With the emphasis on passing in the NFL today, teams are doing their best to stock up on cornerbacks and try to find players that can shut down some of the best receivers in the league. Traditionally, cornerback has been one of the toughest positions to scout and find can’t-miss prospects, so sometimes it’s easy for talented cornerbacks to slip through the cracks. Here are a handful of corners that will be late-round picks, but could end up making top-notch NFL defensive backs.
Rod Sweeting, Georgia Tech – Sweeting is the right size for a cornerback and has a nice skill set as well. He’s been impressive in postseason workouts, which has helped his stock after a somewhat disappointing season on the field in 2012. He’ll be selected in the middle rounds, but has a chance to be just as good as the corners picked in the early rounds.
Corey Broomfield, Mississippi State – Broomfield was thrown at a lot last year, as teams tried to stay away from Johnthan Banks, and that led to plenty of film of him getting beat. He’s solid playing man coverage and is a good tackler that also plays well against the run. Broomfield is better than what showed up on tape last year and should provide an NFL team with reliable depth at cornerback and a good option as a nickel back.
Terrence Brown, Stanford – Brown isn’t a speedster, but he has the height that will intrigue NFL teams, thinking that he can handle some of the taller receivers in the league. He’s tall and lean, so he offers up some versatility as far as playing man to man, zone coverage, or playing the nickel position. He’s also Stanford educated, which isn’t a bad asset to have.
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Greg Reid, Valdosta State – Reid has completely fallen off the NFL radar after getting kicked off the team at Florida State and transferring to Valdosta State, only to tear his ACL and miss the season. All of that could keep him out of the draft, but when you put the injury and the off field issues aside, Reid is a dynamic athlete with incredible speed. His size will keep him from being a starter, but he has a chance to be a backup corner that can cover the slot and also give a team a kick returner that’s a threat every time he touches the ball.
Trey Wilson, Vanderbilt – Wilson is an underrated play that led an effective and surprisingly physical secondary at Vanderbilt last season, despite the loss of Casey Hayward, a second round pick of the Packers last year. He routinely covered the opposing team’s best receiver and did a fine job. He helped slow down Tennessee’s passing game late in the season, a team with two receivers that possess first round talent. Wilson should be well prepared to compete for a spot on an NFL roster and could be a guy that sticks around for a while.