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Old 01-29-2013, 09:18 AM    (permalink
princefielder28
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Default Defensive Back Rankings (Top 15 CBs/Safeties)

I have started to compile my rankings and instead of throwing out all the positions at once I figured there might be more conversation generated by breaking the positions apart by similarities.

Cornerbacks

1. Dee Milliner : ALABAMA
2. Jordan Poyer : OREGON STATE
3. Desmond Trufant : WASHINGTON
4. Will Davis : UTAH STATE
5. Logan Ryan : RUTGERS
6. Jamar Taylor : BOISE STATE
7. Xavier Rhodes : FLORIDA STATE
8. Johnthan Banks : MISSISSIPPI STATE
9. Leon McFadden : SAN DIEGO STATE
10. Robert Alford : SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA
11. Blidi Wreh-Wilson : UCONN
12. BW Webb : WILLIAM & MARY
13. Darius Slay : MISSISSIPPI STATE
14. David Amerson : NORTH CAROLINA STATE
15. Terry Hawthorne : ILLINOIS

Analysis: Milliner is the king of the class at corner and is the latest Saban defensive backs to enter the NFL. Overall a pretty deep class with each of these 15 listed having the potential to be starters within a couple years of being in the league. Poyer, Trufant and Davis all carry first round grades with me and Trufant may be the only one of the bunch that actually goes in the first 32 picks. Banks has been highly touted throughout the season, but I simply am not wowed enough when I've watched Mississippi State this past season and teammate Darius Slay isn't far behind him in my evaluations. Banks' best fit very well may be safety in the NFL. David Amerson got exposed big time this season, but if he's still around in the 3rd round, his size for a defensive back is worth gambling on and trying to develop.

Safeties

1. Kenny Vaccaro : TEXAS
2. Jonathan Cyprien : FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL
3. Phillip Thomas : FRESNO STATE
4. Duke Williams : NEVADA
5. Eric Reid : LOUISIANA STATE
6. Bacarri Rambo : GEORGIA
7. DJ Swearinger : SOUTH CAROLINA
8. Matt Elam : FLORIDA
9. Shawn Williams : GEORGIA
10. Tony Jefferson : OKLAHOMA
11. JJ Wilcox : GEORGIA SOUTHERN
12. TJ McDonald : USC
13. Cooper Taylor : RICHMOND
14. Shamarko Thomas : SYRACUSE
15. Earl Wolff : NORTH CAROLINA STATE

Analysis: Much like the crop of cornerbacks, the safety position is very deep for the upcoming draft. When considering the top seven guys (Vaccaro, Cyprien, Thomas, Williams, Reid, Rambo and Swearinger) they could easily be shuffled around depending on what qualities one looks for in their safeties. Vaccaro is the most complete of the bunch, but there are lapses in his play at times during this season so he's not without flaws. After Barron went high last year, it wouldn't surprise me if he goes Top 10 like some scouts/journalists are suggesting. Cyprien impressed me big time during the Senior Bowl week and he is everything a defensive coordinator wants in a safety with his physicality and ability to drop back in coverage. Some project Eric Reid as a free safety but I see more of a strong safety as a guy who needs to operate closer to the line. Matt Elam has the heart of a lion but his size concerns me and his ability to hold up long term in the league. Cooper Taylor was the star of Shrine week and after the way Seattle has composed their secondary, a guy with his size and measurables will be highly sought after in this copycat league.

Let's open up the discussion on this year's defensive backs...I'm always open to criticism, defending my rankings, and seeing how others' rankings match up to mine
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:29 AM    (permalink
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I don't see what scouts see in this Will Davis kid. I watched him lose several battles this season and then look very average to bad at the senior bowl where more than half of the corners out played him.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:30 AM    (permalink
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Man you guys are really not educated on Xavier Rhodes are you? He's #2 on y board with the ceiling as high as an elite shutdown cb.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:37 AM    (permalink
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Could someone break down Kenny Vaccaro for me please?? I haven't watched much UT football this past season and don't know why he's rated so highly.

Is he better overall than Earl Thomas?
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:40 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by bucfan12 View Post
Man you guys are really not educated on Xavier Rhodes are you? He's #2 on y board with the ceiling as high as an elite shutdown cb.
I think Rhodes will make or break his draft with his 40 time. If he runs 4.55 or under he should be a first round pick IMO.

I personally hope he falls to the lions 2nd round
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:49 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by FUNBUNCHER View Post
Could someone break down Kenny Vaccaro for me please?? I haven't watched much UT football this past season and don't know why he's rated so highly.

Is he better overall than Earl Thomas?
No, but Earl Thomas was part of an extremely stacked draft class and Kenny Vaccaro is part of the weakest draft class since 2005.

