Building your draft board position by position - week 4: Cornerback
Week Four is here and it is time to put together your Cornerback (CB) boards. We had a lively discussion on Wide Receivers before the CBA stole the headlines and capologists, but not very many people offered up their own board ideas (you can always go back to one of these threads and update your thinking), I hope a few more folks will have CB suggestions - we can't be guaranteed to take Richard Marshall, Antonio Cormartie, or Ashton Youboty in the first round and have all our troubles resolved, who might be available later?
To prepare for this week I've been looking at a different resource; http://web1.ncaa.org/d1mfb/mainpage.jsp Under national rankings on the left, you can find leaders in interceptions, passes defensed, and forced fumbles. You can also find leaders on Punt or Kickoff Returns who, like Ellis Hobbs III, bring additional Special Teams value.
I'm appreciative of the participants who offer up their analysis of the type of player BB/SP has an interest in, and expect the discussion regarding the juxtaposition of ints to PDs at the intersection of ballhawks and picked on players to be quite interesting!
As in previous weeks, I'd appreciate knowing why you think a particular player fits in the Pats' system and where you dug up your information on the player's performance. If you return to update your board, I ask that you include a color highlight to make the update stand out.
One last reference for those who haven't yet found it; http://www.nfl.com/draft/analysis/individual_workouts.
What to look for in a Pats prospect at CB:
(1) Outstanding tacklers. That is the one thing that all BB DBs have in common. They all wrap up. First and foremost.
(2) Quickness, more than speed. And speed, too, if you have it.
(3) Physical play. All our best DBs lay the lumber. Wilson and Samuel are like an NFL highlight reel for Jacked-Up... and that's no mistake. Players like Tye Hill are cover corners... to much finesse for the Pats. Need to be able to solo tackle a 250# TE running with a head of steam.
(4) Good hands. Samuel and Wilson have good hands. The defensive philosophy of bend-dont-break is premised on the assumption that an offense will make at least one mistake if they're forced to put the ball in the air often enough as they drive the field. The secondary has to have the ball skills to make that one mistake pay off.
(5) Smarts. The scheme is complex. You have to know where all the players are on the field. Switching to zone or man coverage, playing tight or deep, how often have we seen players struggle to grasp this scheme?
(6) Height and size are not deciding factors. In fact, for players where height makes you slower, it's probably a bad thing. BB has repeatedly said that shorter players can be effective if they have good technique. Even the tallest receivers have to get both feet down and make a football move with the ball secured. If a CB is in position as the ball is coming down (how often have we seen this from our players?), they just need to get their arm between the receivers arms, and rip the space where the ball has to be in order to demonstrate control. You dont have to breakup the pass in the air, you can wait as the receiver comes down to make the play and give him a good whack.
(7) Leadership. That's a high value nice to have for all Pats draft picks. Leaders inspire work ethic, and once you have a critical mass of leadership on a team, then the coaches can focus on planning for the opponent, instead of getting their own players in the right frame of mind.
My two favorites are Whitner (who's a CB/FS tweener... like Wilson)
Is there a knock about Ty Hill I wasn't aware of? Thought the consensus was he's tough, physical, a good tackler and supports the run well??? He is also supposed to be durable, a trait the Pats really need in the secondary. I thought his knock was his Asante hands. Sometimes dropping a sure interception, while making the tough ones. But isn't that why they're DB's and not WR's?
Hill has 4 tackles for loss out of 43 total tackles; 35 solo tackles, 4 passes defensed, 3 ints, and a forced fumble. The stats read like a sure tackler who supports the run and for 5'9" 180 has some punch. I'd be more concerned about the sloppy technique he showed in the Senior Bowl practices/game.
RookBoston that's a good list of qualities that BB likes in DBs. There is however one that I want to add to that list:
Ball Skills when the ball is in the air, the ability to locate and track the ball. You can be the fastest and quickest DB in the world, but if you can't snap that head around and locate and track that ball in the air, you aare not going to be a good CB. Greatest example ever of this - Tebucky Jones. Pete "the rete" Carroll could never figure out that Jones just could not play with his back to the QB, because he couldn;t find the ball. It was so painful to watch. This skill is so important and yet so few CBs coming out of college seem to have this figured out. I've heard BB talk many times about this when speaking of DBs. It's clear to me that he places a high value on it.
Also you listed that decent height is not required for BB and I agree with that 100%. I also want to add that fluid hips are also not required, which is really weird, but like I said before, BB makes it work.
CB early candidates on my board.
Hill - fast and quick, but he gives up a lot of underneath stuff. Also he probably could not start for the Pats as a rookie.
Marshall - decent ball skills. I worry about his experience and maturity.
