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2019 NFL Draft: The Top 10 CBs Pre-NFL Scouting Combine

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It’s a weak class, so hop on a CB early.

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Conference Championship-Utah vs Washington Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The CB situation is dire in Pittsburgh with Mike Hilton and Joe Haden occupying two spots and Coty Sensabaugh being the CB2. The downfall of Artie Burns is something that devastated the Steelers’ secondary’s stability, period. Even so, the Steelers are going to be looking heavily at CBs almost certainly this draft. The only issue is, for most teams that need a CB, they are about as scarce as you can get this season, and for better or worse, they are going to go earlier than you’d think.

Thus, here are my top 10 CBs before the combine.

1. Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

Murphy is the best CB in this draft because he has just about everything that screams ‘Round 1 CB!’.

His ball skills are nothing short of fantastic and his aggressiveness to come up and be involved in the run game is awesome. His frame is not filled out fully, so he is not great in run support yet, but if his frame fills out, I think he will be more than fine in that area.

The real area that Murphy wows you in is his fluidity. The guy can just process the play so well and make a play quickly due to how loose his hips are. It is a silky smooth transition in directions for Murphy, and it has caused some flashy huge hits this year.

Regardless, this is a guy who thrives in zone coverage because of elite processing skills. As for man coverage, press is not great right now. He is raw with his hands and frame, although he can mirror and be physical for days. Off-man is more than fine, but I find Murphy to be more of a zone guy. Regardless, though, he is an elite CB prospect.

2. Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

I like Greedy a lot. His ball skills are the best out of any CB in this class period. He tracks the ball and plays it like a WR, right down to the straight up alpha physicality he has at the catch point. His mirroring is really solid and he transitions well with his hips.

Even more, his length is awesome for press man schemes. Greedy will be able to get his hands on you and he’s more than lengthy enough to be an elite press man corner because of it. He is also one of the best at the trail technique in the draft simply because of his elite long speed.

My concern comes in with the terrible run support issues and the fact that he is somewhat of a slow processor in zone coverage. I have effort concerns and I hope it doesn’t carry over because when Greedy is on, the guy looks like an elite corner, but when he is lackadaisical, it is just terrible to watch.

3. DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia

Okay, we get it, the guy’s long speed kinda sucks. He will run slowly too, and he is stiff-hipped. Those are two very big whammies for any CB, and yet he is at three. Well, friends, I can tell you it is because DeAndre Baker is the best technical corner in the draft period.

This guy has elite press man skills. His hands are straight up violent and he mirrors with precision. I have not seen a guy with this deficient athleticism be this sticky in a long time. He simply does not let guys get behind him because he knows where they are going it seems. His ball skills and instincts are fantastic as well. That lightning quick recognition certainly helps him a ton.

In run support, he is feisty, although not great, but he sure plays like a junkyard dog. I love everything about Baker’s game.....aside from those athletic concerns.

4. Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State

After a rough week at the Senior Bowl, I had some worries about Oruwariye, but it is simply that he is rawer than I thought he was. He has that inefficient click and close that drives me wild. He false steps far too often and can give up ground by it. He needs to stay more disciplined with his hips and just mirror, and not bite on those double. And he is a terrible tackler. Dang.

Oruwariye has fantastic and size and that length really is used well regardless. Whether it is making plays on the ball, or coming into press, which I though he looked really good in at the Senior Bowl. Oruwariye has ball skills and moreover, he has instincts that are fantastic. He can read a play and react onto the ball in a matter of seconds. That is a huge trait to have regardless. He is a fluid athlete and always will be.

But he is raw. Do we want to do this again....?

5. Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple

The haters will say he is raw, but I will say he is far more refined than people give him credit for. Ya-Sin went head-to-head with Deebo Samuel all week at the Senior Bowl and proved to be a monster of a press man corner.

Ya-Sin’s tape is full of physicality. He upholds the “Temple Tough” motto better than anyone ever could have. He is incredibly fluid and long for only being 5’11” and man, the guy just plays the ball so well. There are no many penalties called on him, but he has a ton of pass deflections and interceptions, and that is what I love to see.

