Draft Prep: Five Options For Eagles At Corner

The Eagles’ plan  heading into free agency was to address their positional needs so they wouldn’t be forced to reach in the draft. Chip Kelly pointed to the cornerback position specifically when asked about this at the owners meetings.

“You had some depth issues, obviously, we lost Nnamdi [Asomugha] and DRC. You don’t want to sit there with no corners,” said Kelly. “So you add a couple of guys in that situation, it gives you a little — I guess the best way to say it is — comfort knowing you don’t have to reach for somebody at No. 4 just because you don’t have somebody at that position.”

While the additions of Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams this offseason takes a little bit of the edge off, I would argue that cornerback remains the greatest position of need for the Eagles in the short-term. There are simply too many question marks right now, and no sure-fire solutions on the roster.

Odds are they will be looking to add at least one corner in the draft. But who? And where?

Alabama’s Dee Milliner is the big name in this class and is a potential top-5 pick. Sheil did a full profile on Milliner if you need to read up on him. For this post, we will look at five corners outside of Milliner that the Eagles could target. We decided not to highlight Desmond Trufant and Xavier Rhodes, assuming both will be scooped up later in the first round by another team.

(The round projection is from CBS Sports. The film is courtesy of Draftbreakdown.com).

Johnthan Banks (Miss. St.)
Height/Weight: 6-2, 185
40-time: 4.59
Projected Round: 2

NFL.com overview: Banks was recruited as a safety out of high school, and started there for the final seven games of his true freshman season for the Bulldogs. He even intercepted erstwhile quarterback Tim Tebow twice in the team’s 2009 loss to the Gators, scoring on a 100-yard return at the end of the first half. But his play at cornerback the past two seasons is what has put him on NFL scouts’ radar as a potential starter at the next level.

We know that Kelly values size, and Banks has it.  He finished with a school-record 16 interceptions, and has been described as a vocal leader with a fiery personality that doesn’t shy away from big hits.

Film review:

Tyrann Mathieu (LSU)
Height/Weight: 5-9, 186
40-time: 4.50
Projected Round: 2-3

 NFL.com overview: The 2011 Bednarik Award winner as the nation’s top defender was dismissed from LSU for multiple violations of team rules. Subsequently, he decided to enter a drug rehab center and ultimately ended up declaring for the draft instead of transferring. When on the field, the undersized but ultracompetitive turnover machine (six forced fumbles, two interceptions in 2011) brings the physicality of a bigger player in his tackles, no matter where he plays. Mathieu is also a game-changer as a punt returner, ranking fourth in the country [in 2011] with 16.2 yards per attempt and scoring two touchdowns.

Not ideal size for Kelly, but the “Honey Badger” blew it up against Oregon in 2011, recording 10 tackles, two passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble return for a touchdown. It is a big risk-reward pick, and comes down to whether you think you can keep Mathieu on the straight and narrow.

Film review:

Darius Slay (Miss. St.)
Height/Weight: 6-0, 192
40-time: 4.36
Projected Round: 2-3

NFL.com overview: Slay has a good build for the position and long arms. Gets good use out his length and will use his hands to disturb receivers during the route. Very good at attacking the hands and arms as the receiver goes for the reception, forces a lot of drops. Works across the face of his blockers, and creates separation with his length. Physical tackler. Solid hands. Talented special teams player and a hard worker.

Slay is the draft’s fastest corner. He has the measurables that Kelly seems to gravitate towards, and the physical type of play that he seeks. The Eagles had Slay in for an official visit.

Film review:

Brandon McGee  (Miami)
Height/Weight: 5-11, 193
40-time: 4.40
Projected Round: 4

NFL.com overview: The next Miami cornerback with great speed to pique the interest of NFL scouts, McGee also presents enough size to stand up to NFL receivers on the outside. However, McGee had an up-and-down senior season, and was challenged and successfully beaten on numerous occasions.

Draft Scout describes McGee as a  top high school recruit who didn’t live up to the billing. Sounds like you would be placing a bet on his natural ability, hoping he rounds into form. The Eagles had him in for a private workout.

