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Mock Draft Tracker: What 25 Mocks Tell Us About 1st-Round Cornerbacks

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We review 25 of the latest mock drafts and look at where the various mock drafts are slotting which corners and what that could mean for the Dallas Cowboys.

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Earlier this week, we looked at 25 different mock drafts published between March 7-14 to figure out whether the collective wisdom of those mocks would reveal something about the pass rushers in the 2017 NFL draft.

"Swarm intelligence" suggests that the collective behavior of self-organized systems without a centralized control structure can lead to the emergence of "intelligent" global behavior, unknown to the individual agents. The concept of swarm intelligence suggests that the predictive value of many mock drafts is greater than that of a single mock.

The data collected for the pass rushers suggested there could be six pass rushers drafted in the first round, and that three of them (Taco Charlton, Takkarist McKinley, Charles Harris) could potentially fall all the way to the 28th spot. The data also suggested that there could be two pressure points for pass rushers ahead of where the Cowboys draft.

Encouraged by the results, some readers asked that I apply the same approach to cornerbacks. So here we are, with a new batch of 25 mock drafts published between March 13-15, and trying to see what they collectively have to say about the cornerbacks in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft.

Three comments before we look at the mocks:

  • Marshon Lattimore is the only corner who shows up in all 25 mocks, and doesn't drop out of the top 10 in any mock, so I left him out of the table altogether.
  • Sidney Jones was widely considered to be one of the top three cornerbacks in the upcoming draft, but an Achilles tear on March 11 almost certainly knocked him out of any first-round consideration, which is one reason I only used mocks that were published after his injury.
  • Four cornerbacks showed up in three or fewer mocks, so I left them out as well: Fabian Moreau (3 mocks), Cordrea Tankesley (1), Jourdan Lewis (1), Sidney Jones (1).

And with all of that out of the way, here's an overview of the 25 mock and where they have which cornerback mocked.

Source Date Marlon
Humphrey
Gareon
Conley
Tre'Davious
White
Quincy
Wilson
Teez
Tabor
Kevin
King
Chidobe
Awuzie
Adoree
Jackson
Realsport101 3-15 14 16 29 - - 30 21 - - 28
CBS (Prisco) 3-15 24 14 32 - - - - - - 13 - -
NFL (Reuter) 3-15 28 14 32 - - - - - - - - - -
PFF (Palazzolo) 3-15 30 - - 13 - - 10 - - - - - -
Draftblaster 3-15 - - - - 23 - - - - - - - - 25
ESPN (McShay) 3-15 - - 29 13 32 - - 24 - - - -
SI (Burke) 3-15 - - - - 29 13 - - - - - - - -
Yahoo (Edholm) 3-15 - - 17 - - - - - - - - - - - -
The Ringer (Kelly) 3-14 11 18 14 - - - - - - - - - -
Walter (Walter) 3-14 13 29 - - - - - - - - - - 21
Newsday 3-14 18 - - - - 29 27 - - - - - -
Detroit Free Press 3-14 25 31 - - 22 - - - - - - - -
Rotoworld 3-14 - - 14 - - - - - - 15 24 - -
SB Nation 3-13 7 32 - - 14 - - - - - - - -
B/R (Sobleski) 3-13 8 32 - - 13 - - 27 - - - -
Star-Telegram 3-13 10 - - - - 18 - - - - - - - -
Draftseason (Falk) 3-13 11 - - 29 - - 24 - - - - - -
Walter (Charlie) 3-13 12 14 30 - - 21 29 - - 28
CBS (Rang) 3-13 14 - - - - - - - - - - 32 - -
Sporting News 3-13 14 - - - - 26 15 - - - - - -
ESPN (Grossi) 3-13 14 - - 22 26 10 - - - - - -
Drafttek 3-13 16 24 - - 14 - - - - - - - -
CBS (Brugler) 3-13 21 - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
NJ.com 3-13 24 - - - - - - 14 - - - - - -
NFL (Jeremiah) 3-13 - - 10 14 - - - - 26 19 - -
Source Date Marlon
Humphrey
Gareon
Conley
Tre'Davious
White
Quincy
Wilson
Teez
Tabor
Kevin
King
Chidobe
Awuzie
Adoree
Jackson

On average, the mock drafts above have just 4.3 corners going in the first round, and that includes Marshon Lattimore, who isn't even included in the table above. For a draft class that is widely hailed to be very deep at corner, that's a pretty low number, but I guess that depth can be found outside the first round.

