Seven cornerbacks crack top 100 in NFL draft rankings

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NFL Draft

The NFL free agency period has begun and teams will scramble to fill holes. Those who cannot land a free agent will look towards next month's NFL draft to bolster the roster. Clearly the NFL is an offensive league, but there are some top notch defensive players enter the NFL draft this season.  In fact, seven of the top 100 coming out are cornerbacks, much needed to defend the high powered passing game in today's NFL.  

Greedy Williams (LSU)

Williams has all the makings to be a number one cornerback in the NFL. He is tall, at 6' 3" and very smooth in his motions with quick feet and strong instincts to break on the ball and knock down passes. While not the strongest, at 184 pounds, Williams will likely add strength as time goes by. He has the speed (4.37 at the combine) to stay with the fastest receivers. His fundamentals are top notch and uses his long arms and height well at the line of scrimmage. In two seasons at LSU, Williams had 71 tackles and eight interceptions.

Deandre Baker (Georgia)

At first glance, Baker wouldn't impress with his speed (4.52 in the 40) or his size (5' 11", 185 pounds). However, he has gained an infinite amount of experience playing in the tough SEC.  Baker's intelligence and tenacity make up for his size, which enables his to blanket receivers. He also has an uncanny knack for the ball. In three seasons at Georgia, Baker had 115 tackles and seven interceptions. 

Byron Murphy (Washington)

Murphy is small at 5' 11" and 170 pounds, but don't let is diminutive stature fool you. While his size does limit his ability in press coverage, Murphy can line up against slot receivers. He also displays excellent quickness, aggressiveness and a nose for the football. While is played only one full season and six games as a freshman, Murphy registered 74 tackles, a sack, six interceptions and a touchdown. He has the ability to be a game-changer.

Amani Oruwariye (Penn State) and Lonnie Johnson (Kentucky)

Oruwariya and Johnson are grouped together because they are very similar in physical stature and strengths on the football field.  Oruwariya (6' 1" , 203 pounds) and Johnson (6' 3", 206 pounds) both have the height, long arms and have the ability to stifle receivers both at the line and down the field to close on the ball and break up passes. Both ran around a 4.5 in the 40 at the combine and Johnson wowed with a 38 inch vertical leap.  A bit more play maker at the collegiate level, Oruwariya had 101 tackles and eight interceptions in three seasons, while Johnson registered 64 tackles, a sack and an interception in two seasons.

Joejuan Williams (Vanderbilt)

Williams poses excellent size (6' 3", 208 pounds) to match up against physical receivers. His optimal use will be against outside receivers, although he can also play well in a zone defense. Not the fastest of cornerbacks (4.64 in the 40), Williams makes up for that with his length, instincts and ball hawking skills. Extremely physical and strong, Williams recorded an impressive 17 reps on the bench press at the combine. In three collegiate seasons, Williams had 119 tackles and an interception.

Julian Love (Notre Dame)

At 5' 11" and 193 pounds, Love doesn't have great size, but is very precise and fundamentally sound. That enables him to break up and intercept passes, as his five interceptions at Notre Dame indicate. Love displays decent speed at 4.54, but is extremely quick and has excellent leaping ability. Love's probably best suited for zone coverage. In three seasons at Notre Dame, Love recorded 176 tackles and two touchdowns.

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