2019 NFL Draft prospect rankings: Cornerbacks
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Here, theScore's Mike Alessandrini and Dan Wilkins break down the top prospects in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft with position-by-position rankings and an overall top 50 big board.

Top 50
QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | iOL
EDGE | DL | LB | CB | S

1. Byron Murphy

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School: Washington
Height: 5-11
Weight: 190 lbs

Strengths

  • Very fluid in space with lightning quick feet and soft hips
  • Has the ability to mirror in man coverage
  • Plays with high intensity and is a good tackler
  • Excellent instincts and route recognition
  • Phenomenal closing speed to the football
  • Instincts are off the charts
  • Great ball skills - had a number of passes defended and interceptions
  • Effective when blitzing

Weaknesses

  • Doesn't possess ideal size, frame, or length
  • Below average speed, which hurts his recovery when beaten in press
  • Fairly inexperienced - just 20 career games in college
  • Has been stacked and beaten by bigger receivers

Bottom line

Murphy isn't the fastest defender or the most explosive athlete, but he's easily the top cover cornerback in this year's draft class. The first-team All-Pac-12 defensive back is incredibly fluid in space and reacts to the ball exceptionally well, making him perfect for a zone scheme. Murphy may be inexperienced relative to his peers, but he sees the field incredibly well. His 4.55 40-yard dash time shouldn't scare anyone away - zone cornerbacks must be quick and shifty, which Murphy is.

2. Greedy Williams

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School: LSU
Height: 6-2
Weight: 185 lbs

Strengths

  • Excellent combination of size and pure speed
  • Able to stay with receivers all the way through vertical routes
  • Has flashed very good ball skills, especially during the 2017 season
  • Long arms used to battle receivers through the catch process
  • Versatile enough to play in man or zone schemes
  • Effortless mover in space
  • Excellent recovery skills when beaten at the line of scrimmage
  • Very good at keeping his eyes on the quarterback and anticipating when the throw is coming

Weaknesses

  • Not very physical - loses a fair amount of press attempts
  • Slight frame and lacks functional strength
  • Effort is lacking in run defense
  • A bit grabby on downfield routes
  • More of a burner than an explosive, quick-twitch athlete

Bottom line

Williams possesses considerable upside as a cornerback prospect. His size and speed will have a number of teams intrigued, and his experience in man and zone coverages will make him a target for almost every NFL club. Greedy gets his hands on a number of targets but must add to his frame and improve his overall technique to find instant success in the pros. Still, all the traits are there for Williams to be a first-round target.

3. Amani Oruwariye

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School: Penn State
Height: 6-2
Weight: 205 lbs

Strengths

  • Excellent size and frame for his position
  • Fights to jar the ball loose on every target
  • Fantastic body control - contorts to make pass breakups
  • Good in run support with a wide tackle radius
  • Good ball skills, specifically when the play is in front of him
  • Agile defender with fluid hips and solid change-of-direction skills
  • Has enough explosion to make a quick jump on the ball/route
  • Excellent read-and-react defender

Weaknesses

  • Didn't start until his redshirt senior campaign
  • Can get in a bind when trailing a receiver
  • Backpedal is elongated and slow
  • Enough size to disrupt routes early, but his punch on the press needs improvement

Bottom line

Oruwariye is rarely mentioned among the top cornerbacks in this class, but he should be. The Penn State product has exactly what scouts look for in terms of size, speed, and athleticism. He can play in any scheme but profiles best as an off/zone defender. Oruwariye has good ball skills and is a terror in 50/50 targets. He's going to come off the board earlier than most anticipate.

4. Deandre Baker

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School: Georgia
Height: 5-11
Weight: 193 lbs

Strengths

  • Productive collegiate career
  • Physical and makes 50/50 balls incredibly difficult to catch
  • Always in receivers' faces
  • Long arms that allow for a number of pass breakups
  • Technician in press coverage - stays balanced and knocks his opponents off their route
  • Reads the quarterback's eyes effectively and closes well on the ball
  • Didn't allow very many receptions this past season
  • Able to help out in run defense

Weaknesses

  • Average size, frame, and athleticism
  • Bails out of press coverage quickly knowing physical limitations
  • In trouble when he doesn't win off the line of scrimmage
  • Plays tall when backpedaling
  • Takes aggressive angles to the ball, which can backfire

Bottom line

Baker isn't the most fluid athlete in this draft, but he's a tough, technically proficient cornerback that makes every target difficult for wide receivers. The Jim Thorpe Award recipient is likely scheme dependent but he should thrive pressing in man coverage. Baker has every chance to make a significant early-career impact, depending on his landing spot.

5. Julian Love

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School: Notre Dame
Height: 5-11
Weight: 195 lbs

Strengths

  • Good ball skills and defended a number of passes over the last two seasons
  • Productive in man coverage
  • Reads short patterns extremely well
  • Quick feet to mirror opponents
  • Agile in short spaces and able to flip hips and stick with receivers downfield
  • Consistently jumps in front of receivers on in-breaking routes

Weaknesses

  • Not many interceptions despite getting his hands on many passes
  • Physical in run support but can be caught taking poor paths to the ball
  • Likely doesn't have the reaction and explosiveness to thrive in zone coverage
  • Has been beaten by double moves
  • A bit short and could add to his frame

Bottom line

Love heads into the 2019 NFL Draft as a likely Day 2 selection after an impressive career at Notre Dame. The consensus All-American is a perfect fit for multiple man-coverage schemes due to his quick feet and technical prowess. When he guesses routes correctly, he makes his opponents pay. Overall, Love is a solid boundary cornerback prospect, but he could hit his ceiling as a slot defender.

