Want = a position the team could improve with a good draft pick.
Important Want = should improve rather than could.
Need = a missing starter.
This series looks at each position to evaluate the level of want and some of the prospects who might be available in those early rounds.
- Offensive Wants, Needs and Prospects: Offensive Tackle (as of January 12), Center (January 15), Guard (January 19), Running Back (January 16), Tight End (January 21), Quarterback (January 26), WR Types (January 30), and WR Prospects (February 1).
- Defensive Wants, Needs and Prospects: Defensive Tackle (as of February 9).
The 2020 Steelers had this position nailed, with four very good starters and some interesting developmental depth. That comfortable position is not going to continue for a whole lot longer, which makes Corner one of the most obvious targets on the defensive side of the ball – and probably the most obvious. Here is the current roster:
- Joe Haden (5’11”, 195 lbs.) has been one of my favorite players since the 2010 draft when he went at #7 overall. The guy is pure class on the field, off the field, and in the locker room. The only issues are age and price tag. He will turn 32 just around draft day and will be paid around $12.5 Million in 2021, plus another $3 Million or so of dead cap money to reflect what has already been paid. An expensive commodity. Is a starting CB1 worth that kind of money even at age 32? His level of play still says “Yes,” but the Steelers might not have it to pay. And whether he’s worth his pay or not, we all know that the cliff is getting close. Ike Taylor hit his big decline at age 33, and then played the proverbial one year too many. He was an actual liability at age 34. Joe Haden will be a free agent when he turns 33 next year.
- Stephen Nelson (also 5’11” and 195 lbs.) will likewise be a free agent in 2022, but he is only 28 and thus in the prime of his career. Nelson fell to Round 3 because of those measurements and his middling 4.46 speed, but has clearly outplayed that draft position and become a solid pro. A perfect CB2, but a very average CB1.
- Mike Hilton (5’9”, 184 lbs.) will be a free agent in 2021 instead of 2022, along with his running mate Cam Sutton. Both of them have clearly earned an extension but the fan base expects only one to be signed because of the onrushing salary cap crunch. We don’t know which one it will be, but the one we wave goodbye to will be sorely missed! Hilton will turn 27 just before draft day. He plays more like a hybrid Safety than a true Corner, and is limited to playing in the slot as a Nickel DB. From there, however, he’s an ace because that position makes full use of his outsized tackling and great blitz timing.
- Cam Sutton (5’11”, 190 lbs.) is a true Corner who can play both in the slot and on the boundary. He too is a free agent in 2021. The Steelers picked him in Round 3 of the 2017 draft, no doubt in part because of the glowing words spoken about him on this very Big Board. [That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!] In any case, he is a homegrown product who proves that Pittsburgh can indeed develop its own players.
- Justin Layne (6’2”, 192 lbs.) was Pittsburgh’s Round 3 pick in 2019. His selection was met with mixed reactions. Hope, because he has the size to be that elusive outside guy to match up against tall receivers, versus pessimism because he came out of college with a series of question marks about his COD abilities. Would he be forever vulnerable to double moves, and limited to a system like Seattle’s that covers for that particular flaw? The hopes were reinforced when his special teams production earned praise. We can now be sure he is a bona fide NFL player. The worries about whether he’s a bona fide CB continue, however, as he showed ongoing vulnerability to superior quickness in 2020. And to those dreaded double moves. The current grade is still, “Work In Progress.” Layne’s rookie contract will not expire until 2023, so he still has time to take that next step.
- James Pierre (6’2”, 185 lbs.) is a UDFA from 2020 who caused something of a stir for those who watch the team closely. He fell out of the draft because of academic problems that drove him from UNC, to Syracuse, and then to tiny Florida Atlantic. But academics are a poor predictor of NFL success; Pierre also has the much desired length to match up against goliath receivers; and he stood out in camp well enough to make the 53 man roster. Pierre actually earned more defensive snaps than Justin Layne when Joe Haden was out for the week 17 game against Cleveland. We’re all eager to see what he looks like after the Sophomore Leap. His rookie deal will also expire in 2023. Like Justin Layne, the current grade has to be set at, “Work In Progress”.
