NFL Mock Draft: Ranking the top cornerbacks
We’re charging headlong towards the 2021 NFL Draft, which kicks off on April 29, and will see 255 of the country’s top college players discover their next destinations.
Although big-name quarterbacks like Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson are likely to be among the top picks, there are plenty of game-changing cornerbacks available, as well. Here are the top five.
5. Eric Stokes, Georgia
We’ll kick things off with Stokes, who is a projected second-round pick. He lit up the NFL Combine with a 4.31 40-yard dash, the fastest such time among defensive backs. His stellar 2020 campaign included four interceptions in nine games played.
4. Greg Newsome II, Northwestern
One of the Big Ten’s premier defensive backs over the past several years, Newsome has flashed game-changing ability when healthy. Unfortunately, he played just 21 games for the Wildcats over the past three seasons and suffered injuries in 2018, 2019, and 2020. If he’s put his physical troubles behind him, he could provide great value to a team in need of help in the defensive backfield.
3. Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
Farley did plenty in 2018 and 2019, when he started for the Hokies and totaled six interceptions. He’s still a first-round prospect despite opting out of the 2020 campaign and undergoing back surgery last month, which speaks to his skills and intangibles.
2. Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
In a funny twist, the top two spots on this list are held by second-generation NFL players. Jaycee is the son of former wide receiver Joe Horn, best known for a touchdown celebration where he pulled a phone out from under a goal post. The younger Horn, however, will make his living in the secondary, and his ability to be used in a variety of spots across all defenses could make him a hot commodity.
1. Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
The second-generation defensive back shined for the Crimson Tide in each of the past three seasons. He may not be an elite athlete, but he’s shown top-notch technique in coverage and was not called for a single penalty this past season.
Surtain is seen as a first-round pick, and it wouldn’t be shocking if he goes off the board very, very early.