Sup fellow Zoners, I post this topic with the conundrum of how to evaluate the cornerback/safety positions in the draft. All other positions seem to have a formula (although there are ALWAYS exception to the rules) that al evaluators seem to follow, but with cornerbacks there seems to be a HUGE disparity.
Based on what I've read and heard, these are our top CB options in the 1st:
Justin Gilbert, OkST
Darqueze Dennard, MichST
Bradley Roby, OhioST
Kyle Fuller, VaTech
Jason Verrett, TCU
Now, I never watched Gilbert or Fuller all last year, but saw a ton of Dennard, Roby, and Verrett. So, to even it out, I watched highlight/lowlight YouTube videos for all 5 of these prospects. Based on the evidence and some read through the Zone/NFL.com/ESPN/GBN, etc., here's where I stand for best 1st Round CBs for the 49ers system:
1. Kyle Fuller
Pro: Didn't see too many of his games, but looking at his highlight/lowlight videos, I have to say, this kid is the real deal. 6'0, 195lbs, long arms, and mid-4.4 speed, his greatest strength is I saw him play all across the field, from outside, to slot, to up on the line where he played great run support. A true "Swiss Army Knife" kind of guy, who in the hands of Vic Fangio, could be the guy who saves this secondary.
Con: There were a few "burn" plays, where Fuller got lost on the double move (a specialty of Percy Harvin) and showed some issues on press. Overall, not too many flaws.
2. Darqueze Dennard
Pro: Watching between the season and his highlights, this kid is the epitome of "press corner". He is aggressive at the point of attack, covers man to man, and is a solid lockdown corner. His big time games against Ohio State and Stanford showed he plays his best when the competition is at its greatest.
Con: Although physical, his size (5'11, 190lbs) will limit him against the 6'5 WRs on jump balls. He has shown limits in the slot against speed WRs, although he played great in slot vs TEs. His true limitation is in Zone coverage. He is a true man-to-man press guy, but lacks the coverage range to play zone. Since the 49ers play limited zone, Dennard could be THE guy we need.
3. Jason Verrett
Pro: Probably the best slot CB in draft. LOVED watching him play and showed no fear against any player, from coverage to run support. Fast, strong, and consistent as a starter, he also has a knack for causing turnovers, which all teams need. Also, will be perfect against Harvin and Austin speed wise, and probably has the most spectacular tackling technique of the top CBs.
Con: 5'9, 189lbs (on a good day) limits what you can do in the Pros. If we were to draft him, he'd be killer in press, but his sole position would be slot CB. Won't work on covering guys like Fitzgerald, Graham, Floyd, Evans (if drafted by Rams), who'll have over 8 inches on him.
4. Bradley Roby
Pro: He is a killer athlete who constantly showed improvement every year at Ohio State. Can play both zone and man, is physical, and has shown stretches of brilliance.
Con: Inconsistent and gets lost during games. His highest perk is the "possibility" is that he's still developing and has the talent to be great, but depends on his will. I see him more as a "Malcolm Jenkins"-type, who will have solid numbers as a CB, but not in the 49ers system.
5. Justin Gilbert
Pro: He's a super-athlete who can play pretty much any specialty position, from CB/S/WR/Returner. His size (6'0, 202lbs) also makes him an amazing specimen to have at the secondary. Also, his success at returner will fill two needed positions for the 49ers. Also, shown to have great hands for interceptions.
Con: Will require too many draft picks to move up to get him, but I also saw way too many break aways (ala West Virginia game) that saw him fall over and get beat on inside slants. May have to focus on outside more than inside coverage of slot, limiting his value and if we'd have to put so much draft wise down, the CB should be able to play all spots.
Now, I've based all my analysis on "49ers needs", not overall talent. Due to our lack of secondary starters and now the Culliver situation, I think we are in dire need of fixing this secondary ASAP. I propose we pull off a 1981 Draft, where we pick up top secondary talent and allow our top tier front 7 and experienced safeties to educate/empower the talented secondary.
My personal choice: Trade up for Fuller and Verrett. Fuller would be paired with Brock as starters, and play Verrett/Cook at Nickel (depending on who wins out).
[ Edited by Crazy49er1313 on Mar 31, 2014 at 3:34 PM ]