So – two established starters on the outside who will be free agents in 2022, neither of whom is cheap, both of whom are a little undersized on paper, and the better of which is getting perilously close to a one on one contest with Father Time.
Those starting boundary Corners are supported by a Nickel DB and a slot-capable Corner. Both are young, both are talented, and both going into 2021 as free agents. The Steelers can pay only one of the two, unless they decide to cut Haden.
One way or another, that adds up to the required three starters for a modern defense. There is no hole that demands a rookie starter, so this isn’t a “Need.” But it is an Important Want because of Haden’s age and the looming end of Nelson’s current contract. [NOTE: Do not be surprised to see a Nelson extension in the offseason to alleviate that latter concern.] Can that Want be satisfied in house? The answer is… “Who knows?” The team has two respectable prospects in the pipeline, both with the desirable size, speed, and length. But Corners are hard to develop and neither has yet to arrive. Hope or despair as your disposition requires, but the bottom line on both Layne and Pierre is a question mark. And that uncertainty means that Pittsburgh will most almost certainly be looking for a Corner in the 2021 draft.
Could it be a Round 1 star? Sure it could. A true Heir To Haden would solidify this defense for many years to come, while going far toward helping with the upcoming cap crunch.
Could it be a Round 2-3 prospect with either a lower ceiling or a bigger chance of busting out? Sure it could. These are the most likely rounds for a defensive pick, Corner is probably the most likely spot for that pick, and the class is strong in that range (see below).
Could it be a Round 4-7 player, or even two if the team waits this long? Sure it could. OT, CTR, and RB all seem a little more vital as draft targets, and there is plenty of room to argue for the right QB, TE, EDGE, or ILB as well.
Thus we cannot really discount these players and need to consider the whole class.
STANDING ON MY SOAPBOX: Steelers Nation seems to contain a lot of fans who like to throw up their electronic hands and say things like, “Pittsburgh traded it’s ability to judge Corners in exchange for expertise with WR’s,” or “We suck at picking DB’s,” or “I could do better with DB’s than Colbert!!!!!!!” or “Why do we even bother?” Those got a C+ for wit the first time, but now? There are words used to describe those attitudes, and they aren’t ones I want to see applied to anyone with the good taste to read these articles. So can we please stop with the hand wringing? VENTING COMPLETE.
On to this year’s prospects! My initial review divides things pretty neatly into (A) two idle fantasies and a Round 1 possibility, (B) a bit more than a dozen players with rough Day 2 grades, and then (C) a great mass of guys who are currently mashed together as Round 4-6 talents, but will most likely separate as the process moves forward.
THE TOP 30 OR SO PROSPECTS IN THE 2021 CORNERBACK CLASS
NOTE 1: Many of the Day 3 descriptions are based on only two or three sources and the most cursory research. Your contributions are eagerly requested if there is any way you can help to correct and/or fill in the details! I expect these grades to change a lot as the process moves forward.
NOTE 2: All players are roughly organized according to their current Big Board grades, with alphabetical order for ties. Several in the Day 3 group have fringe-3rd grades but are kept in the lower group here because of the numbers. It’s a solid class.
NOTE 3: I have applied discounts for players who seemingly need to be in something like the Seahawks scheme that values length over change of direction (“COD”) ability. I have not done so for position within the Steelers defense, but rather assumed that Pittsburgh would be just as happy with a slot Corner as an outside Corner, though versatility is always a good thing.
THE POTENTIAL ROUND 1 PICKS
- CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama (Junior). 6’1”, 203 lbs. The best cover Corner in the draft, and he tackles too. It will be a shock if he drops out of the Top 10.
- CB Caleb Farley, Va. Tech. (RS Junior). 6’2”, 197 lbs. Smart and amazingly athletic, Farley was a high school QB who converted to WR in college, and then over to CB without missing a beat. Would probably rank higher if he’d managed to stay healthy on a consistent basis, and hadn’t opted out of the 2020 Covid season. He would be a Top 5 player if he had been around to play up to expectations in 2020. Daniel Jeremiah has compared him to a young Jimmy Smith of the Ravens.