6. David Long

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School: Michigan
Height: 5-11
Weight: 196 lbs

Strengths

  • Fantastic quickness and excellent short-area agility
  • Very experienced and proficient in press coverage
  • Physical at the line of scrimmage and can match receivers' patterns after their initial break
  • Very patient and knows when to be aggressive
  • Good long-distance speed and rarely allows much separation downfield
  • Fluid hips allow for smooth transitions

Weaknesses

  • Doesn't possess enough explosion to consistently break on the ball
  • Subpar run defender
  • Can be beaten by big, physical receivers
  • Lacks ideal size and length

Bottom line

Long isn't the tallest or most explosive cornerback in this class, but he's an excellent man-coverage prospect with consistent technique. The former Wolverine's agility in close quarters and lightning-quick feet make him an ideal fit for the slot. Long's ball skills leave a bit to be desired but it's rare to find a defensive back prospect so experienced in press coverage. Simply put, quarterbacks rarely found success when targeting him.

7. Justin Layne​​

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School: Michigan State
Height: 6-2
Weight: 192 lbs

Strengths

  • Tall with extremely long arms
  • Physical at the line of scrimmage and during routes
  • Understands routes and has the ball skills to record interceptions and pass breakups
  • Athletic and can change direction well for a player his size
  • Effective punch in press coverage
  • Sure tackler and a good run defender

Weaknesses

  • Began his college career as a wider receiver - still learning the defensive side of the ball
  • Stiff hips and not very fluid in space
  • Speedy offensive weapons have challenged him downfield
  • In a tough spot when he loses in press and has to turnaround to trail receivers

Bottom line

Layne is fairly new to the cornerback position, but he has a number of tools and traits that NFL teams target. The former Spartan flashed promise as a zone defender but is probably best suited for a man-coverage scheme, where his length and press abilities can thrive. Layne is raw and comes with a fair amount of risk, but his ceiling is as high as a number of his fellow 2019 draftees.

8. Sean Bunting

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School: Central Michigan
Height: 6-0
Weight: 195 lbs

Strengths

  • Ideal size and athleticism for his position
  • Very loose hips and quick feet
  • Has shown the ability to shadow receivers' release at the line of scrimmage
  • Adjusts with the ball in the air and understands his opponents' routes
  • Very good anticipation and reaction to the quarterback's timing when bailing
  • Consistently gets in the way of throwing lanes
  • Productive college player that didn't allow very many receptions

Weaknesses

  • Big, physical receivers have given him trouble
  • Inconsistent press technique
  • Can get grabby when trailing downfield
  • Could add strength to a thin frame

Projection

Bunting will likely be selected on Day 2, but don't be surprised if he's among the top cornerbacks in this class when it's all said and done. The All-MAC first-team defender could stand to improve near the line of scrimmage, but he offers the ball skills, instincts, and speed to thrive in zone coverage. Bunting likely needs a year of seasoning, but he'll be a hot commodity for many NFL teams.

9. Trayvon Mullen

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School: Clemson
Height: 6-2
Weight: 199 lbs

Strengths

  • Possesses excellent size
  • Enough vertical speed to stay with the receiver throughout the route
  • Named defensive MVP of national championship game vs. Alabama
  • Efficient tackler that helps out in run defense
  • Very effective early in man coverage
  • Rarely gets beat deep
  • Didn't allow a touchdown in primary coverage over three college campaigns
  • Strong pop/punch in press

Weaknesses

  • Below average instincts and reaction skill
  • Footwork and technique needs work
  • Tight hips and not very fluid in space
  • Often caught holding receivers downfield
  • At times had trouble with sharp releases off the line of scrimmage

Bottom line

Mullen is a bit of a project and likely won't be a top-40 selection as many believe, but there's a lot to like here. The former Clemson standout profiles best in a man-coverage scheme that allows him to press and he could develop into a solid starter with good coaching.

10. Rock Ya-Sin

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School: Temple
Height: 6-0
Weight: 192 lbs

Strengths

  • Plays with an extremely high degree of physicality
  • Drives receivers to the boundary to limit throwing lanes
  • Rarely gave up big plays in coverage
  • Good tackler after the catch and in run defense
  • Very tough to beat when his hands connect in a press
  • Sticky coverage skills, especially in the red zone

Weaknesses

  • Takes a few too many holding/pass interference penalties
  • Average athlete with below average change-of-direction skills
  • Wide base with sloppy feet and sub-par transitions
  • Lacking ball skills, especially when trailing his receiver
  • Just three career interceptions

Bottom line

Great name and all, Rock Ya-Sin has a number of fans in the draft community, and for good reason. He offers a physical brand of football and can thrive in man coverage with good coaching. However, the first-team All-AAC defender must improve his overall movement skills and grab less downfield to become a high-level starter in the pros.

Other notable prospects

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Lonnie Johnson (Kentucky)
Joejuan Williams (Vanderbilt)
Jamel Dean (Auburn)
Saivion Smith (Alabama)
Mark Fields (Clemson)
Isaiah Johnson (Houston)

Top 50
QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | iOL
EDGE | DL | LB | CB | S

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2019 NFL Draft prospect rankings: Cornerbacks
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