Before the 2019 NFL Draft kicks off this Thursday night in Nashville, Tenn., we’re breaking down each position group to bring you our ranking of the best prospects.
Here’s a look at our top 10 cornerbacks:
1. Greedy Williams, LSU (6-foot-2, 185 pounds)
2018 stats: 2 interceptions, 10 passes defended, 33 total tackles
There’s a good chance Williams is the first cornerback to come off the board. What he lacks in tackling ability he makes up for in speed, as his 4.37 40-yard dash was the second-fastest among CBs at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine. Williams will be able to keep up with any receiver at the pro level, but he could benefit by bulking up in order to be better-suited for physical battles.
2. Byron Murphy, Washington (5-foot-11, 190 pounds)
2018 stats: 4 interceptions, 13 passes defended, 58 total tackles
Murphy might be viewed as more of a project than an immediate impact player, but his potential is awfully high. He didn’t wow with his combine numbers, posting a 4.55 40-yard dash to go along with 36.5-inch vertical jump. Still, his football smarts and ultra-competitiveness could land Murphy a first-round draft billing.
3. Deandre Baker, Georgia (5-foot-11, 193 pounds)
2018 stats: 2 interceptions, 9 passes defended, 40 total tackles
Baker didn’t allow a single touchdown in the 2018 college football season. He can jump routes with the best of them and features solid ball skills. If there’s any downside to Baker, it’s his average size. He often will rely on his high-end speed in order to make up for his lack of physicality.
4. Rock Ya-Sin, Temple (6-foot, 192 pounds)
2018 stats: 2 interceptions, 12 passes defended, 47 total tackles
Ya-Sin is one of the stronger cornerbacks in this year’s draft class, which allows him to be more than serviceable on run defense in addition to the passing game. His speed could be improved, as he’s susceptible to getting burned on deep routes. The Temple product could sneak his way into the first round, but he’s more likely tabbed for the second.
5. Justin Layne, Michigan State (6-foot-2, 192 pounds)
2018 stats: 1 interception, 15 passes defended, 72 total tackles
As a former wide receiver, Layne can be a downright pest in man-to-man coverage with an above-average ability to stay on his opponent’s hip. There’s a reason he’s no longer a WR, though, as his hands leave a bit to be desired. But with a strong football IQ, we’ll likely hear Layne’s name called on Day 2.
6. Sean Bunting, Central Michigan (6-foot, 195 pounds)
2018 stats: 2 interceptions, 5 passes defended, 37 total tackles
Bunting served himself well at the combine, ranking fifth among corners in 40-yard dash time (4.42) and second in the vertical jump (41.5 inches). His ball skills are better than most, but he might struggle against the league’s bigger wide receivers. The Central Michigan product likely is ticketed for a second- or third-round selection.
7. Trayvon Mullen, Clemson (6-foot-1, 199 pounds)
2018 stats: 2 interceptions, 3 passes defended, 36 total tackles
Mullen’s stats won’t jump out at you, but that’s because opposing quarterbacks rarely targeted him during his time at Clemson. His measurables are exactly what you want from a cornerback, but scouts have wondered about his feel for the game. Mullen has played in a number of bigtime games, though, which could boost his stock in the draft.
8. Julian Love, Notre Dame (5-foot-11, 195 pounds)
2018 stats: 1 interception, 16 passes defended, 63 total tackles
Love features a keen ability to stick on receivers’ routes, so as long as they’re not solely vertical. The Notre Dame product won’t dazzle with his feet, and he could struggle against NFL speedsters. Love often can make up for this with his instincts, though.
9. Joejuan Williams, Vanderbilt (6-foot-4, 211 pounds)
2018 stats: 4 interceptions, 13 passes defended, 61 total tackles
There isn’t a single wideout in the league with whom Williams won’t be able to match up physically, and he rarely looks out of place despite atypical size for a cornerback. Williams has a propensity to give up chunk plays, but pro-level coaching could pave the way for him to become a real impact player at the NFL level.
10. Lonnie Johnson Jr., Kentucky (6-foot-2, 213 pounds)
2018 stats: 1 interception, 4 passes defended, 23 total tackles
It’s easy to become a fan of Johnson’s game given his size and ability to play off the edge. If there’s one red flag for the Kentucky product, it’s his perceived lack of passion. Johnson can be a game-changer when he’s motivated, but that’s not always the case.
Thumbnail photo via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Images