Film review:

Sanders Commings (Georgia)
Height/Weight: 6-0, 216
40-time: 4.41
Projected Round: 6

NFL.com overview: A cornerback with the build of a starting outside receiver (and the athleticism to have been a late-round MLB draft pick as an outfielder) will certainly generate interest among NFL scouts. As expected given his size, Commings can be physical and bully wide receivers. However, his footwork and quickness aren’t ideal for a corner, so there is a potential conversion to safety in his future.

Commings was suspended for the first two games of his senior season after being charged with domestic violence. The Eagles had him in for a private workout.

Film review:

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  • PaoliBulldog

    I have no idea what CK’s metrics say about ideal cornerback build, but I doubt that shortness is preferable. I don’t see Mathieu fitting in.

    • GGeagle

      He would be a dime corner for us, so his size probably wouldnt be an issue…
      My CB wish lfor the draft:
      1)Desmond Trufant
      2)Xavier Rhodes
      3)Jamar Taylor
      4)Bidi Wreh
      5)Daruis Slay
      6)Brandon McGee( This is who I think we end up drafting)

      • theycallmerob

        Not too high on Banks? Or do you think he’ll be gone by #35

        • Geagle

          this week I HATE him…some weeks I love him. Have such a hard time projecting what he will be. I dont know if he has #1 corner potential, that I see in Xavier and Desmond…and thats my beef with Millner. I think he can be a good number 2…but Im not trying to draft a good #2 in the top 5….I like Banks, I just dont know that I like banks for where I think he will be drafted(Around 25-30)…If he falls to 35 I cant say he isnt worth 35, but I cant imagine taking him with the type of Dlineman and RG/RT that will be available at that spot…so because I dont really see him as a realistic option for us, I try to focus on ones, that we could value at certain spots…
          dont know if he will be a #1 CB…but he should be a good player. I think he should be paired with the Jamar Taylor’s, and Darius Slay types…yet I see him talked about in the Millner,trufant,rhodes group,. and I guess the overvaluing is what turns me off on him..not the kids fault.
          Alot of people seem to think that Uconn CB, Bidi Wreh is shooting up the draft boards, even possibly being taken in the first. I dont like him that high..but I do actually like both Unconn corners

      • southy

        I think you’d hope that even if you draft a guy in a later round, he’s got the physical tools to surprise you and end up being a starter, even if he’s expected to play dime only.

        • GGeagle

          In theory I agree with you..but not in the badgers case. He is a ST ACE, so that is the added dimension that makes a player, that NO TEAM expects to ever play on the outside a high pick…If he wasnt a ST player, he would be fortunate to find himself drafted in rd 6-7…Great Football player, but I dont see how anyone can even consider playing someone so tiny on the outside. The team that drafts him will do so because they envision him being a playmaker on ST

  • southy

    “With the 4th pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select Alabama Cornerback Dee Milliner.” *GGeagle’s head explodes*

    • GGeagle

      Nah…Im not even concerned about drafting Milner. No shot it happens…Drafting Geno is a higher concern than drafting Milner…I dont hope that Jax or Oakland draft Dee, because I dont worry about us drafting him….But I seriously, pray at night that the Jags draft Geno…I used to want them to draft Fisher….but If Fisher and Jordan are both on the board, Im confident they would take Jordan…Geno is the wildcard that worries me! I would rather take Nassib or EJ at #4 than to see Geno smith on our roster

      • GW.Fisher

        Fisher or Jordan would be OK.

      • Richard Colton

        There’s always a chance. I hate Milliner at 4, but hey – if Slay or Logan Ryan fall to round three, or we can steal Honey Badger with 101? count me in.

  • yat

    No No NOOOOOO to the pot addict

    • Capt. Undapants

      “he decided to enter a drug rehab center ”

      This kid can play. If he’s available for good value (I’m thinking fourth, but I’m no draft expert), the Iggles should take a look. That 10-11 season the dude was a monster. And he would upgrade our safety corps. Plus, he tore Chip’s O to shreds. They should definitely take a look.

