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Thursday, January 9, 2014
These cornerbacks remind me of ...

By Tom Luginbill

If a program runs a high-concept scheme on defense, cornerback can be the most difficult position to make the leap from high school to college, aside from quarterback of course. Rarely do prospects face a player across from him who is bigger, faster or quicker in high school and they just don’t get challenged very often, which is why it can be very difficult to project the success of cornerbacks in college. Also, many players are not devoted to playing corner fulltime and must become acclimated through reps and experience to maximize their ceiling for production. Here are our top five cornerbacks and a comparable productive player for each at the collegiate level.

CB Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Catholic) is comparable to Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma: To be honest, there is not a comparable player in college football right now to Peppers as a whole player top to bottom. Still, Colvin came to mind because he is rangy, physical, athletic, has ball skills and is just a natural football player. Peppers is a big bigger than Colvin, but the same physicality is inherent. Ideally at corner you would like a naturally instinctive playmaker who can make things happen with the ball in his hands because they have somewhat of an offensive background, and that is the case here.

Tony Brown
Five-star CB Tony Brown compares favorably to MSU's Darqueze Dennard, who won this season's Jim Thorpe Award, which is given to the nation's top DB.
CB Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen) is comparable to Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State: This was another tough one as both Peppers and Brown bring very unique skill sets and measurables. They look like safeties, but play like corners, which is why Dennard quickly came to mind. Both are physical specimens who can be imposing in their style of play. They have a “don’t back down” attitude and relish any opportunity to compete. Plus they are tough guys, which is so important as a corner both mentally and physically.

CB Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) is comparable to Jason Verrett, TCU: Jackson is perhaps the quickest and most explosive corner ranked within our top five. He does not quite have the height as others, but his overall man coverage skills may be slightly more advanced. Verrett brings a similar skill to his game. What he may lack in ideal height, he makes up for with feet, explosive quickness, smooth hips and a competitive temperament. It also helps to be a dynamic player with the ball in your hands, which both players are.

CB Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Academy) is comparable to Ronald Darby, Florida State: Darby may be faster, but he is faster than most defensive backs. However, when it comes to competing and the ability to play off, press or fit in zone concepts, these two are very much alike. For taller players on the perimeter it can be difficult to keep pads down in coverage, pedal and then flip hips to transition. Tabor and Darby consistently show this ability. This affords them to handle smaller, quicker WRs in coverage, but also hold up against tall, long-armed players in press coverage who want to win jump balls. These two will win their fair of jump balls if challenged.

CB Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover) is comparable to Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida: They look alike, move alike and have many of the same athletic characteristics, including being effective run support players. We made this comparison largely in part because of their long arms and smooth transitional skills in coverage, which isn’t always easy to find for taller cornerbacks. This allows for short area coverage and also the ability to match-up against taller receivers in the red area or on jump ball situations.