Although some people are concerned about his lack of size, TCU Horned Frogs cornerback prospect Jason Verrett has been my top CB in the 2014 NFL Draft class for about seven months now. Justin Gilbert and Darqueze Dennard are pretty close- and Kyle Fuller is an excellent cornerback prospect in his own right- but Verrett plays on another level. He has the ability to excel inside or outside, he holds his ground against the run, he is a ball-hawk who consistently defended a high number of passes, he displays impeccable technique, and he has the ability to be a No. 1 shutdown corner at the next level. Even if height concerns push him into the slot, there’s still plenty of value in having a star slot corner, as Chris Harris Jr. and Brandon Boykin can attest.
According to the Charlotte Observer’s Joe Person, the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock stated that he believes five cornerbacks will go in the first round and views Verrett as one of those CBs. I would be surprised if Verrett slips into the second round, and he would be a massive steal there. It’s possible that he could fall due to size concerns, but I think teams will see Brent Grimes in his game. The Carolina Panthers will prioritize WR and OT on draft day, but they could draft Verrett at 28 if they like him enough. As for Mayock’s statement that there are five CBs worth taking in the first, I would completely agree with that, as Verrett, Gilbert, Fuller, Dennard, and Bradley Roby form a terrific top five.
Mayock also stated that he thinks Clemson Tigers wide receiver Martavis Bryant will “probably” go in the second round despite his status as a “one-year wonder”, because he is “really explosive”. Bryant has received a huge amount of pre-draft attention, and it’s almost rivaled possible first-round choice Cody Latimer. Although he is incredibly raw with unpolished route-running and well below-average hands, Bryant has an incredible size-speed combination and is the most lethal weapon in the draft deep downfield. While I have a third-round grade on him, he looks like a likely second-round pick at this point due to his playmaking ability.