Top Free Agents of 2013: A Look at CB

Chiefs GM John Dorsey, CEO Clark Hunt, Head Coach Andy Reid

Hello Chiefs Nation! I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the remaining games of the 2012 football season. This past weekend some very good football was played. We were privileged to see what a 3rd round Quarterback was capable of (Seahawks QB Russell Wilson). It just goes to show that every once in a while, a diamond in the rough can be found.

Today the subject is cornerbacks. Who will be on the Free Agent market? Who is available in the 2013 NFL Draft? Due to the loss of Brandon Carr prior to the 2012 season and the failure of Stanford Routt, who didn’t live up to his hype, the Chiefs are in desperate need of a top cornerback to compete opposite of Brandon Flowers.

Javier Arenas replaced Routt when he was released after week eight. Arenas did a less than stellar job, and was burned multiple times during the season. At 5’9”, he doesn’t quite have the height to be a physical cornerback that can shut down the bigger receivers. Javier fits in nicely at the nickel back spot, but not as a true #2 cornerback.

Jalil Brown played in 15 games for the Chiefs this season, and ended the campaign with 25 tackles. At 6’1” and 205 lbs., Brown’s size is good, comparable to that of Eric Berry. Moving Brown to the Safety position could be a possibility, due to the fragility of current Free Safety Kendrick Lewis’ shoulder.

Neiko Thorpe started his rookie season on the practice squad. He played in 9 games and had a total of 5 tackles in 2012. He originally joined the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent out of Auburn in 2012. Keeping Neiko in any capacity probably won’t happen.

As we get closer to March 13, 2013, you can expect General Manager’s across the league to start the re-signing process. A lot of these soon-to-be free agent cornerbacks will hit the market, while some are expected to be retained. According to www.nfltraderumors.com, some of the top free agent cornerbacks (CB) coming up are: Brent Grimes of Atlanta, Aqib Talib of New England, Chris Houston of Detroit, Leodis McKelvin of Buffalo, Sean Smith of Miami, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie of Philadelphia.

Acquiring one CB through free agency and one CB through the draft could shore up a shaky secondary, and put the Chiefs in a good position to have a solid defense.

Miami Dolphins CB Sean Smith

There are at least three CBs the Chiefs should get in contact with when time comes. Those three are Aqib Talib, Sean Smith, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie .

At 6’1” and 205 lbs, Aqib Talib has good size and speed, and can very well play opposite Brandon Flowers giving the Chiefs one of, if not the best, CB duo in the NFL. He is considered a shutdown corner.

Sean Smith is a beast. At 6’3” and 218 lbs, this is the kind of CB coaches want matched up against Dwayne Bowe, Megatron (Calvin Johnson), Brandon Lloyd or Brandon Marshall. Those big physical receivers need to step up their game against Sean Smith. He is also considered to be a shutdown corner.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was also heralded as a shutdown CB in 2011, and a Pro Bowl selection in 2010. Although Rodgers-Cromartie is a very good CB, his play style has been labeled somewhat dirty, an example of this is his 2012 helmet-to-face hit on Byron Leftwich.

Now, let’s take a look at the 2013 NFL Draft CB prospects.

Alabama CB Dee Milliner

The 2013 NFl Draft is sure to bring some good cornerbacks out. Although none of them are a standout 1st round pick like Alabama’s Dee Milliner. Many will go in the 1st round, but Milliner will be the first off the board.

A former 5-star recruit who started 11 games as a true freshman, Milliner developed into the top corner in the country during his three-year career under Nick Saban.

Blessed with an ideal 6’1″, 198-pound frame, 4.47 wheels and a physical playing style, the Crimson Tide’s best cover corner should likely go in the top 10 come April.

However, for teams picking lower in the draft, here are some other top options from this year’s cornerback class. –via B/R

Probably the #2 CB in this year’s draft will be Xavier Rhodes of Florida State.

Another big, physical corner, 6’2″, 217-pound Xavier Rhodes is considered to be the second-best corner in this year’s class by many experts.

Rhodes is projected to go late in the first round or early in the second because of his tremendous length, tackling ability and press-coverage skills. Over the past three seasons, Rhodes recorded eight interceptions for the Seminoles.

His biggest knock is his tendency to get too physical in coverage, something that will be penalized at the next level, and his lack of elite speed. However, his experience (39 career starts) and production speak for themselves. –via B/R

Johnthan Banks of Mississippi State is a projected round 1 pick, according to WalterFootball.com.

Entering 2012, Banks was considered to be the top senior CB in the country, but the 6’1″, 185-pounder failed to snag an interception in the Bulldogs’ last six games, a stretch in which they went 1-5.

Banks’ underwhelming second half shouldn’t overshadow an otherwise extremely productive career. As a four-year starter, he recorded 221 total tackles (11 for loss), 15 interceptions and 41 passes defended.

His five forced fumbles and three defensive touchdowns prove he’s a top playmaker. –via B/R

Jordan Pryor of Oregon State is projected to be a late round 1 pick. At 5’11” and 190 lbs, he’s not the biggest physical specimen, but his size is ideal.

After breaking into the starting lineup in 2010, Poyer quickly developed into a premier cover guy for the Beavers.

In 2012, the senior put it all together and earned consensus All-America honors after recording 51 tackles, seven interceptions and 15 passes defended. The Beavers’ best defender is a great athlete for the position and could be a steal in the second round. –via B/R

N.C. State CB David Amerson

David Amerson of N.C. State would be a great fit to the Chiefs secondary. He’s 6’3”, 193lbs and has great speed (4.46 40-yard dash). He is projected as a late 1st round pick.

Amerson has a special skill set with size, speed and ball skills. He was simply phenomenal in 2011. Amerson totaled 13 interceptions to lead the nation. That set both school and ACC records since it was the second highest total in FBS history. He also had 59 tackles with five passes broken up. The All-American started nine games as a true freshman in 2010 and had zero interceptions with 57 tackles and a forced fumble. –via WalterFootball.com

Logan Ryan of Rutgers University has declared to enter the draft a year early as a junior.

After recording 94 tackles, four picks and 18 passes defended in 2012, that looks like a good decision.

Another tough, disciplined player to emerge from the Scarlet Knights’ program, the 6’0″, 190-pound Ryan will attempt to join New England Patriot Devin McCourty as just the second first-round cornerback from the program.

According to Rob Rang of CBSSports.com, Ryan is one of just four corners to earn a second-round grade. If he’s able to impress in workouts and verify his size and speed, Ryan could move his way into late first-round consideration. –via B/R

There is no reason why the Chiefs can’t solidify the secondary with an experienced young corner, or draft a fresh rookie in round 2. There is the possibility that at least 2 of these mentioned college players will fall to later than round 1. And with pick #34 (2 pick of round 2), there is no excuse why a CB can’t be drafted if the Chiefs opt to not sign one in free agency.

We are still many days away until free agency officially begins, so anything can happen.

You just never know. After all, it is the NFL.

(Sources: B/R & WalterFootball.com)

 

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