The latest edition of the post-Senior Bowl chat with the National Football Post’s Wes Bunting covers the cornerbacks in Mobile.
Cowboys Nation: Let’s move to cornerback. Janoris Jenkins played really well this week. Where does this move him now? When you debuted your draft board in November, he was the top senior corner, based solely on play. But it’s no secret, this guy has some major off-field questions to answer.
I have to think the juniors Claiborne and Kirkpatrick will go 1-2 at this position, but has Janoris Jenkins played himself back into the 3rd spot?
Wes Bunting: Yeah. He was just so tough to separate from all week. But he’s part of this evaluation struggle for me. I like these smaller, quicker corner types who can stick with you, but there were a number of times where he’s position to make a play and [Jeff] Fuller, who couldn’t separate from anyone all week, doesn’t have any space on Jenkins, but he’s able to go up and make a play on the football. Granted he dropped it all week, but if he’s catching the ball, you wonder how great a top end Jenkins will have as an NFL corner?
Now, Jenkins made a lot of plays. He’s a first round talent, no question. It’s just tough to take a corner who’s 5’9” and change overly high, when there are all these tall receivers, but from a coverage standpoint? From a separation standpoint? This guy was a plus.
CN: Where does Jenkins sit now in the first? Give me your assessment and any others that you heard in Mobile. He’s obviously a first rounder, but how high can he rise after this week?
WB: I would say, 15 to 25. Somewhere in there.
CN: I saw a big mock today with him going 14 to Dallas.
WB: That’s fair, because the one thing I heard from Dallas people is that they were focusing on DBs, first and foremost…
CN: Let’s go the next set of guys. Stephon Gilmore is an underclassman, so he wasn’t there, but it sounds like the next group of guys played well, the Casey Heywards, the Jamell Flemings, the Brandon Boykins.
WB: Yeah, those three were the best of the bunch, of that second tier. Fleming I thought was solid in his drops. I thought he was the worst of those three, but he had a solid week. Heyward was a bit limited when they asked him to play a ton of press, because he’s not overly quick. But as a cover-2 who can track the football, he was clean in and out of his breaks. Plus he can turn and run a bit. I thought he was very good.
And Boykin? If Jenkins was number one, Boykin was a close number two. He was physical. He was strong in press, and he did a better job as the week went on collecting himself and staying low out of his breaks, which allowed him to close faster. I thought he had a very good week as well.
CN: I heard Josh Norman was a late addition to the Senior Bowl, after his big Shrine game week, but he didn’t arrive until Thursday. Did you get a chance to watch him practice?
WB: No. We left on Thursday, and that day’s workouts were indoors, with no pads, because of the tornadoes down there. The first day you’ll see him is in the game.
CN: Can you give us any other corners from the practices who caught your attention, either good or bad?
WB: Dwight Bentley, from Louisiana-Lafayette, was a tough little son-of-a-gun to separate from. He wasn’t overly tough on game tape, but he was physical this week. He’s 5’11”, 176, so he’s this skinny kid, but he can turn and run. He can cover. He’s balanced. He wasn’t intimidated by those big receivers. I had a priority free agent to late-round-pick grade on him coming in. I thought he was better than guys who I had given better grades, so I’m going to move Bentley up.
CN: That’s good to know. Since corner is such a priority I think the Cowboys may take at least two, maybe three, the way they drafted offensive linemen last year, one early, one middle, one late. We need names to track in those later rounds.
Next: Nose tackles and mid-round D-linemen and linebackers.