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Draft Snapshot: 10 Cornerbacks to Watch

Posted Apr 25, 2018

The 2018 NFL Draft is a day away.

One of the league’s most important events kicks off with the first round at 7 p.m. (CT) on Thursday in Dallas at AT&T Stadium. The second and third rounds will be held on Friday and begin at 6 p.m. (CT). Round 4 will start at 11 a.m. (CT) on Saturday and be followed by Rounds 5-7.

The Vikings currently have eight selections in the draft, beginning with the 30th overall pick. Minnesota went 13-3 in 2017 and reached the NFC title game.

Vikings.com is taking a glance at the top prospects at each position leading up to the draft.

Schedule

April 16: Quarterbacks

April 17: Running backs

April 18: Receivers

April 19: Tight ends

April 20: Tackles

April 21: Centers & Guards

April 22: Defensive tackles

April 23: Defensive ends

April 24: Linebackers

April 25: Cornerbacks

April 26: Safeties

Where the Vikings Stand

Minnesota has perhaps the most lockdown cornerback in the NFL in Xavier Rhodes, who has made back-to-back Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro selection in 2017. Trae Waynes is entering his fourth season and has shown growth and improvement each of the past three years. Mackensie Alexander spent time in the slot in 2017 and could be a candidate to start there in 2018. Marcus Sherels can play cornerback if necessary but is more known for his superb punt return and special teams skills. Horace Richardson is on the roster after spending part of the 2017 season on the practice squad.

Recent Draft History (over past five years)

Total number of cornerbacks taken: 155

Round 1: 23

Round 2: 22

Round 3: 27

Round 4: 19

Round 5: 22

Round 6: 22

Round 7: 20

Cornerbacks to tend to be taken with regularity in each round of the draft. There are always a handful of them picked in the first round as teams look to find a lockdown corner such as Rhodes, or one with high upside, such as Waynes. Mid-to-late round cornerbacks also have shown they can step in and be solid contributors, both on the defensive side of the ball and on special teams.

The Prospects (based on rankings by CBS Sports)


1. Josh Jackson

Iowa, Redshirt junior, 6-foot, 196 pounds

Combine numbers

40-yard dash: 4.56 seconds

Bench press: 18 reps of 225 pounds (tied for third among cornerbacks)

Broad jump: 10 feet, 3 inches

Vertical jump: 38 inches (tied for fifth among cornerbacks)

3-cone drill: 6.86 seconds (10th among cornerbacks)

20-yard shuttle: 4.03 seconds (fifth among cornerbacks) 

2017 stats: recorded 48 tackles (34 solo), 0.5 tackle for loss, 26 passes defended, eight interceptions (186 return yards and two touchdowns), one forced fumble in starting all 13 games; led FBS in interceptions and passes defended; became first Big Ten player to return two interceptions for touchdowns in same conference game (43 and 52 yards at Wisconsin); Consensus First-Team All-America selection; permanent team captain; Big Ten Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year; finalist for Jim Thorpe Award

2. Jaire Alexander

Louisville, Junior, 5-foot-11, 192 pounds

Combine numbers

40-yard dash: 4.38 seconds (sixth among cornerbacks in 2018)

Bench press: 14 reps of 225 pounds

Broad jump: 10 feet, 7 inches (tied for fourth among cornerbacks in 2018)

Vertical jump: 35 inches (tied for 13th among cornerbacks in 2018)

3-cone drill: 6.71 seconds (fifth among cornerbacks in 2018)

20-yard shuttle: 3.98 seconds (third among cornerbacks in 2018)

2017 stats: recorded 19 tackles (13 solo), 1.0 TFL, five passes defensed, one interception in six games

3. Denzel Ward

Ohio State, Junior, 5-foot-11, 183 pounds

Combine numbers

40-yard dash: 4.32 (tied for first among cornerbacks)

Bench press: 16 reps of 225 pounds (tied for eighth among cornerbacks)

Broad jump: 11 feet, 4 inches (first among cornerbacks)

Vertical jump: 39 inches (tied for second among cornerbacks)

3-cone drill: Did not participate

20-yard shuttle: Did not participate

2017 stats: first season as a starter; recorded 37 tackles (30 solo); two interceptions; 2.0 tackles for loss; 15 passes broken up; one punt returned for 10 yards; blocked a fourth-quarter punt against Penn State that sparked an 18-point comeback for a Buckeyes win; named First-Team All-American by Associated Press, AFCA and The Sporting News; received All-Big Ten honors by the media

4. Isaiah Oliver

Colorado, Junior, 6-foot-1, 190 pounds

Combine numbers

40-yard dash: 4.50 seconds

Oliver did not participate in any other testing drills at the NFL Combine.

