DK Edit: Great fanpost here profiling some college cornerbacks to keep an eye on. Give it a read...
Ok readers, I'm going to try something new. I'm going to write on some college players based on Seattle's needs. Every year around draft time, I scramble to find highlights based on positions of need etc. This year I want to watch the players live and try and get a head start. I'm going to start with corner. We have traded Kelly Jennings, which is a good start. I actually like what I see so far with the corners who have replaced him, especially Brandon Browner, but I still think corner can be improved and I started my research before Jennings was sent packing.
First up is the corner I like the most in the country. Cliff Harris out of Oregon. This kid is electrifying. In 2010 he faced a couple of tough quarterbacks in Andrew Luck and Matt Barkley (both projected 1st round picks in 2012). He picked of Andrew Luck twice in a game last season and Matt Barkey once in their game. Watching the film, he has good positioning, he turns his hips really well, and he led the nation with 23 passes defended and 17 breakups. That my friends is what we call a cover corner. At 5'11" 180lbs he's not the big physical corner that Pete Carroll likes, however if there is an exception to make for a player, this is the guy (in my opinion). Oh, did I forget to mention he returned 4 punts for TDs in 2010. Now he is an underclassman and may not declare after this, his junior year, but depending on the type of season he has I think he will.
Next up, the only senior corner I'll be looking at, Coryell Judie our of Texas A&M. He is a solid 5'11" and 188lbs and a player that Sports Illustrated has tagged as a Nagurski Trophy candidate. One thing I noticed about him is his catch-up speed. If a WR jukes him and gains a stride or two, Judie catches up in a hurry. He had 4 picks in 2010 and he showed off his leaping ability to get to 2 of them... he's got the vertical jump. He's a very good kickoff returner as well (not that Seattle needs one, but it is good to have depth). He is a strong tackler and the one handed INT in the cotton bowl against LSU was pretty sweet to see. He reads the QB well. In that same Cotton Bowl game, there were a couple of short completed passes and before the receiver could turn, he was met and tackled by Judie. He has good instincts as a corner.
Jayron Hosley out of Virginia Tech. He is a junior but with nothing left to prove at the college level. I'll be honest I didn't know anything about this kid before the College SI issue came out. SI holds him in high regard and even stated he could be the top corner in the nation. I looked at some highlights and he's definately solid. I was looking for holes in his game because my top corner is Cliff Harris, but he really doesn't have any. He rotates hips well to run with WRs his positioning I must admit is a bit better than Harris. I still like Harris's big play ability, but Hosley is certainly a top corner in the nation. He's smooth, has good instincts, can tackle and does well on kick offs. On a lot of the plays I saw where the QB had to scramble out of the pocket, Hosley was patient and held his position and was there to either break-up the pass or come down with the pick.
The last CB I'm going to mention today is Greg Reid from Florida State. SI also stated that Reid has the skills to become one of the ACC's top corners. The first thing you'll notice though about Reid is his hight, or lack there of. He's listed at 5'8" tall which may hurt his draft stock when he enters the draft, but the first thing you notice about Reid is he doesn't play like he's 5'8", he plays much bigger than that which is why he's here. You can see him stretch out on his verticle and get just enough of the ball to deflect it away on a number of his highlights, I don't know what his nickname is but it should be 'Just Enough'. A few hightlights shows him laying out bigger WR with vicous hits after a catch. He's certainly a big play return man in nothing else. Can he make it as a true cover corner in the NFL? I don't know, but he's fun to watch and easy to cheer for. Against the 6'5" WRs he may have trouble, but as a nickel CB I think he could handle with ease. His size will make him a 3rd round pick or later, but watch him play... the team that drafts him will get their money's worth.
Well that's all I've got. If any of you know of a corner in college that you think is great reply with him here. I enjoy searching for highlights and watching football with a purpose. I don't know which position I'll look for next, but those suggestions are welcome as well... offensive linemen are tough to find highlights on. I know it's a focus right now, but our line is young and I think will be ok. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.