In any draft, corners are in high demand. You can go back over 20 years and you will see that on average, 12 to 15 corners get drafted in the first three rounds of the draft every year. This year will be no exception as the corner class is fairly strong and deep.
Jalen Ramsey – Florida State
Jalen is easily the best corner in this draft and a certain top five selection in next month’s NFL Draft. There are some clubs that like Ramsey as a safety also but I see him as potential Pro Bowl player early in his career as a corner. Ramsey has the desired height, speed, length and athleticism to shine playing on the outside. His cover skills in man and zone are outstanding and he plays the ball well in the ball well in the air. He is very willing as a run support player and has also done a great job on coverage teams. Ramsey will step in and start right away for just about any team in the NFL.
Vernon Hargreaves III – Florida
Hargreaves is a third year junior who entered the Draft. He was a three year starter and a dominant player in the best conference in college football. Has very good speed to go along with outstanding quickness and body control. The only thing he lacks is ideal height and length which could hurt him with some teams. Hargreaves measured 5104 and has 30 5/8” arms.
Still he can play press or zone equally well and plays a physical game in both coverage and run support. He plays the game with a confident cockiness which is a good thing. He has the attitude that he can’t and won’t be beat. Like Ramsey, he can start for most teams in the league right away. He is a possible top 10 selection.
Eli Apple – Ohio State
At 6’1 – 200 with good arm length and 4.40 speed, Apple has the physical dimensions that most NFL teams covet in a corner. He is a third year sophomore and a two year starter for Ohio State. With his size and length he has a strong jam and shows the ability to play press man extremely well. In run support he is aggressive and a hitter, he just needs to do a better job wrapping up with his tackles. And added plus is Eli’s age as he won’t turn 21 until after training camp opens. As good a player as he is now, there is still a lot of upside.
William Jackson III – Houston
Jackson has been a quick riser in this draft with his late season play at Houston and his All Star and Combine performances. Jackson has ideal height and length (6001 – 31 ½”), to go along with very good speed (4.37).
Jackson excels at press coverage and will start early for a team that plays a lot of press. He still needs to develop his off man and zone skills but the talent is there. When you watch him do drill work, he can stay low in his pedal, flip his hips and transition as well as anyone. While Jackson III will be a work in progress he has as much upside as any corner in this draft.
Mackensie Alexander – Clemson
On tape, Alexander looks as good as any corner in the draft. He is an aggressive man coverage guy and has not given up a touchdown pass in 24 consecutive game. What he lacks is ideal height and speed (5’10, 4.49). You can make a case that Alexander is a better player than Jackson who is my number four corner and probably half the clubs in the NFL would agree.
Another area of concern for Alexander is that he did not record a single interception in his college career. Some will argue that teams didn’t throw at him and that can be a valid argument. At the Clemson Pro Day he showed good hands and ball skills, so it may not be the negative that some people feel it is.