PDA

View Full Version : What makes the best cornerbacks in the NFL?


Ozzy
09-23-2008, 12:34 PM
In my opinion:

Being a good enough athlete to either play WR or be a return man in their early development in college, which proves they have wonderful ball skills and run and jump athletic ability.



That is the quick definition. The purpose of this thread however is to discuss the reality that is CB’s playing both ways or switching positions from WR to CB and having great success. Also discussed is the reality that if a CB is a fine return man in college his potential success in the NFL greatly increases. Simply put the best athletes make the best cornerbacks and the athletes with WR ball skills are the best cover corners in the NFL more often than not.


Here are the three ideal players in terms of two way stars in college and super star cornerbacks in the NFL.
Deion Sanders
http://wwwstu.tcu.edu/~tfallon/Deion%20Sanders.jpg

Champ Bailey
http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2007/fantasy/07/31/defenses/p1_bailey.jpg

Charles Woodson
http://www2.jsonline.com/packer/image/98draft/woodson10198.jpg



Simply put, if a cornerback is seeing time on offense or on special teams as a return man they are clearly an elite athlete and have that much better of a chance to be a cover man and go up against the fastest athletes on the field at receiver.



Here is a list of players who switched from WR to CB in college have had good success in the NFL as a CB.
*Champ Bailey- The absolute hallmark of the switch, switched in college at CB, still played both ways but became an absolute star at CB

*Chris Gamble- could be the most recent poster boy for the switch, made it on Ohio State and clearly became a great CB at the next level when he would have never been drafted as a WR.

*Kelvin Hayden- Another possible poster boy for the switch, made the change and is now a fine CB in the NFL.

*Deltha O’Neal- The position change was in college, and clearly his ball skills made him into a dangerous cover corner.

*Will Blackmon- Not a standout pro yet, but played two ways on Boston College and clearly has good speed, soft hands and can make plays.

*Andre Woolfolk- Made the switch to CB from WR, did well for himself for a short period of time then got injured I believe.





Two way players from the past that I could remember, these players played CB but also played a lot on offense and in the return game.
*Charles Woodson- Enough said.

*Charles Gordon- Classic two way player, one of the best, shocked when he was not drafted but the Vikings got him and now he is a very fine nickel corner for them.

*DeAngelo Hall- Very brief time on offense playing both ways, did not really switch but his return ability speaks for itself and could easily have played WR if need be.

*Devin Hester- Did play defense, I had him as one of the best CB prospects in the nation, but clearly his thing was returning kicks and punts, still a dangerous player anywhere.

*Lito Sheppard- Had some time on offense at Florida, did not change positions but was a dangerous player and showed great balls skills.

*Justin King- saw some time both ways, was successful on both sides of the ball in college, has yet to really prove himself in the pros.





Again the simple fact that if a CB is a great punt or kick return man it shows they have a bust of speed and balls skills that could make them into a fine CB. And even if that does not happen, being a return man is not the worst thing in the world and it is always important to have special teams value to improve ones own value overall. Most of these players, at least I do not remember them playing both ways or switching from WR to CB. Nonetheless their balls skills clearly were shown in the return game and all were fine return men and some are quite successful CB's.
Terrence Newman
Chris McAlister
Antonio Cromartie
Darelle Revis
Aaron Ross
Nathan Vasher
Adam Jones
Phillip Buchanon
Aaron Glenn
Darrent Williams
Justin Miller
Ellis Hobbs
Dre Bly
Jim Leonhard
RW McQuarters
Tracy Porter
Tom Zbikowski
Duane Starks
Allen Rossum
Jerry Azuman



Are there any CB’s that either played both ways or were a standout return man that were not successful in the NFL at CB? Well here are a few players who had potential but did not really turn out in the NFL. However it could be argued that some of them had ok careers in the league.
Terry Fair
Ben Kelly
DeJuan Groce
Keiwan Ratliff
Antonio Perkins




Currently here are some college prospects that fit the mold of a great athlete at CB with wonderful ball skills and punt or kick return abilities.