Kenny Vaccaro is great in the box against the run. He can play centerfielder at a high level as well as great in press man coverage. He can bring the lumber with the best of them. His ball skills are a little lacking, but other than that he has every quality you'd look for in a saftey. He is a better prospect than both Barron and Smith who went 1st round last year. A lot of people will lead you to believe he is a horrible open field tackler which is simply not true. Every say him on national TV against Oklahoma State when he had a horrible whiff on a long TD run and now every says he is terrible in the open field. Again, it is simply not true every just saw one of his lowest moments of his career.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:56 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by CrossOfDeath View Post
I don't see what scouts see in this Will Davis kid. I watched him lose several battles this season and then look very average to bad at the senior bowl where more than half of the corners out played him.
I had the privilege of watching Will Davis in person when Utah State outplayed Wisconsin early in the season and Davis completely shut down Jared Abbrederis and the Badgers' passing attack. A physical man-to-man corner is a rare find and Davis possesses the skills to be such a player in the NFL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bucfan12 View Post
Man you guys are really not educated on Xavier Rhodes are you? He's #2 on y board with the ceiling as high as an elite shutdown cb.
Rhodes possesses the man-to-man skill set like I described with Davis, but I worry about two things with his game: straight line speed with the #1 receivers and their elite speed in the present-day league and his schematic versatility, don't see much in terms of being able to be a zone corner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FUNBUNCHER View Post
Could someone break down Kenny Vaccaro for me please?? I haven't watched much UT football this past season and don't know why he's rated so highly.

Is he better overall than Earl Thomas?
Vaccaro is not a better prospect than Earl Thomas, for starters. Vaccaro has terrific range for a safety and gives coordinators flexibility with his willingness to be physical and his ability to cover, which is almost a must in today's NFL.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:05 AM    (permalink
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Man you guys are really not educated on Xavier Rhodes are you? He's #2 on y board with the ceiling as high as an elite shutdown cb.
Just because someone doesn't like a player you like, it doesn't mean they are 'really not educated' on that player.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:09 AM    (permalink
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We've talked Cooper Taylor out of Richmond so it's nice to see him in there. At one time he was a 4.4 guy, of course he was probably 20 lbs lighter then. Pending the combine times he might be up in that 2nd or 3rd round range when draft day gets here. I'd rather have him in the 3rd than most of these guys in the first or second.

My personal preference is Earl Thomas over Kenny Vaccaro, more range and better instincts, of course i may be a little biased there.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:13 AM    (permalink
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Thank you for not including Johnny Adams from MSU. He is awful.

Also, Hawthorne has the size and talent to be a really good corner, but he can never stay healthy and seems to never make big plays or truly shut down anyone with consistency. It will be interesting to see how he does with actual coaching.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:53 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by princefielder28 View Post
I have started to compile my rankings and instead of throwing out all the positions at once I figured there might be more conversation generated by breaking the positions apart by similarities.

Cornerbacks

1. Dee Milliner : ALABAMA
2. Jordan Poyer : OREGON STATE
3. Desmond Trufant : WASHINGTON
4. Will Davis : UTAH STATE
5. Logan Ryan : RUTGERS
6. Jamar Taylor : BOISE STATE
7. Xavier Rhodes : FLORIDA STATE
8. Johnthan Banks : MISSISSIPPI STATE
9. Leon McFadden : SAN DIEGO STATE
10. Robert Alford : SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA
11. Blidi Wreh-Wilson : UCONN
12. BW Webb : WILLIAM & MARY
13. Darius Slay : MISSISSIPPI STATE
14. David Amerson : NORTH CAROLINA STATE
15. Terry Hawthorne : ILLINOIS

Decent list however, I think you are over analyzing Banks and Rhodes, they are still in the mix as 1st rounders while Davis and Talyor simply aren't. I also wouldn't shocked if BW Webb doesn't higher on draft day. Trufant is definitely on the rise and could eventually pass Poyer as the #2 CB in the draft.

Analysis: Milliner is the king of the class at corner and is the latest Saban defensive backs to enter the NFL. Overall a pretty deep class with each of these 15 listed having the potential to be starters within a couple years of being in the league. Poyer, Trufant and Davis all carry first round grades with me and Trufant may be the only one of the bunch that actually goes in the first 32 picks. Banks has been highly touted throughout the season, but I simply am not wowed enough when I've watched Mississippi State this past season and teammate Darius Slay isn't far behind him in my evaluations. Banks' best fit very well may be safety in the NFL. David Amerson got exposed big time this season, but if he's still around in the 3rd round, his size for a defensive back is worth gambling on and trying to develop.

