Richner: Top CBs
1. Morris Claiborne (LSU): Most of the press coverage surrounding the LSU defense the past two years has been about Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu. Morris Claiborne has quietly established himself as on the of the best man-to-man cover corners coming out of college football since Darrelle Revis. Though teams consistently avoided throwing his way, he was still able to keep his concentration and leave college with 11 interceptions for his career. Once he understands the nuances and defensive gameplans, it won't be long before an NFL team feels comfortable putting him out on his own island.
2. Dre Kirkpatrick (Alabama): He has the size, speed and physical power to become an elite cornerback. Kirkpatrick's athletic ability jumps off the tape, with his ability to play man-coverage, Kirkpatrick allowed Nick Saban's defense to put unrelenting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. At 6'2", he should be able to handle being matched up on the outside, alone in the NFL. The only knock on Kirkpatrick is away from the football field. Nick Saban runs a tight ship down in Alabama. For Kirkpatrick's sake, I hope he joins a team with strong veteran leadership that keeps him in line.
3. Casey Hayward (Vanderbilt): Vanderbilt isn't known for producing top level cornerbacks. Hayward is a three-year starter and was an absolute ball hawk with 15 career interceptions, tied for most amongst defensive backs in this year's draft class. Opposing offenses continued to test him, and he responded with 46 pass break ups. His slight frame could be an issue in run support, but he more than makes up for it in with his coverage skills.
4. Josh Robinson (UCF): In just 38 games, lightning fast Josh Robinson shutdown opposing team's top wide receivers. With ten career interceptions and 46 pass break ups, he possesses elite coverage skills. Robinson tested off the charts at the NFL Combine, running a 4.33 40-time. At 5'10", his height could be an issue against the taller wide outs in the NFL, but he doesn't lack the confidence to take on any challengers.
5. Stephon Gilmore (South Carolina): Gilmore started 40 games over the past four seasons. For his career, he recorded seven sacks, which is the highest amongst defensive backs in this year's class. At 6'1" and 192 lbs., I would like to see him become stronger in press coverage. He excels at playing zone coverage, but he tends to get beat going against faster, quicker wide receivers running deep routes. Gilmore is an aggressive tackler and is more than willing to lower his shoulder and be aggressive.