SR
Alphonso Smith Wake Forest- flat out sick balls skills and quickness
Victor Harris Virginia Tech- is starting to see some time on offense even
Darius Butler UCONN- another player seeing some time on offense, great athlete
Mike Mickens Cincinnati- just has wonderful ball skills
Alterraun Verner UCLA- return man, good speed, fine cover man
Bruce McCain Utah – great return man, small but can play the ball

JR
Vontae Davis Illinois – out of this world athlete, the best athlete at CB in the nation
Captain Munnerlyn South Carolina- fine return man, quick and wonderful cover guy
Syd’Quan Thompson Cal- amazing ball skills, very athletic and very quick
DJ Moore Vanderbilt- the new it guy as a two way player, does it all and makes plays
Jairus Byrd Oregon- playing great, marvelous ball skills and can be a return man
Royce Adams Purdue- not great ball skills but is a solid return guy and athlete
Javier Arenas Alabama- great return man and improving CB
TJ Williams NA- made the change to CB from WR, not sure where he is currently
AJ Wallace Penn State- disappointed a litlle, improving CB with WR skills
AJ Jefferson Fresno State- great return man, improving CB

SOPH
Donovan Warren Michigan- amazing ball skills, fine athlete



I hope down the line more college coaches and even players flirt with the idea of playing both ways as a CB because athletically if they can pull it off it will greatly increase their potential success at the next level.

Sniper
09-23-2008, 02:28 PM
Charles Woodson
http://www2.jsonline.com/packer/image/98draft/woodson10198.jpg

I ******* love you.

*Justin King- saw some time both ways, was successful on both sides of the ball in college, has yet to really prove himself in the pros.

Hard to prove yourself when you're on IR.

SOPH
Donovan Warren Michigan- amazing ball skills, fine athlete

I love, love, LOVE Warren (check the sig), but his ball skills suck. He's got brick hands when it comes to catching picks, and his punt return (aka **** fair catches) skills are very, very lackluster. He also has fumbled a couple punts. Sick man to man corner though, damn good athlete.

P-L
09-23-2008, 02:35 PM
Donovan does a good job getting to the ball, he just can't come up with it.

zCaddyz
09-23-2008, 03:00 PM
so your saying aqib talib is gonna be a great Cb?

d34ng3l021
09-23-2008, 03:07 PM
I think someones ball skills, hip fluidity, back pedal, and ability to make up for lost ground makes up a good CB, not whether or not he can return kicks or play offense.

Ozzy
09-23-2008, 03:15 PM
so your saying aqib talib is gonna be a great Cb?Yes he does have the potential to be a great CB and thank you I forgot to add him to the list.


I think someones ball skills, hip fluidity, back pedal, and ability to make up for lost ground makes up a good CB, not whether or not he can return kicks or play offense.Ever think that their ability to makeup lost ground, ball skills and overall body fluidity makes them able to play offense and return kicks? It is all relative, and it all comes down to the athletic ability of the player. If they literally can play WR and return kicks either as a converted WR or as a CB switching sides and helping the team, that shows their superior athletic ability. That same ability that made corners like Sanders, Woodson and Bailey into some of the best that have ever played.


I love, love, LOVE Warren (check the sig), but his ball skills suck. He's got brick hands when it comes to catching picks, and his punt return (aka **** fair catches) skills are very, very lackluster. He also has fumbled a couple punts. Sick man to man corner though, damn good athlete.Very true but I would include in the category of ball skills the ability to put your arm in the right place at the right time to deflect a pass. Thus Warren to me has great ball skills, and catching those possible INTs could come in time unless he literally does have brick hands.

d34ng3l021
09-23-2008, 03:25 PM
Ever think that their ability to makeup lost ground, ball skills and overall body fluidity makes them able to play offense and return kicks? It is all relative, and it all comes down to the athletic ability of the player. If they literally can play WR and return kicks either as a converted WR or as a CB switching sides and helping the team, that shows their superior athletic ability. That same ability that made corners like Sanders, Woodson and Bailey into some of the best that have ever played.



No. How does ball skills and overall body fluidity while returning kicks help with being a CB? I feel as if they are completely different, and while they may both have it, ball skills and body fluidity are used differently while returning kicks and covering a WR. I can understand how making up for lost ground translates well while being a returner because most returners are fast (though I believe a lot of it has to do with vision more than anything else).

SMoore
09-23-2008, 03:31 PM
No. How does ball skills and overall body fluidity while returning kicks help with being a CB? I feel as if they are completely different, and while they may both have it, ball skills and body fluidity are used differently while returning kicks and covering a WR. I can understand how making up for lost ground translates well while being a returner because most returners are fast (though I believe a lot of it has to do with vision more than anything else).