Safeties

1. Kenny Vaccaro : TEXAS
2. Jonathan Cyprien : FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL
3. Phillip Thomas : FRESNO STATE
4. Duke Williams : NEVADA
5. Eric Reid : LOUISIANA STATE
6. Bacarri Rambo : GEORGIA
7. DJ Swearinger : SOUTH CAROLINA
8. Matt Elam : FLORIDA
9. Shawn Williams : GEORGIA
10. Tony Jefferson : OKLAHOMA
11. JJ Wilcox : GEORGIA SOUTHERN
12. TJ McDonald : USC
13. Cooper Taylor : RICHMOND
14. Shamarko Thomas : SYRACUSE
15. Earl Wolff : NORTH CAROLINA STATE

Your right, this is one of the deepest Safety classes in years but while very solid, there is no star among them as yet. I think you have Reid, Elam and J.J.Wilcox a bit low for my liking.

Analysis: Much like the crop of cornerbacks, the safety position is very deep for the upcoming draft. When considering the top seven guys (Vaccaro, Cyprien, Thomas, Williams, Reid, Rambo and Swearinger) they could easily be shuffled around depending on what qualities one looks for in their safeties. Vaccaro is the most complete of the bunch, but there are lapses in his play at times during this season so he's not without flaws. After Barron went high last year, it wouldn't surprise me if he goes Top 10 like some scouts/journalists are suggesting. Cyprien impressed me big time during the Senior Bowl week and he is everything a defensive coordinator wants in a safety with his physicality and ability to drop back in coverage. Some project Eric Reid as a free safety but I see more of a strong safety as a guy who needs to operate closer to the line. Matt Elam has the heart of a lion but his size concerns me and his ability to hold up long term in the league. Cooper Taylor was the star of Shrine week and after the way Seattle has composed their secondary, a guy with his size and measurables will be highly sought after in this copycat league.

Let's open up the discussion on this year's defensive backs...I'm always open to criticism, defending my rankings, and seeing how others' rankings match up to mine
There could be a lot of starters coing out of this year's CB and Safety classes but as far as the Safeties are concerned, never underestimate the Safety who can intimidate like Reid and Elam, they are always going to be in demand.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:18 PM    (permalink
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There could be a lot of starters coing out of this year's CB and Safety classes but as far as the Safeties are concerned, never underestimate the Safety who can intimidate like Reid and Elam, they are always going to be in demand.
JJ Wilcox has some very intriguing skills to work with and mold for the safety position. His inexperience makes him a prospect that teams will have to be patient with and we may not see the kind of player he can be until three or four years from now.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:34 PM    (permalink
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I like your top 3 CBs. Personally, I would have Hyde in the top 5. Your Safeties seem pretty good, except for Vaccaro. I just don't think he's very good.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:54 PM    (permalink
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JJ Wilcox has some very intriguing skills to work with and mold for the safety position. His inexperience makes him a prospect that teams will have to be patient with and we may not see the kind of player he can be until three or four years from now.
Very few rookies are completely up to snuff and get far better by their second and third season, but it doesn't mean they cannot start in year 1 think a lot of these Safeties will be starters right out of the gate.

The way I see it, with such a huge # of juniors declaring, teams that do well in this year's draft will be set up as contenders for years, while teams that have a poor draft will be looking back at this draft as the reason for being a weak team. IMO, this is a make or break draft, that is how loaded it is at every position
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:59 PM    (permalink
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Thank you for not including Johnny Adams from MSU. He is awful.

