CFF Overview: CB - Sleepers
As we continue to look through the mass of CFF data we have collected, we’re turning our attention to cornerbacks and, after Sam Monson brought you the top of the list, here are our sleepers.
The funny thing about this cornerback class is that there isn’t a huge gap that separates the guys at the top of the position and those players 10-15 spots lower, so a team taking a late-round flyer has a good chance of unearthing a gem, without risking a high draft pick. All five of these players have something that caught our eye and, while they won’t go in the first round, they have a good chance to prove a lot of people wrong at the next level.
Garry Peters, Clemson
Of all the cornerbacks in this draft class, nobody had a higher CFF grade in 2014 than Peters. With standout performances against both North and South Carolina, the Clemson defensive back put up some impressive numbers over the course of the season. From 60 snaps in coverage he allowed just 26 receptions, for just 233 yards and only two touchdowns. Averaging just 9.0 yards per reception allowed, he also finished the year with one interception and 10 pass breakups, the sixth-highest number in this draft class.
So if Peters has all this going for him, why is he just a sleeper and not higher regarded? Well, one thing we picked up on from this past season was that he had a tendency to grab at a receiver if he was beaten by a cut. Most people like a corner to be physical, but he’s going to have to learn to be a bit more savvy with that in the NFL or he’ll see a lot of flags.
Signature stat: Allowed 0.62 Yards Per Coverage Snap, the eighth-highest mark in this draft class.
Kevin White, TCU
The concern with White is a lack of strength, and it’s a little bit concerning that he was outmuscled at times by opposing wide receivers. He’ll need to improve on that at the next level, as well as tidying up his tackling which was a little bit sloppy at times in 2014.
What White does bring though is a player who has plenty of speed. If you look back at the game against West Virginia, he had no problem running down the field with the Mountaineers’ wide receiver of the same name. He’s a player who plays well balanced with nice footwork and someone who uses his hands well. There’s no denying there are things that he needs to improve on, as with all the cornerbacks in this draft, but if you can work with that, he could wind up being a steal in the draft.
Signature Stat: Allowed a reception once every 13.0 snaps in coverage.
Darryl Roberts, Marshall
If you listened to our Podcast breaking down the cornerback class, you’ll know that this is a guy that Sam Monson really likes. It’s easy to see why too, with Roberts showing an ability to handle anything the coaches asked of him. On top of that he showed great balance and reactions, reading moves by wide receivers very quickly.
If there is a concern here, it would be that I would like to see him attack the ball more on deep passes, instead of waiting for the receiver come down with the ball before trying to rip it free. He’ll see plenty of physical wide receivers on Sundays in the NFL, so he’ll need to be ready to adapt his game to handle that.
Signature Stat: Allowed 0.88 Yards Per Coverage Snap.
JaCorey Shepherd, Kansas
The knock on Shepherd is that he played almost at right cornerback, sometimes meaning he missed out entirely on facing off against a team’s top wide receiver and the best receiver he faced all year, Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett, gave him some real problems with his quickness. He’s one of the few cornerbacks in his draft that doesn’t look at his best when things get physical, either.
What Shepherd is, though, is arguably the best playmaker at the position in this draft class. He breaks on the ball really well as was demonstrated by a game-sealing interception against Central Michigan and he looks dangerous when he has the ball in his hands. He offers some value as a kick returner, too, but as a cornerback he is one of the best in this class when it comes to breaking on the ball.
Signature Stat: Allowed a QB Rating of just 53.0 on passes thrown into his coverage, the 10th-highest mark in this class.
Quandre Diggs, Texas
He might not have height going for him, but even at 5-foot-10, Quandre Diggs proved at Texas and in the Senior Bowl, that he has the talent to be a sleeper prospect in this draft. His size did hurt him at times, with some receivers using their size advantage to beat him to jump balls, but Diggs made up for that by being a smart player on the field.
He understands zone coverage as well as any other cornerback in the class, and at times was able to help out his teammates by peeling off of the route he was covering and making a play. He’s at his best in zone coverage, showcasing his ability to read the route and break on the ball, and was a solid tackler, too.
Signature Stat: Missed a tackle once every 13.8 attempted.
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