Many draftniks and draft fans don't take talent potential, health risks, and possible character concerns in account in their rankings. You won't find that issue here. A lot of people talk about intangibles & advanced metrics, but don't really tell you what they mean in a practical sense. In my rankings, I've included a draft profile to give you the pros and cons of each player as it relates to the above factors and of course their skills. And, I've translated a good deal of what each the nuance of their styles of play mean in regard to their pro-potential.
My rankings are based off of live games I've seen, game tapes or YouTube upload I've watched, and assessments by some of the most respected draftniks and scouts/ex-scouts I listen to.
The Lions need an outside CB more than they need a slot CB, so I separated the prospects by what type of position they'd likely spend most of their time in at the NFL level.
*All my rankings are subject to change after reports from the combine.*
1. Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State
+ Big player, long arms, and elite athleticism.
+ Elite size-speed ratio.
+ Fluid hips.
+ Very high upside.
+ Better pass defensed rate than most CBs.
+ Great catching ability for a CB
+ Very solid tackler.
+ Elite INT & ST return man
+/- Was often asked to line up off LOS to only give up short pass or make play on the ball. Not his fault he wasn't able to showcase press coverage skills more often.
+/- Gives up a lot of intermediate passes because he's asked to play off-man very often, but is a high level playmaker with great ball skills.
- Has been said to have some temper and maturity issues.
2. Darqueze Dennard, MSU
+ Shutdown CB that doesn't give up very many passes.
+ Consistent throughout career.
+ Strong body build; relatively long arms for his size.
+ Fluid athlete.
+ Solid press technique.
+ Run support.
+/- Enough speed to hurry a QB on blitzes, but not enough speed to get clean sacks.
+/- Good, not great, athleticism.
- Too grabby downfield for the NFL level, DPI penalties waiting to happen. Could lose/change the momentum of games because of this for his NFL team.
- Speed less than desirable.
- Wrap-up tackling needs to improve.
- Drops passes, questionable catching skills.
- Didn't play against top level WRs and passing offenses in 2013.
- Helped by a dominate front seven.
- We have no idea how well he'll play press coverage with a less dominate front seven in the NFL. Big ???
- Red flags go up on health risks. Significant injuries in college 2010-2012. 2010: 5 games missed w/ season-ending knee injury. 2011: missed 3 games & limited in action vs. Iowa due to a concussion and ankle injury. 2012: missed some spring training; played most of season w/ a double sports hernia & had a shoulder injury. Missed spring training 2013 while recovering.
3. Bradley Roby, OSU
+ Elite athlete. Has great recovery speed.
+ Exceptional quick twitch speed. Fluid movement
+ Fast play recognition.
+ Mirrors WRs well.
+ Good zone & off man CB.
+ Good blitzer & ST kick blocker
+ Excellent production over the course of his career
+ Has a legitimate chance to be the best CB in the draft.
+/- Streaky performer.
+/- Gives up a lot of catches but is a dynamic playmaker.
+/- Better in 2012 (17 PDs) than 2013.
- Not his fault, but was asked to line up far off LOS in 2013. OSU scheme didn't help him.
- Beat up by Jared Abbredaris in 2013.
- Arm length and questionable strength to play press man.
- Could use more strength
- Can be boxed out by bigger WRs on jump balls
- Physical play style could lead to higher injury risk in the future.
- Can be beat by double moves
- Moderate character risk.
- Nagging knee injury in 2013; could have been the cause of his decline in play.
4. Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech
+ Solid technique. Good press CB. Positions well.
+ Good acceleration.
+ Makes plays on the ball. One of the best ball hawks in the draft
+ Plays against big WRs well.
+ Good tackler.
+ Sheds blocks well in the run game.
+/- Yet, his run support skills are still average.
+/- Flashes of dominance
+/- Gives up short passes to prevent long gains because of he was coached to line up off the LOS
- Questionable long speed.
- Health risks. 2013: Nagging groin injury throughout the season, then later suffered a "core muscle injury" that kept him out of games, the team's bowl game, and the Senior Bowl. 2012: Shoulder injuries followed him during the season.
5. Bashaud Breeland, Clemson
+ Good size-speed ratio.
+ Athletic, rangy, acceleration, & fluid movement.
+ High effort.
+ Run support aggression.
+ Mirrors WRs well.
+/- Made a huge leap in play in 2013.
- Doesn't shed blockers well in run support.
- Missed tackles.
- Could use more strength & weight.
- Bad game vs. FSU.
6. Louchiez Purifoy, Florida
+ Elite athleticism. Great speed. Fluid movements.
+ Dynamic twitchy athlete.
+ Great press and short area ability.
+ Elite vs. short passes & showes elite short area quickness
+ Shutdown CB potential; gives up very few completions
+ Often goes for the strip/fumble.
+ High upside
+ Some ST ability.
+/- Flashes play-making ability inconsistently.
- Needs to increase his functional strength. Can't jam & re-route WRs adequately yet.
- Inconsistent tackling. Run support at times.
- Doesn't shed blocks well.
- Technique & anticipation at times.
- Inconsistent production. Gets in position, but often fails to make plays. Have to wonder if he's getting "it" at times.
7. Terrance Mitchell, Oregon
+ Relatively long limbed for his size.
+ Shutdown CB who doesn't give up many completions and forces QBs to throw elsewhere.
+ Good press technique but can line up in a variety of ways.
+ Short area quickness. Good back pedal. Hip flexibility.
+ Great intermediate and deep area defender.
+ Might be the steal of the draft.
+ Great advanced metrics in 2013
+/- Made a huge leap in play in 2013
- Grabby in coverage
- Can be stiff in movement at times.
- Questionable hands and catching ability, as he didn't turn enough PDs into INTs during his college career.
- Long speed is questionable.
- Questionable run support at times. Lacking proper block shedding ability
- Needs to get stronger.
8. Victor Hampton, South Carolina
+ Makes a lot of plays on the ball.
+ Wasn't challenged deep often because of his skills.
- Gives up a lot of completions.
9. Marcus Roberson, Florida
+ Good size.
+ Fluid movement.
+ Good press technique.
+ Has some punt return ability
+ Best as an off-man and zone CB
+/- Flashes ball hawk skills inconsistently.
- Needs to increase his weight & strength.
- Major red flags on health, suspension, and character off field issues legally in 2013.
10. Stanley Jean-Baptise, Nebraska
+ Big upside as teams could try to mold him into a Richard Sherman-type of CB
- Not his fault, but his coaches didn't allow him to play press coverage as much as you'd expect a bigger CB to.
- Gets beat deep often when playing off the LOS
11. Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma
+/- Good CB who will drop far, as he is coming off an ACL tear at the Senior Bowl. Could end up being a steal in the long-run
1. Jason Verrett, Texas Christian University
+ Ball hawk.
+ Very quick, twitchy athlete.
+ Great anticpation
+ Physical. Most physical CB in the draft
+ Great tackler
+ Great run support
- Smaller guy and doesn't project to play many reps on the outside in the NFL.
- Durability concerns and is coming off shoulder surgery
- Can miss some tackles and get bullied by bigger offensive players in run support at times.
2. LaMarcus Joyner, Florida State University
+ Needs to play hybrid CB/S role.
+ Elite versus deep passes; didn't allow a single deep pass to be completed vs. him in 2013.
+ Good coverage as a S/nickle CB.