Also, Hawthorne has the size and talent to be a really good corner, but he can never stay healthy and seems to never make big plays or truly shut down anyone with consistency. It will be interesting to see how he does with actual coaching.
The statement on Hawthorne tends to make me think you haven't watched many Illini games...because you couldn't be more wrong. BTW he is the best QB in the class (And Buchanan is the best DE with Carradine).
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:10 PM    (permalink
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Thank you for not including Johnny Adams from MSU. He is awful.
I lol'd when some places had him as one of the top senior cornerbacks, prior to the season.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:38 PM    (permalink
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One thing is clear. My Lions MUST get 2 safeties out of the first 4 rounds of this draft.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:44 PM    (permalink
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Interesting that you're so low on Tony Jefferson. Would like to know why.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:29 AM    (permalink
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Interesting that you're so low on Tony Jefferson. Would like to know why.
With Elam, Williams and Jefferson they could easily be listed as 8a, 8b and 8c in my rankings because each safety is more interested in operating closer to the box and have the ability to play coverage adequately as well. Jefferson had some poor performances this season, especially against West Virginia, and when I evaluate a prospect I put more weight on those crucial games against higher competition. I don't want to make it sound like I am not a fan of Jefferson because I would be more than happy with one of these top 10 safeties being selected by the Packers in the first three rounds of the draft.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:11 AM    (permalink
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Pretty good list, I think Rhodes is the 2nd best CB in this draft with Trufant 3rd.
Personally Elam is my favorite safety in this draft, yes he is on the smaller side but look at some of the other great safeties in this league.
Elam 5'10 202
Ed Reed 5'11 205
Earl Thomas 5'10" 202
Troy Polamalu 5'10" 207
Jairus Byrd 5'10 203 etc...
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:18 AM    (permalink
princefielder28
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Pretty good list, I think Rhodes is the 2nd best CB in this draft with Trufant 3rd.
Personally Elam is my favorite safety in this draft, yes he is on the smaller side but look at some of the other great safeties in this league.
Elam 5'10 202
Ed Reed 5'11 205
Earl Thomas 5'10" 202
Troy Polamalu 5'10" 207
Jairus Byrd 5'10 203 etc...
Elam doesn't have the same style of game as Reed, Thomas or Byrd, who are all center field/free safety types. Elam plays a very physical brand of football like Polamalu and his smaller stature may be detrimental to his long term staying power in the league.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:55 AM    (permalink
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Elam doesn't have the same style of game as Reed, Thomas or Byrd, who are all center field/free safety types. Elam plays a very physical brand of football like Polamalu and his smaller stature may be detrimental to his long term staying power in the league.
Ala Bob Sanders... He might also be very generous dontating to the league with the way he leads with his head.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:37 PM    (permalink
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I don't see a major concern with Matt Elam's style of play that makes you think this guy is going to have, maybe, four productive years and then turn into a vegetable. And I don't think he's overly physical or intimidating. He is constantly missing tackles because of terrible fundamentals and no desire to wrap up. I absolutely love the passion and energy he plays with. He also has some of the best instincts you're going to find from any defensive back coming from the college game. He is really aggressive and does a great job of attacking downhill, and, specifically, behind the line of scrimmage (20 TFL over the last two years). He was one of my favorite college players.

I think his biggest area of concer, or maybe just my greatest area of mystery regarding his abilities, is when he's dropping back in coverage and playing a deep half, deep third or deep quarter of the field. I just haven't been able to see enough of him dropping into those deep zones, reading the QB and making plays on the ball (ya know, like a safety). He doesn't look like someone who's comfortable moving backwards, but only comfortable attacking when he clearly sees everything in front of him.

Instead I normally see him playing nickel corner and playing either man coverage or zone coverage within ten yards of the line of scrimmage. I think that is his biggest area of concern. Not so much with the way he plays the game, or his average size. His instincts and his natural playmaking ability is a huge plus. He jumped off the screen when I was watching games this year. He just has those natural instincts to trust his eyes and play the run. It allows him to play so fast, regardless of 40 time, that when you go and watch other safeties from this class they simply won't compare. To me he looks like, at worst, a second round prospect with first round potential. I think he also lacks ball skills from what I've seen.

I have not had a chance to watch as much college football as I would have liked so I'm not sure how he stacks up compared to the others, but I love his game. He's one of the few safeties I watched this year that just jumped off the screen. One other was DJ Swearinger. But he seems overconfident and maybe a little soft for my liking.

Duke Williams and Jonathan Cyprien are two of the more intriguing safeties from this class.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:46 PM    (permalink
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I've recently hopped on the Cyprien bandwagon, but I don't see him being taken in the Top 2 rounds at this point.
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:19 PM    (permalink
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I've recently hopped on the Cyprien bandwagon, but I don't see him being taken in the Top 2 rounds at this point.
Why is that? What part of his game is lacking? To me, from the admittedly little I've seen (mostly Senior Bowl and one game), he looks like the most well rounded safety prospect in this class. His range jumps out and he's one of the few guys I've seen this year playing the natural free safety position. If I were to rank my Top 10 Seniors, he would make the list. Granted I haven't seen a whole lot from anyone else but there's nothing I've seen that doesn't indicate a top caliber talent. I see a guy with a lot of range, very good ball skills and the ability to support the run very well. Good size and has really good anticipation skills. He seems like a guy that's always in the middle of things. Just a nose for the football.

I really, really like him. And I can't wait to see more from him. I think he has the potential to be the best safety in this class (and in my opinion he already is. I think I see enough sheer talent to warrant that optimism). I don't look at mocks so I'm not familiar with what his draft status, but he seems to be one of the more well rounded safety I've seen (and that's comparing him to previous draft classes). The only thing that I could think of would be his speed? Maybe small school?

My Top 5 Safeties:

1. Jonathan Cyprien : FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL
2. Matt Elam : FLORIDA
3. Kenny Vaccaro : TEXAS
4. Eric Reid : LSU
5. Shamarko Thomas : SYRACUSE
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