Scouting the NFL Draft: Fits at Cornerback

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The Cowboys need an injection of young talent at cornerback, but they should wait until at least the second round to provide it. Options available on Day 2 or later include:

Artie Burns, Miami
Ht. 6', Wt. 193, Arm: 33 ¼", Hand: 9 ½", Bench: -
40 yd: 4.47, 10 yd.: -, 3 Cone: -, Vertical: 31.5", Broad: -

Burns was a two-sport star for the Hurricanes with 14 passes defended and 7 INTs as an all-conference football player and an All-America hurdler for the track team. He decided to enter the draft after the death of his mother so he could take care of his two brothers — as well as his own son — with his father in jail.

• Pros: Height, length, speed, quickness, zone coverage, active v. run
• Cons: Handsy, flat-footed, inconsistent technique

Burns is a height-weight-speed prospect that will need coaching on technique, but could pay off with huge upside. He appears ready to contribute early in the Cowboys' 3-deep zone and has the potential to be a CB1 soon.

Verdict: Round 2

D.J. White, Georgia Tech
Ht. 5'11", Wt. 193, Arm: 31 ½", Hand: 9 ¼", Bench: 17
40 yd: 4.49, 10 yd.: 1.61, 3 Cone: 7.18, Vertical: 33", Broad: 11'

White had offers elsewhere, but he stayed close to home to play for his boyhood favorite Yellow Jackets. The team captain finished his career with 21 passes defended, 7 INTs and 5 forced fumbles, twice earning all-conference honors.

• Pros: Physical, efficient feet, fluid hips, catch point, ballhawk, sticky in coverage
• Cons: Length, run support, tackles high, late to close in off-man

If the Cowboys want a more plug-and-play option than Burns, then White is their guy. He's more physically limited, but he has the instincts and technically ability to be an outside corner in any scheme.

Verdict: Round 3

James Bradberry, Samford
Ht. 6'1", Wt. 211, Arm: 33", Hand: 9 ⅛", Bench: 16
40 yd: 4.50, 10 yd.: 1.54, 3 Cone: 6.91, Vertical: 36", Broad: 10'4"

Bradberry initially signed with Arkansas State, but he transferred to Samford when coaches wanted to move him to safety. His decision proved to be wise, as he was named all-conference as a junior and senior and earned a Senior Bowl invitation.

• Pros: Length, athleticism, burst, physical, press, zone coverage, run support
• Cons: Feet/balance in backpedal, long speed, competition

Samford's CBs used a lot of bail coverage, but Bradberry flashes the footwork and fluidity to fill several roles in the NFL. He should at least be a serviceable safety or a candidate for press-heavy schemes with the potential to develop into a more complete corner.

Verdict: Round 4

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