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What NFL scouts are saying about the cornerbacks in the draft

A Falcons coach asked OSU CB Eli Apple if he liked men at the Combine

Eli Apple cannot cook?

Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal is a beast at finding out good information before the NFL Draft. He has a series in which we have been keeping up with on his website, and we wanted to share what the scouts from the NFL are saying about the top cornerbacks of the draft . Here is what they said, and you can read others here as well:

1. JALEN RAMSEY, Florida State (6-1, 207, 4.38, 1): Two scouts said he was every bit the prospect that Patrick Peterson was in 2011. “He’s the best DB I’ve seen since Peterson,” said one. “Complete player. Only thing I didn’t like is he gets a lot of safety help. You didn’t see him isolated much.” Third-year junior from Smyrna, Tenn. “As a safety he can be all-world – like right now,” a second scout said. “He’s not ready-made like that as a corner but he’s got potential to be all-world there, too. He’s a press-man corner. Using his length. There are some flaws when he’s in off (coverage).” Started 41 games at both corner and safety, finishing with 180 tackles (15 ½ for loss), 3 interceptions and 23 passes broken up (PBUs). “Charles (Woodson) was a ball magnet,” said a third scout. “Ramsey has had very little contact with the ball. People say, ‘Well, they stayed away from him.’ To me, you either have that or you don’t know. With his length (33 3/8-inch arms) and speed he can definitely play outside. As a slot corner against really quality cat-quick receivers, I don’t know. As a safety he’s a wrap, drag-down tackler, not a bona fide big-time striker.” Led the top CBs in the 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test (24), vertical jump (41 ½ inches) and broad jump (11-3). “Look at his career interceptions,” a fourth scout said. “I can count ’em on one hand. Apparently he doesn’t have eyes or feel or vision. I think he’s fool’s gold.”

2. VERNON HARGREAVES, Florida (5-10 ½, 206, 4.50, 1): Father, Vernon, coaches linebackers at Arkansas. “He’s an outstanding technician,” one scout said. “His ability to know what’s going on allows him to stay a step ahead. That’s how he survives, to be honest with you. When it comes to raw physical ability there are better corners in this draft.” Third-year junior from Tampa. “Super kid,” another scout said. “Great family. Very smart (Wonderlic of 20) and articulate. Looks more like a running back. Thick. That’s the only thing I worry about.” Three-year starter finished with 121 tackles (three for loss), 10 picks and 27 PBUs. “In the top 10? No way for me,” said a third scout. “He’s short and I saw him get beat a lot over the last two years. Huge reputation, good player. But, boy, he’s not a shutdown corner in my mind.” Vertical jump of 39. “He’ll be a bust,” a fourth scout said. “But based on talent he is the second-best corner.”

3. ELI APPLE, Ohio State (6-0 ½, 202, 4.39, 1): Third-year sophomore from Voorhees, N.J. “He got beat probably more than you want but he’s got tremendous upside,” said one scout. “He is too young (20) to be coming out but he is so you’ve got to project what he’s going to be. I think he’s going to be a pretty high-level starter.” Started 27 games, finishing with 86 tackles (7 ½ for loss), 4 picks and 18 PBUs. “Some there (OSU) were worried he wouldn’t break 4.6 and then popped the (4.39),” said another scout. “They were surprised he ran that well. I worry about him because of off-the-field issues. The kid has no life skills. At all. Can’t cook. Just a baby. He’s not first round for me. He scares me to death.” Wonderlic was 21. “He probably has as much talent as anybody but he, like a lot of those Ohio State guys, is inconsistent,” said a third scout. “He squats, and receivers run by him. He’s more in catch-up mode than reaction mode. He bothers me a little bit.”

4. MACKENSIE ALEXANDER, Clemson (5-10 ½, 189, 4.49, 1-2): Third-year sophomore. “Reminds me of Darrelle Revis,” one scout said. “He just looks so confident out there. ‘I am good, you’re not going to beat me.’ But he’s not real physical and I thought he’d run a lot faster than he did.” Another said the voluble Alexander “will talk you to death.” Said a third scout: “Loves football. Kind of a selfish guy. More into just him. Probably quicker than fast. I just didn’t see great top-end speed.” Started 26 games, finishing with 44 tackles (four for loss), no picks and 11 PBUs. Wonderlic of 12. “Other than Kelvin Benjamin a couple years ago, in the ACC he has not faced up with much,” a fourth scout said. “He’s got to play inside. He’s not ready for prime time outside. I see guys separate on him every now and then. I do think he’s a good athlete and can become a starter. He’s highly confident and ain’t afraid to tell everybody. He’s third round for me.” Son of Haitian migrant workers. Lives in Immokalee, Fla.

5. WILLIAM JACKSON, Houston (6-0 ½, 187, 4.35, 1-2): Former junior-college player from Houston. “He had 22 PBUs this year,” said one scout. “He’s fast, physical, can play the ball, long arms (31 ¾). He starts for any team in the league. You might have one (on your team) better than him but you don’t have two.” Two-year starter with 115 tackles (three for loss), 8 picks and 40 PBUs. “Only negative is he’s one of those guys that likes to put his hands on receivers downfield,” another scout said. “He’s got to stop that. He’s really a good player.” Wonderlic of 16. “I think he’s too small,” a third scout said. “Of all the corners, he’s got really good ball skills. But his lean muscle mass is like 171 pounds, which is not good.”

6. KENDALL FULLER, Virginia Tech (5-11 ½, 188, 4.50, 2-3): Tore meniscus before the season, underwent microfracture, never ran a 40 and remains somewhat of a medical risk. “I’m concerned about the fact he hasn’t run,” said one scout. “He tried to play in four games this year and he had no business doing it. He didn’t look good. He just looked so much better in 2014. His brother, Kyle, was more physical and stronger. Kendall’s faster and has better ball skills. He’d run in the low 4.4s.” The Bears drafted CB Kyle Fuller 14th in ’14. Two other brothers also had NFL careers. “Similar to his brother (Kyle) but this kid was more about ball than his brother,” another scout said. Started 28 games, finishing with 119 tackles (eight for loss), 8 picks and 35 PBUs. From Baltimore. “He’s a nickel,” a third scout said. “Very instinctive, very quick.”

7. ARTIE BURNS, Miami (6-0, 191, 4.44, 2): Third-year junior. “He’s got everything you look for,” said one scout. “I wouldn’t call him a burner but he runs well. Great ball skills. He wasn’t as physical this year. In (2014) he didn’t have a problem with that. Kind of an enigma. He did go through a lot this year with his mom passing (died in October at age 44) and being the care provider for his brother and sister. There’s a lot of upside.” Had six interceptions in 2015, most by a Hurricane since FS Sean Taylor in 2003. Started 23 of 36 games, finishing with 93 tackles (three for loss), 7 picks and 14 PBUs. “He’s for the press teams,” another scout said. “He’s only 20 years old and he’s long and fast.” Arms measured 33 ¼. “That’s totally amazing,” another scout said. “A guy like Albert Lewis ran 4.6 but played like a 4.5 because his arms were long. This guy played a lot of press. Very, very smooth.” From Miami.

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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