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2021 NFL Draft Prospects for Vikings: Cornerbacks

View photos of potential cornerbacks the Vikings can select in the 2021 NFL Draft. Read the full story HERE.

In the leadup to the 2021 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 those national outlets, stats and background information for multiple prospects. We'll also include comments that experts shared during interviews.

Vikings status at cornerback

The Vikings have revamped their cornerbacks group this offseason, bringing in a fresh face and a familiar one to help a unit that endured ups and downs in 2020.

Eight-time Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson was added to be a mentor to the group, as well as show that he still has plenty of good play left as a starter. Minnesota also signed Mackensie Alexander, a Vikings second-rounder in 2016 who spent this past season with the Bengals.

Mike Hughes has question marks regarding his health as he enters the final season of his rookie deal. He has shown flashes in the past three seasons, but has played 24 of 48 possible games.

Cameron Dantzler and Jeff Gladney were rookies in 2020. Dantzler struggled with injuries at times but proved to be a solid player after he was a third-round pick. Gladney, a 2020 first-rounder, played in the slot and on the outside.

The Vikings also have Kris Boyd and Harrison Hand on the roster, as well as Dylan Mabin.

Ask the analyst

Charles Davis is a popular broadcaster across the football world, providing analysis for CBS and NFL Network. He played safety at Tennessee in the mid-1980s and soon transitioned to a broadcast career after not sticking in the league.

Davis recently chatted with Vikings.com to give his assessment on Minnesota's cornerbacks and how much of a need that position is for Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's team.

"I think it's definitely still a need. And they've invested in it over the years, as you well know," Davis said. "Right now, you expect [Peterson] to be the lead guy in your cornerback room, which is fantastic with all these youngsters running around.

"But I still think you take a good look at that position, and if you look at it this year and the guys that are out there, you don't have to go right away to get one because there will be plenty down the line," Davis added. "With the way colleges pitch it around these days, people have to actually try and cover. So with all these receivers being developed, these corners have had to play. And with Zim', you know they're going to get extra looks."

Expert rankings

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah currently has seven cornerbacks in his overall Top 50: 10. Patrick Surtain II, 16. Jaycee Horn, 17. Caleb Farley, 28. Greg Newsome II, 39. Asante Samuel, Jr., 45. Kelvin Joseph and 49. Elijah Molden

ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr., four cornerbacks in his overall Top 25: 15. Farley, 17. Surtain, 18. Horn and 21. Newsome.

Rankings for each player within the tight end position group by Jeremiah, his NFL Media counterpart Bucky Brooks, Kiper, analytics site Pro Football Focus and The Athletic's Dane Brugler are listed below.

Prospects

Note: Heights and weights are from each player's profile on NFL.com (linked for each player's name).

Patrick-Surtain-II-2560

School: Alabama | Year: Jr. | Ht: 6-foot-2 | Wt: 208 pounds

Table inside Article
Daniel JeremiahBucky BrooksMel Kiper, Jr.Pro Football FocusDane Brugler
CB1CB1CB2CB1CB2

2020 stats: 13 games; started every game; 37 total tackles (22 solo), 3.5 tackles for loss, 9 pass breakups, 1 interception (returned for a score); First-Team All-American; First-Team All-SEC; SEC Defensive Player of the Year

Like father, like son: Surtain's father, Patrick, played 11 seasons in the NFL with the Dolphins and Chiefs. A First-Team All-Pro in 2002, Surtain was also a three-time Pro Bowler. Surtain coached his son at American Heritage High School before the younger Surtain went off to college.

Caleb-Farley-2560

School: Virginia Tech | Year: Redshirt Jr. | Ht: 6-foot-2 | Wt: 197 pounds

Table inside Article
Daniel JeremiahBucky BrooksMel Kiper, Jr.Pro Football FocusDane Brugler
CB3CB3CB1CB4CB1

2020 stats: opted out of season due to the COVID-19 pandemic;2019 stats:11 games; all starts at cornerback; 20 total tackles (14 solo), led ACC with 16 passes defended (4 interceptions and 12 breakups); First-Team All-ACC

Medical check: Farley was a popular Top-10 prospect earlier this year before undergoing a back procedure in late March. While that has caused him to slip on some experts' draft boards, Davis told Vikings.com that he believes Farley has the highest ceiling of any cornerback in the 2021 draft.

Davis' deep dive: "I know we're locked in on his back issue right now and it's a legit thing because medical is a big part of everything. How much will it extend? How big was the surgery? Will he be ready for camp? But he came to Virginia Tech as an offensive player [wide receiver], flipped things around and then hasn't played a ton because he opted out last season. But you see everything you're looking for: speed, length, ball skills. The first game he ever played in college he got two picks against Florida State. I think he has a willingness to tackle and has that in him, along with blitzing the quarterback. You see everything you're looking for, but I also don't think he's scratched the surface yet."

