2011 NFL Draft Preview – Cornerbacks
The 2011 NFL draft is a little more than a week away with the first round scheduled for Thursday night, April 28 live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The second and third rounds will be held on Friday night and rounds four through seven will take place on Saturday afternoon, April 30.
At the end of February over 300 of the nation’s top college prospects participated in the annual Scouting Combines in effort to showcase their talents and ability for NFL scouts from all 32 teams. Since then, many of these players have continued to try and work their way up the draft board through Pro Day and individual team workouts.
Each NFL team continues to try and fine-tune their overall draft strategy, but the biggest decisions they face are which players to select with their top picks. The following is a look at a few of the best players available this year at the cornerback position.
Peterson is not only the best cornerback in this year’s draft, he is considered by many to be the best pure athlete on the board. He has prototypical size for the position at 6-foot-0 and 218 pounds and he ran a blazing 4.32 40 at the Combines. Peterson’s incredible return skills just add to his overall value. He could be a top five pick but might end up going to San Francisco with the seventh overall pick in the draft.
Prince Amukamara – Nebraska
Amukamara is clearly the second-best corner in this year draft and will most likely be a top 15 pick, possibly to Detroit in the 13th slot. He too has excellent size and speed at 6-foot-0 and 205 pounds with a 4.37 40 at the Combines. He is known as a physical back and a solid open-field tackler. Amukamara has the ability to step in right away and become an instant playmaker with the right team.
Aaron Williams – Texas
A 4.52 40 time at the Combines initially hurt Williams’ stock, but he has been able to turn some heads by showing his overall athletic ability at his Pro Day workout. He is listed at 6-foot-0 and 204 pounds, but his long arms allow him play bigger than he actually appears. He is also an instant asset as a punt returner and has four blocked punts to his credit to further enhance his value on special teams. He could still go in the late first round, but would be a steal if he slips to the second.
Brandon Harris – Miami
Harris is a bit undersized at 5-foot-10 and 194 pounds, but he showed decent speed with a 4.43 time in the 40 at the Combines. He has excellent coverage skills and the ability to close in fast on a receiver. He has also shown the ability to effectively play the run, which should help his draft position. The one knock on Harris has been his coverage skills in a zone defense, but he is seen as very coachable and could flourish in the right defensive scheme. He should go somewhere between the middle to end of the second round.
Jimmy Smith – Colorado
Character issues, not athletic ability have hurt Smith’s value in this year’s draft. Everything on paper from a 4.38 40 at the Combine to his 6-foot-2 , 210 pound frame has this guy as a potential first round pick, but some off field issues including a failed drug test and two prior arrests will most likely cause him to fall into the second round.
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