It’s Time to Focus on Draftable Cornerbacks

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Marshon Lattimore

Many followers of the Green Bay Packers are convinced the team will select a cornerback on April 27, the day of the first round of the draft. While far from a certainty, it’s a good premise for starting to focus on the draftee the Packers are likely to pick with their No. 29 overall selection.

Draft expert Mike Mayock, leading up to his specific draft predictions on the eve of the draft, lists his predictions of the top five draftees for each position. His most recent projection, of March 21, lists the top five cornerbacks as:

1. Sidney Jones, Washington
2. Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
3. Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
4. Teez Tabor, Florida
5. Tre’Davious White, LSU

These are the identical players he forecast in mid-February – prior to the NFL Combine – so perhaps Mayock puts much greater stock in players’ college performances than in their physical attributes.

Similarly, NFL.com also does a positional mock draft. As of a March 28 update, their five top cornerback choices are:

1. Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
2. Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
3. Sidney Jones, Washington
4. Teez Tabor, Florida
5. Quincy Wilson, Florida

CBS Sports also does a very comprehensive mock draft by position, listing their top 25 choices for each position. They rate the top cornerbacks as follows:

1. Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
2. Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
3. Tre’Davious White, LSU
4. Kevin King, Washington
5. Gareon Conley, Ohio State

Most of the projections I’ve seen predict three or four cornerbacks will be selected in the first round and up to another seven in the second round. If the Packers use their first pick to select a cornerback, it will almost surely be one of the above eight players. Interestingly, every one of them comes from a top football conference and team.

Cornerback Raw Data Chart

PlayerClassHeightWeightSpeedVerticalAgilityBench
Marshon LattimoreSoph.6'1934.3638.5-10
Marlon HumphreySoph.6'1974.41--13
Kevin KingSr.6'3"2004.4339.510.4511
Gareon ConleyJr.6'1954.443710.8611
Sidney JonesJr.6'1964.4733.511.3-
Teez TaborJr.6'1994.6231-9
Tre’Davious WhiteSr.5'11"1924.473211.2216
Quincy WilsonJr.6'1"2114.543210.8814
Damarious RandallSr.5'11"1964.463810.9014

 

Notes: Speed – 40-yard dash time; Vertical – vertical leap is in inches; Agility –combined times of 20-yard short shuttle and 3-cone drills; Bench – number of bench presses of 225 pounds.

Damarious Randall is included as a basis for comparison. He scored well at athletic testing in 2015.

Comments

The above players are listed according to my preferences, which are based primarily on athletic testing. I don’t pretend that this is as thorough as watching college game film, observing cornerbacks go through drills at the NFL combine or inviting players to do individual workouts. But it’s a good starting point.

With those caveats in mind, I would absolutely insist on any first-round pick being a very fine athlete. I would therefore eliminate Tabor and Wilson based on their 40-yard dash times. I would also be concerned about both the speed and agility of Jones and White.

I like the size of King and Wilson. There’s no substitute for speed and Lattimore has a marked advantage here.

On balance, based just on the raw data, Marshon Lattimore has the best combination of size and athleticism and being so young, he has room to fill out and improve. Kevin King would be my second choice, as he’s got desirable height and weight, by far the best agility and excellent overall athleticism. The other sophomore, Marlon Humphrey, who has the second-best dash time, would be my number three pick. Coming in fourth is Conley, who has very good athleticism across the board.

Combining the raw athletic data and the prognosticators’ preferences, Lattimore and Humphrey appear to solidly be the top two cornerback choices, but they won’t be available when the Packers select at number 29.

So, starting with eight legitimate first round prospects, eliminating four due to inadequate athleticism and eliminating two more who won’t be available when the Packers choose, that leaves: Washington’s Kevin King and Ohio State’s Gareon Conley – one of them will likely still be available at pick 29.

I previously wrote about how often the Packers have made draft-day trades of draft picks in order to maneuver themselves to get a draft choice from where they can select the player they like the most.

If the Packers are truly committed to drafting a quality cornerback, then we’ll likely see them try to move up on April 27. If they want a top-notch cornerback — Marshon Lattimore or Marlon Humphrey — they’ll most likely have to move up to about the 13th to 15th overall choice. And even then, they both might be unavailable at that point.

About The Author

Rob is currently twiddling his thumbs on Whidbey Island in Washington. He likes to do research, although he has no shortage of opinions. He saw his first live Packers game in 1958, the only win of the year.

3 Comments on "It’s Time to Focus on Draftable Cornerbacks"

  1. PF4L

    We are in the season of If’s, should’ve, could’ve etc.

    Ted may or may not even draft a corner in rounds 1,2, or 3.

    And if he does, does this player(s) make an impact their rookie season. I’m not the smartest dude in the room, but isn’t there usually a learning curve from College to the NFL. VERY few rooks make an impact in this league, and the chances of Ted picking a rookie that does, is probably slim to none. Didn’t it take Nick Perry 5 seasons to shine through? Where’s Datone Jones? Did Kenny Clark make an impact? Get my drift?

    I’m not trying to shit on hopes we hit it big in this draft, but that may not even be known for years. Expecting a draft class to come in and turn your team around is for fools that don’t know any better. It doesn’t happen.

    If you are a NFL General Manager in the NFL…and your team’s immediate success depends on your next draft class. that’s about as bad as it gets people, to even be in that position. Because that’s a position of weakness.

    I don’t say this shit in a condescending or arrogant way. I say it because it’s true.

  2. Moolla

    Finally incorporating tables in your stat listing is great Rob.
    So much cleaner, and easier to compare.
    The fact you can reorder them according to each stat is nice too.
    Love these stat articles from you Rob and this makes them even better.

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