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Packers have plenty of cornerbacks to choose from

Nov. 6, 2013
 
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If the Packers are in the market for a cornerback today in either the second or third rounds of the draft, PackersNews.com draft guru Pete Dougherty rates these players, in order,as the best bets: Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama, 5-10, 193 Outstanding cover skills but major off-the-field risk who was kicked off the team at Florida after being arrested twice for possession of marijuana in early 2011. Still might go as high as the second round because of a thin class at cornerback. Purely as a player theres a chance hes the best (cornerback) of the bunch, a scout said. But when he leaves the building theres even more (concern). Once he tests positive (for marijuana) its all she wrote. Kind of like Odell Thurman, the linebacker from Georgia (drafted in the second round in 2005). Loved the guy, you want to talk about a captivating interview? He was hilarious, and you loved him. But youre like, theres no way that guys not going to smoke, hes going to smoke. Next thing you know hes out of the league.Im not wishing that on (Jenkins), but going off what you know of the past. If it happens its your own fault because you should have known better (than to draft him). Has four children with three mothers. Was a starter for three years at Florida and after getting kicked off the team, decided to transfer and play immediately at the Division II level rather than enter the NFLs supplemental draft last year. In three seasons at Florida had eight interceptions and 25 pass breakups, then last season was rarely thrown at and had four breakups and two interceptions. A gifted athlete who has too much off-the-field stuff to take a risk on him, another scout said. I think he has to go in Round 2 and maybe has to slide to Round 3 because of that. I know everybody has him as the fourth-rated corner, but I wouldnt touch the kid until maybe be the third, and that would be the late third. Josh Robinson, Central Florida, 5-10 1/8, 199 Junior entry shot up draft boards this spring with the best combine workout of all the cornerbacks, but many scouts question whether his play warrants a grade that would get him selected on the first two days of the draft. Ill put it this way: Josh is responsible for losing more games than helping them win, one scout said. Thats one of the biggest mysteries this year, theyre talking about him being a first- or second-round pick. Im like, is anybody watching the film? Are we strictly going off the combine? He gives up more plays than anybody Ive seen so far (this year). Hes just not very good. Could he be something? I dont know, Ive been wrong before. But I sure as heck wouldnt want to take him. I would stand on the table to say no. That combine workout included the fastest 40 of all players (4.30 seconds) and a 38-inch vertical. Was a three-year starter and had 10 interceptions and 21 passes defended in his career. Hes a zone corner in my opinion, another scout said. I dont see (the speed) when he plays. If you cant play with it then youre a zone corner. What I saw was a guy who wasnt real physical at the line of scrimmage, they didnt do a lot of press man with him, and I didnt the speed on the tape. Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska, 5-10, 204 Short, stocky three-year starter whose greatest value is to teams that play extensive bump coverage. He kind of looks like a running back with the big legs and short arms, a scout said. Just a thick legged guy whose whole game is getting those strong, powerful hands on the receiver from a press alignment. Hes a sharp kid and understands routes, thats part of their coaching. But if you said, were going to play off-man, I think hed struggle immensely.Little bit tight in the hips because hes a thicker guy. His whole game is going to be about putting his big, strong, powerful hands on people. Three-year starter had four interceptions and knocked down 21 passes in his career. Ran the 40 in 4.55 seconds and had a 37-inch vertical jump at the combine. Built more like a safety than a cornerback. I didnt think he was a bad player, but Im not so sure, another scout said. I think he might struggle a little bit with the deep-speed stuff. I might want to make him a safety. Dwight Bentley, Louisiana-Lafayette, 5-10, 182 Four-year starter from a small school whos a little on the small side but has good speed and natural cover talent. Spent a redshirt season at a junior college, then transferred and had 20 pass breakups and seven interceptions in his career. Ran well in the 40 (4.43 seconds) at the combine but for some reason had a bad 31-inch vertical jump. At his campus workout he upped that to a much-better 35 inches. Hes going to be a little bit of a project, but hes somebody that could be a player down the road, a scout said. His acceleration, plant and drive, its awesome. He doesnt shy away from anything. The combination of those two things, you could teach him other stuff, but you cant teach speed and you cant teach desire. Brandon Boykin, Georgia, 5-9, 182 Quick, aggressive cover man who will appeal to teams that dont mind short cornerbacks. I thought he was a really fierce competitor, a scout said. Hes little, but remember (former Denver cornerback) Darrent Williams? Id compare him to him. That (Williams) was really good the anticipation and the foot speed to change direction and burst to the ball. Boykin has really good reading ability, he always seems to be right there when the ball is thrown, and hes disrupting passes, whether hes hitting the receiver to disrupt it or getting his hands in to disrupt it. Three-year starter had nine interceptions and 15 passes defended in his career. Also scored four touchdowns and averaged 24.2 yards on 110 kickoff returns, and had one touchdown and a 12.9-yard average on 14 punt returns. Cracked a bone in his lower leg when he was kicked during the Senior Bowl and hasnt worked out for pro scouts yet, though as a junior ran the 40 in 4.45 seconds. He plays hard, a scout said. Its not that hes a dog or anything, and he runs pretty good, his transition and everything. I just wouldnt want him to be a starter. To me hes a returner, fourth-corner guy. How bad you need a returner is the question. Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt, 5-11 3/8, 192 Three-year starter tied the school record for career interceptions with 15, including seven last season. Showed quickness at the scouting combine with the best short shuttle (3.90 seconds) of cornerbacks. Ran the 40 in 4.57 seconds and a 34-inch vertical. I went to his workout, a scout said. I could be wrong, but down the road he could be a starter in the NFL, a No. 2 corner depending on the right situation.I dont think youre going to want him someplace where you play a lot of man to man, and I think hes going to struggle a little bit to stay on top, hell get beat by some of the faster receivers. But hes a good player and his ball skills were better than I thought. Id love for him to be a (third cornerback). Trumaine Johnson, Montana, 6-1 7/8, 204 Four-year starter has great size and made 15 interceptions in his career. One scout likened him to former Packers cornerback Joey Thomas, another talented Montana player and third-round pick in 2004 who was a bust because of temperamental issues. Early on the size jumps off the film, a scout said, a big corner and you first think, Why is a guy thats big and has talent, whats he doing here and not at one of the bigger schools? He had a few off-the-field issues. But he is a big corner. Was arrested after a game last fall in an alcohol-related incident. Ran the 40 in 4.61 seconds at the combine and had a 35-inch vertical. You could look at where he is as a corner, but I think hes going to end up at safety, its just a matter of how physical hes going to be, a second scout said. If you really like guys that can cover at your back end, you get true corners and then a couple big corners and those guys become your safeties. He kind of fits into that mold. Not great hips, not great speed, but hes got good length and he can cover some ground.

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