In the lead-up to the 2020 NFL Draft, Vikings.com is taking a position-by-position look at prospects who have garnered a range of attention from national outlets. The series will include rankings by national outlets, stats and background information for multiple prospects. We'll also include comments that experts shared during interviews.
Vikings Status at the CB Position
The Vikings group of cornerbacks will look drastically different for the 2020 season.
Minnesota is returning five of nine cornerbacks that were active for at least one game in 2019: Mike Hughes, Holton Hill, Kris Boyd, Nate Meadors and Mark Fields. The Vikings signed Kemon Hall to their practice squad late last season and in January signed former Winnipeg Blue Bomber Marcus Sayles.
Three starters from the 2019 season departed this spring, however.
The Vikings terminated the contract of Xavier Rhodes, who has since signed with the Colts, and Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander both joined the Bengals in free agency.
Of the cornerbacks currently on Minnesota's roster, Hughes has the most starts under his belt. The 2018 first-round draft pick has started five of 20 games played over his first two seasons but has dealt with injuries. Hill, whom the Vikings signed as an undrafted free agent in 2018, has started four of 24 games played.
About the expert
For cornerbacks, we reached out to Charles Davis a former defensive back who is now an analyst for FOX NFL and for NFL Network.
The native of Elizabethton, Tennessee, was a standout safety for the Volunteers from 1982-86. Davis signed as an undrafted free agent with the Cowboys in 1987 but was waived prior to the season.
Davis joined FOX Sports as an analyst in 2006 and in 2008 joined the NFL on FOX postgame show alongside Jimmy Johnson and Terry Bradshaw.
Since 2017, Davis has worked alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Pam Oliver as one of FOX's NFL broadcast crews.
Follow him on Twitter @CFD22 for his analysis and commentary.
Knowing the Vikings will likely add to the position at some point in the upcoming draft, we asked Davis to give his overall thoughts on the group of prospects. He described this year's group as having "good depth."
"Not as deep as the wide receivers they will be chasing, but still plenty of talent available, especially beginning in Round 2," Davis said. "With the size of receivers continuing to shoot up (taller and stronger), and with the tight end position now becoming a home for 'rocked up' wide receivers, the cornerbacks that teams are seeking are ones with height, length and strength to compete with those receivers and tight ends that are making plays downfield."
Davis provided insight on 10 cornerback prospects, which can be found below.
NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah has seven cornerbacks in his overall Top 50: 5. Jeff Okudah, 21. CJ Henderson, 29. Jaylon Johnson, 31. A.J. Terrell, 42. Kristian Fulton, 46. Jeff Gladney and 48. Trevon Diggs
ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr., listed two cornerbacks in his overall Top 25: 3. Okudah and 19. Henderson
PFF included 13 CBs in its overall Top 100: 4. Okudah, 10. Fulton, 19. Diggs, 24. Henderson, 26. Johnson, 29. Cameron Dantzler, 33. Gladney, 34. Bryce Hall, 38. Terrell, 64. Noah Igbinoghene, 66. Darnay Holmes, 69. K'Von Wallace and 73. Troy Pride, Jr.
Positional rankings by NFL.com's Bucky Brooks, ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr., analytics site Pro Football Focusand The Athletic's Dane Brugler impacted the players listed for this series. Rankings by each are noted under each prospect.
School: Ohio State | Year: Jr. | Ht: 6-foot-1 | Wt. 205 pounds
Rankings: No. 1 CB by Brooks, Kiper, PFF and Brugler
2019 stats: 14 games (14 starts); 35 tackles (28 solo), three interceptions (Buckeyes team lead), two forced fumbles and nine passes defensed; named First-Team Associated Press All-American, First-Team All-Big Ten and was a Jim Thorpe Award finalist
Showed his reach: Okudah impressed at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, where he topped the cornerback class in the vertical jump (41 inches tied with Harrison Hand) and the broad jump (11 feet, 3 inches). His 40-yard dash time of 4.48 seconds tied for 12th in the position group.
Davis weighs in: "Okudah is the consensus No. 1 cornerback who has the full package – height, weight, speed – and for a one-year starter, played with absolute fearlessness. He reminds me of Richard Sherman with the speed [with which he played]. He should be off the board in the top five picks."