He is raw in zone and absolutely needs to work on his run support, no matter what you say, but the guy is a dang good press man CB who can be a CB2 early in his career. I am a big fan of Ya-Sin’s.

6. Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame

Love is what we call just solid. He has inefficient footwork, but still mirrors pretty well, however, he does need to keep his sense of leverage far more than he does. I love his man coverage ability and instincts though. His hands are able to bump guys off to the outside while he can use his instincts to make plays on the ball while he has leverage. His ball skills are evident due to strong hands and the ability to track the ball extremely well.

His run support is decent. When he gets the opportunity to get involved, you will see him absolutely just fly down the line and make tackles easily.

My biggest issue will be his long speed. I hope he can keep leverage on deep routes, because if he doesn’t he just doesn’t have the speed to honestly recover from being beat off the line. Regardless, though, Love projects well as a rock solid CB2.

7. Justin Layne, CB, Michigan State

Elite length and press man skills. If you want that mid-round guy who has a high ceiling but can play now, Layne is the guy. I absolutely love how physical he is with receivers. There is no one has physical right away as Layne is. He has a lot of chirp in his game as well. Layne is that dude who knows he’s got game and backs it up every play.

He is terrible in zone coverage simply because his instincts are super raw. He also has limited experience here, but he does know how to stay in his zone and at least keep his responsibility.

The best part of Layne is his fluidity and ball skills combination. As a converted WR, they are both fantastic traits he has. Layne can flat out play in that regard and has even gone up against the likes of Terry McLaurin and really showed out.

Lastly, the dude is a run support monster. Great tackler and gets off his blocks well. I don’t want to say anything, but this guy screams “Steeler” to me.

8. Michael Jackson, CB, Miami

Maybe I am just deaf but there is not enough buzz on Jackson this draft cycle. The guy is a physical specimen and is incredibly and uses that size about as well as anyone could want him to use it. He is an elite press man corner because of that length and brutal hands right off the snap.

However, he is tight hipped and his click and close are tremendously bad. It leaves him open to inside moves all the time in off-man coverage and it is clear why he is more comfortable in press man coverage, but his speed is enough to allow him to recover a good deal of the time.

Jackson is also an opportunistic player. Any time he can get his hands on the ball, he does, and he just makes plays, no matter the play. His ball skills are a byproduct of that vicious mentality he plays with for the ball. Also, he is a great run defender, so another plus.

9. Hamp Cheevers, CB, Boston College

Ball skills, feistiness, swagger, and quickness will win you a way to my heart pretty quickly. Cheevers as all of that. He moves with ease laterally and can make a play on the ball anytime the ball is even in the vicinity. He has the physicality of a 6’1” CB too but he is only 5’10”. I could see him slide inside to nickel, but he has the ball skills and instincts to stay outside.

However, his frame is just raw, as is his tackling. He can be bodied by bigger receivers and simply get outmuscled. Kelvin Harmon did that to him a few times in their matchup earlier this season. His tackling is a technical issues, though. He has to wrap up and drive, not dive at the ankles and hope to drag the guy down. That just will never work in the NFL, period.

Despite that, I like his game a lot because of his attitude and playmaking ability. This is a good Day 3 to look at for sure.

10. Joejuan Williams, CB, Vanderbilt

I am going to be massacred for having him this low by some of you. The physical tools are popping, fantastic even, but I have not seen a rawer guy with his skillset in this class yet. Williams has a long way to go before he can start for an NFL team in my opinion.

His hips are not disciplined at all, and he opens them up to early and gets cooked by good route runners far too often. Van Jefferson did it all the time when he faced him against Florida. Williams’ click and close is agonizingly stiff and clunky and it gives up far too much ground and can get him off balance. He has to use his length to get leverage better too. He just has no fluidity in his hips at all. He is tight-hipped and takes a millennium to switch directions.

And yet, I have to absolutely tell you this guy has the tools to be a starter in this league. I want him to succeed badly. He plays as hard as anyone in this class and all the issues he has are technical. He is an elite run support corner, no questions asked, the guys flies around the field. He is also rather instinctive and just doesn’t bite on double moves or deceptive routes, so that is awesome to see. And most importantly, he has the magical ball skills. I am a fan of his potential, but I am just worried if he will ever realize that potential.