Well it makes a difference because it's all related. All the great corners are super enough athletes to do other things than just play defense. It's not the kick returning or playing offense that makes them better it's just that they have the skills to do it all because of their amazing athletic ability. Atleast that's what I think he's trying to say.

CashmoneyDrew
09-23-2008, 05:28 PM
It's all in the hips.

scottyboy
09-23-2008, 06:10 PM
being named Aaron Ross

Vox Populi
09-23-2008, 06:50 PM
Its their 40 time. If they have a fast 40 time they WILL become an elite corner. Mark it down.

this is a joke, if you think I am serious, you lose.

holt_bruce81
09-23-2008, 06:59 PM
Not having the Rams coaching staff try and coach you up.

holt_bruce81
09-23-2008, 07:00 PM
Its their 40 time. If they have a fast 40 time they WILL become an elite corner. Mark it down.

this is a joke, if you think I am serious, you lose.

Really? Tye Hill ran his 40 in the low 4.3s and he's arguably the worst Corner on the Rams roster which is filled with crappy corners.

Sniper
09-23-2008, 07:01 PM
Really? Tye Hill ran his 40 in the low 4.3s and he's arguably the worst Corner on the Rams roster which is filled with crappy corners.

Read the entire post before you reply.

themaninblack
09-23-2008, 07:34 PM
You forgot about Asher Allen.
http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0a9N0123AbbYW/340x.jpg

keylime_5
09-23-2008, 07:42 PM
It's all in the hips.

http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x45/DrDeath_pics/gilm083.jpg

Staubach12
09-23-2008, 11:35 PM
DJ Moore will be the best corner in next years draft. He has excellent ball skills, and a knack for coverage. He's the best.

doingthisinsteadofwork
09-23-2008, 11:47 PM
clearly were shown in the return game and all were fine return men and some are quite successful CB's.
Terrence Newman
Chris McAlister
Antonio Cromartie
Darelle Revis
Aaron Ross
Nathan Vasher
Adam Jones
Phillip Buchanon
Aaron Glenn
Darrent Williams
Justin Miller
Ellis Hobbs
Dre Bly
Jim Leonhard
RW McQuarters
Tracy Porter
Tom Zbikowski
Duane Starks
Allen Rossum
Jerry Azuman

I'm guessing this is a joke.

Ozzy
09-24-2008, 08:09 AM
I know I jumped around a lot in this thread, from either players switching to CB from other positions. Or players who play CB and play both sides of the ball to players that play CB but also help in the return game.

What I want to know is why don't more players who are average WRs switch to CB in college to become possibly a better prospect? Am I the only one who is ridiculously impressed with how players like Champ Bailey, Chris Gamble, Kelvin Hayden and Deltha O’Neal turned out?

Sure it is not a easy switch but could be tried more. Guess some players are just not tough enough or are scared to play defense because really defense is mostly attitude, desire and a willingness to punish offense players and not be afraid of the contact.


I wish it was tried more often, guys like Gamble, Hayden and O'Neal would have never made it to the league unless they switched positions in college.


Seems to me most are underestimating a CBs ability to go up and get the football. Sure you have the back pedal and certain techniques that help playing corner, but to me the ones that can attack the football in the air just like a WR and make catches like a WR are the best corners. They are not the ones who are afraid when the ball comes there way, they want the ball to come there way because they have just as good of a shot at catching it as the offensive player.

Corners like Winfield or Q. Jammer are also lovely to have, not saying they are bad by any means. But both are not great in terms of attacking the ball in the air. Yes they can intercept passes but not on a consistent basis.

Corners with that run and jump ability, who can make plays on the ball in the air turn out to potentially be the best corners.


Does anyone else know of any other corners who played both ways or switch positions to CB while in college? My knowledge basically begins from 1998 that is when I really started paying attention. Did anyone before that make the switch?

Sniper
09-24-2008, 08:31 AM
DJ Moore will be the best corner in next years draft. He has excellent ball skills, and a knack for coverage. He's the best.

Donovan Warren, kthxbai.

islandboy843
09-24-2008, 08:44 AM
Ted Ginn should have stayed at corner.

CashmoneyDrew
09-24-2008, 01:50 PM
Donovan Warren, kthxbai.

I think he meant the 09 draft. Warren's a sophomore isn't he?

