Patriots NFL Draft Fits: Jalen Mills Among Potential Cornerback Picks

It’s winter in New England, which can only mean one thing: The Patriots need cornerback help.

Starters Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan are in place, but the Patriots have just three cornerbacks on their roster. And Darryl Roberts, a seventh-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, didn’t play last season because of a wrist injury. Justin Coleman almost will certainly be back as an exclusive-rights free agent, but the Patriots need additional bodies at the position.

The NFL Scouting Combine ended Monday, so we now have a better sense of which prospects the Patriots could select based on the team’s draft trends and the players’ measurables. The Patriots value agility and explosion over size at cornerback, so here are the potential fits.

CB Jalen Mills, LSU
6 feet, 191 pounds
Projected round: 2

Mills could be gone by the time the Patriots pick 60th overall, but he checks nearly every box for a potential New England cornerback. Mills ran a 6.86-second three-cone and 4-second short shuttle and recorded a 10-foot, 3-inch broad jump and 37-inch vertical leap.

Mills ran just a 4.61-second 40-yard dash, but he has a chance to improve that time at his pro day.

CB Maurice Canady, Virginia
6-foot-1, 193 pounds
Projected round: 3 to 4

Canady is another highly athletic 6-foot cornerback. He ran a 4.49-second 40-yard dash and posted a 38-inch vertical and 10-foot, 4-inch broad jump.

Canady could improve his 7.03-second three-cone drill at his pro day.

CB Cyrus Jones, Alabama
5-foot-10, 197 pounds
Projected round: 4

The Alabama product is one of the few cornerbacks who ran a sub 4.5-second 40-yard dash and sub 7-second three-cone at the combine. Jones has an ideal combination of speed and agility, but he lacks size and explosion. He returned four punts for touchdowns in 2015.

CB James Bradberry, Samford
6-foot-1, 211 pounds
Projected round: 5

The small-school product was the second-heaviest cornerback at the combine, but he still ran a 4.50-second 40-yard dash, 6.91-second three-cone and 4.21-second short shuttle. He recorded a 36-inch vertical leap and a 10-foot, 4-inch broad jump.

The Patriots met with Bradberry at the combine.

CB Ryan Smith, North Carolina Central
5-foot-11, 189 pounds
Projected round: Undrafted

Smith, another small-school prospect, is worth a flier at the end of the draft because of his combination of speed, agility and explosion.

Smith ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash, 6.88-second three-cone and 4.09-second short shuttle. He leaped 36 inches in the vertical and 10 feet, 2 inches in the broad jump.

Check out how every cornerback at the combine fared against the Patriots’ typical standards.

Thumbnail photo via Thomas B. Shea/USA TODAY Sports images

Thumbnail photo via Dec 29, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; LSU Tigers safety Jalen Mills (28) reacts after making a defensive play against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the first quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

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