- CB Jaycee Horn, S. Car. (Junior). 6’1”, 205 lbs. Will be 21 on draft day. The classic draft dilemma with Corners: are length, speed, and skill going to be enough, even with sterling NFL bloodlines like a Pro Bowl WR as your dad? All eyes are on the film studies and reports about whether his COD ability is also up to NFL standards. Wesley Cantliffe’s gif-supported January scouting report offers one analyst’s confident opinion that he will be more than fine, at least for press-man coverage. It helps that Horn plays a good, physical game in run support, but he is handsy and should be expected to produce an annoying number of PI penalties until his habits, technique, and confidence mature to where everyone expects.
THE ROUND 2 GRADES
- CB Tyson Campbell, Georgia (Junior). 6’2”, 185 lbs. Long and wiry, with track-level speed, excellent COD skills, and the pop to play in zone too. He also tackles well for someone with his build. The assets are all there, and the coverage is proven; the flaw is an apparent lack of the ballhawk gene, and a tendency to get beat on 50/50 balls by physical receivers. James Wilford’s gif-supported January scouting report ends with an Early-2nd grade.
- CB Asante Samuel Jr., Fla. St. (Junior). 5’10”, 185 lbs. His father was an all-star Corner for many years, and has every reason to be proud of his son. Junior could use some time in an NFL strength program but he is physical enough to project as a high floor prospect with a ceiling held back only by the size limitations. Super quick, very sound (especially in off coverage), and well ahead of the game in the smarts department. The Steelers have luxuriated in the 1-2 punch of Hilton and Sutton as multipurpose, slot-capable Corners. Samuel Jr. would fit right in. James Wilford’s gif-supported Depot scouting report from late January ends in a late-1st grade based on the pro ready skill set.
- CB Aaron Robinson, UCF by way of Alabama (RS Senior). 5’11½”, 190 lbs. with 30” arms. Has nice quick feet and nervy reaction time, but falls a bit because his COD is only average, and he lacks some on the physicality front. Originally recruited to Alabama, where he earned limited snaps as a freshman, he transferred back to his home state in search of more playing time. Daniel Jeremiah had him at #39 in his initial Top 50, calling him an immediate starter as a Nickel CB in the slot.
- CB Eric Stokes, Georgia (RS Junior). 6’1”, 185 lbs. Will be 22 on draft day. A solid cover-Corner who projects as a long term NFL starter but maybe not a star. He rarely gets beat, especially deep, but doesn’t have a big rep as a playmaker either. Skills include every aspect of coverage: press, off, and zone. Daniel Jeremiah had him at #47 in his initial Top 50, which was only that low due to a few concerns that he might be more of a straight line athlete than would be ideal for a Corner. They are minor concerns, but the sort that could inhibit his potential as a true shut-down guy.
- CB Greg Newsome II, Northwestern. (Junior). 6’1”, 190 lbs. The #1 CB on a great college defense that gave Ohio State fits just one week before they tore up Clemson in the Sugar Bowl. His best feature may be the lack of holes. Newsome scores “B+ to A-” for size, length, quickness, transitions, and football IQ. The only real knock is a tendency to get grabby that may be caused by limited foot speed. The sort of prospect who will jump a lot of boards if his 40 time looks good. Devin Jackson’s gif-supported January scouting report also notes an extensive list of games missed due to a great variety of injuries. One worries that he might be the sort of player who has difficulty surviving what Mike Tomlin calls, “the bumps and bruises of the season.” The doctors and the strength coaches will accordingly have real input on his final grade – which we cannot access, of course. Daniel Jeremiah had him at #40 in his initial Top 50, calling him an early starter as one of those all important outside CB’s.