School: Florida | Year: Jr. | Ht: 6-foot-1 | Wt. 204 pounds
Rankings: No. 2 CB by Brooks, Kiper and Brugler; No. 3 by PFF
2019 stats: 9 games (9 starts); 33 tackles (26 solo), three tackles for loss, 11 passes defensed (Gators team lead); missed part of the season with an ankle injury and forewent Florida's bowl game to prep for the combine; named First-Team All-SEC
Road to Florida: Henderson attended Christopher Columbus High School (Miami), where he played running back and cornerback. In his last two seasons for the Explorers, he totaled 636 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns (seven rushing). Henderson played in the 2017 Under Armour All-American game and was selected to the USA National Team in its game versus Canada. After initially committing to play at the University of Miami, Henderson instead opted for Florida.
Davis weighs in: "Henderson is a lover of man coverage, takes each snap in that defense personally and always wants to match up with the opponent's best wide receiver. A true, elite, cover corner. I expect him to be in strong consideration as the second cornerback off the board."
School: Alabama | Year: Sr. | Ht: 6-foot-1 | Wt. 205 pounds
Rankings: No. 4 CB by Brooks and Brugler; No. 6 by PFF and Kiper
2019 stats: 12 games (12 starts); 37 tackles (20 solo); three interceptions, two fumble recoveries, eight passes defensed (team lead), one defensive touchdown; named First-Team All-American by PFF; earned Associated Press First-Team All-SEC honors
Big brother, little brother: Trevon is following in the footsteps of his older brother, Stefon Diggs, a 2015 fifth-round draft pick by Minnesota. Stefon spent his first five NFL seasons with the Vikings and in March was traded to the Bills. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Trevon spoke highly of his relationship with Stefon and the guidance he received growing up after the passing of their father in 2008.
Davis weighs in: "A former wide receiver, Diggs will be in discussion by all teams seeking cornerbacks, starting in the 20s in the first round. Love his ball skills, instincts and aggressiveness. My biggest concern is his long speed (he did not run at the combine, and I think that was out of concern for the same). I liken him to Malcom Jenkins coming out of Ohio State. He wants to be – and should be considered – a cornerback, but if speed is an issue, I think he can be an excellent safety."
School: LSU | Year: Sr. | Ht: 6-feet |Wt. 197 pounds
Rankings: No. 2 CB by PFF; No. 5 by Brooks; No. 7 by Kiper and Brugler
2019 stats: 15 games (15 starts); 38 tackles (28 solo), one interception, one tackle for loss, 15 passes defensed (team lead); helped the Tigers en route to an undefeated national title run; earned Associated Press Second-Team All-SEC honors
High school hurdler: Fulton grew up in the New Orleans area and attended Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie, where he impressed on the football field and on the track. As a senior, he was named First-Team All-State in the 300-meter hurdles. Fulton showed his quickness at the NFL Scouting Combine, as well. His time of 6.94 seconds in the 3-cone drill tied for fourth among cornerbacks.
Davis weighs in: "Fulton is a very good player that will be in consideration in the spots where the Vikings pick [No. 22 and 25]. Good anticipation, athletic, good size that fits the position and excellent speed (4.46 40-yard dash at the combine). Really good change of direction ability and first-step quickness. He has a quiet nature off the field but plays loud on it."
School: Utah | Year: Jr. | Ht: 6-feet | Wt. 193 pounds
Rankings: No. 4 CB by Kiper and PFF; No. 5 by Brugler
2019 stats: 13 games (13 starts); 36 tackles (34 solo), two interceptions, one tackle for loss, 11 passes defensed and one defensive touchdown; named Second-Team All-American (Associated Press) and First-Team All-Pac 12
Student-athlete: Johnson graduated from Utah with a business degree and maintained a 3.6 GPA throughout his college career.
Davis weighs in: "Johnson is one of my favorite cornerbacks in the draft. He has plenty of length and toughness – he played the 2019 season and went through the combine with a shoulder issue … He loves to match up and is very aggressive [in man coverage]. He plays with great confidence and sometimes will get into trouble peeking at the quarterback and taking chances. All in all, Johnson is likely to be available when the Vikings select, and his strength will remind people of Xavier Rhodes (15 [reps of 225 pounds] in the bench press at the combine with the bad shoulder), and he runs well enough. Johnson clocked a 4.5 40-yard dash at the combine."
School: TCU | Year: Sr. | Ht: 5-foot-10 | Wt. 191 pounds
Rankings: No. 3 CB by Brugler; No. 5 by Kiper; No. 7 by PFF
2019 stats: 12 games (10 starts); 31 tackles (24 solo); one interception, 1.5 tackles for loss, led conference with 14 passes defensed
Shined early: Gladney impressed as a redshirt freshman in 2016, starting eight of 12 games played and recording 46 tackles and six passes defensed. In 2017, he earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors after he snagged two interceptions and returned one 97 yards for a touchdown at Texas Tech.
