This article was written by contributor Kenny Sloth
Pete Carroll’s end of the year press conference is always a revealing time for draft fans. This season was no different with Carroll divulging his expected targets. One of those specific need areas was corner and with the gruesome and unfortunate injury to Deshawn Shead, the Seattle Seahawks cornerback room was left reeling. The team scrambled to fill the hole with career stop-gap Perrish Cox, which inspired little confidence. This safety-sized hole across from Richard Sherman has been the impetus for some fans to clamour for an early round selection at cornerback, something that has not proven to be a part of the brain trust’s modus operandi. Obviously, times change and it would be irresponsible for Seattle draft fans to not do our due diligence.
If you missed the first part of this pre-combine series on linebackers you can check it out here.
1. Tre’Davious White, LSU- I am higher on him than most but I’m a sucker for anybody rockin’ that #18 jersey for the Tigers. The way he carries himself among his teammates screams leader. He is the one holding everyone accountable on that defense. The way he storms away from plays barking at his linebackers just warms my heart. Excellent at tracking the ball in mid-air. Just a natural talent at the position. Best fit is a Cover 2 scheme and he has experience shadowing the oppositions number one. Excellent press technique.
2. Sidney Jones IV, Washington- Enthusiastic run defender, Jones pairs excellent length with fluidity. He’s got room to add weight to his frame (and absolutely needs to) in order to have functional strength at the next level. Despite his willingness to crash downfield and converge on the ballcarrier, he seems to be afraid of getting hurt — likely due to a slender frame. He has a very high ceiling and lockdown potential.
3. Marlon Humphrey, Alabama- He might be primarily an off-coverage corner at the next level but his press technique can be improved. Humphrey could certainly benefit from a switch to safety similar to the move Byron Jones made with the Cowboys. If a team is confident using him in a similar way, Humphrey is a terrific athlete that can have an impact at the next level. Faked out far too easily at the cornerback spot. Really benefits from a solid cushion against all types of receivers. If I had to comp him, Devin McCourty is a very favourable likening. Very thick bodied, durable.
4. Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State- Decent length and incredibly fluid hips. The comparison gets thrown around but he reminds me so much of Darrell Revis. Chippy on the field, Lattimore displays confidence in the way he moves and controls receivers. Don’t even look his way. Suffocating coverage. Run defense leaves a lot to be desired from the redshirt sophomore. Very weak bump and run coverage and will get called for plenty of fouls, at least as a rookie. Beautiful man coverage and QB baiting. I believe his age relative to teammate Gareon Conley’s factored into his Ohio State coaches’ decision to play him on the right side of the field at CB2.
5. Marquez White, Florida State- Not sure why there is zero buzz around this player but he is one of the least targeted defenders in the country and the season before last in his first year of starting he allowed completions on fewer than 1/3 of his targets. He’s just about the most physical corner available this year. He puts WRs on their buttocks. He’s played basketball for Florida State and just looks like an alpha out there. Very grabby, the type of player that’s always checking to see if he got flagged. Makes me nostalgic for Brandon Browner. Allowed just over 200 yards TOTAL in two years of starting for FSU. A humble and engaging personality, his journey screams Seahawks.
6. Adoree’ Jackson, USC- Jackson exhibits excellent change of direction and wide receiver like ability to track the ball in the air. Tough, if not a particularly physical player, he never gives up on a play and has nice long speed. Decent press technique despite lacking arm length to my eye and some of the best footwork in the class. His ability with the ball in his hands will be a huge plus for some teams.
7. Teez Tabor, Florida- Uses his press to control opponents. Excellent recognition of route combinations and takes advantage of this knowledge. He’s fun to watch and can cover in the end zone. Very high level ball skills, Teez consistently punches and swats the football well.
8. Kevin King, Washington- Clearly King is the best athlete on the field. He has the strength to dominate a receiver at the line of scrimmage and the agility to stay with his man across the field. You want to see him break more decisively on the ball and rip it away more aggressively. Adding weight could behoove him greatly, as is the case with many of the corners in this draft, although perhaps not as profoundly so with King. His press technique leaves a lot to be desired but the athletic package has me drooling the same as everybody else.
9. Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado- A decent athlete, his physicality is an asset. Plays downhill and reads the offense incredibly well. Has an insane pre-cognizance for developing plays. Very chippy and vocal. He wants to compete. Awuzie has experience at both corner spots and on the inside.
10. Fabian Moreau, UCLA- Very fluid hips on a solid frame, Moreau shouldn’t leave the second round. Strong hands with long arms to control his receiver. Plays through the receiver and is aggressive in run support.
