Cornerback game tape – class of 2012

Janoris Jenkins, now at North Alabama, could still rise to the top of the CB rankings

In the last two drafts the Seahawks spent several picks rebuilding their secondary. Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor are permanent fixtures at safety, while Walter Thurmond will get his opportunity to nail down a starting cornerback position with Marcus Trufant on injured reserve. There’s certainly scope for further investment because you can never have too many good young corners. Both the wide out and cornerback positions stand to benefit from quality depth and it’s with some surprise that fans tend to under-sell the receiver position in particular. For me, it’s a premium position in the NFL and it’ll be a strong class of wideouts in 2012.

However, I’m less enthusiastic about the Seahawks spending a round one pick at either position next April. This team needs a quarterback, a point that has been made countless times but is completely valid. This front office cannot enter year three of an initial five-year contract for it’s VP of football operations without a big investment at quarterback. Pete Carroll cannot afford to spend too long shuffling around at the position putting his faith in re-treads like Tarvaris Jackson. This team needs it’s on-field identity, the guy who is going to lead this team to prolonged success in the NFC West. With respect, I doubt that man is currently on the team’s roster. Now that San Francisco has seemingly got it’s act together after years of wasting talent, the Seahawks need to provide a worthy challenge themselves. Rest assured that the Niners will not hang about in replacing Alex Smith – they’ve already drafted Colin Kaepernick with a high second rounder and it’d be naive to think they’ll just coast along even if a fast 5-1 start is maintained throughout 2011.

The secondary issue of most concern comes on the defensive line. Chris Clemons’ production so far has continued, but he’s playing in an exaggerated position which is unorthodox to the league and will put stats on the board. I don’t think anyone can claim Seattle is churning out constant pressure and making life difficult for opposing quarterbacks – you only have to look at how badly the Seahawks rank in pass defense. One excellent defensive lineman could change that, whether it’s a disruptive three technique or another defensive end that allows Seattle to run more basic 4-3 fronts and provide pressure from both sides.

Getting a quarterback is the priority, then there’s a long gap to the second most important issue of finding additional defensive lineman. Cornerback may be third on the list, but only once the first two options have been exhausted. I foresee a situation where the Seahawks can’t draft a quarterback – Andrew Luck could end up being the only round one level QB who actually declares this year and you can’t draft for a position of such importance when the quality simply isn’t there. It’s an unlikely scenario though and eventually the Seahawks are going to have to bite the bullet – they’ve looked at the last two classes and said a resounding ‘NO’ to the group of QB’s. They can’t expect Aaron Rodgers the sequel to fall into their laps and only consistent losing will ever secure a player of Luck’s quality.

In the unlikely event that all roads to a quarterback are closed, we have to address some of the other needs. I think this is a cornerback class with some quality, just nobody in the range of Patrick Peterson or Jimmy Smith last year (both had elite potential). We’ll go into more detail later this week, but here’s a selection of some of the players to monitor if you’re looking for 2012 cornerbacks.



  1. cliff

    Alfonzo Dennard is horrible in run support. Horrible. Can’t disengage from a block either probably wouldn’t be great in pressman coverage. He just was not good this game. They played on him all game and he gave up at least two TDs.

    I love Minnifield. He played against Robert Woods and got beat bad once maybe twice from the penalty but broke up a few plays and has the size to play more aggressive on the line. Good in run support too and seems pretty reliable in tackling

    Dre Kirkpatrick had a good game. Good in run support. Has decent burst when the ball is in the air and makes good tackles but people are calling him a top 15 pick. I’d rather take Minnifield in the bottom of the first or top of second.

    Clayborn seems like he gets it most of the time but isnt super good in run support and disengaging blockers to make the tackle. The LSU defense is super talented so its harder to judge him but again he just gets it right now. He has the burst and physicality wanted for the hawks and seems to be after the ball. Again he’s seen as a top 10 pick by some.

    Jenkins seems to get it and much has been written on him. I hope we don’t take a first round CB but he is very good.

    Hosley seems to play big for his size and has a nose for the ball. He is small and may not be on the radar completely but he should be considered. Has great break on the ball.

    Bottom line i don’t see us taking a CB in the first round but i would love Minnifield or Hosley in the 2nd with Minnifield having the edge based off his size and strength but Hosley has a better nose and break so will end up putting up bigger turnover numbers. Its close.

    • Rob

      I like Hosley a lot – there’s something about a CB who takes chances that I like. Twelve interceptions in 1.5 seasons is incredible and it’s not like every other play he gets torched. I’ll take the occassional mistake if he’s making big plays as often as he is in college.

      Jenkins – for me – can be an elite cornerback in the NFL. If he’s matured going to North Alabama, he’ll go high in round one.

  2. Colin

    Do you think maybe Paul Allen will put a little heat on these guys to obtain a good QB in the draft? I know he is a very hands off owner but do you really think he’ll just sit by idly and let this team go into 2012 without making a play for someone?

    The part that scares me is what Schneider and Pete are really thinking. Do they really want to go get Barkley, or will they shackle us up with someone else just to upgrade the position? Do they really feel the need for an upgrade as many others have so strongly suggested? It all worries me.

    • Rob

      I doubt it, Paul Allen hasn’t come across as one who intefers with GMs/Coaches decisions on personel. I also doubt Carroll and Schneider need pressure to target a QB, they will be 100% aware of the need. I just hope they aren’t waiting for the perfect guy to fall to them and if they need to be pro-active I hope they will be.

  3. diehard82

    Thus far, Carroll/Schneider have shown a propensity for sticking with their board and not reaching. The word that they liked Dalton at 30-35, but not enough to take him at 25 and instead taking a RT was pretty telling. Without getting into whether Dalton or Carpenter are ever going to be great players at their respective positions, it seems to me the positional value of QB alone would have made that choice easy, Does anyone think that Giacomini would represent a big drop-off in talent vs. Carpenter? From a fan perspective, I think we would collectively feel much better knowing Dalton was behind T-Jack or CW (or starting) because the future is seemingly more secure. For good or bad, the QB question would be answered. But that’s why they make the big bucks. Perhaps part of the decision was based on the premise that you have to build a team from the inside out, first securing a solid O-line so that whatever QB you start will have a better chance of success. Perhaps a mobile, tough guy like TJ was a perfect place-holder behind a young, struggling O-line. Hasselbeck would have been broken long ago, and maybe Dalton would too.

    • Matt

      I am just happy they avoided Dalton. You can find QBs like that outside of Round 1 every year and I know he’s a “catchy guy” right now, but the bottom line is his ceiling is pretty much what he’s doing right now. And right now, he’s game managing against a poor schedule on a team that has some serious talent. He’s not going to be throwing to better targets than AJ Green and Jermaine Gresham who are freakish talents at their respective positions.

      This has to be the year they make a move on a QB and in all honesty, I would not be shocked to see them mortgage a ton of picks to get their guy. I know Andrew Luck seems like a long shot, but I would not be shocked if JS and PC made a crazy offer on a guy like him.

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