Davis weighs in: "Gladney is a shorter cornerback but plays with great aggressiveness and intelligence. I love his ability to read and react quickly and to make plays on the ball. He's a good tackler, as well … likely a second-round selection that may be able to work inside as a nickel corner, too."
School: Clemson | Year: Jr. | Ht: 6-foot-1 |Wt. 195 pounds
Rankings: No. 3 CB by Brooks; No. 6 by Brugler; No. 8 by Kiper and PFF
2019 stats: 15 games (15 starts); 34 tackles (24 solo), two interceptions, six passes defensed; named First-Team All-ACC
Back-to-back title games: Terrell played for the Tigers in back-to-back title games following the 2018 and 2019 seasons. As a junior in the Clemson-Alabama national championship game, Terrell snagged an interception and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown, helping the Tigers defeat the Crimson Tide 44-16. He recorded five tackles and a pass defensed in Clemson's loss to LSU in January 2020.
Davis weighs in: "This is one of the more intriguing cornerbacks to me. He plays with terrific strength versus wide receivers, and he had 15 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press at the combine, a more than adequate number. Also, Terrell sees plays develop quickly and 'triggers and goes' to make plays in the run game and short pass game. He has really good size and can run (4.42 in the 40 at the combine). I think teams will like him better as we approach the draft. He [could be] in play where the Vikings pick in the first round; if there is a run on corners, he could move up."
School: Auburn | Year: Jr. | Ht: 5-foot-10 | Wt. 198 pounds
Rankings: No. 3 CB by Kiper; No. 8 by Brugler; No. 10 by PFF
2019 stats: 13 games (13 starts); 42 tackles (28 solo), one tackle for loss, seven passes defensed; returned nine kickoffs, including one for a touchdown
Son of sprinters: Igbinoghene's mother, Faith, won a bronze medal with the Nigerian 4x100 relay team in the 1992 Olympics and finished fifth with that team in 1996. His father, Festus, won five SEC titles in the long and triple jumps at Mississippi State. Noah also garnered attention in track; as a high school senior, he broke the Alabama state record in the triple jump and finished second in the nation in that event. He competed in indoor and outdoor events for the Tigers in 2018.
Davis weighs in: "I like his measurables. His size is good, wingspan is excellent – so he plays taller than his measured 5-10 and 3/8 inches – and he runs well. I've seen him in mock drafts as a first-round selection, but I see him much more [likely to go] in the second round."
School: Mississippi State | Year: RS Jr. | Ht: 6-foot-2 | Wt. 188 pounds
Rankings: No. 9 CB by PFF; No. 11 by Brugler
2019 stats: 9 games (9 starts); 40 tackles (31 solo); two interceptions, 0.5 sacks, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and eight passes defensed; allowed a passer rating of just 57.0, which ranked fourth in the FBS among corners
Daddy Dantzler: Dantzler has a son, Cameron Dantzler, Jr., who was born on May 26.
Davis weighs in: "Really good length, ball skills, tackles well and absolutely looks the part. He was mentioned prior to the combine as a first-round cornerback, but I think he took a bit of a hit afterward due to his long speed (4.64 in the 40). He may be faster than that, but I think he's now in heavy discussion to be a safety – and he could be very good there – or teams that are heavy Cover 2 teams may still see him as a physical corner. No matter how teams project him, corner or safety, I think he's in play starting with Round 2."
School: Ohio State | Year: RS Sr. | Ht: 6-feet | Wt. 195 pounds
Rankings: No. 9 CB by Kiper and Brugler
2019 stats: 13 games (13 starts); 35 tackles (27 solo), one interception, one tackle for loss and eight passes defensed; earned Second-Team All-Big Ten honors
Convinced by Carter: According to Arnette's NFL.com draft profile, he considered leaving for the NFL after the 2018 season but "after conversations with his coaches and former Buckeye and NFC receiver Cris Carter" decided to stay at Ohio State for his senior campaign.
Davis weighs in: "Arnette benefited from staying in school and playing very well opposite Jeff Okudah in 2019. Teams tried to avoid Okudah but did not find much relief trying Arnette's side. He's smart, tough against the pass and the run, and got better throughout the year. The biggest concern will be his speed. I'd say Round 2 and beyond for him."