Ten 2019 cornerback prospects Texans fans should be familiar with pre-combine

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The Texans desperately need help at cornerback. Jonathan Joseph is aging, Kareem Jackson is a free-agent slot cornerback/safety, Aaron Colvin is a slot corner, and Kevin Johnson is widely regarded as a bust.

The cornerbacks’ zone coverage was constantly exposed, and even head coach Bill O’Brien has called for more man coverage cornerbacks. That being said, this list has an emphasis on man coverage cornerbacks. While top prospects Greedy Williams and Byron Murphy aren’t mentioned due to the Texans draft status.

DeAndre Baker – Georgia

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Height: 5’11”

Weight: 180 lbs

Strengths: 

  • sticky man coverage corner, aggressive but takes smart angles
  • physical and willing tackler
  • excellent ball anticipation
  • excels in Tampa 2/Cover 2 zone coverage
  • plays the ball aggressively
  • physical and quick feet in press coverage
  • can shadow and anticipate various different routes
  • can mirror top wide receivers due to high IQ
  • strong competitor

Weaknesses:

  • size
  • lack of explosiveness
  • deep speed
  • tight hips
  • lack of power/length shows in run support

Round projection: 1st round

Trayvon Mullen – Clemson

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Height: 6’1″

Weight: 190 lbs

Strengths:

  • length and physicality
  • aggressive tackler
  • effective punch and jam while pressing
  • good mirror off the release
  • good closing speed
  • excellent ball skills
  • forces players out of bounds
  • has a knack for showing up in big games

Weaknesses:

  • lacks quickness/long stride runner
  • is a very grabby cornerback
  • not an outstanding athlete
  • tight hips
  • scary recovery time

Round projection: 1st-2nd round

Amani Oruwariye – Penn State

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Height: 6’1″

Weight: 205 lbs

Strengths:

  • size
  • excellent ball skills
  • uses his size and length to effectively mirror receivers
  • physical and balanced while playing press coverage
  • excels in zone coverage; knows how to read lane and quarterback
  • good anticipation in zone coverage
  • fast and has the extra gear to stay with the faster receivers
  • developed foot technique and backpedal
  • powerful hands that throw off receivers in press coverage
  • good body control

Weaknesses:

  • lacks quickness
  • timid tackler
  • aggressiveness in coverage doesn’t translate to run support
  • can give up leverage while backpedaling due to subpar quickness

Round projection: 1st-2nd round

Julian Love – Notre Dame

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Height: 5’11”

Weight: 195 lbs

Strengths: 

  • quick feet help him mirror receivers in man coverage
  • quick thinker
  • uses hands well to redirect receivers
  • explosive when attacking from underneath coverage
  • plus instincts and anticipation
  • one of the best off coverage corners in the draft
  • excellent deep speed
  • great at reading quarterbacks in zone coverage

Weaknesses:

  • not the biggest or fastest cornerback
  • arm length
  • can be too aggressive in press coverage
  • aggressiveness leaves him susceptible to double-moves
  • backpedal to forward movement is a little sloppy
  • needs to work on his hands in press coverage
  • recovery skills need work

Round projection: 2nd round

Bryce Hall – Virginia

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Height: 6’1″

Weight: 200 lbs

Strengths:

  • great size and length
  • change of direction is sharp and quick
  • explosive burst
  • good transition out of backpedaling
  • competitive on catch points
  • excellent recovery speed
  • play strength helps pin receivers to the sideline
  • holds his own in man coverage
  • growing zone coverage skills

Weaknesses:

  • allows too much cushion in off coverage
  • limited press coverage tape
  • doesn’t use his plus size while tackling
  • route anticipation needs work
  • still learning how to play cornerback, switched over from wide receiver in 2016

Round projection: 2nd-3rd round

Kris Boyd – Texas

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Height: 6′

Weight: 195 lbs

Strengths:

  • good timing and anticipation to combat throws in zone coverage
  • strong punch in press coverage
  • anticipates developing routes well
  • good ability to recover if beat
  • physical in man coverage
  • does well in either short or deep zone coverage
  • very aggressive tackler will blow up runs and screens
  • physical in run support, that will translate well to special teams
  • big, developed frame
  • competitive
  • uses his hands to maintain good leverage
  • plays receivers hands while contesting catches

Weaknesses:

  • average athlete
  • tight hips
  • doesn’t have deep speed
  • footwork needs developing
  • a slow transition from backpedaling to turning forward

Round projection: 3rd-5th round

Blace Brown – Troy

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Height: 6′

Weight: 190 lbs

Strengths:

  • good instincts and timing in coverage
  • willing tackler
  • ball-hawk, high school receiver
  • quick feet
  • fast, will not get burnt on speed alone
  • best suited in deep zone coverage
  • good mirror off the release
  • route anticipation is good
  • plays the ball in the air
  • played a key role in Troy’s biggest upset in school history (over LSU)
  • stays close to receivers, yet double-moves will not give him fits

Weaknesses:

  • lanky frame
  • backpedal technique needs work
  • played against weaker competition in the Sun-Belt
  • needs to be more physical in press coverage
  • won’t offer much in terms of block shedding

Round projection: 3rd-5th round

Derrick Baity – Kentucky

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Height: 6’2″

Weight: 187 lbs

Strengths:

  • tall frame
  • excellent body control
  • good technique and patience in press coverage
  • excels in cover 2
  • has the speed to run with fast receivers
  • punishing tackler
  • quick movements
  • quick thinker
  • has played in multiple coverage schemes well
  • uses his length to disrupt catches
  • good route anticipation

Weaknesses:

  • needs to add weight to his frame
  • is susceptible to being ‘mossed’ due to poor vertical ball skills
  • doesn’t offer much in run support
  • poor ball skills
  • slow transitions
  • not explosive in underneath coverage

Round projection: 3rd-5th round

Rock Ya-Sin – Temple

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Height: 6’1″

Weight: 190 lbs

Strengths:

  • length and size helps him stay physical in man coverage
  • patient footwork in press coverage
  • flexible with loose hips
  • good one on one tackler
  • very physical
  • good body control
  • aggressive in off-man coverage
  • solid burst and deep speed
  • plays the ball well due to his length and good leaping ability

Weaknesses

  • far from a developed product
  • doesn’t have much zone coverage tape
  • struggles in catching
  • passive hands
  • change of direction could be a liability
  • takes long strides

Round projection: 3rd-5th round

Isaiah Johnson – Houston

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Height: 6’2″

Weight: 195 lbs

Strengths:

  • excellent size
  • uses his frame to deny receivers outside leverage
  • first to initiate contact with hands
  • athletic; will be a combine stud
  • uses his frame well while tackling
  • loose hips despite his size
  • best in man coverage, the combination of size and fluidity work well
  • cover 3 zone coverage corner due to size and leaping abilities
  • disciplined eyes

Weaknesses:

  • poor ball skills despite wide receiver background
  • limited cover 2 zone tape
  • poor footwork
  • needs to be more physical in press coverage
  • has only played cornerback for two years
  • takes poor angles while tackling

Round projection: 4th-6th round

-Avery Duncan

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