Browns can find cornerback speed in Round 3
The Cleveland Browns, if they stand pat, are likely to find cornerback help available in Round 3 this year if they want it. This year's draft is rich in cornerbacks with blinding speed.
It's not all about speed, but if there is one position where speed should be emphasized, it is cornerback. A slow wide receiver can sometimes star in the NFL if he has the right moves and great hands, but a slow corner is just dead meat.
The Browns proved that they can scout cornerbacks, nailing the pick in the third round last year with Martin Emerson, Jr. out of Mississippi State. MJ didn't have elite speed at 4.51 seconds in the 40-yard dash, but he turned out to have excellent football sense, was hard-nosed, and did not play like a rookie.
By the end of the season, he was the team's best cornerback. He started six games, with 63 combined tackles and 15 passes defended. It would not be a stretch to say that he would have been regarded as a successful pick had he been selected in the first round.
This season, like last year, the cornerback position is very deep and there are guys who can absolutely blow the doors off. On the second page of this article, there is a list of fully 18 ballplayers with 40-yard dash times of 4.47 seconds or faster.
D.J. Turner from the University of Michigan (or The School Up North, if you are a Buckeyes fan), heads the list, clocking in at an astounding 4.26 seconds. There are seven players who are in the 4.3s. Last season, 4.3 speed was available in the second round.
This year, there may well be 4.3 guys who survive into Round 3. Page three discusses some players who might be very intriguing in Round 4 or later, including the NFL All-Slow team special.
Plenty of speed will be available in Round 3
As crazy as it sounds, not only could the Browns find themselves with 4.4 options in Round 3, but many of the mock drafts are saying that Round 3 may have some 4.3 players available. Both D. J. Turner of Michigan and Jakorian Bennett of Maryland are perceived as having some weaknesses that could cause them to slide to as late as the third round, according to mock drafts by NFL.com, Pro Football Focus, and several others.
Conversely, Devon Witherspoon from Illinois did not run the 40-yard dash due to a hamstring injury, but is a highly regarded prospect and could go in the first round.
It's anybody's guess, but many of the mocks are saying that about eight to ten corners will be drafted by the time it is the Browns' opportunity to select a player with the 74th overall pick. Tre'Vius Hodges-Tomlinson from TCU seems to pop up on many of the mock drafts in about this range.
Cornerbacks with Sub 4.5 Combine Times (seconds)
1. D.J. Turner, Michigan, 4.26 seconds
2. Jakorian Bennett, Maryland – 4.30 seconds
3. Deonte Banks, Maryland, 4.35 seconds
4. Emmanuel Forbes, Mississippi State, 4.35 seconds
5. Kelee Ringo Georgia, 4.36 seconds
6. Darius Rush South Carolina, 4.36 seconds
7. Christian Gonzalez, Oregon, 4.38 seconds
8. Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson Texas Christian, 4.41 seconds
9. Terell Smith, Minnesota, 4.41 seconds
10. Kei’Trel Clark, Louisville, 4.42 seconds
11. Cam Smith, South Carolina, 4.43 seconds
12. Riley Moss, Iowa, 4.45 seconds
13. Tyrique Stevenson, Miami, 4.45 seconds
14. Joey Porter Jr. Penn State, 4.46 seconds
15. Darrell Luter, South Alabama 4.46 seconds
16. Cameron Mitchell, Northwestern 4.47 seconds
17. Cory Trice Jr. Purdue, 4.47 seconds
18. Mekhi Blackmon, University of Southern California, 4.47 seconds
The Browns also have a compensatory pick at 98th overall. Clark Phillips III, from Utah (who at 4.51 seconds just missed our list) is getting some love in this region. Kei'Trel Clark may also slide due to his lack of size (five-foot-ten and 176 pounds).