With the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine just days away, here are the cornerbacks that Reggie McKenzie and the Oakland Raiders should be keeping a close eye on.
The NFL scouting combine is coming up soon, and one of the toughest positions to gauge this year is cornerback. There is agreement on the top corners but how they rank and their draft position is the topic of much debate, especially beyond the top two or three prospects. But with a need at the position, the Oakland Raiders will certainly be keeping a keen eye on this year’s combine.
Marshon Lattimore from Ohio State is universally considered to be the top corner in this draft. Mocks from amongst Sports Illustrated, NFL.com, CBS Sports and Matt Miller from Bleacher Report mock him at #6 or higher. So that’s all we’ll say about him today.
Marlon Humphrey is considered by many to be next in line, although mocks have him anywhere from top 10 to in the 20’s. Most have him going before the Raiders pick, and he presents no other obvious issues like some other top prospects. So that’s all we’ll say about him today.
The corners to focus on are those with question marks that scouts cannot settle on. Players that have the most to gain or lose at the combine.
They are also players that the Raiders might have a shot to draft in the first round, which is what many of the mock drats have the team doing. NFL.com has three of four analysts with Tre’Davious White of LSU. Miller thinks it will be Gareon Conley of Ohio State. As JBB’s own Mario Tovar breaks down here, it’s a major need and there’s plenty of talent there to fill it.
The combine is always important for these young men to solidify or bolster their draft stock. So without further adieu, here are the cornerbacks to watch:
Jalen “Teez” Tabor, CB, Florida – 6’1″, 201 pounds
Tabor has the size and agility of an elite NFL corner. A highly-ranked recruit as the Washington, DC Mr. Football in 2013, Tabor made his presence felt immediately as a freshman All-American.
Surrounded by talent at Florida, Tabor has taken to playing aggressively and has great instincts for the ball when it’s in the air. He attacks the ball and has the skills to know what to do with it, evident by his eight interceptions and twenty pass breakups the past two seasons. He’s a playmaker with the size and agility to jam receivers and stay with them as they make their breaks.
Physically, it’s his top-end speed that have scouts concerned. He frequently played deep off coverage, particularly against faster receivers. His leaping ability and short-zone quickness are excellent, and he has great closing speed. But scouts will be looking very hard at his 40 time to determine if he has the top-end straight-line speed to cover NFL receivers.
The biggest concern with Tabor is his off-field issues. He was suspended twice while at Florida, once for refusing a drug test and once for fighting with a teammate. After his suspension for his drug test, Tabor broke the locker room bro-code by calling out the Florida athletic department on Twitter over his suspension.
NFL teams like their players to have Tabor’s size and talent. They also like them to be team players and show solidarity and loyalty with the front office — or stay quiet. Tabor has raised concerns over his ability to do that and exist within NFL social hierarchy. More important than Tabor’s physical numbers, including his 40 time, will be his interviews.
Can he assure NFL teams that these were isolated incidents from a young man? That he can show loyalty and be a team-first player? That he has learned from his mistakes and can behave himself in the NFL — where temptation abounds and the stakes are high?
These questions — and his top-end speed — will determine if Raiders have a shot at him at #24.