More cornerbacks the Titans may look at in the draft


Looking at the Titans current cornerback situation, it remains an obvious area of need which must be addressed in the 2009 draft. Incumbent starters Cortland Finnegan and Nick Harper have only two players behind them on the depth chart and each has problems.
Cary Williams missed all of his rookie training camp and appeared in only one game last season, so he remains totally inexperienced.
New addition DeMarcus Faggins adds some veteran depth but has some issues, as Tom pointed out in this review.
Because of this, I anticipate the Titans will use two of their ten selections, if not more, on cornerbacks.

Drexel looked at some of the corners the Titans might have their eyes on in the first round of the draft and I’ll continue in that vein by looking at some later round prospects.
I focused primarily on guys who, according to scouting reports, were good in man-to-man coverage. I doubt if new defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil wants to play a lot of zone, so I don’t expect the Titans to spend draft picks on cover-2 type players.
Please note that there are plenty of draft-eligible corners and I haven’t looked at all of them yet. The ones listed below are some of the ones that I did look at.
Round Two:
Four cornerbacks are projected to be drafted late in the first round or early to mid-second round — Alphonso Smith, D.J. Moore, Darius Butler and Sean Smith. See Drexel’s review of them in his article on potential first-round cornerback picks. 
It seems unlikely any of them will still be on the board when the Titans select with overall pick #62 but stranger things have happened.
Jairus Byrd is another possibility at #62, though he may be better suited to play for a team that uses predominantly zone defenses. I only mention him here because he has man-to-man skills as well. Byrd can also return punts.
Round Two or Three:
Sherrod Martin was an athletic, physical free safety in college who is being projected as having NFL cornerback skills. Will he be drafted to be a corner or a safety? The outlook on him probably varies from team to team. He should be a fine player at either position.
Keenan Lewis is a second or third-round prospect but his poor 4.42 short shuttle disturbs me. I wonder if this is a weak cornerback class. Only a few corners had even average times in the short shuttle and most were disappointing. The combine’s 40-yard dash times weren’t very good either, although the shuttles are more important for corners than the 40 is. Maybe the conditions at Indianapolis’ new Lucas Oil Stadium aren’t as good as they were at the old piped-in-noise dome. 
Rounds Three through Five:
Coye Francies has good skills but is a little raw and may need to be developed. Francies also has some kick return ability.
Captain Munnerlyn has a great name and good coverage ability but like a lot of corners in this year’s draft, size is a concern. His stock is falling and he may be a steal in the fifth round if his slide continues.
Rounds Six and Seven:
Bradley Fletcher has only one season under his belt as a starting college cornerback. He’s got good size and adequate, but not ideal, speed. Fletcher was the best corner at the East-West Shrine Game, so scouts are familiar with him. It sounds to me like he has a lot of upside.

Donald Washington is viewed as more of an athlete than a cornerback and had the combine’s best vertical with an amazing 45″. He probably would have benefited by staying in school another year. If the Titans are looking for someone as a late-round project who might take a little time to develop, he would fit that role. However, Tennessee may not even consider him due to possible concerns (suspended for two games for breaking unspecified team rules.)

Ryan Mouton is a little bit of a different species than the other corners listed here. Mouton is more of a nickelback who also plays as a slot receiver on offense and returns kicks as well. He has good cover skills and is good in man-to-man. Height may be a problem as an outside corner so he may be limited to playing in the slot in nickel and dime packages.
Londen Fryar, the son of former NFL star Irving Fryar, is a converted receiver. He has decent size and speed. His bloodlines certainly won’t hurt him and may even help persuade someone to take a chance on him in the seventh round.
Tony Carter is undersized but has good man-to-man cover skills. He may be undrafted, but as such would receive free agent offers from a lot of teams.
Those are the corners (so far) I believe could help the Titans with their depth problems. Have any of you seen any of them play? What’s your opinion on them? Also, which corners do you like in the later rounds?

5 Responses to “More cornerbacks the Titans may look at in the draft”

  1. Andrew K Says:

    I believe they need to address corner in the first round, second round might even be too late, because it looks like after the first 4-5 corners the talent dramatically drops.

  2. Kevin G Says:

    I think we probably need 2, one early and one in the mid rounds. what about victor harris, does anyone have any idea what kind of grade he has? I have seen everything from mid 2nd to 4th.
    do any of you know what kind of D chuck cecil plans to impliment next year? I know we were cover 2 before, does he plan to keep that or move to a tampa 2 or press man look.

  3. Brad Says:

    If for some reason we don’t draft a corner in the first and Vitor Harris is there in the second we better jump all over him. I think he is going to be a steal in this draft. If his forty was faster he would probably be the top corner in this draft.

  4. Andrew Strickert Says:

    Andrew and Kevin, I agree with you and hope the Titans draft a corner early.
    Kevin and Brad, Victor “Macho” Harris is a good prospect who will probably be drafted in the second or maybe third round. He’s a zone guy and isn’t thought of as a man-to-man corner, which is why I didn’t include him here. I liked what I saw out of him the few times I saw him play, but I don’t believe he’d be what the Titans want.
    Given his druthers, Jeff Fisher would prefer to play man defense more than zone, as they have when they’ve had the personnel to do so. I have to assume Chuck Cecil will go with that too. I don’t believe the Titans will be playing much Tampa-2.
    Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

  5. Scott Says:

    I am not sure the Titans are going to pick a CB in the first round. I just can’t see Reinfeldt and Fisher drafting a player in the first round who isn’t a starter this year or at least a player who would see a huge amount of playing time. With Finnegan, Harper and Fuller already occupying the first 3 CB positions on the team, any CB who is drafted won’t get significant playing time, unless there is an injury. I suspect that unless a guy like Vontae Davis falls to number 30, the Titans won’t take a CB until the second or third round. They still might take two in the draft, but the second one will likely be a late round pick and a developmental project.
    I am hoping that Byrd is still there at the end of Round 2. He will be a valuable 4th CB this year and a starter next. The others on your list a largely unknowns who might take time to develop.

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