2013 NFL draft big board: Cornerbacks


We are taking a look at Mel Kiper's top 5 players at every position of need for the Eagles. For the rest of this series, check out our storystream.

We started our big board series Monday taking a look at the top 5 prospects at two of the Eagles biggest need positions in the 2013 NFL draft. Safeties were up first, then we looked at offensive tackles and finally guards. Today, we look at Mel Kiper's top 5 cornerbacks.

While both Eagles starting CBs from last season probably deserve to go, it's almost certain that at least one will.The most obvious candidate is Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie since he's a free agent. Nnamdi Asomugha may return thanks to the fact that it would be pretty expensive to cut him. Beyond those two, there's not exactly an obvious guy waiting to step up. Brandon Boykin probably won't be more than a slot corner and Curtis Marsh showed some things, he really hasn't gotten enough of a look to rely on.

So one way or the other, the Eagles are going to need to come out of this offseason with a new guy able to compete for a starting job at corner. So if they go the draft route, it will have to be early.

Here's the top 5.

Rank Name School HT WT
1 Dee Milliner Alabama 6-1 199
2 Xavier Rhodes Florida State 6-2 215
3 Johnthan Banks Mississippi State 6-2 185
4 Will Davis Utah State 6-0 186
5 Logan Ryan Rutgers 6-0 190

Kiper's take.

Milliner has the skills to be a true No. 1 corner in the NFL. Great raw football skills, and he improved week to week as a cover corner. The guy will step up and make hits like a safety. Rhodes is really a steady player, and should land in the first round.

Dee Milliner scouting report (ESPN)

Appears to make strides in terms of confidence and recognition during four-game evaluation. (2011 Arkansas, 2011 LSU, 2011 National Championship and 2012 Michigan) Recognizes routes and anticipates breaks. Reads receiver and quarterback when facing the line of scrimmage. Does a good job of mid-pointing high-low route combinations. Knows when to turn and locate the ball when forced to turn and run. Has experience lining up on the outside and over the slot. Doesn't just play pass and he reacts quickly when reads run.

Xavier Rhodes (SBNation)

Xavier Rhodes should come off the board in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He's going to be best suited lining up in press-man coverage. He's got all of the physical tools to be a very effective cornerback in the NFL. If he can continue to stay healthy and improve his play recognition, Rhodes could end up being the best cornerback in this class. He has true shutdown potential.

Pro comparison: Lardarius Webb, Baltimore Ravens

Johnthan Banks (ESPN)

Confident, competitive and experienced cornerback who continues to improve his recognition skills. Displays natural instincts as a football player. Is crafty and shows good situational awareness. Can be a quarter-count late diagnosing quick-hitting routes (slants, outs, etc.) when playing off the line. But does a very nice job of transitioning eyes from WR to QB when working in zone (see: INT vs. LSU 2011). Diagnoses run quickly without getting caught peeking in backfield. Shows good instincts when turned loose on the blitz, which occurs frequently (four 2011 tapes studied).

Will Davis (CBS)

STRENGTHS: Possesses a long, lean build ideally suited to the position. Loose-hipped athlete with good balance and overall fluidity to change directions. Good burst to close on the ball due to his vision and quick feet. Possesses at least moderate straight-line speed and tracks the ball well.

Shows good leaping ability, timing and body control to compete for jump-balls. Uses his hands well to limit the receiver's ability to make a play, weaving them into his opponents' frame to break up passes at the last moment.

Accomplished press corner with the arm-length, fluidity and aggression to perform well in this role in the NFL. Aggressive with his hands throughout the route, and shows surprising savvy to hold and not get penalized (considering his relative inexperience).

Possesses some natural return ability and has scored three touchdowns off of interception returns over the past three seasons. Reliable downfield tackler. Recognizes his containment responsibilities versus the run and works to funnel the action back inside toward his teammates.

WEAKNESSES: A bit of a finesse defender, at this time. Possesses only average physicality, overall, as a tackler. Struggles to break free from physical blocks and does a lot of standing around the pile when he can get away with it.

Has a tendency to duck his head, latch on and get dragged for a tackle rather than truly driving through his opponent for the emphatic stop. Highly aggressive and will bite on double-moves, showing less than ideal makeup speed to recover when beaten initially. Legitimate level of competition questions, as he has only one season as the full-time starter at Utah State and has just 18 career starts at the FBS level.

COMPARES TO: Richard Marshall, Dolphins -- Like the former Carolina Panthers second round pick (2006), Davis has intriguing natural athleticism for coverage and ball skills and may only need greater physicality to emerge as a starter in the NFL.

Logan Ryan (CBS)

The 6-foot, 190-pound Ryan is a two-time All-Big East honoree. He registered 94 tackles, four interceptions and 18 passes defensed in 2012. A year ago, he established himself as one of the country's more intriguing young corners by registering 67 tackles, three interceptions and 14 passes broken up. That drew comparisons to former Rutgers standout Devin McCourty, the only cornerback in school history to have been drafted in the first round. Though Rutgers lost to Virginia Tech 13-10 in ovetime in the Russell Athletic Bowl last Friday, Ryan went out in style, logging seven tackles and three passes broken up.

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