At the same time, 13 different corners show up in the first round in the 25 mocks above, which is an almost ridiculously high number and a clear indication that the draft analysts don't have a clue which of these corners are first-round material, and which aren't.

Take Teez Tabor out of Florida: four mocks have him going in the top 15, 17 mocks don't even see him as a first-round prospect. And that's not a knock on Tabor; all the corners above are being mocked all over the place. Perhaps that's a residual effect of the Sidney Jones injury, which may have had draftniks scrambling to replace a top corner with a lower-ranked player. But it's much more likely that there simply aren't many corners in this draft that have created a clear separation from the rest of the players at the position. Marshon Lattimore certainly created separation, Marlon Humphrey and Gareon Conley may have as well, but it's anybody's guess after that.

Earlier this week, Bryan Broaddus tweeted his ranking of the CBs in the draft, a ranking that included a pre-injury Sidney Jones.

Broaddus had previously tweeted that he had Moreau graded as a first-rounder, and also saw Tabor as a first-round cornerback. Additionally, he indicated he had Humphrey in the first round as well, which would indicate Broaddus has four corners with a first-round grade: Lattimore, Moreau, Tabor, Humphrey.

Two other draft analysts published their updated boards this week:

  • Dane Brugler published a list of his Top 100 prospects, and doesn't appear to be as high as Broaddus on the CB rookie class. He only has Lattimore (ranked 6th overall) as a sure-fire first rounder. The other corners in sequence: Humphrey (30), Moreau (31), Tabor (37), Lewis (39), White (40), Conley (44) and Kevin King (45).
  • Mel Kiper also published his Top 25 this week, and he only has two corners on that list: Lattimore (4) and Tre'Davious White (22).

Not a lot of clarity between those three analysts either, so is there something more the swarm intelligence of the 25 mocks above can tell us? Here are the odds each of the corners in the table above will be available for the Cowboys at No. 28:

Marlon Humphrey: 32%
Gareon Conley: 62%
Quincy Wilson: 68%
Tre'Davious White: 76%
Kevin King: 80%
Teez Tabor: 84%
Chidobe Awuzie: 88%
Adoree Jackson: 92%

At first glance, that's good news for the Cowboys, as there are bound to be a number of quality corners available at No. 28, especially now that Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne have both left in free agency. But do all of those corners really warrant a first-round grade? If the Cowboys have just two or three corners with a first-round grade on their board, and those three players are gone by the time the Cowboys are on the clock, the team won't even blink while it selects the best player left on their board, which might not be a corner.

Using the same 25 mocks above, I've reordered the data to better understand which teams the draft analysts think are in the race for a cornerback. For the table below, I've listed all teams drafting from No. 15 to No. 32 and how often each team was mocked to pick a cornerback:

Pick No. Team # mocks with corner
15 Indianapolis Colts 2
16 Baltimore Ravens 2
17 Washington Redskins 1
18 Tennessee Titans 3
19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1
20 Denver Broncos - -
21 Detroit Lions 4
22 Miami Dolphins 2
23 New York Giants 1
24 Oakland Raiders 6
25 Houston Texans 2
26 Seattle Seahawks 3
27 Kansas City Chiefs 2
28 Dallas Cowboys 3
29 Green Bay Packers 7
30 Pittsburgh Steelers 3
31 Atlanta Falcons 1
32 New Orleans Saints 6

As we saw when we looked at pass rushers, this table should be a pretty good indicator of which teams are likely to be in the hunt for cornerback on the first day of the draft. But what this table shows instead is that there is no specific demand for a corner in the draft. The Raiders (24), Packers (29), and Saints (32) are the only teams with a moderate interest in a corner, and the Cowboys will likely see a lot more corners mocked their way in the coming days.

So what we seem to have here is bunch of corners with no clear ranking who are largely interchangeable - if we believe in the collective wisdom of the 25 mocks above. Additionally, there's no team with a clear need for a corner, which is going to make for a very interesting and unpredictable draft day for corners.

There's a good chance only four corners get taken on the first day of the draft. There's an equally good chance that up to eight corners get taken in te first round. And there's an even better chance that one or more corners that many people believe are borderline first-rounders get taken very early. And finally there's also a good chance that even if the Cowboys pick a corner with their top pick, it won't be the corner most fans expect.

Fun times.