Nov 14, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Maryland Terrapins defensive back Sean Davis (21) runs with the ball after intercepting Michigan State Spartans quarterback Tyler O’Connor (not pictured) during the 2nd half of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
As the New York Jets head into the 2016 NFL Draft, they have a need to fill when it comes to their defensive secondary at cornerback. Here are the top five most underrated cornerbacks to consider.
The draft changes every year with new talent arising from the college ranks. Certain positions during the draft will stand out or be valued in different ways. It’s usually because of talent or a lack thereof forcing teams to reach on players or even hold ground knowing they can get similar talent in later rounds of the draft. As we all know, the overall talent of defensive linemen seems to be stacked this year. Another position that seems to be gaining momentum is at cornerback.
With the release of Antonio Cromartie and the injury problems with Dexter McDougle from the infamous “Idzik 12” plus former first round pick Dee Milliner not living up to his hype seems to be hurting. With how Todd Bowles schemes his defense, we all know he loves to use his safties and cornerbacks which is certainly a position of need. It would also be nice to draft someone to groom under Revis just from a film study purpose, easily one of the best technique players in the game and a great player to learn from.
Defensive backs been getting a ton of sneaky late buzz in the draftnik world and it has mostly been about cornerbacks. When you now look at the top of the position of this class, you see a few good players with first round grades such as Jalen Ramsey, Vernon Hargreaves III, William Jackson III, Eli Apple and can even throw in Mackensie Alexander, he does some very nice things as well.
As far as this cornerback class as a whole is concerned, we have not even reached the surface. This class as far as potential is one of the deepest classes of cornerbacks we have seen in some time. Good chance that the Jets grab one of these sleeper cornerbacks at some point in this year’s draft.
Without further ado, let’s check out who we should keep an eye out for come draft time.
Next: 5. Harlan Miller
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
5. Harlan Miller
Harlan Miller, cornerback out of Southeastern Louisiana, earned second team AP All American. Coming from a small school, Harlan has been a hit in this year’s draft, it’s hard not to love his play.
He loves to tackle, making plays behind the line of scrimmage. Tall with great arm length and such a competitor for the game of football as he loves to hit opponents and is physical at the line of scrimmage.
Coming from Division 2, Miller did not play the best athletes which probably disguised his speed a little on film. Make sure not to doubt his power and overall tough strength. Something that was on display in the Senior Bowl.
Good press corner with man coverage skills which is something Bowles loves in his defensive backs. If he falls into the middle rounds, it would not be surprising to see the Jets grab him and groom him under Revis.
Next: 4. Rashard Robinson
Oct 25, 2014; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Mississippi Rebels wide receiver Cody Core (88) reaches for the end zone as he score a touchdown in front of LSU Tigers defensive back Rashard Robinson (21) in the first quarter at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
4. Rashard Robinson
Rashard Robinson, cornerback out of LSU, is probably one of the more gifted athletes in this draft. Talented player that has not played football since 2014, he was suspended through six games and sat out in 2015.
Robinson would have been drafted higher if not due to off-the-field trouble. He’s been getting much late buzz in the draft process as teams love his athletic ability and feel he has not topped his potential yet.
Fast with quick feet, good height and uses his size well as he is not afraid to jam at the line to knock receivers off their routes. Even with the off-the-field risk, somebody is going to take a shot and draft him to enjoy everything he brings to the table if he keeps focused on honing his craft.
He already has had a private workout in Florham Park with the Jets as general manager Mike Maccagnan has already done his homework. If the Jets can get him to be a focused player ready to take his career to the next level, develop him under good coaches with proven leaders, they will get something special with Robinson down the road.
Next: 3. Sean Davis
Nov 28, 2015; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Maryland Terrapins Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
3. Sean Davis
Sean Davis, cornerback out of Maryland, is a great physical defensive back. One of the bigger defensive backs in this year’s draft, he is great as using his size to his advantage.
Exceeding tackler with a knack for forcing fumbles, Davis is an intelligent player that can make the switch to safety if asked upon which could eventually happen at the next level in the NFL.
One of the more pro ready defensive backs coming out this year, Davis will make an impact right away on any defense. His willingness to learn and grow will have him a starter sooner than later since he adapts well with everything he needs to execute with.
With Davis, his overall size and speed makes him a great pick plus his versatility makes him a unique player. Could be one of those players Bowles loves to use in his backfield, being able to play multiple positions and be a utility kind of cornerback.
Next: 2. Xavien Howard
Oct 18, 2014; Morgantown, WV, USA; Baylor Bears cornerback Xavien Howard (4) signals they had recovered the fumble during the first quarter against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
2. Xavien Howard
Xavien Howard, cornerback out of Baylor, is a natural born competitor. He’s another big physical cornerback who could also play safety in the NFL. With patience, he will be a starter in no time.
He’s an athletic cornerback who has fluid hips and excels in man-to-man coverage. With natural cover skills, he’ll consistently cover the best receiver on the other team and make it look effortless.
Howard will thrive in press-man coverage as well, something Bowles runs regularly. Now being projected in some mocks as a day two cornerback, it’s not hard to tell why teams like him as he reminds scouts of the Seattle Seahawks pedigree of cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Richard Sherman.
Football fans might not need to wait long to hear his name called. He’s flying up the draft boards as teams know he has the potential to be a true shut-down corner in a relatively short amount of time.
Next: 1. Zach Sanchez
Oct 10, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners Zach Sanchez Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
1. Zach Sanchez
Zach Sanchez, longtime starting cornerback for Oklahoma, is all about consistency. Year after year he covered top receivers in the competitive conference known as the Big 12 and delivered nice results.
Sanchez has started 37 games throughout his collegiate career nabbing 15 interceptions over three years. Great knack for finding the ball and forcing turnovers which will make his transition into the NFL an easy one.
Not shy to show his colors, he plays with his heart. Sanchez may not have great size but gives everything he has. Having someone on your team like this can only help as he makes everyone around him even better to execute.
As you can tell by his numbers, he has great ball awareness and always keeping his eyes on the quarterback. Someone with a knack for getting interceptions will always help your team and would work wonders on the defensive secondary of the Jets.