Jaycee-Horn-2560

School: South Carolina | Year: Jr. | Ht: 6-foot-1 | Wt: 205 pounds

Table inside Article
Daniel JeremiahBucky BrooksMel Kiper, Jr.Pro Football FocusDane Brugler
CB2CB2CB3CB2CB3

2020 stats: 7 games; all starts at cornerback; 16 total tackles (10 solo), 1 tackle for loss; 6 pass breakups, two interceptions; Second-Team All-SEC

NFL bloodline: Like Surtain, Horn is the son of a former NFL star. His father, Joe, played 12 seasons as a wide receiver for the Chiefs, Saints and Falcons. He was a four-time Pro-Bowler who caught 58 career touchdowns and recorded four 1,000-yard seasons. Joe Horn is likely most-known for a 2003 touchdown celebration on Monday Night Football where he pulled a cell phone out from the under the padding of the goal post.

Davis' deep dive: "I love his frame. With corners, we're seeing a lot more kids around 200 pounds now … and bigger … and that never used to be the case. Corners used to be these little jitterbugs with speed, while size wasn't a big deal. Now we're getting combination guys. Horn can flat-out run but he's well-constructed. He'll definitely try and tackle people and makes plays on the ball. He's worked in the slot and outside. And then the bloodlines are terrific with his father being a Pro Bowl wide receiver. And he looks like he loves playing football. He plays with great energy and verve."

Greg-Newsome-II-2560

School: Northwestern | Year: Jr. | Ht: 6-foot | Wt: 192 pounds

Table inside Article
Daniel JeremiahBucky BrooksMel Kiper, Jr.Pro Football FocusDane Brugler
CB4UnrankedCB4CB3CB4

2020 stats: 6 games; all starts at cornerback; 12 total tackles (8 solo), 10 passes defended (1 interception, 9 pass breakups); Third-Team Associated Press All-American; First-Team All-Big Ten

Hometown kid: Although Newsome grew up in Chicago, he attended the IMG Academy in Florida for his senior year of high school. But he returned home to play for the Wildcats in college, where he recorded 25 total passes defended in three seasons. If Newsome is a first-round pick, he will be the first Northwestern cornerback to ever get selected in the opening round.

Davis' deep dive: "We talk about risers and fallers, and some scouts probably roll their eyes because they're locked in on them a lot earlier [than the public is]. They've been doing the work for a while, so they've seen Newsome play and evolve. But then he blows up at his pro day and now everyone is running around saying, 'Oh my gosh, he's incredibly athletic!' But he always has been and that's his calling card. He's a superior athlete and is very decisive. I know some people question his hips and change of direction, but all in all, when you put it all together and ask, 'Is he a first-round type of corner?' I think you're going to say, "Yes.' "

Elijah-Molden-2560

School: Washington | Year: Sr. | Ht: 5-foot-9 ½ | Wt: 192 pounds

Table inside Article
Daniel JeremiahBucky BrooksMel Kiper, Jr.Pro Football FocusDane Brugler
CB7CB5CB6S2CB5

2020 stats: 4 games; all starts at cornerback; 26 total tackles (21 solo), 1 tackle for loss; 1 pass breakup, 1 interception; First-Team All-Pac-12; Pro Football Focus Pac-12 Player of the Year

Family rivalry: Molden's father, Alex, played for Oregon and was a Second-Team All-American as a cornerback in 1995. Alex Molden also played in the NFL with the Saints, Chargers and Lions over eight seasons.

Davis' deep dive: "I have him as a nickel corner. His speed is not going to overwhelm you and he's not going to win every foot race. But when you watch him on tape, he's in position every time and reads the plays and patterns. He loves and understands the game. Remember Antoine Winfield? You're getting the same thing with Elijah Molden. He's not going to out-athlete you, but he can go into the nickel and start on Day 1 in the NFL."

Asante-Samuel,-Jr.-2560

School: Florida State | Year: Jr. | Ht: 5-foot-10 | Wt: 180 pounds

Table inside Article
Daniel JeremiahBucky BrooksMel Kiper, Jr.Pro Football FocusDane Brugler
CB5CB4CB8CB5CB9

2020 stats: 8 games; all starts at cornerback; 30 total tackles, 9 passes defended (6 pass breakups and 3 interceptions), 1 forced fumble and 2 fumble recoveries; First-Team All-ACC selection

Familiar name: Samuel is also the son of a former NFL star. His father played 11 seasons with the Patriots, Eagles and Falcons, and was a two-time Super-Bowl champion and four-time Pro-Bowler. The younger Samuel made a name for himself in college by becoming just the third FSU defender since 2000 with at least three interceptions and two fumble recoveries in a season.

