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Published: July 8, 2016 at 11:26 a.m.
Updated: July 8, 2016 at 04:24 p.m.

16 for '16: CBs we'd like to see matched up against Odell Beckham

» Complete 16 for '16 series

Consider this hypothetical: Odell Beckham is back in college and shredding defensive backfields every week with his other-worldly receiving skills. Who do you put on him? College Football 24/7's "16 for 16" series continues with a look at our top 16 choices from the college ranks for the assignment.

16 Photos Total

  • Facyson has battled injuries in his career, but his production -- 23 career pass breakups in just 22 career starts -- can't be argued. He has the size NFL scouts look for at the position at 6-foot-2, 191 pounds, allowing him to match up more effectively with the bigger receivers in the ACC. Last year, he responded well to the pressure of playing without star teammate Kendall Fuller, whose knee injury ended his season in September, at the other cornerback spot. A knee injury kept Facyson off the practice field during spring drills, but he's expected to be ready to play this fall. 16

    Andrew Weber/USA TODAY Sports

    16. Brandon Facyson, Virginia Tech

    Facyson has battled injuries in his career, but his production -- 23 career pass breakups in just 22 career starts -- can't be argued. He has the size NFL scouts look for at the position at 6-foot-2, 191 pounds, allowing him to match up more effectively with the bigger receivers in the ACC. Last year, he responded well to the pressure of playing without star teammate Kendall Fuller, whose knee injury ended his season in September, at the other cornerback spot. A knee injury kept Facyson off the practice field during spring drills, but he's expected to be ready to play this fall.

  • Cox has experience at both cornerback and safety for the Spartans, and has proven effective in both areas. His size (6-1, 198) is just enough at safety and more than enough at cornerback, where he made eight starts last season. His three interceptions tied for the team lead, his seven pass breakups ranked second, and he has a way of being in the <a href="https://vine.co/v/i7K9jjOFdYi" target="new">right place at the right time</a>. While it's possible Cox could settle in at safety this fall, his skill as a cornerback could prove too valuable for a position change. 15

    Al Goldis/Associated Press

    15. Demetrious Cox, Michigan State

    Cox has experience at both cornerback and safety for the Spartans, and has proven effective in both areas. His size (6-1, 198) is just enough at safety and more than enough at cornerback, where he made eight starts last season. His three interceptions tied for the team lead, his seven pass breakups ranked second, and he has a way of being in the right place at the right time. While it's possible Cox could settle in at safety this fall, his skill as a cornerback could prove too valuable for a position change.

  • The Tar Heels senior broke up 14 passes last year, tying him for second place in the ACC, and added two interceptions as a big factor in a much-improved defense. He came up with two of those breakups against the top passer on UNC's regular season schedule (Miami's Brad Kaaya). An NFC scout told College Football 24/7 that Lawrence breaks on short routes very well and knows how to use his length (he's 6-foot-1) on deeper throws. 14

    Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports / USA TODAY Sports

    14. Des Lawrence, North Carolina

    The Tar Heels senior broke up 14 passes last year, tying him for second place in the ACC, and added two interceptions as a big factor in a much-improved defense. He came up with two of those breakups against the top passer on UNC's regular season schedule (Miami's Brad Kaaya). An NFC scout told College Football 24/7 that Lawrence breaks on short routes very well and knows how to use his length (he's 6-foot-1) on deeper throws.

  • Lurry <a href="http://www.ncaa.com/stats/football/fbs/current/individual/993" target="new">led the FBS in interceptions</a> last season with nine, and did plenty of damage with them, as he also led the nation in interception return yards (273) for an average of 30.3 yards each. Throw in his 15 pass breakups, and he <a href="http://www.ncaa.com/stats/football/fbs/current/individual/38" target="new">ranked second in the nation</a>, behind only first-round NFL draft pick William Jackson III, in passes defensed with 24. He also played some of his best football against NIU's toughest competition, picking off two passes and breaking up two others against Ohio State, and adding another interception against Boston College. 13

    Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    13. Shawun Lurry, Northern Illinois

    Lurry led the FBS in interceptions last season with nine, and did plenty of damage with them, as he also led the nation in interception return yards (273) for an average of 30.3 yards each. Throw in his 15 pass breakups, and he ranked second in the nation, behind only first-round NFL draft pick William Jackson III, in passes defensed with 24. He also played some of his best football against NIU's toughest competition, picking off two passes and breaking up two others against Ohio State, and adding another interception against Boston College.