THE ROUND 3 GRADES
- CB Paulson Adebo, Stanford (Senior). 6’1”, 190 lbs. Opted out of 2020, which is a shame because he had a lot to prove. Has he added the strength he needed? Did he improve on all those little flaws that plagued him in 2019? If so, he deserves an early-1st If not, he could end up falling into the category of being “only” a Seattle-type, Cover-3 Corner. A prospect whose grade is very likely to change as the film watchers dig in for a closer look.
- CB D.J. Daniel, Georgia (Senior). 5’11⅝’, 183 lbs. with long 33” arms. A very toolsy CB with exactly the length, speed, physicality, and COD skills you look for. The main flaws seem to be a tendency to take the cheese, and then to get grabby when he gets caught by a double move.
- CB Kary Vincent Jr., LSU (Senior). 5’10”, 190 lbs. Opted out of 2020, which is going to make him an object of much dispute in the draft community because proving a more advanced technique could have shot him toward Round 1 consideration. Or not. Vincent has world class speed and NFL quickness to match. That’s rare. He is a little on the small side, and it shows in his tackling, but he has everything else you look for in the Sutton type of slot Corner, and the combination of just enough size with exceptional speed suggests a potential to play on the boundary too. It’s just that he’s never shown all that in college, and thanks to COVID he never will. Owen Straley’s gif-supported January scouting report catches the essence quite well, especially if you take some time to go through the discussion in the comments.
- CB Elijah Molden, Washington (Senior). 5’10”, 190 lbs. Your classic “quicker than fast” guy, several reports have emphasized that he is a pure football player at heart who does the little things well. Excellent instincts; excellent ball skills; excellent tackling pound-for-pound; etc. What he lacks is the long speed and extra inches to play on the boundary. A good, interior piece of the secondary but limited to that role.
- DB Shaun Wade, Ohio St. (RS Junior). 6’1”, 194 lbs. Turns 23 as a rookie. No school has produced more and better DB’s than Ohio State over the past decade, with even the over-drafted ones (Eli Apple, Bradley Robey, etc.) eventually turning out to be basically solid. Wade is the next one up, a 6’1” specimen who’s played best in the slot where quickness is supremely important, his length almost a disadvantage, and his combination of tackling and blitzing prowess show best. Daniel Jeremiah has compared him to Minkah Fitzpatrick, but that was after 2019. Wade struggled mightily as a boundary Corner in 2020; so much so that he’s now viewed as more of a multitool DB than a true Corner. That limits his value significantly compared to the Top-15 buzz after 2019. But that “multitool DB floor” is still a valuable player (“bigger and better version of Mike Hilton” is nothing to scoff at!), the ceiling is very high, and there is that tantalizing chance he could convert to the true Free Safety spot his build and athletic skills seem to suggest. Owen Straley’s gif-supported February scouting profile makes exactly that comparison – to a larger and more physical Mike Hilton – and then ends with a Round 4-5 grade. The pure athleticism and Safety upside justify a slightly higher grade on this board, with due warning.
- CB Camryn Bynum, California. (RS Senior). 6’0⅜”, 198 lbs. with short 30¼” arms. A high floor prospect that film watchers will love for his loose hips, tight game, and long experience. His play simply does not have many of those holes that makes the critics say, “Gotcha!” Moves smoothly and fluidly when keeping in sync, tackles well, and plays a physical brand of football. All that’s missing is that bit of special something that sets the CB1’s apart, and allows them to deal with the athletic freaks that populate NFL receiver rooms nowadays. A much safer bet than most Day 3 prospects, but lacking the physical assets to push his stock up even higher. This goes to Alex Kozora’s gif-supported February scouting report, which ends in a mid- to late-3rd grade due to questions about his ability to play anywhere but as an outside Corner.
- CB/S Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse (RS Junior). 6’2⅝”, 212 lbs. with long 32⅛” arms. Too bad there won’t be a Combine, because his older brother Obi (the San Francisco Safety) probably rose two full rounds when his athletic genius got put on full display. Ifi is a tremendous athlete too, if a bit more on the coverage side of that hybrid DB description. His skill set would be ideal as a coverage Safety or oversized Nickel DB who’d be asked to do with size, length, and athleticism what Mike Hilton did with quickness, pugnacity, and ferocity. Has a way to go before handling boundary Corner duties, but the potential is there. Far being a pro from a technique POV, but should be an instant contributor on special teams.
