Building your draft board position by position - week 4: Cornerback

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by Box_O_Rocks, Mar 5, 2006.

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  1. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks Supporter Supporter

    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; 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;

    Have Fun!
  2. rookBoston

    rookBoston 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    #12 Jersey

    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)

    and Marshall
  3. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve In the Starting Line-Up


    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?
  4. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks Supporter Supporter

    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.
  5. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #12 Jersey

    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.
  6. rookBoston

    rookBoston 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    #12 Jersey

    Yeah, my read is that he's a cover corner with exceptional speed and smooth turns. Good man technique. The knock, and Mike Mayock called this out on NFL Network and I believed him, is that he's not a punishing hitter. More of a finesse back who can run with anyone.

    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"

    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 a$$holes...
  7. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks Supporter Supporter

    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

    1-A teams

    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 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-9’5â€/9’7â€u - Comment: Opposing teams seem to be staying away from him...

    1-AA teams

    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.
  8. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks Supporter Supporter

    re: Joe and Koe - you can actually take a positive from the production of two elite players having elite years in the same secondary - there had to be some excellent teamwork and that individual improvement where two teammates elevate off each other's game. I like it when guys have great games and lift each other to new levels of achievement.

    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.
  9. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #12 Jersey

    Risk Assessment

    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.
  10. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks Supporter Supporter

    We may want to give this its own thread; I would argue that it is position specific. Examples to consider are RBs behind new lines (assuming the disappointment is based on productive, but less spectacular seasons), WRs with new QBs or who get double & triple teamed while the other receivers suck. DEs who explode when the new DT forces double teams to keep him in check.

    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: .
  11. Carny

    Carny Rookie

    This is a good list but I'd also add footwork. After reading the scouting reports on the Wilson, Samuel and Hobbs, all of them were said to have good footwork, smooth and fluid.
    Considering BB's background as a defensive back coach and how he's a stickler for details, this makes sense to me.

    You're right about tackling. The tackle numbers on Wilson and Hobbs both stuck out. Corners tend to range from 40 to 50 tackles but both Wilson and Hobbs had a season where they notched 70 tackles. Samuel's numbers were more in the typical 40s but then again, he was a fourth round selection.

    Also, after reading scouting reports and seeing him on TV I've grown to like Zemaitis alot. But even though he's a good tackler, smart in zone coverage and possesses good ball skills, he employed a shuffle-and-bail technique that Penn State teaches their corners. Theoretically, that would have to be revamped in the Patriots system and it may be a significant enough drawback. Another cornerback who shuffled and bailed was Corey Webster and whether or not that was seen as a flaw in the Patriot's eyes, he was bypassed last year.
  12. gomezcat

    gomezcat It's SIR Moderator to you Staff Member Supporter

    I have a question about the "passes defenced" stat. Does it relate purely to those moments where a DB gets contact on the ball, or does it also relate to those occasions when a DB hits a receiver so hard at the moment of contact with the ball that he never actually catches it or loses control? That's a stat I'd love to see as it would demonstrate good coverage skills and physicality.
  13. drew4008

    drew4008 In the Starting Line-Up

    Whitner is a SS, and could maybe play FS with his speed. But he's a very productive tackler, who can make the big hit and play in the box as well. He's also a very good playmaker who can come up with INTs (something we need), and is a very dedicated student in the classroom. I definitely like him, and was able to grab him in the 3rd round of the last mock I was in, but now he's shot up. He's not a CB/FS tweener though, regardless of the system.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2006
  14. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #11 Jersey

    I think this is Cromartie's game. Yes, I know he only "started" one game in college. Much like Colvin only "started" one game in 2004 (I don't know if this is true or not, just trying to show that how many "starts" you get really isn't that important with rotations that teams use during a game). I remember the buzz about him early in his college career, and he showed at the combine that he has regained his quickness after his injury. He was clearly the best at the "turn" drill.

    I really like DeMario Minter as well. From my watching of the Bulldogs, he doesn't appear to have any holes in his game.
  15. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #12 Jersey

    Yo Dryheat, what is it about Minter's game that you like? Which of the characteristics we think BB like in CBs does he bring to the table????
  16. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #11 Jersey

    I'm expecting an important call, but briefly

    #1. Not an outstanding tackler, but an above average one for a corner.
    #2. Check.
    #3 Wouldn't call it a particular strength
    #4 Hands is definitely a weakness. But they're no worse than Asante's. How anyone can tell me Asante has "good hands" is beyond me.
    #5 Don't know. Probably won't know until he gets to prove or disprove it in the NFL. Georgia doesn't have the reputation of having a basic defense, but I couldn't speak intelligently regarding their corners specifically.