11. Desmond King, Iowa- Thick, well-built for a corner. Very intelligent — you can tell when he recognizes a play pre-snap. Superb agility, balance, and vision on returns. Chippy player, not afraid to swat a facemask. Arm length looks to be a disqualifying factor for Seattle.
12. Howard Wilson, Houston- Great athlete, Wilson crashes hard on the run and isn’t afraid to lay a big hit. Really sloppy off coverage, when he doesn’t have a target he wastes a lot of steps and takes himself out of position. One of the hardest hitters at corner in this draft.
13. Cameron Sutton, Tennessee- Physical beyond his size, overaggressive and that can hurt his play. Flashes next level recovery speed but has to use it too much. Unfortunately, Sutton’s going to have some intense growing pains at least into his rookie year.
14. Corn Elder, Miami- Doesn’t blow you away with either size or athleticism but is chippy and scheme responsible. Corn is real mean son of a gun, too. He’s a special teams ace for Miami and a leader on the defense. Elder is the cream of the crop Miami’s secondary. He’s the kind that’s liable to pop a WR. He will hit you in the ear. Seriously, an a-maize-ing cornerback. A class act, he’s no flake. . . . His name is ‘Corn’.
15. Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson- A sticky man coverage corner, Tankersley could be an option for Seattle. He plays with great patience and stays with his man. Always has a hand in the bread basket but is not the most efficient dislodger of the ball. Just like many corners in this class, the slender Tankersley can be soundly muscled off the redline and the catch point.
16. Rasul Douglas, West Virginia- Douglas is a very large corner, good feet and fluid hips. He may not test well in the 40 but we’ve seen Seattle generally overlook that. Will give up on backside pursuit and despite his size, lacks a lot of physicality. The best tomahawk chop in this CB class, Douglas has a nose for the ball. Almost caught Dede Westbrook on the ground but instead gave up a touchdown on the screen. He’s got some really up and down tape.
17. Jourdan Lewis, Michigan- An excellent slot corner, his incredibly slender build should limit him to this role at the next level. His physicality is impressive against larger receivers. Gets put on skates by blockers but won’t give up on a play. He was played at safety occasionally to no great success.
18. Quincy Wilson, Florida- Non-factor in run defense. Stays in receiver’s hip pocket deep downfield. Hand fighting is above average in this class. Looks to be a little under-athletic for the next level. While not a death sentence, he will need to continue to improve his technique in order to be a contributor.
19. Gareon Conley, Ohio State- Slightly smaller than his counterpart, Conley played some slot for OSU to great success. Has trouble with larger wide receivers and lacks scheme versatility despite his inside out versatility. Don’t draft him expecting a boomer in run support.
20. Ahkello Witherspoon, Colordao- Not sure that he did as well against John Ross as Rob saw on tape. There were a lot of very poor throws by Browning in that game, including a wide open touchdown directly against Witherspoon. Obviously, Ross is one of the most natural speed WRs to enter the draft in some time and Colorado heavily shaded their coverage to bracket him. Witherspoon can be boxed out due to a slender frame and is not a willing run stuffer. I don’t believe he is his listed 6’3 height. But that’s why we have the combine, right?
21. Channing Stribling, Michigan- Longer and stronger than his secondary counterpart, Stribling is usually allowed to play on an island on the left side of the field. He’s not the most spectacular athlete and loses track of the ball badly. He has some tools but is not a naturally fluid athlete and seems an impatient defender. His breaks leave a lot to be desired. He seems content with letting the receiver catch everything and touching them down.
The one player I want to talk about so bad but I can’t get enough tape to say I have a full evaluation of is Middle Tennessee State’s Jeremy Cutrer. He had an otherworldly performance against Alabama in 2015, including a still-impressive 80 yard interception in garbage time in which he perfectly baited the QB of an elite program — known for emphasizing ball security at the position.
He’s every bit of 6’3 and just flies around very confidently. Would also like to give Treston DeCoud from Oregon State a mention as blog regular Volume12 has been a fan since last year. I also only watched a single video of his but it was apparent from his length, strength, and tenacity, that he should not be discounted as a target.
Now, obviously, there are many more corners available and many more that will end up on our radar after the combine. Whether we add a corner in the first or third, if we select three of them or zero, we know that this draft class is particularly loaded at the position and the team would do well to reload on outside corner depth following a year of roster shakeup at the position.
Player I missed (there’s plenty)? Player I mistook (probably several)? Someone you just can’t say enough about, or want for the Seahawks? Share your thoughts below.