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POSITION REVIEW

Savage: Which DBs set themselves apart

Wed, Mar 01, 2017

Here is the analysis of the cornerbacks and safeties based on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday practices with some assistance from Pro Football Focus.

“Cornerback Quandary”

“You can never have enough corners” is a phrase used frequently in NFL personnel circles. This year’s class has quality depth and a variety of skillsets for clubs to evaluate before the 2017 NFL Draft.

Here are four cornerbacks that distinguished themselves in Mobile:

#26 JOURDAN LEWIS/Michigan (NORTH)
5100/188 | 31” Arm-8 3/4" Hand
Jourdan is an instinctive athlete who uses his hands and feet very efficiently in press and off coverage. He uses his eyes to vision the quarterback and has a natural feel for breaking on routes. An ideal fit for a “Quarters” team that will play him to the field or as a slotted Nickel corner.

1-on-1 Coverage vs. WR’s-               Wins: 7           Losses: 3
1-on-1 Coverage in Red Zone-         Wins: 4           Losses: 1

Reese’s Senior Bowl Pieces: Despite missing the first three games of the 2016 season due to injury, Jourdan was selected as the Big Ten’s Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year. During his two and a-half years as a starter, he registered 133 total tackles, 8.5 tackles-for-loss, 39 pass breakups and 6 interceptions.

#13 RASUL DOUGLAS/West Virginia (NORTH)
6020/204 | 32 1/8” Arm-9 1/4" Hand
Rasul had separate root canals done during the mornings of the Tuesday and Thursday practices, yet did not miss a rep over the course of the week. The prototypical size corner with long arms, he can press and carry receivers downfield with his vertical speed. He will be of major interest to teams that employ the Seattle Seahawks’ brand of defense (Atlanta, LA Chargers and Oakland).

1-on-1 Coverage vs. WR’s-               Wins: 3           Losses: 3
1-on-1 Coverage in Red Zone-         Wins: 5           Losses: 1

Reese’s Senior Bowl Pieces: After transferring from Nassau Community College (NY), Rasul contributed on special teams as a junior before becoming a full-time starter in 2016. He collected 70 total tackles, defended 8 passes and led the nation in interceptions with 8 to earn first team All-Big 12 honors.

#24 DAMONTAE KAZEE/San Diego St (SOUTH)
5102/183 | 29 7/8” Arm-8 1/4" Hand
This three-year starter uses his eyes, feet, hips and hands to read the receiver and then break on the football. He can change directions and accelerate out of his plant, especially when the football is thrown in front of him.

1-on-1 Coverage vs. WR’s-               Wins: 9           Losses: 5
1-on-1 Coverage in Red Zone-         Wins: 3           Losses: 0

Reese’s Senior Bowl Pieces: Damontae was the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year in both 2015 and 2016 when he racked up 142 total tackles, 15 pass breakups and 15 interceptions over those two seasons.

#27 MARQUEZ WHITE/Florida State (SOUTH)
5116/184 | 32 1/8” Arm-9 7/8” Hand
A native of Dothan (AL), Marquez made a triumphant return to his home state by showing his overall athleticism and having a very consistent week in the 1-on-1 coverage drills. He plays with patience and trusts his speed to defend the football downfield.

1-on-1 Coverage vs. WR’s-               Wins: 10         Losses: 4
1-on-1 Coverage in Red Zone-         Wins: 5           Losses: 2

Reese’s Senior Bowl Pieces: Marquez played for the FSU basketball team in 2013-14 as a backup guard. As a two-year starter in football, he accounted for 65 total tackles, 6 pass breakups and 4 interceptions during his career.

Note: #18 Tre’Davious White/LSU suffered an ankle sprain at the end of the Wednesday practice and was not able to participate on Thursday or in the game. He had an impressive showing before his exit and will likely be the highest drafted cornerback from this year’s RSB.

“Combination Safeties”

With the emergence of pass receiving tight ends and the formational creativity employed by offensive coordinators, the modern day NFL safety must be able to cover and play in space.

These three prospects set themselves apart during the RSB week:

#20 OBI MELIFONWU/UConn (NORTH)
6040/219 | 32 5/8” Arm-8 3/4" Hand
This first team All-American Athletic Conference selection demonstrated his ability to play all over the field as a free safety, strong safety and outside cover man. A gifted athlete, he is fluid in space, willing to tackle and can matchup with tight ends and oversized wide receivers. 

1-on-1 Coverage-      Wins: 5           Losses: 2

Reese’s Senior Bowl Pieces: Obi finished his career as a four-year starter and accumulated 351 total tackles, 11 tackles-for-loss, 16 pass breakups and 8 interceptions for the Huskies. He tied the UConn school record for tackles in a game with 24 against Tulane this past season. 

#26 RAYSHAWN JENKINS/Miami-FL (SOUTH)
6012/220 | 31 7/8” Arm-9 1/2" Hand
Rayshawn had an excellent three days of practice in run support and coverage. According to PFF, he recorded 12 total tackles during the Team periods and displayed the ability to close from on high as a deep safety against the run and pass.

1-on-1 Coverage-      Wins:  2          Losses: 2

Reese’s Senior Bowl Pieces: This two and a-half year starter collected 201 career tackles, 8 tackles-for-loss, 19 pass breakups and 9 interceptions for the Hurricanes.

#9 JOHN JOHNSON/Boston College (NORTH)
6005/205 | 31 1/2" Arm-9 1/2" Hand
In Mobile, John proved his versatility by lining up as a strong and free safety and then taking some reps at cornerback. He has the capacity to mirror receivers in the slot or range from the middle of the field as a true free safety.

1-on-1 Coverage-      Wins: 6           Losses: 3

Reese’s Senior Bowl Pieces: John was a two-plus year starter for the Eagles, including three games his junior season at left corner. As a senior, he tallied 77 tackles, 2.5 tackles-for-loss, 12 pass breakups and 3 interceptions, while being named a permanent team captain.