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Combine changes Mayock's DB list

Posted Feb 29, 2016

Mayock assesses the crop of cornerbacks in this year's draft.

Every team comes to Indianapolis looking for players, the desired characteristics of which as it relates to size, position and physical capabilities vary from team to team.

But when it comes to cornerbacks everyone apparently needs at least one.

“I don’t know a team in the NFL that doesn’t need a corner,” NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders maintained.

Long corners, press corners, slot corners, cover corners, corners that can come off the edge, corners that can play the ball, corners that are fast, corners that can tackle; all are seemingly in demand at the NFL Scouting Combine and leading up to the NFL Draft.

That being the case, the measurables are sometimes taken with a grain of perspective.

“On the surface that doesn’t sound great,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said after Juston Burris of North Carolina State (6-01/4, 212) ran an unofficial 4.54 40-yard dash on Monday morning. “That’s faster than Richard Sherman.

“When you’re talking about long, press corners what they’re really talking about is an ability to get your hands on a wide receiver and have the confidence with your back turned to the quarterback to go find the football.”

The good news is Mayock assessed the crop of cornerbacks available for consideration as the “second-best group in this draft (behind interior defensive linemen).”

The bad news is there never quite seems to be enough of them.

That explains the buzz that was generated on the combine’s final day after Houston’s William Jackson III (6-03/8, 189) posted an official time of 4.37 in the 40.

Jackson III wasn’t identified in Mayock’s original Top 5 at the position, a list that included Jalen Ramsey of Florida State, Vernon Hargraves of Florida, Mackensie Alexander of Clemson, Eli Apple of Ohio State and Cyrus Jones of Alabama.

But that configuration is apparently subject to change.

“He’s probably going to end up popping up in my Top 5 corners pretty darn soon,” Mayock said of Jackson III. “You’re going to start to see him climb.

Jones arrived in Indianapolis with a more established reputation, in Mayock’s estimation, based on what he’s done and on where he’s from.

“People need to understand Nick Saban coached defensive backs when he started coaching,” Mayock explained. “He’s tougher on defensive backs than any other position.

“When you come out of Alabama as a D-back you have been really well-coached.”