Joseph (South Carolina) While experience is a concern, however level of competition is not. He impressed me at the combine. (I wonder if he benefited by playing in the same defensive backfield as Ko last season.)
Every year it seems BB drafts a DB that makes me say - who??? (Brock Williams, Hobbs, etc.) So this year I'm picking the guy that I think fits the Pats schemes to a tee, but doesn't get any love from the draftniks or media. His name is Gipson of Oregon. He's only 5'8" and 185 lbs, but he has tremendous ball skills as well as many other characteristics that rookboston listed above. He was a sporting news second team all america.
nfldraftcountdown has this to say: "Will he be able to hold up physically at the next level?...Will have a hard time being as physical with pro receivers as he was with them in college" http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/sco...b/tyehill.html
What does that mean? I dont know, but asking questions about physicality is a red flag for me.
Law, Harrison, Milloy, Wilson, Samuel... they're all headhunters. BB likes having headhunters in the secondary. Unless Hill is a headhunter, he's not on the Pats draft board.
Believe what you want about Hill. In the right system, he could be a breakout player. I dont want to convince you I'm right based on thin, secondhand knowledge and conjecture. They say, opinions are like *********s...
CB has been an interesting challenge; TV angles never give you a good look at a CB's game and I made more work for myself after finding the abundance of statistics on the NCAA pages. I currently have a spread sheet with 80 players on it... :bricks:
To thin that down I've looked at two columns, interceptions and career interceptions as my starting point. Below is a list of players who have been productive with career interceptions who collected half or less their final year.
Key: PD = Passes Defensed
TT = Total Tackles
ST = Solo Tackles
TFL = Tackles For Loss
Int = 2005 Interceptions
CInt = Career Interceptions
FF = Forced Fumbles
CFF = Career Forced Fumbles
FR = Fumble Recovery
PRavg = average Punt Return
KRavg = average Kick Return
BLK = Blocked Kick
Sack = Sack
QBH = QB Hurries
40 = 40 yard dash
3-cone = 3 cone drill
broad jump = broad jump
u = unofficial score
Richard Marshall 5'11" 189 Fresno State: PD-11 TT-78 ST-57 TFL-1 Int-3 CInt-9 FF-1 CFF-1 FR-1 KRavg-22.57 40-4.42 3-cone-6.65 broad jump-10'9" - Comment: The high number of solo tackles and passes defensed makes you think they picked on him...
Gabriel Fulbright 5'10" 169 New Mexico: PD-3 TT-39 ST-29 Int-5 CInt-14 PRavg-7.68 KRavg-19.59 - Comment: 3 passes defensed and 29 solo tackles, looks like they went away from him.
John Eubanks 5'10" 176 Southern Mississippi: PD-4 TT-31 ST-28 TFL-3 Int-4 CInt-10 FF-1 CFF-1 KRavg-24.21 - Comment: It looks like they went away from him.
Jovon Johnson 5'9" 177 Iowa: PD-11 TT-67 ST-50 TFL-1 Int-3 CInt-15 PRavg-17.38 - Comment: He was picked on, he struggled against Brandon Marshall in the Hula Bowl but was the guy on Marshall most often....
Marcus Hudson 6'2" 200 NC State: PD-11 TT-56 ST-34 TFL-2 Int-2 CInt-8 BLK-1 - Comment: A high passes defensed, but it looks like he wasn't picked on that much and it may just have been he is good at breaking on the ball. Didn't play in the Senior Bowl or work out at the Combine due to a sprained knee.
Kevin Stanley 6' 175 Nevada: PD-15 TT-45 ST-36 TFL-2 Int-1 CInt-13 PRavg-9.95 - Comment: High passes defensed, but a reasonable solo tackle number, he may have a good break on the ball.
Jarrett Bush 6'1" 198 Utah State: PD-13 TT-50 ST-32 TFL-2 Int-2 CInt-7 Sack-1 QBH-1 - Comment: As in Stanley above, it looks like he has a good break on the ball. Gil Brandt on NFL.com didn't list any of the Utah State players from their Pro-Day, even though 20 teams had scouts there...
Willie Smith 6' 197 Marshall PD-8 TT-38 ST-25 TFL-1 Int-2 CInt-8 - Comment: Looks like he has a good break on the ball.
Antonio Malone 5’11.75” 200 Toledo PD-9 TT-38 ST-20 TFL-2 Int-1 CInt-6 FF-1 CFF-1 40-4.63u - Comment: 18 assisted tackles suggests he gets around the ball a lot, his passes defensed/solo tackle ratio looks good too. He was a bit stiff in drills at the combine. Mayock reported he is a tough CB.
Ashton Youboty 6'1" 188 Ohio State: PD-9 TT-56 ST-42 TFL-6 Int-1 CInt-5 FR-1 BLK-1 Sack-1 - Comment: Passes defensed/solo tackles suggest he is picked on....
