The NFL scouting combine starts Feb. 22. In advance of the annual meat market in Indianapolis, staff writer Matt Vensel will examine each position and give Ravens fans the 4-1-1. In this post he looks at cornerbacks.
The top prospects: Tyrann "Honey Badger" Mathieu, who is still in Baton Rogue, got most of the attention in the LSU secondary, but Morris Claiborne is a complete corner with good size, speed and instincts. At 6 feet 2, Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick is a big, physical cornerback. Janoris Jenkins of Northern Alabama is a small-school standout who could crack the first round with impressive workouts between now and April’s NFL draft.
Trumaine Johnson, Louisiana-Lafayette's Dwight Bentley and Coastal Carolina's Josh Norman are under-the-radar prospects who could impress in Indy. Stephon Gilmore was productive at South Carolina and is a second-day prospect. De'quan Menzie was overshadowed at Alabama but has a chance to make a name for himself. Maryland's Cameron Chism could be a late-round pick.
Grading the class: Claiborne, Kirkpatrick and Jenkins top a cornerback class with several prospects who could go in the first two rounds. There is good cornerback depth deeper in the draft, too. Overall, I'll grade the cornerback class a B-plus.
Fitting the Ravens: The cornerback position is likely to be a low priority in the 2012 draft. Lardarius Webb looks like a budding star, Cary Williams surprised as a first-time starter and Jimmy Smith showed promise as the team’s first-round draft choice in 2011. Domonique Foxworth and Chris Carr are potential cap casualties, but the Ravens still have Chykie Brown, who will be in his second season, and Danny Gorrer on the roster. Maybe in the later rounds.
NFL scouting combine preview: cornerbacks
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