  • Awuzie is among the most versatile cornerbacks listed here, with experience throughout the secondary -- particularly at nickelback and cornerback. He's reputed as a terrific run defender, but he's plenty effective in coverage, as well. He made 12 tackles for loss last year, an unheard of total for a defensive back, but also broke up seven passes and recorded interceptions against Hawaii and Oregon State. "I look for him to be a guy the other team is worried about as a turnover magnet," Buffaloes coach Mike MacIntyre <a href="https://colorado.n.rivals.com/news/a-focused-chidobe-awuzie-preps-for-final-campaign-with-the-buffs" target="new">said in the spring</a>. 12

    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    12. Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado

    Awuzie is among the most versatile cornerbacks listed here, with experience throughout the secondary -- particularly at nickelback and cornerback. He's reputed as a terrific run defender, but he's plenty effective in coverage, as well. He made 12 tackles for loss last year, an unheard of total for a defensive back, but also broke up seven passes and recorded interceptions against Hawaii and Oregon State. "I look for him to be a guy the other team is worried about as a turnover magnet," Buffaloes coach Mike MacIntyre said in the spring.

  • Last year's Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, Kazee initially decided to enter the 2016 NFL Draft but changed his mind in early January. With eight interceptions last year, he tied a league record and ranked second in the FBS. "Everything from his feet to where his eyes are supposed to be to where he's positioned on receivers, he's taken to it," SDSU secondary coach Tony White <a href="http://www.pe.com/articles/kazee-778599-last-one.html" target="new">said entering last season</a>. "Everything, he's gotten better." About a week after White's remarks, Kazee opened the year with a <a href="http://www.themw.com/video/55ebb287e4b0e3cf39cc8664" target="new">three-interception game</a>, all coming on deep balls, against San Diego. Now a fifth-year senior, Kazee has made 28 consecutive starts at cornerback for SDSU. 11

    Troy Wayrynen/Associated Press

    11. Damontae Kazee, San Diego State

    Last year's Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, Kazee initially decided to enter the 2016 NFL Draft but changed his mind in early January. With eight interceptions last year, he tied a league record and ranked second in the FBS. "Everything from his feet to where his eyes are supposed to be to where he's positioned on receivers, he's taken to it," SDSU secondary coach Tony White said entering last season. "Everything, he's gotten better." About a week after White's remarks, Kazee opened the year with a three-interception game, all coming on deep balls, against San Diego. Now a fifth-year senior, Kazee has made 28 consecutive starts at cornerback for SDSU.

  • While nobody would suggest Sutton is a better defensive back than former Vols safety Eric Berry, who was a two-time consensus All-American, it's worth noting that Sutton has one more career pass defensed (32) than Berry accumulated (31) in the same number of seasons (three). He has the versatility to play safety, but cornerback is where his future lies. "He's a pro," new UT DC Bob Shoop <a href="http://espn.go.com/blog/sec/post/_/id/115671/cameron-sutton-turned-down-millions-to-keep-learning-at-tennessee" target="new">said in the spring</a>. "He takes every rep very, very seriously; he doesn't waste a rep. You'll have a hard time finding on film any time he's misaligned or reading an improper key or playing a bad technique." 10

    Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    10. Cam Sutton, Tennessee

    While nobody would suggest Sutton is a better defensive back than former Vols safety Eric Berry, who was a two-time consensus All-American, it's worth noting that Sutton has one more career pass defensed (32) than Berry accumulated (31) in the same number of seasons (three). He has the versatility to play safety, but cornerback is where his future lies. "He's a pro," new UT DC Bob Shoop said in the spring. "He takes every rep very, very seriously; he doesn't waste a rep. You'll have a hard time finding on film any time he's misaligned or reading an improper key or playing a bad technique."

  • Likely has built a strong reputation as a return specialist, but his coverage skills aren't to be overlooked just because of his size (5-7, 175 pounds). He's been named All-Big Ten for two consecutive seasons and has broken up 26 passes in his career. Don't make too much of the fact that he went without an interception as a junior last year; the previous season, he tied for the Big Ten lead with six. 9

    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press / AP

    9. William Likely, Maryland

    Likely has built a strong reputation as a return specialist, but his coverage skills aren't to be overlooked just because of his size (5-7, 175 pounds). He's been named All-Big Ten for two consecutive seasons and has broken up 26 passes in his career. Don't make too much of the fact that he went without an interception as a junior last year; the previous season, he tied for the Big Ten lead with six.

