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Top 5 2014 NFL Draft prospects by position: Cornerbacks

The transformation of the NFL into a passing league makes it imperative for defenses to feature long, rangy athletes on the perimeter. The 2014 class of cornerbacks has several intriguing prospects with the skills to shine as ballhawks in man- or zone-heavy schemes.

Pre-draft events:
» Senior Bowl | NFL Scouting Combine | Pro days

Mock drafts:
» Brooks: Projecting first two rounds
» Huguenin: Texans would regret not taking QB
» Jeremiah: Surprise team takes a QB
» Goodbread: Diabolical duo for Detroit
» Smith: One of 'Big 3' QBs is going to slip
» Fischer: Bridgewater falls out of first round
» Davis: Clowney No. 1; Bridgewater to Browns

Draft coverage:
» Tracking teams' interest in prospects | Draft rumors
» Mayock's position-by-position prospect rankings
» Brooks' Big Board | Position rankings | Blog
» Daniel Jeremiah's top 50 draft prospects
» Gil Brandt's top 50 draft prospects
» Top positional draft needs for all 32 teams
» College Football 24/7 Podcast: Latest draft buzz

Draft's top five at each position:
» QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S

Draft Tracker:
» Rounds | Teams | Players | Positions | History

» Fan War Rooms | Predict the Pick | Twitter

» NFL comparisons for top draft prospects
» Combine workouts: Top prospects go through drills

Justin Gilbert is an athletic cornerback with terrific hands, instincts and ball skills. Darqueze Dennard and Justin Verrett are sticky press-man defenders with games deeply rooted in sound fundamentals.

1. Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

Big, athletic corner with natural ball skills and instincts. Gilbert bounced back from a disappointing junior campaign to show scouts he has the potential to be a lockdown corner at the next level.

2. Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State

Polished technician adept at smothering receivers in press coverage. Questions about his speed and athleticism will impact his final grade, but coaches who covet fundamentally sound players will favor Dennard over others on this list.

3. Jason Verrett, TCU

Technically sound cover corner with superb instincts, awareness and anticipation. Additionally, Verrett is a willing tackler with a knack for making plays against the run.

4. Bradley Roby, Ohio State

Gifted defender with all of the physical tools scouts covet at the position. However, scouts would like to see Roby play with more urgency and aggressiveness on the edge.

5. Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State

Versatile defender capable of playing any position in the secondary. Size is not ideal, but a coach looking for a nickel back will rank Joyner near the top of the charts.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.


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