- CB Keith Taylor, Wash. (Senior). 6’2⅜”, 191 lbs. with 31” arms. Tall and long, with adequate speed and COD ability. Sounds like one of those players who needs to be in a defense like Seattle’s, doesn’t it? OTOH, he’s had some success in the slot, and stood out as one of the most complete CB’s at the Senior Bowl, so maybe he is more mobile than his build suggests. Smart, tackles well, understands physicality, and knows how to use his length.
- CB Ambry Thomas, Mich. (Senior). 5’11⅞”, 189 lbs. with 31⅛” arms. Will be 21 on draft day. A promising, quite physical press Corner in 2019 who had a lot of people excited to see his next step. Alas, but he opted out of 2020, thereby missing a chance to boost his stock and leaving all the question marks in place. One has to assume a redshirt year because there is no way to know how much he’s improved, if at all.
THE ROUND 4-7 GRADES
- CB Deommodore Lenoir, Oregon (Senior). 5’11”, 202 lbs. A solid, all around football player who happens to play or the Corner side of the CB/S hybrid types.
- CB Israel Mukuamu, S. Car. (Junior). 6’3”, 205 lbs. Length, physicality, and experience make him a hot prospect as a pure boundary Corner, but he can be burned by pure speed, superior quickness, and sharp route running. Ideal for a Seattle Cover-3 system, but does he fit what Pittsburgh wants?
- S/CB Ar’Darius Washington, TCU (RS Sophomore). 5’8”, 179 lbs. Mike Hilton is a miniature CB with the ferocity and tackling skills to double as an ultra-mini Safety. This prospect is an ultra-mini Safety who’s got pretty solid slot-Corner skills. It’s just… that is a hard kind of hybrid role to carry off well when you’re up against NFL athletes. A very fun player to root for, but his stock is depressed because the physical odds are stacked against him to some extent.
- CB Rodarius Williams, Okla. St. (RS Senior). 6’⅛”, 193 lbs. with 31” arms. Will turn 25 during his rookie season, which earns a full round discount for the youth-loving Steelers. A 4-year starter with very good length, and also technique – at least for what he’s been asked to do, which is primarily off and zone coverage. His college defense also trained him to have a horror of getting beat deep, which makes him vulnerable in the short passing game. But was it just the defense, or also some hard to see issue with his physical talents?
- CB Shakur Brown, Mich. St. (RS Junior). 5’11”, 180 lbs. Justin Layne’s college successor does not have the same length, but may have more versatility as an inside/outside cover man with good press coverage skills. The main concern is that he’s a one year wonder who only made it onto the field in 2019, and who played far better in 2020 than he did during the year before. If you go by 2020 he is a scrappy, physical player who can function in various roles, including run support despite his size. More tape would have really helped his stock, but… COVID. Here is an upbeat article with coach’s comments from after he declared in December.
- CB Thomas Graham Jr., Oregon. (Senior). 5’10½”, 193 lbs. with 31” arms. An interesting problem because he looks like he ought to be a slot Corner, but has never done it and does not display the sort of hair trigger, nervy physicality that typifies the type. He also plays a very physical, press-oriented game that suggests a beat-you-up type of player, but he is a weak tackler who opponents have targeted in the run game. As Owen Straley’s late January, gif-supported scouting report points out, this adds up to a Steven Nelson type who excels at covering receivers of all shapes and sizes but has a “great CB2” ceiling. Press man is his best game, though he’s capable enough in all techniques, but “capable” just about covers it. Not a special teams ace, not a future star, not a versatile chess piece; just an outside Corner who succeeds at the main part of his job.
- CB Nick McCloud, Notre Dame. (RS Senior). 6’0”, 192 lbs. with _____” arms. Transferred to Notre Dame for his final year of eligibility, and played well enough to get on everyone’s radar. An all around CB awaiting some focused attention from the film watchers.
