NFL Draft: Top Five Cornerbacks
Joe Skinner, Jeremy Ganes and Hunter Pitcoff dicsuss the top five cornerbacks in the 2018 NFL draft:
The highly anticipated 2018 NFL Draft is creeping closer with each passing week, and it’s time to analyze another position group of prospects: The Cornerbacks. Here are my top five Corners in the 2018 NFL Draft:
Denzel Ward (Ohio State):
The Buckeyes seem to be producing NFL-starting caliber defensive backs at a virtually automatic rate, aren’t they? Maybe not literally, but Denzel Ward is yet another premier Buckeye corner. Ward is athletic enough to stick with any top-flight NFL wideout, with his sub 4.4 40 yd-dash speed, and also possesses the strength to press receivers at the line of scrimmage. Ward has also been praised for his pristine footwork, excellent ball-hawking skills and should be liable to force a few turnovers as a pro.
Josh Jackson (Iowa):
Another standout defender from the Big Ten, Jackson is a big-time prospect but sits just a notch lower than Ward. Jackson has the ideal height and arm length that scouts look for, complemented by great natural instincts for knocking down passes in midair. Jackson also has a flair for big-time performances, with multi-interception games against Ohio State and Wisconsin. Jackson also has notable intangibles, like his lead-by-example attitude that is evident in his practice and weight room habits. There is concern that he might be a one-year wonder, but that one year is so good, Jackson is almost assuredly a first-round selection.
Carlton Davis (Auburn):
Even more than Jackson, Davis’ physical traits scream shutdown man corner. His arm length is
even considered above average for NFL D-backs. This wingspan and tough frame work to his advantage when attempting to jam opposing receivers at the line. A favorite tactic of his is to push wideouts out of the play, close to the boundary. He possesses quick hands that tear the ball away from receivers and his awareness helps him track balls coming his way at all times. He has faced elite competition as an Auburn Tiger playing in the SEC, but also has some bad habits, like jersey grabbing when pressing or recovering.
Isaiah Oliver (Colorado):
Unsurprisingly, Oliver, a former Colorado star, has the measurables that scouts are looking for in a cover corner. He’s fast, has long arms and can stick with vertical routes, but he is also very raw and can be exposed when facing highly skilled and experienced receivers. He has violently quick hands that can pluck the ball away from his man, making him a threat to intercept the ball. He does have trouble covering some parts of the route tree, however, such as comeback routes and bump-and-run situations. Second moves often result in him leaving too much separation. He has a lot of potential, but does need some coaching in order to reach that potential.
Mike Hughes (UCF):
Hughes, a Central Florida product, is a classic boom-or-bust. He has a small amount of game tape relative to other prospects on this list and is shorter than talent evaluators would like. On the plus side, he’s tough, physical and aggressive in his play style. Rather than just jam a receiver’s route, his intentions are to stop the route in its entirety. His ball skills are nearly receiver-level good and his timing is impeccable on pick attempts. His 40-time and game tape show that he will be able to go stride for stride with even the speediest of receivers. To top all of that off, he has a good future as a kick returner.
Jeremy Ganes is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
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Hunter Pitcoff is involved in multiple clubs and organizations in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. He is the Executive Producer and On-Camera Personality for Penn State Sports Night, the News Producer for PSN News, and member of the Centre County Report. Hunter holds a part-time live events support position with Penn State Athletics, too. On top of that, he also does a weekly radio show with CommRadio called “The Shootaround”, and hosts the podcasts “Ball Don’t Lie” and “Run N’Gun” with Penn State Sports Night. Hunter hopes to pursue a career in the sports media industry when he graduates in 2021.