2017 stats: started all 10 games played for the Buffaloes; 26 tackles (19 solo); two interceptions returned for 41 yards; 13 pass breakups; one forced fumble; also returned five punts for 16 yards; named to First-Team All-Pac 12 team by Associated Press and the league coaches; earned Second-Team All-Pac 12 honors from SB Nation; opened the season with four pass breakups against Colorado State

5. Holton Hill

Texas, Junior, 6-foot-3, 200 pounds

Combine numbers

40-yard dash: 4.49 seconds            

Bench press: 14 reps of 225 pounds

Vertical jump: 31 inches

Broad jump: 10 feet

3-cone drill: 6.83 seconds

20-yard shuttle: 4.15 seconds

2017 stats: played in nine games; recorded 51 tackles (39 solo and a forced fumble; returned interceptions for touchdowns in back-to-back games; recovered blocked field goal for touchdown; suspended for final three games of the 2017 season for violating team rules

6. Greg Stroman

Virginia Tech, Senior, 6-foot, 180 pounds

Combine numbers

40-yard dash: 4.48 seconds

Bench press: 16 reps of 225 pounds

Vertical jump: 33.5 inches

Broad jump: 9 feet, 5 inches

3-cone drill: did not participate

20-yard shuttle: 4.45 seconds

2017 stats: played and started in 13 games; recorded 20 tackles (14 solo), with four interceptions and 15 pass breakups

7. M.J. Stewart 

North Carolina, Senior, 5-foot-11, 200 pounds

Combine numbers

40-yard dash: 4.54 seconds

Bench press: 18 reps of 225 pounds (tied for third among cornerbacks)

Vertical jump: 35 inches

Broad jump: 9 feet, 10 inches

3-cone drill: 6.90 seconds

20-yard shuttle: 4.28 seconds

2017 stats: played and started in 12 games; recorded 45 tackles (33 solo), 2.0 sacks, 5.0 tackles for loss and two pass break ups; named Honorable Mention All-ACC selection

8. Mike Hughes

Central Florida, Junior, 5-foot-10, 189 pounds

Combine numbers

40-yard dash: 4.53 seconds

Bench press: 20 reps of 225 pounds (second among cornerbacks)

Broad jump: 10 feet, 7 inches (tied for fourth among cornerbacks)

Vertical jump: 35.5 inches (tied for 10th among cornerbacks)

3-cone drill: 6.7 seconds (fourth among cornerbacks)

20-yard shuttle: 4.13 seconds (eighth among cornerbacks)

2017 stats: started 11 games; 49 tackles (37 solo); four interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown; one-half tackle for loss; 11 passes broken up; one forced fumble; also contributed significantly on special teams; returned 14 punts for 233 yards and a touchdown; returned 20 kickoffs for 635 yards and two touchdowns; All-Conference First-Team (CB) and Second-Team (return specialist); three-time The American Player of the Week honoree

9. Kameron Kelly

San Diego State, Senior, 6-foot-2, 204 pounds

Combine numbers

40-yard dash: 4.66 seconds

Bench press: 9 reps of 225 pounds

Vertical jump: 33 inches

Broad jump: 10 feet

3-cone drill: 6.94 seconds

20-yard shuttle: 4.28 seconds

2017 stats: played and started in 13 games; recorded 68 tackles (54 solo), 2.0 sacks, 5.0 tackles for loss, three interceptions and eight pass break ups; named First-Team All-Mountain West selection; earned Aztecs Defensive MVP honors

10. D.J. Reed

Kansas State, Junior, 5-foot-9, 188 pounds

Combine numbers

40-yard dash: 4.51 seconds

Bench press: 11 reps of 225 pounds

Vertical jump: 36.5 inches

Broad jump: did not participate

3-cone drill: did not participate

20-yard shuttle: did not participate

2017 stats: played and started in 11 games; recorded 47 tackles (41 solo), 4.5 tackles for loss with four interceptions and two fumble recoveries; averaged 34.2 yards per kickoff return on 17 returns with one touchdown; averaged 14.9 yards per punt return on 17 returns with one touchdown; named First-Team All-Big 12 selection as a defensive back and a returner; named Second-Team All-American selection as a defensive back and a returner by various outlets