Building the Perfect Big 10 Cornerback
The Big 10 has always been more of a run first conference, so when tasked with building the perfect corner only using Big 10 guys, it was admittedly tough. That being said there are some top-level draft prospects at the position, as well as some diamond in the rough type guys. When constructing the “Frankenstein” I considered Man Coverage, Zone Coverage, Athleticism, Build, and of course Ball Skills. As always, I am limited to one trait per player.
Lamar Jackson, Nebraska
Lamar Jackson of Nebraska is built almost identically to Lamar Jackson the QB for the Ravens. This Lamar Jackson stands 6’3” weighs 210lbs and uses his length and size to his advantage to wipe opposing WRs out of the play. On the rare occasion in which he’s tested, Jackson uses his size to box out his matchup which is why he is one of the better cover corners that you likely have never heard of. A good season from Nebraska should get more eyes on Jackson.
Shaun Wade, Ohio State
My favorite Big 10 corner, Shaun Wade has a knack for getting to the ball. The old adage “See ball, get ball” is how Wade lives on the gridiron. As a RS Freshman this past year, Wade registered 3 picks. However, he was also known for laying out receivers and backs that happened to be in his vicinity. If he’s on the field, he’s coming for the ball, Big 10 offenses beware. I’m expecting a big season from Wade.
Tino Ellis, Maryland
Tino Ellis has great size (6’1”, 195lbs) and outstanding length that he uses in man coverage reps. While watching Maryland’s defense, you can routinely see Ellis blanketing wideouts 30 yards downfield, matching them stride for stride and meeting them at the catch point. You can also see him blowing up screen plays before they develop by locking onto the primary target. Ellis only had 1 interception in 2018, but if he takes the next step in developing his ball skills, the RS Senior could rise up draft boards and find himself perhaps as a Day 2 pick.
Michael Ojemudia, Iowa
Ojemudia plays almost exclusively zone coverage at the RCB position in the Hawkeye defense. He excels at baiting the QB with his off zone and then flying to the ball for either the interception or deflection. He reminds me a little bit of Josh Jackson, who the Hawkeyes developed into a 2nd round pick a few years back. I’m not sure as of yet if Ojemudia is a draft able player given his limited coverage skills outside of zone but, he is someone to keep an eye on.
Lavert Hill, Michigan
I fully expected Lavert Hill to declare for the 2019 draft and was shocked when he didn’t. The expected leader of the Wolverines defense comes into the year with high expectations. NFL teams and scouts alike are going to fall in love with the athlete Hill is. He has the speed to keep up with any wideout he matches up against. As well as, the agility to change directions and come up in the run game and short passing game to make the stop. Last but not least, is his leaping ability he displayed against Wisconsin when his blitz attempt ended with him leaping up for a one-handed interception. The only thing keeping Hill from being mentioned among the top corners is his listed size of 5’10” 180lbs according to Michigan’s site.
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