Kelvin-Joseph-2560

School: Kentucky (after LSU) | Year: Redshirt So. | Ht: 5-foot-11 ½ | Wt: 197 pounds

Table inside Article
Daniel JeremiahBucky BrooksMel Kiper, Jr.Pro Football FocusDane Brugler
CB6UnrankedCB7CB7CB7

2020 stats: 9 games; all starts at cornerback; 25 total tackles, 4 interceptions (1 returned for a touchdown), 1 pass breakup and a tackle for loss

From Tiger to 'Cat: Joseph was one of the nation's top recruits at his position coming out of high school in 2018. He stayed in his hometown to sign with LSU and played in 11 games as a true freshman, notching 12 tackles and one pass breakup. He then transferred to Kentucky and sat out the 2019 season before playing for the Wildcats in 2020.

Davis' deep dive: "I think he's a Day 2 guy all day long. I think he's got a lot of twitch to his game. What I mean by that is that he makes decisions well, processes well and reacts very quickly. He's played in the SEC so he knows what it's all about, but I see him in that next tier."

Tyson-Campbell-2560

School: Georgia | Year: Jr. | Ht: 6-foot-1 | Wt: 193 pounds

Table inside Article
Daniel JeremiahBucky BrooksMel Kiper, Jr.Pro Football FocusDane Brugler
UnrankedUnrankedCB5UnrankedCB8

2020 stats: 10 games; all starts at cornerback; 29 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 5 pass breakups

Friends with the Surtains: Campbell was teammates at American Heritage High School with Patrick Surtain II, and was coached by the elder Surtain in high school. Campbell was a five-star recruit as a senior and played in the 2018 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Campbell was also a track star in high school, winning the 100- and 200-meter titles as a junior in 2017.

Eric-Stokes-2560

School: Georgia | Year: Jr. | Ht: 6-foot-1 | Wt: 194 pound

Table inside Article
Daniel JeremiahBucky BrooksMel Kiper, Jr.Pro Football FocusDane Brugler
UnrankedUnrankedUnrankedCB10CB6

2020 stats: 10 games; all starts at cornerback; 20 total tackles, 4 interceptions, 4 pass breakups, three quarterback pressures; First-Team All-American by CBS Sports; First-Team All-SEC by the Associated Press; Second-Team All-SEC by coaches

Speed to burn: Stokes was unofficially clocked at 4.25 seconds in the 40-yard dash at Georgia's Pro Day in mid-March. His blazing speed is nothing new as he won titles in the 100-meter dash (10.39 seconds) and the 200-meter dash as a junior in Georgia. He also won the 400-meter dash as a sophomore.

Aaron-Robinson-250

School: UCF (after Alabama) | Year: Redshirt Sr. | Ht: 5-foot-11 ½ | Wt: 196 pounds

Table inside Article
Daniel JeremiahBucky BrooksMel Kiper, Jr.Pro Football FocusDane Brugler
UnrankedUnrankedUnrankedCB6CB11

2020 stats: 9 games; nine starts at cornerback; 41 total tackles (31 solo), 6 pass breakups, 1 tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery; Second-Team All-AAC

His football journey: Robinson began his college career at Alabama, playing in 13 games as a true freshman in the secondary in 2017. He then transferred to UCF and redshirted in 2018 before playing in 30 games with 19 starts at outside corner and in the slot.

Davis' deep dive: "He has the frame to play outside … but where I see his strength is in the nickel and going inside. I watched a play of him where it wasn't his play, but Robinson ran the kid down and stripped him from behind. You see catch-up speed and recovery and the pure desire to get there. He got better as the season went on."

Tay-Gowan-2560

School: UCF (after Miami Ohio) | Year: Redshirt Sr. | Ht: 6-foot-1 | Wt: 186 pounds

Table inside Article
Daniel JeremiahBucky BrooksMel Kiper, Jr.Pro Football FocusDane Brugler
UnrankedUnrankedCB10CB8Unranked

2020 stats: opted out due to COVID-19; 2019 stats: 12 games; 9 starts at cornerback; 31 total tackles, 8 pass breakups, 2 interceptions, tackle for loss and fumble recovery; Second-Team All-AAC by PFF

Stops at 3 schools: Like Robinson, his teammate in 2019 at UCF, Gowan also transferred during his college career. He started at Miami (Ohio), redshirting in 2016 and playing in three games in 2017. He then landed at Butler Community College in Kansas in 2018 before playing for UCF in 2019.

Ifeatu-Melifonwu-2560

School: Syracuse | Year: Redshirt Jr. | Ht: 6-foot-2 ½ | Wt: 205 pounds

Table inside Article
Daniel JeremiahBucky BrooksMel Kiper, Jr.Pro Football FocusDane Brugler
UnrankedUnrankedUnrankedCB9CB10

2020 stats: 11 games; all starts at cornerback; 55 total tackles, 6 pass breakups, 1 interception, 3.0 tackles for loss; Third-Team All-ACC

Brotherly love: Melifonwu is aiming to be the second player in his family drafted into the NFL. His brother, Obi, was a second-round pick by the Raiders in 2017 of out Connecticut. Obi Melifonwu, a safety, has played in seven career games. He signed a Futures Contract with the 49ers in January of 2021.

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