- Paul Gutierrez, ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter
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The Oakland Raiders used their top draft pick on a cornerback last season in D.J. Hayden, and big things are expected of him in his second season, what with his being healthy enough to have a full offseason. And while three other corners will be unrestricted free agents in Tracy Porter, Mike Jenkins and Phillip Adams, it does not seem likely Oakland will again take a cornerback with its first pick, at No. 5 overall. Then again, if a quality corner falls into their lap, perhaps.
A look, then, at three cornerbacks who intrigued the masses at the NFL combine on Monday ...
CB Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State)
Widely seen as the top cornerback in the draft, he cemented said status with a show in Indianapolis. The 6-foot, 202-pound Gilbert ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash, fastest among defensive backs. He also showed strength in getting 20 reps in the bench press, which was the second-highest number among corners, and explosiveness with a 35.5-inch vertical leap and a broad jump of 10-6. Scouts rave about his ball skills and physicality.
CB Jason Verrett (TCU)
Verrett also did a lot to improve his draft stock at the combine. Besides showing speed in the 40 (4.38 seconds), he also had a 39-inch vertical (third best among corners, seventh best of the entire combine). Still, at just 5-9, 189 pounds, his future seems to be in an NFL slot, and it would be difficult to see a team using their lone first-round pick on a nickelback, no?
CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste (Nebraska)
OK, so, many critics think Jean-Baptiste stunk up the joint with a 4.61-second 40-yard dash. But he is big. At 6-3, 218 pounds he would not be dwarfed by the bigger receivers in the NFL. His 41.5-inch vertical was the second-best mark of the combine and his 10-8 broad jump was sixth-best in the combine.
The Oakland Raiders used their top draft pick on a cornerback last season in D.J. Hayden, and big things are expected of him in his second season, what with his being healthy enough to have a full offseason.