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    SCOUTING REPORT: Defensive backs

    Ranking the defensive backs in the NFL draft

    LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne.
    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press
    LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne.

    Morris Claiborne* CB, LSU, Height: 5-11, Weight: 188, 40 time: 4.45

    Round: 1

    The top defensive player in the draft. His long arms (33 inches) make up for lack of elite height. Makes things look easy with his ability to play press man coverage, and close quickly in zone coverage. Plays with a lot of confidence and will continue that in the pros. Has a learning disability. May need a lot of reps in more complicated schemes.


    Stephon Gilmore CB, South Carolina, Height: 6-0, Weight: 190, 40 time: 4.40

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    Round: 1

    Top-notch height, speed, and quickness combination. Has played mostly off zone coverage, so he’ll need to be coached if man coverage is needed. Faced top competition in the SEC. Can be undisciplined and is still learning the position. Will need a short developmental period.

    Mark Barron SS, Alabama, Height: 6-1, Weight: 213, 40 time: 4.51

    Round: 1


    Well-built player who looks like a small linebacker and usually excels close to the line of scrimmage. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban had him play closer to the line because he’s not great in space, although he can play there. Tough, physical and smart. A leader.

    Dre Kirkpatrick* CB, Alabama, Height: 6-1, Weight: 186, 40 time: 4.51

    Round: 1

    Does not lack in confidence or swagger. Ideal height though his arms are short (30 inches). Very slender. Will need to bulk up in the upper and lower body to have a long NFL career. Was injured a lot in college, mostly because he has no fear of contact. Some scouts think his attitude is a detriment.

    Harrison Smith FS, Notre Dame, Height: 6-2, Weight: 213, 40 time: 4.56


    Round: 1-2

    Experienced four-year starter who has good instincts and gets downhill to the ball quickly. Doesn’t show a natural playmaking ability despite being around the ball often. Is physical and can match up with tight ends. Needs work in deep part of the field. Has drawn interest from Patriots.

    Trumaine Johnson CB-S, Montana, Height: 6-2, Weight: 204, 40 time: 4.61

    Round: 1-2

    Entered school as a receiver. Has all the tools to be a top-flight cornerback. He has great size, fluidity in the hips, and can play press coverage or off the receiver. Could switch to safety. There are questions about his attitude. Patriots have interest.

    George Iloka FS, Boise State, Height: 6-3, Weight: 225, 40 time: 4.62

    Round: 2

    Rare size for the position and has room to get stronger. Perfect size to combat big tight ends. Plays fast although at times he looks a bit slow in the hips. Can play free or strong safety, and has filled in at cornerback. Has not shown top ball skills. Will immediately contribute on special teams.

    Brandon Boykin CB, Georgia, Height: 5-9, Weight: 182, 40 time: 4.45

    Round: 2

    Not the biggest player but he makes up for it with intensity and competitive streak. Very good going down the field against a receiver. Terrific athlete and looks the part. Rare leaping ability. Has excellent kick return skills.

    Josh Robinson* CB, Central Florida, Height: 5-10, Weight: 199, 40 time: 4.33

    Round: 2-3

    Phenomenal time speed in all the drills but it doesn’t always translate to the field. Showed well in matchup against 2011 first-round pick A.J. Green. Better playing off the receiver and breaking on the ball. Has returned punts but shows inconsistent hands.

    Janoris Jenkins CB, North Alabama, Height: 5-9, Weight: 193, 40 time: 4.46

    Round: 1-3

    If you were just selecting players based on ability and performance, Jenkins would be near the top of this list. He has NFLready skills to play tight man coverage and to be a ballhawk. But there are a ton of red flags. Jenkins has had multiple run-ins with the law, which led to his ouster at the University of Florida. Probably more troubling for teams is his four children with three women. Could suffer a Ryan Mallett-like fall.

    Casey Hayward CB, Vanderbilt, Height: 5-11, Weight: 192, 40 time: 4.57

    Round: 3-4

    Very good all-around athlete who is experienced and possesses excellent ball skills. Didn’t back down from the top receivers in the SEC. Has a lot of finesse to his game but hasn’t demonstrated an ability to be much of a help against the run. Special teams ability.


    11. Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia (5-10, 183, 4.50, 3-4); 12. Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech (5-10, 178, 4.47, 3-4); 13. Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma (5-10, 206, 4.53, 3-4); 14. Trenton Robinson, S, Michigan State (5-10, 195, 4.46, 4-5); 15. Antonio Allen, S, South Carolina (6-1, 210, 4.62, 4-5); 16. Keith Tandy, CB, West Virginia (5-10, 202, 4.52, 4-5); 17. Shaun Prater, CB, Iowa (5-10, 192, 4.51, 4-5); 18. Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina (6-0, 197, 4.66, 4-5); 19. Dwight Bentley, CB, La.-Lafayette (5-10, 182, 4.43, 5-6); 20. Trevin Wade, CB, Arizona (5-10, 192, 4.52, 5-6).


    Greg A. Bedard can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @gregabedard.