Travis Johnson 6'1" 191 Mississippi: PD-5 TT-34 ST-28 TFL-3 Int-1 CInt-7 FF-3 CFF-3 FR-1 - Comment: 3 career forced fumbles, this kid hurts people.
Jimmy Williams 6'2" 213 Virginia Tech: PD-5 TT-44 ST-22 TFL-2 Int-1 CInt-9 Sack-1 QBH-2 - Comment: 22 assisted tackles, he is around the ball.
Charles Gordon 5’10” 183 Kansas: PD-3 TT-28 ST-15 TFL-2 Int-2 CInt-9 FF-1 CFF-2 PRavg-9.71 Sack-1 QBH-1 40-4.61 Broad Jump-9’5”/9’7”u - Comment: Opposing teams seem to be staying away from him...
Chris Williams 5'10"190 Colgate: PD-9 TT-52 ST-30 TFL-7 Int-4 CInt-9 FF-1 CFF-3 BLK-1 QBH-1 - Comment: Looks like he has a good break on the ball and hits like a truck...
Blake Saunders 5'9" 170 Delaware State: PD-12 TT-51 ST-38 TFL-3 Int-3 CInt-10 FF-2 CFF-4 - Comment: Looks picked on, but he also hits like a truck.
David Pittman 5'11" 171 Northwest Louisiana State: PD-9 TT-35 ST-27 TFL-1 Int-1 CInt-11 FF-1 CFF-1 40-4.44 - Comment: Looks like a good break on the ball and teams are avoiding him, my favorite for the best CB in the Senior Bowl.
Michael Ford 6'2" 190 Duquesne PD-13 TT-41 ST-28 TFL-4 Int-5 CInt-13 FF-1 CFF-5 FR-2 - Comment: Looks like he has a great break on the ball and good hands too, nice career forced fumbles.
Quinton Teal 6'1" 187 Coastal Carolina: PD-7 TT-66 ST-38 TFL-3 Int-5 CInt-13 FF-1 CFF-1 BLK-2 QBH-1 - Comment: Looks like this kid is around the ball a lot.
David Jiles 5'9" 180 Monmouth: PD-6 TT-40 ST-34 Int-4 CInt-8 PRavg-4.6 KRavg-24.38 - Comment: Looks like they avoided him...
Etienne Boulay 5'9" 180 New Hampshire: PD-9 TT-66 ST-47 TFL-2 Int-5 CInt-13 FF-1 CFF-1 KRavg-21.78 - Comment: Looks like they picked on him and paid for it...
Cletis Gordon 6'2" 195 Jackson State: PD-1 TT-41 ST-28 TFL-1 Int-4 CInt-11 PRavg-7.7 KRavg-23.44 BLK-1 - Comment: looks like they wanted to avoid him...
Clint Kent 5'10" 190 James Madison: PD-9 TT-61 ST-35 TFL-4 Int-4 CInt-13 - Comment: Looks like this kid is around the ball a lot.
Stephen Cason 6' 210 William & Mary: PD-5 TT-65 ST-37 TFL-3 Int-4 CInt-8 KRint-22.65 Sack-1 - Comment: Another kid around the ball a lot.
Gipson is an interesting choice, he didn't make my initial screening because most of his interceptions came this past season, but I already intended to take another look at him when I look at guys who had big senior years.
Yo Box, you bring up an intereesting point when you talk about the big senior season for Gipson. (who only ran a 4.6. Ouch!)
All things being equal and not being player or position specific (forget about case by case basis) , which player is the bigger risk for an NFL GM on draft day , (1) the player that had 3 ordinary seasons and then a super senior season or (2) The player that has a huge junior season but then can't follow it up and disappoints a bit during the senior season.
Since we're in a CB thread: a CB who had good interception numbers as a sophomore and junior may have lower numbers as a senior because his counterpart is being picked on to avoid him. Or, his front seven may be allowing RBs 7 yds a pop.
The initial impression for a senior CB who moves from solid numbers to league leading numbers has to be positive. The question then arises, is this an individual improvement or a result of other factors? Can it be duplicated at the next level?
At first blush, I would be inclined to favor the senior who had 4 and 5 interceptions as a sophomore and junior, then dropped to 1 as a senior, over one who had 1 each of the previous years and burst out with 5 his senior campaign. But that is statistics, both would be flagged for closer study because they were productive with the ball in the air.
To answer your GM risk question, both scenerios pose an equivalent risk until you dig into the specifics of the individual case. Making a blind judgement on statistics is something a draftnik does :D , or a GM we want working for the Bills, Jets, or Dolphins :rolleyes: .
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