  • The Tigers' athletic cover man enters the season with 19 career pass breakups in 34 career starts, the next in a long line of talented LSU defensive backs that has generated nine draft picks since 2012. NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein wrote that White is <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000672369/article/floridas-jalen-tabor-leads-top-cfb-dbs-to-watch-in-2016" target="new">as talented in man coverage</a> as anyone in the country. He gave strong consideration to entering the 2016 NFL Draft and <a href="http://www.nola.com/lsu/index.ssf/2016/01/tredavious_white_chooses_lsu_p.html" target="new">reportedly had a first-round draft grade</a>. 8

    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    8. Tre'Davious White, LSU

    The Tigers' athletic cover man enters the season with 19 career pass breakups in 34 career starts, the next in a long line of talented LSU defensive backs that has generated nine draft picks since 2012. NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein wrote that White is as talented in man coverage as anyone in the country. He gave strong consideration to entering the 2016 NFL Draft and reportedly had a first-round draft grade.

  • If you believe the narrative that Mackensie Alexander's lack of interceptions was because quarterbacks avoided him, then it follows that Tankersley had to have been picked on all the more. His response? Five interceptions, 11 pass breakups, and Clemson's award for its most improved defensive player. He's a big (6-1, 195), tough presence on the outside who will be called on to lead a Tigers secondary that <a href="http://www.nfl.com/draft/2016/tracker#dt-tabs:dt-by-college/dt-by-college-input:1" target="new">lost three starters</a> to the NFL draft. NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein notes Tankersely gave up just a 36.3 percent completion rate last year and <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000672369/article/floridas-jalen-tabor-leads-top-cfb-dbs-to-watch-in-2016" target="new">has the length</a> NFL scouts like at the position. 7

    Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports

    7. Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson

    If you believe the narrative that Mackensie Alexander's lack of interceptions was because quarterbacks avoided him, then it follows that Tankersley had to have been picked on all the more. His response? Five interceptions, 11 pass breakups, and Clemson's award for its most improved defensive player. He's a big (6-1, 195), tough presence on the outside who will be called on to lead a Tigers secondary that lost three starters to the NFL draft. NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein notes Tankersely gave up just a 36.3 percent completion rate last year and has the length NFL scouts like at the position.

  • Though USC's blazing-fast junior has proven versatile enough to play offense and special teams, cornerback remains his primary position for good reason. He was a first-team All-Pac-12 pick after breaking up eight passes last year, though he came up with only one interception. His speed is unquestioned, having run a 10.41 100 meters for the USC track squad, and <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000672860/article/uscs-adoree-jackson-finishes-10th-in-us-long-jump-final" target="new">he reached finals</a> at the U.S. Olympic Trials in the long jump. NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein believes Jackson needs to <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000672369/article/floridas-jalen-tabor-leads-top-cfb-dbs-to-watch-in-2016" target="new">show more instinctiveness</a> in coverage this fall. He'll get a huge early test against Alabama's Calvin Ridley to open the season Sept. 3. 6

    Dean Hare/Associated Press

    6. Adoree' Jackson, USC

    Though USC's blazing-fast junior has proven versatile enough to play offense and special teams, cornerback remains his primary position for good reason. He was a first-team All-Pac-12 pick after breaking up eight passes last year, though he came up with only one interception. His speed is unquestioned, having run a 10.41 100 meters for the USC track squad, and he reached finals at the U.S. Olympic Trials in the long jump. NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein believes Jackson needs to show more instinctiveness in coverage this fall. He'll get a huge early test against Alabama's Calvin Ridley to open the season Sept. 3.

  • Jones has been a stalwart in the Huskies' secondary for two years, starting 25 of 26 games since he arrived as a true freshman in 2014. He led the Pac-12 in pass breakups last year with 12, and made four interceptions. NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein came away impressed with Jones' instincts and ball skills in rating him the <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000672369/article/floridas-jalen-tabor-leads-top-cfb-dbs-to-watch-in-2016" target="new">nation's No. 5 defensive back</a>. "He's running the route for the receiver before the guy's even breaking, off his film study, from splits to the formation they're in," UW secondary coach Jimmy Lake <a href="http://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/college/pac-12/university-of-washington/article49607690.html" target="new">said last December</a>. "And then once he sees it, his burst and his athleticism that gets him to the ball so quick -- he's so technically sound." 5

    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    5. Sidney Jones, Washington

    Jones has been a stalwart in the Huskies' secondary for two years, starting 25 of 26 games since he arrived as a true freshman in 2014. He led the Pac-12 in pass breakups last year with 12, and made four interceptions. NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein came away impressed with Jones' instincts and ball skills in rating him the nation's No. 5 defensive back. "He's running the route for the receiver before the guy's even breaking, off his film study, from splits to the formation they're in," UW secondary coach Jimmy Lake said last December. "And then once he sees it, his burst and his athleticism that gets him to the ball so quick -- he's so technically sound."

