1. Vernon Hargreaves (Florida)- He stood out his freshman year and only got better from there. He earned All-SEC honors in the three years he played at Florida. When you watch the film on him, you see why people rave about him. He has the mix of quickness, balance and when it comes to route-recognition, he’s able to excel in coverage. He’s physical for a corner which I like. He’s very effective in open-field tackling and is very effective in run support and blitzing off the corner. If I had to compare him to a guy in the NFL, I’d say he reminds me a lot of Joe Haden. They both aren’t the biggest or the fastest guys but they show the instincts and mental toughness needed for the NFL.
2. Eli Apple (Ohio State)- He displays a tall and athletic frame with very long arms. At 6’1, he’s a coordinated athlete that can bracket a receiver and consistently stays with them in coverage. He’s very disruptive at the line of scrimmage and uses his height to make receivers uncomfortable. He’s highly aggressive when dropping back and has the ability to sit on the route and break up the play. He’s an effective guy when it comes to playing either man or zone coverage.
3. Mackensie Alexander (Clemson)- On a defense that featured Kevin Dodd and Shaq Lawson, Mackensie Alexander was also a key guy to that secondary. When we talk about having someone who keeps everything together in the back-end, that’s him. You saw how much of an impact he had when he went down with an injury in the National Title game against Alabama. He’s a quick-footed athlete that’s able to hold his own in press coverage. He has great hand-eye coordination as he can keep one eye on his receiver and the other on the quarterback. He has the athleticism along with the toughness needed for the position, but he focuses more on technique. He’s also know to be brash, show his confidence and get in the head of receivers like a Josh Norman.
4. Artie Burns (The U)- He’s a former track star that’s made a smooth transition from one sport to the other. He’s not as physical as some would like, but his versatility makes up for that. He’s a complete defender who was asked to do more than play his position. He displays excellent body control and has “sticky hands” to reach up and snatch passes well outside of his frame. He’s an effective ball tackler and plays the position with the mindset of a safety.
5. William Jackson III (Houston)- He has an aggressive attitude to match up with the physical pass-catchers in the NFL. He loves bump and run coverage and jamming receivers off their route and onto the sidelines. He’s able to play in both man to man and zone and holds his own in isolation across the board. He shows balance off the snap and uses his hands well to jam a receiver in press coverage.