Bunting: Corners Comprise the Core of This Draft

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Stephon Gilmore

Part III of this week’s chat with the National Football Post’s draft analyst Wes Bunting covers the cornerbacks, a group Wes rates among the best in this year’s draft class. 

Cowboys Nation:  I want to discuss South Carolina’s corner Stephon Gilmore.  He’s 13th on your board.  I’ve seen a split of opinion on him from the draftniks.  He’s late 1st on some boards.  He’s early 2nd on others.  I’ve also seen him high 1st.  What accounts for this?

Wes Bunting:  Nobody has really seen him.  He was a 5-star prospect who made a lot of plays but also gave up a lot of plays as a sophomore.  He’s raw with his footwork, but he’s one of the few big corners in the draft who can turn and run, who will tackle, and he’s got the skills to be a really good cover man.  He played mostly zone and press-bail.

Physically, he can play press, but he was rarely asked to do it.  Mostly you’re looking at him as a zone corner right now.  I think most teams are looking at Kirkpatrick the same way early in his career, unless you play press-man all the time, because Kirkpatrick does have experience there.

I like Gilmore because he’s got a package few of his peers have — his big, he’s physical, he can run and he’ll tackle.  I didn’t give him the highest grade.  I gave him a 7.0.  I don’t think he’ll be elite but I think he can be a solid corner in the league.

CN:  With Claiborne, Kirkpatrick and Gilmore coming out early, I’m looking at the corners 6 through 10 on your board and I see Jamell Fleming, Chase Minnifield, Casey Heyward, Trumaine Johnson and Coryell Judie.

That’s a pretty solid 2nd round’s worth of cornerback talent there.  A couple of these guys could even slide into the 3rd.

WB:  Without a doubt.  I really like this corner class.  Some people I talk to really like Brandon Boykin (Georgia).  Some really like the Virginia Tech kid, Jayron Hosley.  Some like Leonard Johnson in the 2nd round.  I think they’re more nickel guys, 3rd round guys, but you look at the caliber of guys you can get in the 2nd, 3rd and even 4th rounds, I’m starting to see real depth here.

You look at the Giants, and I think they do a really nice job.  They have Terrell Thomas, who was a 2nd rounder from USC.  They have Aaron Ross, who was a 1st rounder.  They have Corey Webster.  I think he was a 3rd rounder.  You add Amukamara, and they have two 1sts, a 2nd rounder and a 3rd and they’re all the same type of physical guys. That’s what they’re looking for, that 6’1”, 6’0″ body, around 195, that big, physical corner.

You look at this year’s bunch and you see that type of player in the 1st, you see that type of player in the 2nd and you see that type of player in the 3rd.  I think that’s why cornerback is one of the few really good position classes, outside of guard and running back.

CN:  Yeah.  Dennard and Jenkins are the only guys in that top twelve who are under 5’11”.

WB:  There should be some big, talented guys for teams to pick in the 2nd through the 4th rounds.