2010 Draft Prospects – Cornerback

Returning cornerbacks:
Brandon Anderson – minimum
Ronde Barber – 1 year, $3 million
EJ Biggers – minimum
Torrie Cox – 1 year, $1 million
Elbert Mack – exclusive rights free agent
Derrick Roberson – minimum
Aqib Talib – signed for 3 more years
Stoney Woodson – minimum

The Buccaneer cornerback situation isn’t pretty. We have one solid starter, a 13 year veteran thought to be done before last season, and a regressing two year undrafted free agent as our third guy. There’s zero depth, and one starter is needed. Who are the options in the draft?

Here are my rankings and thoughts on each one.

1) Joe Haden, Florida (5-11, 185)
legit shutdown corner; great ball skills and field awareness; gets vertical to make plays; fundamentally sound; hard to beat deep; nice hips and change of direction; wish he was just a bit bigger; can get lost in traffic

2) Patrick Robinson, FSU (5-11, 190)
intelligent defender; presses well; plus speed and agility; good play recognition skills; breaks well; I like his footwork; likes to play physical; sometimes takes bad routes to ball; never reached potential at FSU; will likely measure shorter than he’s listed

3) Perrish Cox, Oklahoma St (6-1, 196)
confident; makes plays; likes to be physical; good size and uses it size well; accomplished return man; not great speed but gets to high gear quickly; discipline/maturity issues; sent home from this year’s bowl game by coach; somewhat raw at CB; I see big upside with coaching and discipline; would put him at #2 if I knew he would grow up

4) Kyle Wilson, Boise State (5-10, 190)
confident; very experienced and productive; strong upper body; plays strong/aggressive; nice hips and footwork; sneaky blitzer; doesn’t waste too many steps; fine ball skills; developing sound all-round game; PR skills too

5) Brandon Ghee, Wake Forest (6-0, 191)
long legs and arms; thin build; nice ball skills; does a really good job of tracking the football in the air; very quick; effective blitzer; good tackler for his size; might get overpowered by bigger NFL receivers

6) Devin McCourty, Rutgers (5-11, 190)
high motor; plays bigger than he is; good in pursuit; KR skills; good straight line speed; not a great man/press coverage guy; doesn’t appear to have that much lateral quickness; thin build; looks a little tight; twin brother is on the Titans

7) Donovan Warren, Michigan (6-0, 182)
nice size; breaks on the ball really quick; tackles well; doesn’t give a ton of ground; doesn’t look very fluid; plays too physical at times; uses hands too much; takes himself out of position on occasion; good not great speed

8 ) Dominique Franks, Oklahoma (6-0, 192)
pretty good coverage skills; doesn’t give much ground; impressive speed; doesn’t lose stride with receiver; returns punts; not a lot of experience; inconsistent from what I’ve seen; not dominant

9) Amari Spievey, Iowa (6-0, 190)
a guy I really like; nice combo of size and athleticism; long legs; already has good size but plays even taller; impressive ball skills; not a ton of experience at the position; love his upside

10) Kareem Jackson, Alabama (5-11, 185)
pretty decent size, well built; doesn’t get pushed around by bigger receivers; nice coverage skills; good not great speed; experienced; showed improvement throughout his career; I like his potential; slow to react at times

11) Javier Arenas, Alabama (5-9, 198)
small; likes to play physical; tackles well; is eager to help in the run game; high effort guy; effective blitzer; uses his hands well when fighting blocks; PR skills are his best asset; doesn’t have great speed; might top out as a nickel corner and/or be limited to zone coverage

12) Syd’Quan Thompson, California (5-9, 187)
extremely experienced and durable; short/undersized; plays tough; initiates contact; times his jumps well; has Barber-like ability to dive in traffic and make a tackle; looks really good with the ball in his hands; not great coverage skills; really like him in this defense

13) Alterraun Verner, UCLA (5-11, 179)
decent size, looks taller than he is; long strider; good not great speed but seems to always stick with receiver; four year starter; could get a little stronger; great character; questionable upside; is he an NFL starter?

14) Jerome Murphy, USF (6-1, 185)
he’ll go higher than I have him rated; I just don’t like the guy; not sure he has the mental makeup to be a consistently productive pro; one game in particular stood out to me (vs. CIN); in addition to getting repeatedly burned, he drew multiple stupid flags

15) Trevard Lindley, Kentucky (6-0, 175)
competitive; playmaking talent is there but rarely seen; his stock really tanked this year; didn’t get any better at Senior Bowl; really thin; questionable upside; just is slow to react at times and doesn’t have make up speed to recover; I’ve obviously soured on him

16) Patrick Stoudamire, W. Illinois (5-11, 185)
17) Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Indiana (6-1, 205)
18) Chris Cook, Virginia (6-2, 212)
19) Walter Thurmond, Oregon (6-0, 185)
20) Devin Ross, Arizona (5-11, 173)

My round for round favorite – Amari Spievey
Late sleeper – Patrick Stoudamire
Most likely to be a Buc – Syd’Quan Thompson

Thoughts on this class and how the Bucs should go about business?