The Darius Slay Injury Points To Glaring Holes In Depth.
The Lions have proven that they don’t have much depth behind their star cornerback Darius Slay. Nevin Lawson is a pretty decent player. Quandre Diggs has shown promise at times as well. However the defense would greatly benefit from placing a difference maker on the other side of Slay.
2017 Draft Class: Cornerback Part Three
Simply put, this draft class has a lot of talented cover guys. It wasn’t difficult at all finding three more of them to highlight in addition to the six already featured.
The three that will be addressed in this edition are Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore, Clemson’s Cordrea Tankersley, and Washington’s Sidney Jones.
Marshon Lattimore- Ohio State
Lattimore is only a redshirt sophomore but he has already played his way onto NFL draft radars. He has good size at 6’0” and 192 pounds, and also has long arms to go with it. The Buckeye is also a very good athlete. In his first season as a starter in 2016 Lattimore has grabbed four interceptions and has nice pass defenses.
Ohio State often asks their cornerbacks to play tight man-to-man coverage, and Lattimore does that well. He has the speed to turn and run with most receivers and seemingly never allows separation. Even when opposing quarterbacks think their receiver may have a step on Lattimore he just uses his recovery speed to quickly close the gap and use his ball skills to either pick the pass off or at least break it up.
Although he mostly plays man coverage at Ohio State he does well when asked to play zone as well. He has very good instincts as well as a quick burst to break-up passes.
In addition to his coverage skills Lattimore is very good in run support. He’s a dependable tackler and delivers some pop at times as well.
The main negative about Lattimore is simply that he doesn’t have a lot of experience. He’s currently a redshirt sophomore. Hamstring injuries set him back early in his career. Ohio State has had some talented secondaries the past couple of years so it was difficult for a less than 100 percent Lattimore to find playing time.
Ohio State will face off with Clemson on December 31st in the Fiesta Bowl. The winner will take on either Alabama or Washington in the national championship.
Cordrea Tankersley- Clemson
Tankersley is a senior who possesses NFL size at 6’1” and 200 pounds. In his two seasons as a starter (2015, 2016) he has eight interceptions and 19 pass defenses. He’s been one of the best players on a team that is set to appear in the college football playoff for the second consecutive year.
The senior cornerback uses his fluid hips and quickness to stick to the hip of receivers. He also has good feel for the route that the receiver will run and does a good job of reading quarterbacks eyes. Tankersley is at his best in press coverage where he can be physical and use his long arms to make things difficult for receivers at the line of scrimmage. He also has good ball skills.
Playing the run isn’t necessarily one of Tankersley’s strengths but he also isn’t a liability either, which is more than some cornerbacks can say. He’s a decent tackler who is willing to take on blockers and get to the ball-carrier.
As already mentioned above Clemson will go against the Ohio State Buckeyes on December 31.
Sidney Jones- Washington
Washington has had a very successful season and one of the main reasons for that is cornerback Sidney Jones. He’s 6’0” and 181 pounds. Through 39 career games the junior has eight interceptions, 21 pass defenses, and six forced fumbles.
Jones has very good instincts and quickly identifies routes. He plays zone coverage well due to his ability to read quarterbacks and close on the ball. The junior tracks the ball well and does a great job at going up and attacking the ball at its highest point which leads to him creating turnovers. He also does a good job of putting his helmet on the football while tackling which causes fumbles.
Against the run Jones is an okay tackler, but doesn’t always give full effort.
One negative about Jones is his thin frame. He may end up being pushed around by bigger more physical receivers. And also the fact that he doesn’t always give 100 percent as a run defender will probably hurt him a bit.
Like the other corners in this article Jones will get the chance to play in the college football playoff on December 31st. Washington will play Alabama in the Peach Bowl.