      • GGeagle

        Not drafting a college kid because he smokes pot, is some seriously DUMB SHIT! Honeybadger is a different case, because he flat out chose pot over football! but 99% oft he potheads like the Badger, when push comes to shove chose football!
        We were stupid enough to not draft warren sapp, and he never failed a drug test in his entire NFL career….Chip and Howie are young and new school enough, that Weed wont stop us from adding Talent…Heck when I do a mock draft, for 1 of the 7th round picks, I always list: The most Talented Pot head who fell to the 7th round… lol
        Charecter is very very important to me. Its probably the most important thing IN MY EYES, when making decisions on draft day..But A kid smoking weed, is just a non issue… The Badger is a different scenario because he chose Pot over football. How ever he paid a steep price for doing something that everyone else does..and with money on the line, I do believe that he has learned his lesson…could he possibly have not learned it after the price he paid?

        • Capt. Undapants

          I usually disagree with a lot of the things you say, but I’m glad that we agree on some points. Actually, we agree on most of the points you stated above. Thank you for filling in all of the holes I failed to mention. I hope Mathieu is available for us, and I hope Howie and co. give him a SERIOUS look.

          • GGeagle

            cheers….Tell you the truth, I like people disagreeing with me, as long as its respectfully, because I dont disrespect anyone unless provoked..If no one ever disagreed, this would get very boring…but by people disagreeing and challenging your oppinion, thats how you increase your football acumen, and get new ideas that spark you to come up with different ideas of your own…so Im down for a respectful football debate anyday…I have no problem ending an argument with..we can agree to disagree..

        • Richard Colton

          All honeybadger did in college was make plays. If he had avoided a suspension, we would be talking about a first round pick. That’s not worth a 4th round flier?

          Eagles 4th round picks since 2008:

          Mike McGlynn
          Jack Ikegwuonu
          Quentin Demps
          Trevard Lindley
          Keenan Clayton
          Mike Kafka
          Casey bleeping Matthews
          Brandon Boykin
          Alex Henery
          The guy isnt Charles Manson or Lawrence Phillips. Hell, he’s not even Pacman Jones. If the birds get him in round 4, I’ll be happy.

          • GGeagle

            I agree…we could use a dime corner and all the help we can get on ST…
            All I know is that when the next “Peanut” Tillman comes around, We better find a way to get him. Absolutely LOVE the way he plays the game. Probably my favorite CB of all time!

      • JofreyRice

        I wouldn’t touch this guy with a ten-foot pole. Who knows what kind of dangerous things he’s doing, if he’s into taking weed? Here’s a scenario: right after minicamp, Matthieu is stressed out and decides to dose himself with a generous helping of pot. Cut to the next scene, and he’s in the street, eating someone’s face off in Northern Liberties; NO THANKS! Hard to win a Superbowl if your players are are sitting in blacklight rooms listening to Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in between bouts of wanton pot-fueled destruction.

        • theycallmerob

          I really hope that whole paragraph was sarcasm.
          “Into taking weed”? Is that how they describe it in Reefer Madness?

        • joethomas215

          You are seriously misinformed, real weed you eat chocolate, fake weed you eat faces

          • JofreyRice

            It starts with eating chocolate, but soon you’re eating the “Magic Cocktail” to suppress the HIV you’ve contracted from weed abuse. What if this guy is asked to blitz from the slot, and all of a sudden, he starts hallucinating that he’s got bugs crawling under his skin? Pretty much an automatic first down, or worse. Unlike Matthieu at a pot orgy, I’LL PASS.

    • Warhound

      History shows that guys who get in trouble with their school for smoking pot are passed on at great peril (think Warren Sapp). Guys who get in trouble for domestic violence are only drafted at great peril. Also, I’d guess at least half of the current NFL players smoke pot. If they aren’t in the program (for violations) they get tested once per year on a predetermined date.

      • peteike

        exactly what I was going to say. I think that year the birds drafted Mamula instead of Sapp who went way later than his skillset. Howd that work out, and for Pot. Newsflash, nobody cares much about pot smoking anymore, just ask most of the NBA according to reports.

  • dislikedisqus

    What does it mean when they say Slay “works across the face of his receivers”?

    He and Commings sound like the type the Eagles look for; altho’ you’re right to point out Mathieu’s petformance against OR, he seems to have too many issues to invest in.