by Dan Pompei
January 09, 02013
The 2013 cornerback class looks like it will be shy on top end talent, but it won’t be shy on depth. Corners should fly off the board in the second and third rounds. Teams that run zone schemes will find much more to choose from than teams that like their corners to man up. Here are what scouts are saying about the best corners in the draft.
1. Will Davis, Utah State, 6-0, 186. This name was not at the top of the cornerback lists going into the season, but Davis really has helped himself, and numerous scouts believe he will help himself more in the coming weeks. Davis may be the most athletic corner in the draft. One front office man said he is the most athletic corner he has seen in maybe 10 years. Teams that play man-to-man schemes will love him. He has good feet, and the ability to mirror, bend and change directions. Davis plays physically and is disruptive in press. He is a little raw, but he has potential to keep improving.
2. Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State, 6-1, 185. His combination of ball skills and length make him a late first round possibility, but Banks is not for everyone. He will be a better fit in a zone scheme, according to front office men. His speed is in question. He shows excellent ability to read and break on passes, and makes smart decisions.
3. Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut, 6-1, 190. He has good size and athleticism, and he moves fluidly. He can play in any scheme. Wreh-Wilson shows decent instincts and is tough enough.
4. Xavier Rhodes, Florida State, 6-2, 205. This underclassman who has declared appeals to Cover 2 teams because of his size, physicality and ability to redirect. Rhodes has a difficult time staying with quicker receivers, but he shows a good feel for the game.
5. Logan Ryan, Rutgers, 5-11, 190. Ryan has good feet and good length. Front office men are curious to see what he runs, and his 40 time will be a determining factor in where he is drafted. The underclassman could have benefited from another year in school, in the estimation of one scout.
6. Marc Anthony, Cal, 6-0, 200. He is a wildcard because his ability suggests he should be one of the first corners taken, but lapses in his play scare NFL teams. Anthony is long and athletic. He can run and is fluid in coverage. He has every skill scouts look for in a cornerback. But he is inconsistent and frequently does not look instinctive.
7. D.J. Hayden, Houston, 6-0, 190. His draft stock will depend on where his health is after he tore a vein in his heart this year. But assuming he’s healthy, Hayden is a prospect who intrigues NFL teams. He runs well and plays physically. He shows good awareness in zones.
8. Dwayne Gratz, Connecticut, 5-11, 198. He may not be quite as athletic as his teammate Wreh-Wilson, but Gratz is a good player with toughness, instincts and speed. He probably is best suited as a zone corner.
Dan Pompei covers pro football for the Chicago Tribune at chicagotribune.com.