TDN Staff: Senior Bowl Cornerback Superlatives

Photo: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2019 Reese's Senior Bowl a few days away, the TDN staff is hard at work studying tape for the upcoming event. As a result, we're able to compile our annual (we did it last year at NDT) Senior Bowl Superlatives pieces on every position group.

Today, we dive into the cornerback class, with each evaluator offering their take on which cornerback is their top guy coming into the week, who has the most to prove and who is the sleeper out of the group.

Here's the squad:

Amani OruwariyeCBPenn State
Kris BoydCBTexas
Isaiah JohnsonCBHouston
Rock Ya-SinCBTemple
Lonnie JohnsonCBKentucky
Jordan BrownCBSouth Dakota State
Corey BallentineCBWashburn

Other Senior Bowl Positional Superlatives

Quarterbacks

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Tackles

Interior Offensive Linemen

Edge Defenders

Interior Defensive Linemen

Linebackers


Ledyard

Top Prospect: Amani Oruwariye, Penn State

I'm not even that wild on Oruwariye, but it's a weak cornerback group in Mobile, and Oruwariye has shown the ball skills in zone coverage and the size/length to be an attractive pickup on day 2. His long speed and ability to find the ball with his back to the quarterback are things I'll be watching at the Senior Bowl.

Most to Prove: Lonnie Johnson, Kentucky

Johnson is big, long and athletic, but simply did not get much better at playing cornerback during his time at Kentucky. One interception and nine passes defensed over the past two years ain't gonna cut it, especially when the tape shows him giving up far too many big plays. Huge week for Johnson to prove he's draftable on more than just undeveloped traits.

Sleeper: Corey Ballentine, Washburn

Ballentine is a small-school prospect with good size and strength for the position, while also bringing (reportedly) excellent long speed to the position. Without even seeing his tape, those traits might be enough to get Ballentine into my top ten cornerbacks in this class (just kidding, maybe). This is a huge stage for Ballentine to bump is almost non-existent draft stock up the board for NFL teams.

Crabbs

Top Prospect: Amani Oruwariye, Penn State

Oruwariye has spectacular body control for a player of his stature. He’s got length, ball skills and more. Can he roll momentum through the Senior Bowl? He possesses all of the major tools NFL teams will covet in a boundary corner.

Most to Prove: Kris Boyd, Texas

Boyd has had some terrific film at Texas. But he also has some rough film. And the rough film has been more and more frequent in 2018.

So Kris...let’s see what you’ve got! Boyd has great physicality but his turn and run ability poses as a huge challenge to his success this week.

Sleeper: Isaiah Johnson, Houston 

Johnson is athletic, long and definitely had the attention of pro scouts throughout my personal time scouting Houston.

Johnson missed his bowl game in December, so getting himself through the Senior Bowl at 100% would help boost his draft perception. That said, his perception is higher than many suggest.

Sikkema

Top Prospect: Amani Oruwariye, Penn State

Size, speed and ability; it's all there for Oruwaiye if he wants it. The high points of what Oruwaiye can do in man coverage are very alluring. He needs work on press technique to truly be seen as an island cornerback, but the tools for it are there.

Most to Prove: Rock Ya-Sin, Temple

At 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Ya-Sin has great length for the position. As a guy who has not started much and who is really coming onto the draft scene late, I'll say that he has the most to prove since his style of play (also man coverage) has the potential for a team to really fall in love with him. If he can be a lock down player in Mobile, watch out. His stock could soar.

Sleeper: Nasir Adderley, CB/S, Deleware

Surprise!

I'm picking Adderley as my sleeper because, though he is listed at safety, he's going to get plenty of looks at cornerback during the week, as well. At 5-foot-11, Adderley has ideal size, strength, speed and exceptional ball skills to not only get a shot at cornerback, but potentially standout. Think of when Jalen Ramsey made the transition to cornerback from a safety spot. That could be Adderley in Mobile.

Marino

Top Prospect: Amani Oruwariye, Penn State

In terms of size, length, physicality, coverage awareness, pattern matching ability, body control and ball skills, Oruwariye checks the boxes. In an NFL where offenses flex out tight ends and feature alpha receivers, Oruwariye can be that neutralizer. I love his upside as a press and zone corner. His coverage spacing and route awareness is exceptional. How well he controls his body for his size combined with excellent foot speed has me highly intrigued.

Most to Prove: Kris Boyd, Texas

I was hoping for more out of Boyd in 2018 after seeing some exciting flashes on tape in 2017. Unfortunately, his limited fluidity and long speed caused some issues not allowing separation. I love his physicality, ball skills, length and aggressiveness in press coverage but he looks like a scheme-specific prospect that may need to move to safety. Mobile will be a big opportunity to showcase either his versatility to play at safety or ease speed/flexibility concerns.

Sleeper: Isaiah Johnson, Houston 

LENGTH. FOR. DAYS. Johnson is relatively new to playing the corner position after converting over from wide receiver. His blend of size and ball skills serve as a strong foundation to develop from. I’m looking forward to gauging his movement skills and flexibility in person but it’s clear that Johnson offers a ton of upside given his physical traits.