these players. A= first part of the round, B= mid round, and C= late round value.

    1A Morris Claiborne
    1B Stephon Gilmore
    1C Dre Kirkpatrick

    2A Josh Robinson
    2B Janoris Jenkins, Trumaine Johnson
    2C Alfonzo Dennard

    3A Casey Hayward, Dwight Bentley
    3B Jamell Fleming
    3C Brandon Boykin

    4A Jayron Hosley, Josh Norman
    4B Omar Bolden
    4C Shaun Prater, Asa Jackson

    5A Chase Minnifield
    5C Keith Tandy

    6A Leonard Johnson, Trevin Wade
    6B Ron Brooks
    6C Coty Sensabaugh

    7A Vincent Moss, Mike Harris, Micah Pellerin
    7B Jeremy Lane, Lionel Smith, Charles Brown
    7C Cliff Harris Chaz Powell, Antonio Fenelus

    If the Packers like Minnifield and this is close to being accurate they perhaps could get him with one of their comp picks at #132 or #133. If they really like him, perhaps they'll "reach" with their own fourth rounder at #123. Four picks in the seventh round may mean they take a flier on one of the nine listed in that round.
     

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