  • The son of former Alabama star RB Bobby Humphrey made big improvement as a first-year starter in 2015, playing his best football toward the end of the year when Alabama had to beat Florida, Michigan State and Clemson during its championship stretch. He started every game, making three interceptions and eight pass breakups to earn Freshman All-SEC honors. Per NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein, Humphrey's technique is a work in progress but he <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000672369/article/floridas-jalen-tabor-leads-top-cfb-dbs-to-watch-in-2016" target="new">allowed a completion rate</a> of just 37.9 percent. He has the size NFL scouts covet at his position (6-1, 198) and will be the Crimson Tide's top cornerback this fall. As for his athleticism, he has quality speed, having run the third leg of the 4x400 relay for Alabama during the 2015 track season. 4

    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    4. Marlon Humphrey, Alabama

    The son of former Alabama star RB Bobby Humphrey made big improvement as a first-year starter in 2015, playing his best football toward the end of the year when Alabama had to beat Florida, Michigan State and Clemson during its championship stretch. He started every game, making three interceptions and eight pass breakups to earn Freshman All-SEC honors. Per NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein, Humphrey's technique is a work in progress but he allowed a completion rate of just 37.9 percent. He has the size NFL scouts covet at his position (6-1, 198) and will be the Crimson Tide's top cornerback this fall. As for his athleticism, he has quality speed, having run the third leg of the 4x400 relay for Alabama during the 2015 track season.

  • Only three FBS defensive backs broke up 20 or more passes last season. Lewis was one; 2016 first-round draft pick William Jackson III was another. Though he's on the small side (5-10, 175), the first-team All-Big Ten pick overcomes his lack of size in a variety of ways. "I think we overemphasize the height thing," his high school coach, Thomas, Wilcher, told <a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/college/university-michigan/2015/10/12/jourdan-lewis-doing-spectacular-things-for-michigan/73841156/" target="new">The Detroit News</a> last year. "The most important I thing I look at, the intangibles, he has them. He has a great vertical jump, he has great speed, and he has long arms and a great wingspan." 3

    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    3. Jourdan Lewis, Michigan

    Only three FBS defensive backs broke up 20 or more passes last season. Lewis was one; 2016 first-round draft pick William Jackson III was another. Though he's on the small side (5-10, 175), the first-team All-Big Ten pick overcomes his lack of size in a variety of ways. "I think we overemphasize the height thing," his high school coach, Thomas, Wilcher, told The Detroit News last year. "The most important I thing I look at, the intangibles, he has them. He has a great vertical jump, he has great speed, and he has long arms and a great wingspan."

  • King won the Jim Thorpe Award last year as the nation's top defensive back, and is the award's first winner to return to college the following season. Just 5-foot-11 but powerfully built at 200 pounds, he led the Big Ten and tied an Iowa record with eight interceptions, adding 13 pass breakups. Well-suited to play the boundary side of the field, King brings vast experience into his senior year, having started 39 of 40 games in his career. NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000672369/article/floridas-jalen-tabor-leads-top-cfb-dbs-to-watch-in-2016" target="new">ranked King</a> the No. 3 defensive back in college football. 2

    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    2. Desmond King, Iowa

    King won the Jim Thorpe Award last year as the nation's top defensive back, and is the award's first winner to return to college the following season. Just 5-foot-11 but powerfully built at 200 pounds, he led the Big Ten and tied an Iowa record with eight interceptions, adding 13 pass breakups. Well-suited to play the boundary side of the field, King brings vast experience into his senior year, having started 39 of 40 games in his career. NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein ranked King the No. 3 defensive back in college football.

  • If it weren't for Vernon Hargreaves III, Tabor would be entering 2016 with far more national notoriety. As it is, he's spent the last two years as the Gators' "other cornerback," but has quietly provided exceptional coverage under two defensive coordinators. NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein rates Tabor as the top defensive back in the country, and he's allowed <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000672369/article/floridas-jalen-tabor-leads-top-cfb-dbs-to-watch-in-2016" target="new">only one touchdown catch</a> in two years. From his freshman to his sophomore year, Tabor's production spiked from eight pass breakups to 14. 1

    Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

    1. Jalen Tabor, Florida

    If it weren't for Vernon Hargreaves III, Tabor would be entering 2016 with far more national notoriety. As it is, he's spent the last two years as the Gators' "other cornerback," but has quietly provided exceptional coverage under two defensive coordinators. NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein rates Tabor as the top defensive back in the country, and he's allowed only one touchdown catch in two years. From his freshman to his sophomore year, Tabor's production spiked from eight pass breakups to 14.