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2015 NFL Draft: Lance Zierlein's top 10 cornerbacks

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With the first wave of free agency over, NFL teams are turning more attention to setting their boards in anticipation of the 2015 NFL Draft. With that in mind, College Football 24/7 is releasing Lance Zierlein's top-10 lists at each position -- today it is cornerbacks. To view Zierlein's full scouting report on each prospect in NFL.com's Draft Tracker, click on the player's name.

Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | OLs | DLs | Edge rushers | CBs | Safeties


1. Trae Waynes, Michigan State

Zierlein's bottom line: He's a bump-and-run cornerback with the length, deep speed and confidence to handle himself down the field against speed. Waynes plays too handsy for NFL officials and that could show up on Sundays. His 4.31 40, smooth hips and overall fluidity displayed at the combine could make him a much earlier pick in the draft than previously projected. Waynes carries a very high ceiling.

2. Jalen Collins, LSU

Zierlein's bottom line: Immensely talented cornerback who brings the entire triangle (height, weight, speed) with him. Still learning technique and how to sink his feet with his eyes, but the instincts and athleticism to make plays on the ball both short and deep are what set him apart. Collins is a work in progress, but his physical and play traits create a very high ceiling if he continues to learn to play the position.

3. Ronald Darby, Florida State

Zierlein's bottom line: Cover corner with average size and outstanding speed. Has shown the instincts to play off coverage and the athleticism to play press. It is a bit of a concern that scouts and even opposing coaches have commented on Darby's toughness, but he doesn't have very many missed or broken tackles on his docket and his cover skills should be prioritized over his run support regardless. He clearly has starter's ability at the position.

4. Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest

Zierlein's bottom line: Johnson is a three-year starting cornerback who showed great improvement in man coverage from 2013 to 2014. While he lacks desired weight at the position, his cover skills, athleticism and competitiveness give him a shot to come in and start right away. Johnson can play gunner on special teams.

5. Marcus Peters, Washington

Zierlein's bottom line: Talented cover cornerback with size, ball skills and the confidence NFL teams are looking for, but lacks the necessary discipline and maturity on the field and in practice. Peters has raw talent, but is far from a polished cornerback, and that is without taking the character concerns into consideration.

6. P.J. Williams, Florida State

Zierlein's bottom line: Cover cornerback with the talent to play on an island, and the swagger to regroup and forget when beaten. Williams can cover outside or from the slot, and has potential to come in and start right away for an aggressive man-cover defense. With consistency of effort, Williams could become the best cornerback to come out of this draft.

7. Quinten Rollins, Miami (Ohio)

Zierlein's bottom line: Rare start-stop-start suddeness. His ability to change gears instantly gives him a chance to develop into a talented cover cornerback. With more work on technique and overall discipline, Rollins has the physical tools to become a very good NFL starter.

8. Charles Gaines, Louisville

Zierlein's bottom line: Field corner in college who plays with a great deal of confidence and alertness, processing with above-average instincts. Looks for chances to jump telegraphed throws. Gaines has a thinner frame than desired and will have teams running at him to see if he'll come up and tackle. His cover skills underneath are near the top of this draft class, but he gave up a few open looks on deep balls and that could cause concern for NFL teams.

9. Senquez Golson, Mississippi

Zierlein's bottom line: Golson has the twitch, ball skills and instincts to be an outstanding cornerback in the NFL. Despite playing so much zone in college, there is no reason to believe he can't transition to any coverage asked of him. He's well put-together, but his lack of height could force some teams to view him as a slot-only corner. Golson has Pro Bowl potential.

10. D'Joun Smith, Florida Atlantic

Zierlein's bottom line: Smith possesses above-average ball skills and instincts, but questions about his ability to keep up with vertical speed could push his draft stock down a little bit. Smith's cleanest fit might be in a Cover 2 scheme, but he has starting talent.

Follow Lance Zierlen on Twitter @LanceZierlein.

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