Looking at the Titans current cornerback situation, it remains an obvious area of need which must be addressed in the 2009 draft. Incumbent starters Cortland Finnegan and Nick Harper have only two players behind them on the depth chart and each has problems.
Cary Williams missed all of his rookie training camp and appeared in only one game last season, so he remains totally inexperienced.
Because of this, I anticipate the Titans will use two of their ten selections, if not more, on cornerbacks.
Drexel looked at some of the corners
the Titans might have their eyes on in the first round of the draft and I’ll continue in that vein by looking at some later round prospects.
I focused primarily on guys who, according to scouting reports, were good in man-to-man coverage. I doubt if new defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil wants to play a lot of zone, so I don’t expect the Titans to spend draft picks on cover-2 type players.
Please note that there are plenty of draft-eligible corners and I haven’t looked at all of them yet. The ones listed below are some of the ones that I did look at.
Four cornerbacks are projected to be drafted late in the first round or early to mid-second round — Alphonso Smith, D.J. Moore, Darius Butler and Sean Smith. See Drexel’s review of them in his article
on potential first-round cornerback picks.
It seems unlikely any of them will still be on the board when the Titans select with overall pick #62 but stranger things have happened.
is another possibility at #62, though he may be better suited to play for a team that uses predominantly zone defenses. I only mention him here because he has man-to-man skills as well. Byrd can also return punts.
Round Two or Three:
was an athletic, physical free safety in college who is being projected as having NFL cornerback skills. Will he be drafted to be a corner or a safety? The outlook on him probably varies from team to team. He should be a fine player at either position.
is a second or third-round prospect but his poor 4.42 short shuttle disturbs me. I wonder if this is a weak cornerback class. Only a few corners had even average times in the short shuttle and most were disappointing. The combine’s 40-yard dash times weren’t very good either, although the shuttles are more important for corners than the 40 is. Maybe the conditions at Indianapolis’ new Lucas Oil Stadium aren’t as good as they were at the old piped-in-noise dome.
Rounds Three through Five:
has good skills but is a little raw and may need to be developed. Francies also has some kick return ability.
has a great name and good coverage ability but like a lot of corners in this year’s draft, size is a concern. His stock is falling and he may be a steal in the fifth round if his slide continues.
Rounds Six and Seven:
has only one season under his belt as a starting college cornerback. He’s got good size and adequate, but not ideal, speed. Fletcher was the best corner at the East-West Shrine Game, so scouts are familiar with him. It sounds to me like he has a lot of upside.
Donald Washington is viewed as more of an athlete than a cornerback and had the combine’s best vertical with an amazing 45″. He probably would have benefited by staying in school another year. If the Titans are looking for someone as a late-round project who might take a little time to develop, he would fit that role. However, Tennessee may not even consider him due to possible concerns (suspended for two games for breaking unspecified team rules.)
is a little bit of a different species than the other corners listed here. Mouton is more of a nickelback who also plays as a slot receiver on offense and returns kicks as well. He has good cover skills and is good in man-to-man. Height may be a problem as an outside corner so he may be limited to playing in the slot in nickel and dime packages.
, the son of former NFL star Irving Fryar, is a converted receiver. He has decent size and speed. His bloodlines certainly won’t hurt him and may even help persuade someone to take a chance on him in the seventh round.
is undersized but has good man-to-man cover skills. He may be undrafted, but as such would receive free agent offers from a lot of teams.
Those are the corners (so far) I believe could help the Titans with their depth problems. Have any of you seen any of them play? What’s your opinion on them? Also, which corners do you like in the later rounds?