    I think we would call him a cover corner. But I disagree that BB tries to avoid those. Wilson was drafted as a cover corner. Terrell Buckley was a classic cover corner. And it took Law many years to become a good run-support tackler. I remember BB's mantra when signing Buckley the first time was that you "can never have too many guys who can cover." I think he'd like one.
  17. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve In the Starting Line-Up

    From what I've read on draftcountdown and elsewhere, and kind of using rook's value grouping thing, it seems that Jimmy Williams sits at the top of the class. If still around he represents his own value group at the top. Still, something says he's not our man, even if around at #21. He wont be there by the time we get to our next pick though.

    So, I see Youboty, Marshall, Hill, on that next value group. Rds 2-3.

    I then see a much bigger value group, somewhat overlapping in skills to the higher one. Included would be Cromartie, Joseph, Webb (if character issues aren't a factor) Maxy and possibly others. This group should all go in Late2 to rd 4. This group is where the true depth is seen in this draft for corners. Here is where the hidden jewel pick comes from, IMO. For this is where BB/SP will employ the value grouping theory and take advantage of their picks.

    Be easy on your critique...this is my first shot at it. Boy, its a lot easier to read it than to break it down for yourself!
  18. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks Supporter Supporter

    Let me see if I follow you:

    Value group one (1st round): Jimmy Williams

    Group two (late 1st/early 2nd): Marshall, Hill, Youboty

    Group three (late 2nd/4th): Cromartie, Joseph, Webb, Maxy, ...

    Your premise for grouping these players together would need explaining to clarify your thinking for us. For example, I lump Williams, Marshall, and Youboty together because they all have high career interceptions, but half or less came this year as teams tried to avoid them (productive with the ball in the air). I would consider Hill and Cromartie to be a seperate group of athletic and talented CBs, who are still raw, we saw that Hill was picked on for Moss' touchdown in the Senior Bowl, whether he was there as the best corner to cover the best WR or was being picked on because he could be fooled...who knows? The decision then comes down to which group offers the best value for the system.
  19. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve In the Starting Line-Up

    Uhhh, yeah, sort of. I see Williams as the only true first rounder. Not thinking he will slide as low as #21, though. Nor do I think he is worth the reach. I'd put him near the bottom of the first. Worth a trade down, but not up.

    I see Marshall and Youboty as nearly equal in value, skill, and Patriotability, if you will (see rooks quote on what BB/SP look for). Hill, although burned in the senior bowl, shows the capability to be a true cover corner. So although he failed at the senior bowl, I have him grouped with Marshall and Youboty. These are all second rounders in my opinion.

    The third group has Cromartie in it for his youth and inexperience, but could easily slide up to group two. That was my comment earlier. The others show all of the qualities that SP/BB look for in a corner. There were more, but as I said this is the area that could be as deep as 6-8 players. I see Joseph and Webb going in the third, and Maxi in the early 4th. With this organization's capabilities in the scouting dept., I think that this is where we go "who?" now, only to see that player in a flying elvis for seasons to come.
  20. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks Supporter Supporter

    That helps me. As I understand rook's value groups, you group players together who have similar value in your system, for example:

    You want a CB and scout up a list of players whom all share the skill set you want with the production you like, etc. Those players may be projected to go anywhere from 1st round to second day, what you do is adjust your picks so you can take the last one of the group, equivalent value at lowest price. In my example of Williams, Marshall, and Youboty, Williams reportedly has attitude issues so I'd replace him on the list with Gordon of Kansas and Hudson of NC State. If the mocks are any judge, Youboty and Marshall are gone by the middle of the 2nd round, now I'm watching for a trade up opportunity to grab either Gordon or Hudson right after the other goes off the board. In this case, Gordon is projected to be gone early third round, so I'd have either traded down with Baltimore's third while Gordon was still there, and then trade back up to take Hudson right behind Gordon.

    As this plays out, I'd try and trade back from 21 to build a deeper war chest. If we took a LB or OL late 1st/early 2nd, we'd have enough ammo to trade up from 52 to grab Hudson if there was a run on our value group. If the group fell to 52, I could trade back again, or look at the thirds as well placed and wait on the CBs, while taking a WR or LB.

    Hill and Cromartie wouldn't factor into that scenerio as they are a different value set for me and would probably be off my board to start with.

    Now that I have a better grasp of your thinking - Nice effort! Since we're all here to learn and have fun I'm glad your keeping the dialogue going. :rocker: Feel free to critique my strategy, rook, ochmed, and heat will. ;)
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