Jim Wyatt, Senior Writer/Editor, TitansOnline.com
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Listen to Florida’s Teez Tabor and you’ll be convinced he’s the top cornerback in this year’s draft class.
“I feel like I’m the best overall player in the draft, not just the best cornerback,’’ Tabor said at the NFL Combine. “That’s just the confidence I have in myself and my ability to play football.”
Listen to NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock and you’ll feel certain it’s a great year to be looking for help at the position. He doesn’t have Tabor at the top of his list, however.
“This is a great corner class,’’ Mayock said. “If you don’t get one in the first round, you can come back in the second or third round and really help yourself.
“There is all kinds of depth to this corner draft. There are probably eight to ten corners that are 6’2″ or taller, also, so it’s really intriguing from that perspective.”
The Titans currently have the fifth and 18th overall picks in the first round of the NFL Draft. The team has needs at a number of positions, and secondary help is on the list, from cornerback to safety.
And that’s a good thing.
At the NFL Combine, most analysts agreed the cornerback and safety depth stretches from day one to day three of the NFL Draft. Teams will be able to get contributors throughout, but there’s a debate on just how early they should go.
Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore and Washington’s Sidney Jones are regarded as the top two corners in the draft. After that, players like Florida’s Tabor, Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey and LSU’s Tre’Davious White are considered potential first and second-round picks. USC’s Adoree’ Jackson’s stock is climbing, and he’s a weapon in the return game as well.
“I’m a lockdown corner,’’ said Jones. “I bring everything to the table. I’m an all-around football player. I bring great ball skills to the table, instincts and high football IQ.”
“Of course everybody is going to say they feel like the best, and I feel like I’m the best,’’ Lattimore said. “It’s a lot of talent here from top to bottom. A team is going to get a great player from the first round to the fourth round. It’s a deep draft and I’m honored to be considered one of the top cornerbacks in the draft.”
There are some questions about several of the prospects. Tabor didn’t help himself with his 4.62 in the 40, and Lattimore’s history of hamstring issues add a question mark by his name.
Titans general manager Jon Robinson was asked about the depth at the cornerback spot, and the team’s needs in Indianapolis.
He acknowledged it’s a good year for cornerbacks, but said the team has plenty of needs.
“Some good players at that position, the secondary,’’ Robinson said. “I think it’s a good depth draft for the front seven as well, on that side of the ball. I think there’s some pass rushers, some interior defensive linemen. I think there’s some off-the-ball linebackers that can have input on teams.
“If we can have as many good football players at all positions. As deep and as talented a team as you can have. Having depth at every position is certainly beneficial.”
NFL draft analyst Mike Detillier, editor and publisher of Mike Detillier Draft Report, said the depth at cornerback would probably cause him to hesitate in addressing the position in the top five.
Patience could pay off a little later, he said.
“I’m not picking a cornerback at 5,” Detillier said. “I do have a cornerback in my top 10, and that’s Lattimore. He’s very talented, but he’s rough around the edges as a player. He has the dynamics you are looking for as a player, but in this draft class, with as many corners that are going to be out there, I’d think seriously about that as a top 5 pick.
“The last three years there have been five cornerbacks picked in each of the three years in round one, and I think that will happen again this year. Where the big difference is, this is a pretty thick class. You are probably going to see an additional 10 to 11 cornerbacks picked in the next two rounds, in the second and third rounds. I think you see probably see 16 cornerbacks go within the next 100 selections. It’s going to be an area where it’s going to be hit upon, but you don’t have to use a top 5 pick on a corner. I’d pass at picking 5 overall, I just don’t think you have the value there. I just think in this draft, you can get so many top cornerbacks in the top 100 picks.”