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2016 NFL draft: Top secondary prospects

Ryan Wood
USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
Jalen Ramsey of the Florida State Seminoles heads off the field against the Houston Cougars during the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome on December 31, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.

1. Jalen Ramsey, Florida State. Height: 6-1¼. Weight: 209. Class: Junior. Stats: 52 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 0 interceptions, 9 passes defended. 40-yard dash: 4.41. Projection: Top 10.

There’s debate whether his best position is corner or safety, but talented and athletic enough to be the draft’s best prospect at both spots.

2. Keanu Neal, Florida. Height: 6-0½. Weight: 211. Class: Junior. Stats: 84 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 1 defended pass. 40-yard dash: 4.62. Projection: Round 1-2.

A thumper capable of holding up in coverage but really shines in the box as physical run defender.

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3. Karl Joseph, West Virginia. Height: 5-9⅝. Weight: 209. Class: Senior. Stats: 20 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 5 interceptions, 0 defended passes. 40-yard dash: N/A. Projection: Round 1-2.

Showed potential as a quality coverage safety before his senior season ended with a non-contact torn ACL after four games.

4. Su’a Cravens, USC. Height: 6-0¾. Weight: 226. Class: Junior. Stats: 86 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 6 defended passes. 40-yard dash: 4.66. Projection: Round 2.

Projects best as an outside linebacker in the mold of a modern hybrid player.

5. Vonn Bell, Ohio State. Height: 5-10¾. Weight: 199. Class: Junior. Stats: 65 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 2 interceptions, 9 defended passes. 40-yard dash: 4.53. Projection: Round 2.

Good coverage safety who handled man-to-man assignments and lined up in a one-high look in Buckeyes’ secondary.

6. Darian Thompson, Boise State. Height: 6-1⅞. Weight: 208. Class: Senior. Stats: 60 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 5 interceptions, 4 defended passes. 40-yard dash: 4.69. Projection: Round 2-3.

Big-play safety who had 17 interceptions in his four seasons with the Broncos.

7. T.J. Green, Clemson. Height: 6-2½. Weight: 209. Class: Junior. Stats: 95 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 0 interceptions, 3 defended passes. 40-yard dash: 4.34. Projection: Round 2-3.

Ran fastest 40-yard dash among all safeties at the combine.

8. Justin Simmons, Boston College. Height: 6-2⅜. Weight: 202. Class: Senior. Stats: 67 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 5 interceptions, 1 defended pass. 40-yard dash: 4.61. Projection: Round 3.

His 40-yard dash didn’t blow anyone away at the combine, but he recorded the best short shuttle (3.85 seconds) and second-best three cone (6.58) in Indy.

9. Jeremy Cash, Duke. Height: 6-0⅜. Weight: 212. Class: Senior. Stats: 100 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 0 interceptions, 4 defended passes. 40-yard dash: 4.56. Projection: Round 3.

Started career at Ohio State before transferring to Duke, where he became a tackling machine mostly playing in the box.

10. Miles Killebrew, Southern Utah. Height: 6-1⅞. Weight: 217. Class: Junior. Stats: 132 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 7 defended passes. 40-yard dash: 4.65. Projection: Round 3.

Might not be a three-down player immediately, but profiles as a Deone Bucannon-type coverage linebacker on third downs.

TOP 5 CORNERBACKS PROSPECTS

1. Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida. Height: 5-10½. Weight: 204. Class: Junior. Stats: 24 tackles, 4 interceptions, 4 defended passes. 40-yard dash: 4.5. Projection: Top 20.

Not the fastest, but considered the best pure cover corner in the draft.

2. William Jackson III, Houston. Height: 6-0⅜. Weight: 189. Class: Senior. Stats: 34 tackles, 5 interceptions, 23 defended passes. 40-yard dash: 4.37. Projection: Round 1.

Excellent blend of size and speed has made this small-school prospect a hot name entering the draft.

3. Eli Apple, Ohio State. Height: 6-0⅝. Weight: 199. Class: Sophomore. Stats: 23 tackles, 1 interception, 7 defended passes. 40-yard dash: 4.4. Projection: Round 1.

A third-year sophomore who started both seasons in Columbus and was named second-team All-Big Ten in 2015.

4. Mackensie Alexander, Clemson. Height: 5-10⅜. Weight: 190. Class: Sophomore. Stats: 23 tackles 0 interceptions, 5 defended passes. 40-yard dash: 4.49. Projection: Round 1-2.

Never intercepted a pass in college, which has some teams concerned, but opposing quarterbacks rarely challenged him.

5. Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech. Height: 5-11½. Weight: 187. Class: Junior. Stats: 3 tackles, 0 interceptions 1 defended pass. 40-yard dash: 4.48. Projection: Round 2.

The youngest of four Fuller brothers who played at Virginia Tech before being drafted into the NFL.