With the dearth of first-round talent at cornerback (and in this year's draft all together), the players I have profiled so far are legitimately second- to third-round players, but at least one will likely find his way into the first round do to the thin pickings at the top and individual team needs. Regardless it is time to move beyond the players in this season's top 75 and get to know some of the players who the Cowboys may be looking at later in the draft. There is certainly room for more than one new face in Jerome Henderson's meeting room.
There are several players in this second group of cornerback prospects that will be able to come in to the league and make early contributions as role dogs. None are likely to win a starting slot coming out of training camp, but they should eventually develop to the point to where they can content for starting jobs around the league. (One note: Steven Nelson fit into this category until his outstanding performance at the Senior Bowl.) Without further ado, lets start looking at some cornerbacks.
D'Joun Smith - Florida Atlantic 5' 11" 190 lbs
Smith came into his own during the 2013 collegiate season: he accounted for seven interceptions and 20 pass breakups for Florida Atlantic. Like a lot of prospects this year, D'Joun is a a bit undersized which will be a drawback against the bigger wideouts in the NFL, but he does make up for the lack of size by being a physical player who disrupts receivers off the line of scrimmage. Smith also understands how important film study is. Perhaps the most important lesson he learned in college football is that you have to put in the work if you want to sustain success. After seeing considerable action as a true freshman, Smith became complacent and found himself benched for his sophomore season. Rather than becoming discouraged, he took the disciplinary action and learned from it.
Smith possesses one of the most important traits that a corner can have, a short-term memory. According to one unnamed NFL scout his ability to function at a high level after getting beat is his strongest trait. Smith can play effectively in both man and zone situations, although he has a preference for any concept with the word man associated with it. Another positive trait is that Smith seeks out coaching, he prefers to be coached hard so that he will deliver the best results on the field.
Dane Brugler was impressed with D'Joun's potential that was on display during the Senior Bowl
He gets physical downfield and locates well with the ballskills to make plays.
Brugler has also commented on how well Smith is able to read and react on the fly as well as how he consistently delivers his top effort. The biggest drawback is that, due to his slight frame and lean muscular structure, Smith does not have much room to develop physically.
Kevin Johnson - Wake Forest 6'0" 175 lbs
Unlike most of the prospects that we have looked at so far, Johnson has a little height to his frame, unfortunately that height makes his slight frame even more of a drawback. The Demon Deacons corner is susceptible to being bullied at the point of attack, and will have to spend plenty of time in the weight room if he wants to overcome this deficiency. Due to his lack of a solid frame, Kevin is not effective in run support. Where he does shine is in pass coverage, as a corner should. He can play effectively in all schemes, and he shows strong ball hawking skills. Differing from most of the guys we have looked at, Kevin Johnson is at his best in a zone defense.
In spite of his slight build, Johnson has not shown himself to be injury prone; he appeared in 47 games for the Deacons, 31 of which he started. Twice he earned honorable mention All-ACC honors. Johnson has all the tools to play football at the next level; great ball skills, he high points the pass, has great length, and a high football IQ. Again his biggest drawback is his size. That is something that will be closely scrutinized at the upcoming combine. Teams want to know if Johnson is going to be able to add bulk without impacting his abilities.
Jacoby Glenn - University of Central Florida 6'0" 186 lbs
Glenn will be leaving the UCF Knights as a redshirt sophomore. In 2014 he was a key part of a defensive backfield that was ranked among the best in the nation. He finished the year third in the nation in both interceptions with seven and passes defensed with 18. Glenn was named as a second-team All American for his efforts. There is little doubt that Jacoby Glenn has the skills to play at the next level.
In addition to his ball-hawking, Jacoby brings a physical presence to his game. He is a solid tackler who seems to enjoy contact. His main drawback is that he could have used another year of work at the college level to improve his footwork and gain more experience. One additional coaching point is that he plays too tall in his back pedal and in his stance, but that is something that continued coaching will address. Glenn is a raw talent who will only get better with time.
One thing that I was impressed with about Glenn is how explosive he appears to be out of his break. He is also able to flip sides with ease, making him a versatile asset for a team. My belief is that, given some time, Jacoby Glenn is going to develop into one of the top two or three corners out of this draft class but that he would have been much better off initially if he had returned for his junior season at Central Florida.
Kevin White - Texas Christian 5'9" 180 lbs
With White, we go back to the guys who check in at just 5'9". Kevin also has the drawback of his arms measuring under 30". On the street you would not mistake him for a guy who is able to play corner in the National Football League for those reasons, but you would be incorrect in that assessment. White plays the position with an attitude that says he owns the football and he is able to go up and make a play at the high point in spite of not fitting into the ideal mold.
From a technical standpoint, Kevin is very solid, as you would expect a redshirt senior to be. His ability to play tight coverage on the receiver stood out in Mobile during this year's Senior Bowl. On the season, White broke up 11 passes and recorded two interceptions for the Horned Frogs. He also drew many comparisons to former teammate Jason Verrett, who was the Chargers first round selection last season.
"I thought he did an outstanding job in man-to-man coverage. Everything I saw on tape, he's very similar to Jason Verrett, the first-round pick from last year," - Mike Mayock
While none of these players should be considered as a threat to go early in the draft, each of them has a high chance of making a considerable contribution to an NFL team next season. Should the Cowboys choose to invest a third- or fourth-round selection on one of them, I would be highly pleased. Of the four mentioned, my favorites are Glenn and White, but none of them would be a wasted selection. With the team's needs in mind, all of them could be on the Dallas radar come draft day.