2012 Cornerback Prospects

"2012 cornerback prospects featuring Dre Kirkpatrick"The 2012 cornerback prospects class is as talented as it is deep.  That’s saying a lot if some of the top juniors declare for the 2012 NFL Draft.

This class will be highlighted by a potential top 10 corner in Dre Kirkpatrick.  Not far behind Kirkpatrick are juniors, Stephon Gilmore and Jayron Holsley.  With Alfonzo Dennard, Janoris Jenkins, and Chase Minnifield representing the senior talent we may see as many as seven first round corners taken in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Here’s a look at the 2012 cornerback prospects:

1.  Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

Height: 6’3  Weight: 192

Kirkpatrick is the early frontrunner for the Thorpe Award and deservedly so.  A physical specimen at 6’3 and 190 pounds, Kirkpatrick has drawn comparisons to elite NFL corners such as Nnamdi Asomugha and Champ Bailey.  He finished 2010 with three INT’s and seven passes broken up.  Kirkpatrick may grade out higher than number five overall pick in the 2011 draft, Patrick Peterson.

2012 NFL Draft projection:  Top 10

2.  Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

Height: 6’1  Weight: 194

Gilmore’s size, speed combination rivals that of Dre Kirkpatrick.  Their games are also similar in that they both do everything pretty well.  Let the battle begin for top 2012 cornerback prospect.  Gilmore has put together two solid seasons minus the 2010 Auburn game.  As a true freshman he tallied 56 tackles, 1 INT, 6 TFL, 8 passes broken up, and 3 sacks.  In 2010, he added to that impressive stat sheet with 71 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 INT’s, and 6 TFL.  He draws favorable comparisons to Charles Woodson due to his playmaking ability and ability to get after the QB from the corner.

2012 NFL Draft projection:  Top 10

3.  Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

Height: 5’10  Weight: 175

Don’t get confused by Hosley’s lack of size because he makes up for it with his toughness and playmaking abilities.  Hosley led the nation with 9 INT’s in 2010 and is always around the football.  He is an above average tackler despite his lack of size.  He won’t be called upon to return punts in the NFL but he is one of the better punt returners in the NCAA.

2012 NFL Draft projection:  Top 15

4.  Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

Height: 5’10  Weight: 205

Some Husker fans will tell you that Dennard is a better cover corner than Prince Amukamara was.  In 2010, Dennard collected 4 INT’s and 7 pass break-ups.  Dennard is a solidly built athlete with decent measurables.  He should stack up well in his first season in the Big Ten with the lack of experience at QB throughout the conference.

2012 NFL Draft projection:  Top 25

5.  Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon

Height: 5’11 Weight: 180

Harris will have to overcome his off the field issues as he is suspended indefinitely to start the 2011 season.  He is talented enough to warrant a top 20 selection in the draft but questions about his maturity will haunt him.  He is probably the best pure cover guy in this draft but his tackling is suspect at times.  Much like Hosley he is dynamic in the return game.

2012 NFL Draft projection:  1

6.  Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

Height: 5’10  Weight: 188

Jenkins was kicked off the Florida football team after three drug related arrests.  Aside from his off the field issues he is as talented as they come.  For anyone thinking this ranking is too high watch him blanket Julio Jones and A.J. Green.  He seems to play up or down to his competition which will be a concern by NFL talent evaluators.  If Jenkins can prove his off the field issues are behind him someone could find a good value in the late first round.  Eerily reminiscent to Jimmy Smith.

2012 NFL Draft projection:  1

7.  Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

Height: 6’0  Weight: 185

Chase Minnifield cashed in on Ras I-Dowling’s absence in 2010.  He picked off 6 passes on his way to a solid junior season.  He has NFL bloodlines with his father, Frank playing with the Cleveland Browns.  Their games are awfully similar as Minnifield is a willing tackler that’s capable of making plays.

2012 NFL Draft projection:  1-2

8.  Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Height: 6’0  Weight: 178

Claiborne was tested playing next to Patrick Peterson in 2010.  He lived up to the expectations with 5 INT’s on his way to second team All-SEC.  Claiborne is still relatively raw at CB but has the talent to be a first round pick in 2012.  If he chooses to stay for his senior season he could find his way into the top 15 of the 2013 NFL Draft.  He is a playmaker once the ball is in the air but will have to work on his technique when his back is to the ball.  He will take over the number one CB spot from Patrick Peterson and his performance in 2011 will go a long way to decide to enter the 2012 NFL Draft.

2012 NFL Draft projection:  1-2

9.  Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt

Height: 6’0  Weight: 185

Hayward may be one of the most undervalued prospects in the 2012 NFL Draft.  He has proven to be a top flight corner against the best competition the SEC has to offer.  He finished 2010 with 6 INT’s and an astonishing 17 pass break-ups.  Probably doesn’t get the recognition he deserves playing on a poor team in Vanderbilt.  If he adds another strong season under his belt in 2011 he could wind up being in contention for the first round in the 2012 NFL Draft.

2012 NFL Draft projection:  2

10.  Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington

Height: 6’0  Weight: 178

Trufant would do well to stay another season at Washington.  He struggles at times with mental lapses and consistency issues.  He is the brother of Marcus Trufant and probably is a better pro prospect than Marcus long term.  If I were advising Desmond I would tell him to stay another season because I think at best he’s a second round 2012 cornerback prospect.  If he stays for his senior season and works at the mental side of the game he could be a top 20 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

2012 NFL Draft projection:  2

Best of the rest:

Donnie Fletcher, CB, Boston College

Greg Reid, CB, Florida State

Coryell Judie, CB, Texas A&M

Keith Tandy, CB, West Virgina

Shaun Prater, CB, Iowa

Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia

D’Anton Lynn, CB, Penn State

Kenny Okoro, CB, Wake Forest

Omar Bolden, CB, Arizona State

Emanuel Davis, CB, East Carolina



Author: Brad

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  • Swami

    I didn’t realize how good this class of CB’s was until I looked at the rankings. There could be as many as 8-9 1st round picks. Wow!

    • Brad


      It’s a real solid class or at least it could be if several juniors declare. It also is a deep class with quality well into the third round. If your team needs a CB they should be in business in the 2012 draft

  • famb4all

    when u get a chance its a cb by the name of xavier rhodes who should def be on this list, truly a shutdown corner

    • Brad


      I love Xavier Rhodes. One of the rare college corners that can hit and cover. The toughest part of doing rankings this early is predicting who will declare and who won’t. Rhodes is a rSo. and I didn’t think he would enter the 2012 draft. He would be ranked somewhere between 5-7th on my list if he did enter this year which would put him as a late round 1 guy. I think he stays another season and puts his name in the hat for top corner in 2013 draft and possibly top 10 consideration.

  • Cwpomerta

    I was thinking same thing famb4all. Most experts have FSU’s secondary as number 1 in the country and there are none in the top 10. Xavier Rhodes should def. be in the top 10 if not sneak into the top 5.

    • Brad

      I agree with both of you but I don’t think Rhodes declares for the 2012 draft and instead opts for 2013. Reid could be an option to declare and he will be included in my next update. I went conservative on who I put in the first rankings because it was so early but Reid will be in the next rankings due out in October.