Sep 27, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans cornerback Trae Waynes (15) stands on field between plays during the 1st half of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
There is likely to be a run on cornerbacks near the end of the first round as a number of teams have a glaring need at the position. If the Colts are looking at the best available defensive player, its very likely to be a cornerback at pick 29.
Trae Waynes – Michigan State
Depending on who you ask, Waynes might just be the best CB in the draft this year. He’s got above average size for the position and the athleticism to face the top wide receivers in the NFL.
Waynes excels in the press man coverage, which makes him an ideal fit for the Colts scheme. He is a very well rounded corner who isn’t outstanding in one aspect but is very good at basically everything.
The reason he’s on top of my list is because he doesn’t have the off field baggage that the next player has.
Oct 18, 2014; Eugene, OR, USA; Washington Huskies defensive back Marcus Peters (21) during pregame warm up against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
Marcus Peters – Washington
Peters is incredibly talented, maybe more so than Waynes but has far too many red flags. He’s failed drug tests, fought with coaches, been suspended from practices and games multiple times and was eventually dismissed from the team.
Peters has taken responsibility for his maturity issues, but saying it and doing something about it are two different things. These are the kind of issues that don’t really get any better once a person is given a lot of money.
That said, Peters is a great CB and also excels in the press man scheme that the Colts run. He is at his best when the ball is in the air finishing his three years at Washington with 11 interceptions and 27 passes defensed.
Kevin Johnson – Wake Forest
Nov 2, 2013; Syracuse, NY, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons cornerback Kevin Johnson (9) warms up prior to a game against the Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Johnson has great anticipation and reads plays very well. His cover skills are fantastic and he can play press- or off man- coverage. He’s also a willing defender when it comes to stopping the run, but doesn’t always get off his blocks very quickly.
Johnson is one of a number of 6-foot CBs in this years draft which makes him a great fit in the NFL as receivers seem to be getting taller. He also has solid production numbers with seven interceptions and 38 pass breakups.
Byron Jones – UConn
What stands out with Jones is his size at nearly 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds. He’s a physical corner with ideal size for press-coverage and surprisingly athleticism for someone as big as he is. He has the speed to recover if he gets burned and can is good at making a play on the ball in any position.
One thing that stands out is the angles he takes on tackles, which are great and he’s willing land a solid hit on the ball carrier to bring him down. He generally wraps up when he tackles instead of going for a big hit (which is a plus and surprising how few players choose to wrap up).
Those are the four corners who rate as first round talents. That isn’t to say that others wouldn’t be drafted, but they are clearly at the top of this years class.
A number of other names have been thrown around in association with the Colts as well. Jalen Collins out of LSU would be a nice fit, but not in the first round. He certainly played against quality competition in the SEC but doesn’t have much in the way of production (just three career interceptions).
Williams has everything you want out of a corner physically and potential wise, but he is inconsistent in coverage. It also doesn’t help that he was charged with a DUI earlier this month.
Darby is almost the reverse of Williams in that he’s about average in terms of skills, but is excellent when it comes to coverage. At 5-10, he’s probably limited to being a slot corner and his propensity to guessing instead of reacting leads to him getting burned more often than you’d like.
While the safeties in this draft are few and far between, there are a lot of talented CBs the Colts can look at, especially in later rounds. This is a great opportunity for the team to upgrade at the second corner and get him some experience before 2016 when he’d have to start.
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