The Jaguars won't lack for cornerback prospects during the first day of this year's NFL draft. Jaguars.com draft analyst Tony Pauline believes the top three cornerbacks will be off the board by the time the Jaguars step up to the plate with the 21st overall pick, but there will still be plenty of candidates from which to choose.
"It's a solid crop that has quality. It doesn't have a Champ Bailey or Shawn Springs, but from the eighth and ninth picks on you're going to have a lot of picks at cornerback and at safety," Pauline said.
West Virginia's Adam "Pac Man" Jones, 5-9, 187, is Pauline's top-rated defensive back. Jones is fast, explosive and versatile. He can play zone or man; in press or backed off the line of scrimmage. Versatility is key in grading cornerbacks because of the new emphasis on the chuck rule. Teams are playing more zone. Jones is also a game-breaking return specialist. He does a lot of things and does them well and he ran a 4.4 at his pro day. The only knock on him is his height. He's a willing tackler and he's likely to be drafted by the Titans at number six.
Carlos Rogers, 6-0, 196, of Auburn had a great senior season. He ran a 4.46 at the combine, where Rogers was graded at the highest level in reaction and backpedal tests. He's an adequate tackler and is likely to move up draft boards. Rogers is polished and well-rounded. He's not as good as you'd like in press coverage but he offers the potential to develop that skill. He's a standout technically and athletically. Washington at nine and Detroit at 10 are possible fits.
Miami's Antrel Rolle, 6-0, 201, is big and physical. He's outstanding in press coverage, out-muscles opponents and is an aggressive special teamer. He's good against the run and has top ball skills, but doesn't have great speed and is limited in the type of systems in which he may play. He does not play well backed off the line of scrimmage and is adequate at best in zone. He's a top-15 pick whose stock has dropped because Jones and Rogers are faster, and due to Rolle's deficiencies in zone coverage.
Georgia's Thomas Davis, 6-1, 230, is the top safety in the draft. Big and physical, Davis runs in the 4.6's and some scouts think he may be more of a weakside linebacker than a strong safety. Davis has decent ball skills and he's better against the pass than most people think, but supporting against the run is his game. He's a true force against the run and that'll attract a selection in the middle of round one.
Nebraska's Josh Bullocks, 6-0, 209, is the top free safety and figures to be drafted in the second half of round one. Bullocks is moving up boards. He's a traditional centerfielder who possesses outstanding ball skills and is good against the run. Bullocks shows a lot of coverage technique. He's smart and physical and runs a 4.5.
Oklahoma's Brodney Pool, 6-1, 207, is a free safety with cornerback-like coverage skills. He's certain to be used as a "nickel" back and might even be converted permanently to corner. He did not run at the combine but is thought to run in the 4.5's. He's destined to go in the second half of round one.
Nebraska's Fabian Washington, 5-10, 188, went beep-beep at the combine. Washington ran a sub-4.3 and, as a result, has pushed his way into the bottom of round one. He's an excellent cover-corner who reported to the combine 10 pounds heavier than normal, but that certainly didn't hurt his workout. The combination of size and speed have him on the rise.
Clemson's Justin Miller, 5-9, 201, is short but powerful. He's a feisty corner with a decent head for the ball, but it's difficult to get a read on Miller because opponents threw away from him. He has game-breaking return skills, can play zone and off the line of scrimmage, but must develop his press technique. He ran a 4.49 at the combine but elected not to do drills because of leg tightness. He'll go late in round one.
Virginia Tech's Eric Green, 5-11, 198, may not be DeAngelo Hall, but don't tell Green that. He's a cocky corner with good size, skill and technique. He really stepped up his game as a senior. Green's draft stock depends on what he ran at Thursday's Virginia Tech pro day. He elected not to run at the combine, which left scouts to lean on the 4.63 he ran a year ago.
Florida State's Bryant McFadden, 5-11, 193, will turn you on, then turn you off. Consistency is very much the issue with him. He has excellent size, 4.5 speed and outstanding coverage skills. At times, he looks like Deion Sanders. At other times, he looks like Col. Sanders. Figure McFadden for early in round two.
Marlin Jackson, 6-0, 198, of Michigan can play safety or corner. After a sensational sophomore season, his game leveled as a junior and stayed there. He was also moved to safety as a junior, then back to corner last season. Off-field issues may have hurt him going into his junior year. He ran a 4.6 at the combine and 4.5's last week at his pro day. His upside is still distinct and he figures to be a top-half-of-the-second-round pick.
Oregon's Brandon Browner, 6-3, 221, is a college corner who may project to safety in the NFL. He ran an unimpressive 4.69 at the combine. Browner is big, physical and productive, but he's coming out as a third-year sophomore and that may be a mistake. He's a third-round prospect.
Other first-day corner prospects are: Corey Webster, 6-0, 199, of LSU; Stanley Wilson, 5-11, 185, of Stanford; and Darrent Williams, 5-8, 176, of Oklahoma State.
Michigan's Ernest Shazor, 6-3, 228; Stanford's Oshiomogho Atogwe, 5-11, 219; Iowa's Sean Considine, 6-0, 212; Auburn's Junior Rosegreen, 6-0, 196; and Fresno State's James Sanders, 5-11, 205, are first-day safety prospects.
Tony Pauline is the publisher of tfydraftpreview.com, the internet's number one site for year-round coverage of the NFL Draft.