Michigan
09-24-2008, 02:30 PM
Charles Woodson
http://www2.jsonline.com/packer/image/98draft/woodson10198.jpg


You broke the 11th Commandment!
Thou shall not post pictures of the Holy One on internet message boards in vain.

Sniper
09-24-2008, 04:10 PM
I think he meant the 09 draft. Warren's a sophomore isn't he?

Oh yeah, I'm dumb. I thought he meant the 2010 draft.


You broke the 11th Commandment!
Thou shall not post pictures of the Holy One on internet message boards in vain.

It's not in vain.

Iamcanadian
09-25-2008, 10:04 AM
First, you have to remember that all CB's are not equal in all defensive systems. In a basic 4-3 or 3-4 shutdown CB's are a must, however in a Cover 2 which asks its CB's to play in a zone, shutdown CB's are of far lessor importance and the Cover 2 CB's must be far better tacklers and be effective in zone coverage. In a Cover 2 defense, the safties are actually more important that the CB's.
Shutdown CB's must have real speed, great hip swivel ability and must learn how to use technique in coverage. They must be able to recognize the play quickly and have great closing speed not just straight line speed.
Players have different mentalities which is why some are switched to be DB's while others stay at WR. Actually they are switched as almost every high school WR plays CB as well and it is up to his college HC to make the decision as to where he will play. The player himself has little impute into this decision.
If your a great WR prospect and you go to South Carolina, Spurrier is likely to switch you to the defensive backfield as that is where he puts his better athletes. Many college HC have their preferences as to where their better prospects are placed. Michigan has a long tradition of putting their better linemen on offense.
It is the college HC who decides a player's fate and the player really doesn't have much say in the decision.

Ozzy
09-25-2008, 12:08 PM
If your a great WR prospect and you go to South Carolina, Spurrier is likely to switch you to the defensive backfield as that is where he puts his better athletes.I agree with all of what you have said here, outside of this statement. Where do you get this from? Just because Chris Culliver is now a safety on South Carolina now Spurrier does that always? Culliver is not a WR because he cannot catch the ball that well, and clearly is a much better safety than WR. Spurrier as long as I have followed does not specifically change WR's and make them defensive players.

So Bennie Alexander was the best athlete and that is why he played corner and guys like Darnell Jackson and Travis Taylor were poor athletes so they played WR? Please. Lito Sheppard played both ways for Florida at times, but was mainly on defense mostly. He is one the CB Spurrier has had that is that great of an athlete. If a player can play WR and be a threat he will put them on offense depending on how good or bad the defense is, sure if the defense needs it he might but there are many WR's Spurrier has had over the years that he kept on the offensive side of the ball that could have many switched to defense.

Thus I have no idea where you are getting this all from. Everything else you said, totally agree.

adamprez2003
09-25-2008, 05:52 PM
interesting take ozzy. not sure what i think of that yet. the main thing ive always seen in great CBs is amazing burst or closing speed. the other qualities to me can be good not great but if my guy has great closing speed and no other weaknesses to exploit, he can become great. hands to me are a great bonus but i'm more interested in shutting down receivers

DreadedDatSkinsFan
09-26-2008, 03:23 PM
Loose hips....quick feet...ball skills...and u will be picked in the 1st 3 rounds...

Its not all about hands...u dont have to be a great return man...If that was the case then Philly would move DeSean to CB...

If u can break on the ball...and break up a slant consistantly...then NFL scouts will DROOL over u...

DreadedDatSkinsFan
09-26-2008, 03:27 PM
Let me add that ball skills doesnt necessarily mean great hands...What I mean by ball skills is the ability to locate the ball and break up a reception by battin it down....or jarring the ball out w/ a big hit...

TitanHope
09-26-2008, 10:38 PM
Cortland Finnegan was a returner at Samford. Whenever the Titans' draft was analyzed, Finny was referred to as "some late-round return specialist." Doesn't quite have the same ring to it nowadays, if I do say so. :)

As for what makes a great CB, I think attitude has a great deal to do with it. If you're soft or hesitant because you don't want to make a mistake or get burned, then you'll struggle. If you attack the receiver and the ball, then you'll be more successful. Just depends how disciplined the attacking player is so that he doesn't get out of position or give up a big play by being too aggressive.

Matt Millen
09-27-2008, 01:24 AM
I'm not sure what but other teams seem to have figured it out. Mike Williams and Charles Rodgers couldn't beat any of them!