The scouting world has evolved. With the proliferation of technology and social media available to scouts now, it’s unusual for a player to slip through the cracks, no matter how obscure his background. Some organizations feel differently about how they view small-school players. Former Seahawks G.M. Tim Ruskell, for instance, placed such a high value on four-year starters from major universities he rarely drafted players from non Division 1 colleges. Today, most franchises have gone the other direction, searching high and low for talent…. willing to take chances on lesser-known players.
In 2012, small schools dominate the list of talented cornerbacks available, and a few of these prospects are certain to be taken in the early rounds.
Here’s a look at some of the highest rated guys, and where they are projected to be drafted using current value rankings from both Pro Football Weekly and Rob Rang of cbssports.com.
Janoris Jenkins, 5-10, 193, CB North Alabama: (PFW 2nd, Rang 2nd) Most of you have heard of Jenkins. He was a star at Florida before being dismissed from the team for marijuana use. He considered declaring himself eligible for the supplemental draft last year but chose to go to North Alabama to try and repair his image instead. Until recently it seemed he had done so, and a strong showing at the Senior Bowl had him rated as a first-rounder in most mock drafts. Recently, however, there seems to be some confusion over the reason for his departure from CAA, and he looks to be slipping into the second round. Could be the second-best cover corner in the draft after Moriss Claiborne. Talented player with red flags.
Josh Robinson, 5-10, 199, CB, Central Florida (PFW 2nd, Rang 2nd) Robinson ran the fastest 40-yard dash at the Combine at 4.33, and posessess legitimate cover skills. His dynamic punt return ability only adds to his value.
Josh Norman, 6-0, 197, Coastal Carolina (PFW 4th, Rang 4th) Dazzled scouts at the Senior Bowl after being added to the roster during the week when Bradon Boykin was injured. An extremely confident player, Norman was productive as well, with 13 picks, 4 forced fumbles and 4 blocked kicks in his college career. He turned heads with 6 interceptions during the week of practice leading up to the Sr. Bowl.
Trumaine Johnson, 6-2, 204, Montana (PFW 2nd, Rang 2nd) A bigger corner with an NFL build, was recruited to play WR before moving to defense. Fluid and athletic, but there are questions about whether he’s quick enough to play CB full time after running 4.5 and 4.61 in his 40′s at the Combine. Could be a CB/S hybrid in the mold of George Ilioka
Other Small School corners who figure to be drafted in the mid-to-late rounds:
Dwight Bentley, 5-10, 182, La.-Lafayette
Ryan Steed, 5-11, 192, Furman
Asa Jackson, 5-10, 191, Cal Poly
Chris Greenwood, 6-1, 193, Albion
Micah Pellerin, 6-0, 194, Hampton