Courtesy of Justin Rasile
1) Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State Cowboys
Career Stats: 182 Tackles, 12 Interceptions, 32 Passes Defended
Height: 6'0 Weight: 202 lbs.
40 Yard Dash: 4.37 Seconds
Vertical: 35.5 Inches
A wide receiver playing cornerback? Perhaps, but when one is willing to come up and make a hard tackle, I think they will do just fine. Every time the ball is in the air, he does everything right. From knocking the ball away, to recovering after occasionally getting burned, to even picking the ball off, he is a true man to mancorner. He posses Patrick Peterson like moves once he has the ball in his hands and can take the ball to the house. Oh yeah, he is also a return man. Quick feet and soft hands give him a real shot at cracking the top ten in this year’s draft.
2) Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State Spartans
Career Stats: 167 Tackles, 10 Interceptions, 26 Passes Defended
Height: 5'11 Weight: 191 lbs.
40 Yard Dash: 4.51 Seconds
I may get hounded for this a little bit but I think Dennard is the best cover corner coming out in the draft. I constantly see the little things that he does right that somewhat reminds me of Darrelle Revis (DennardI
sland?). He reads the quarterbacks eyes better than the rest of his counterparts coming out in this years draft. He makes great plays once the ball is in the air and has the athleticism to catch the ball and then bring it to the house. He is a willing tackler and can make a big hit that can quickly re-energize a team. His energy is one that gets you excited just watching him. The biggest knock on him is his injury history. He has sat out multiple games with a variety of injuries that could scare some teams off.
3) Bradley Roby, Ohio State Buckeyes
Career Stats: 179 Tackles, 8 Interceptions, 41 Passes Defended
Height: 5'11 Weight: 194 lbs.
40 Yard Dash: 4.39 Seconds
Vertical: 38.5 Inches
Playmaker. That is the one word I would use to describe Bradley Roby. He made key plays at key moments during the Buckeyes’ season and he also had 5 touchdowns during his collegiate career. He is a very good open tackler that has the strength to grab just a single foot and bring down the ball carrier. That is a huge perk because in the NFL, you cannot be a Deion Sanders and not tackle. This kid can tackle. Despite getting burned a couple of times, he recovered quickly enough to come back to the ball and find a way to make a play on the ball or do whatever he could to make sure the receiver would not come down with the pigskin. If you are playmaker, there will be a spot for you in the NFL. There is a particular play against Michigan where he runs all the way across the field to stop a sure fired touchdown. I will always take a player like that on my team. He may get beat up in the jump balls, but with the right coaching, that is something that can be solved by high pointing the ball and punching it as soon as the receiver gets his hands on the ball.
4) Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech Hokies
Career Stats: 173 Tackles, 6 Interceptions, 32 Passes Defended
Height: 6'0 Weight: 190 lbs.
40 Yard Dash: 4.49 Seconds
One of the things that I constantly heard broadcasters broadcasting Fuller’s games say was that he ran the route better than the receiver would. This would put him in a great position to make a play on a ball. Fuller has some strong hands and is perfectly okay with just knocking the ball down, as opposed to risking it and going for the interception. Defensive backs are always told to knock the ball down, I guess this kid was listening (coachability). He has two other brothers that have been drafted into the NFL so he will have their experience and lessons to help get him as prepared as possible once he finally gets drafted by a team.
5) Jason Verrett, Texas Christian Horned Frogs
Career Stats: 160 Tackles, 9 Interceptions, 41 Passes Defended
Height: 5'9 Weight: 189 lbs.
40 Yard Dash: 4.47 Seconds
Vertical: 39 Inches
Physical freak? Yes. Short? Yes. Can he get it done in the NFL? You bet your sweet ass he can. This kid can flat out play. Despite his 5’9” frame, his forty was still an impressive 4.38 and he jumped out of the building. You can be worried about his size (and with good reason) but he will get bigger in those NFL training programs. He is a willing tackler and he does a very good job in coverage, as noted by the game against LSU in his senior year where no receiver could find time getting open. Ahem Odell Beckham Jr. He sticks to his man like glue and barely ever leaves a window open for the quarterback to throw the ball and if by chance the receiver does manage to get open, he has great closing speed to come in and blow the play up in anyway that he can. I also love guys that really contribute on special teams. Which is a big reason as to why I like Verrett, Roby, and Fuller.