By Rich Tandler
The Redskins will go to the combine in search of cornerback help. However, they may not go into the draft targeting a CB.
That is because the free agent market at the position is loaded with solid talents and many of those players are just entering their prime years. None are true game changers, as Morris Claiborne of LSU, the draft’s top corner, could be. But in Indianapolis the Redskins will be weighing their options in the draft against what they might be able to land in the free agent market. Teams can sign other teams’ free agents starting March 13 and the draft is on April 26.
There are 37 cornerbacks on the NFL combine invitation list. The position is one of the deepest in the draft. According to the grading system used by Wes Bunting of the National Football Post a grade of 6.0 or higher means that the player has the potential to be a starter at some point. There will be 19 corners at the combine with a starter grade.
Many mock drafts have linked Claiborne and Dre Kirkpatrick of Alabama to the Redskins with their first-round pick, the sixth overall. While both are very talented players (and Kirkpatrick has been cleared of marijuana possession charges), using the top pick for a corner would be considered a luxury for the Redskins. They have two solid starting cornerbacks in DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson and while depth at the position in important there are other needs, particularly on offense, that would be better places to spend a premium pick.
But later in the draft, from the second round on, a corner could come into play if the Redskins did not get their fill of them in free agency. They particularly could use someone who can cover in the slot, as both Hall and Wilson are more comfortable on the edges. Players such as Stephon Gilmore of South Carolina, Brandon Boykin of Georgia, Asa Jackson of Cal Ply, and Dennard Alphonso of Nebraska are potential slot cover corners who should be on the board in rounds two and three.
An intriguing combine corner to watch for in the late rounds is Coryell Judie of Texas A&M. He is a track athlete who is just learning to play football. If the Redskins think he has some potential they might take a seventh-round flier on him.
The complete list of cornerbacks invited to the combine is below. They are in the order of Bunting’s scouting grades.
CSN Washington will have wall-to-wall coverage of the NFL Combine starting Feb 23 and our Rich Tandler will be in Indianapolis. If there are any players on the list you’d like to know more about, let us know in the comments or hit Rich up on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.