- CB Bryce Thompson, Tennessee. (Junior). 5’11”, 190 lbs. A fluid, fast enough cover corner with good burst, Thompson had some early round buzz in the 2020 preseason, but also has a misdemeanor domestic assault charge on his record that led to a three week suspension. It does not sound serious, but sometimes that kind of smoke has deeper roots and it needs to be investigated. A willing tackler despite his modest size.
- CB Marco Wilson, Florida. (RS Junior). 6’0”, 190 lbs. The little brother of 2017 Round 2 bust Quincy Wilson, Marco started at Florida from day 1 as a true Freshman (2017), tore an ACL in 2018, and then came back as a starter in 2019 and 2020. He’s played both outside and in a Hiltonesque slot role. Excels as a blitzer and tackler, with great burst. No great shakes as true coverage Corner, however, particularly in press technique.
- DB Trill Williams, Syracuse. (Junior). 6’1”, 198 lbs. Known as a versatile, SPARQ-y prospect with a nose for the ball, and the talent to shift from Safety, to slot, to outside CB, but needs ever more help with his technique as you get him further away from the central part of that range. Good burst to play zone, but does he have the smooth COD skills to play outside a Seattle Cover-3 scheme that protects its Corners? Here is a January scouting profile from a site that covers his college.
- CB Thomas Graham Jr., Oregon. (Senior). 5’10½”, 193 lbs. with 31” arms. Started as a true freshman in 2017, and then achieved lights out results in 2018 and 2019 – without impressing reviewers as a true NFL athlete. His top end speed is suspect, and so is his burst. He is very sticky, however, and has the much sought fluidity in his COD. That makes him sound like a good slot corner, but despite his size he is an awful tackler. The PFN scouting profile basically pegs him as a high floor, low ceiling prospect with a Round 3-5 grade. Another Steve Nelson type?
- CB Olaijah Griffin, USC. (Junior). 6’0”, 180 lbs. A good part of Steelers Nation will object because his father is a rap producer, and there is a lingering stink from Lev Bell’s ventures in that direction, but Griffin is a pretty solid prospect for later in the draft. He’s described as a smart, physical press corner who plays with good discipline, tackles well, fights for the ball, and has plus athleticism. This goes to an upbeat 2019 article on Griffin’s comeback from a double shoulder surgery.
- CB Tre Norwood, Oklahoma. (Senior). 5’11⅞”, 192 lbs. with extremely short 29⅛” arms. A very hard player to grade. First he was known as a slick moving but badly undersized H.S. player who came to campus at 165 lbs. He got onto the field for 5 games anyway, and has now grown to a still-stringy 192. Then he shot onto the scene as a dual CB/Safety in 2018, but missed his would-be showcase year in 2019 due to a preseason, noncontact ACL tear. So 2020 was going to be big, and then… COVID. He played well anyway, but there were not many games. [Sigh]. Moves extremely well and has a nose for the football, but is severely short in the measurable length. Played both inside and outside in college, but projects best to the NFL in the slot. Here is a late January PFN scouting profile.
- CB Kelvin Joseph, Kentucky by way of LSU. (RS Sophomore). 6’1”, 191 lbs. He’s got the measurements and he’s got the SPARQ score, but there is little film on which to base a real opinion. He reportedly looked fairly good in 2020 against very good competition such as TE/WR Kyle Pitts and the Alabama legion of legends, but also looked as inexperienced in the neck up department as his 20 game career would suggest.
- DB Robert Rochell, Cen. Arkansas. (RS Senior). 5’11⅞”, 198 lbs. with long 32⅜” arms. Described as a freak athlete who should have a monstrous SPARQ score, Rochell had a tremendous 2019 season but seemed to plateau as a Corner during 2020 despite the lower level of competition. Plays a tough guy, press man style of coverage but was grabby even for college and had difficulty with the higher level of competition at the Senior Bowl. His physical traits allow for a projection to Safety if Corner does not work out. Here is a pump-you-up video scouting profile from back in September.
- CB Benjamin St. Juste, MInnesota by way of Michigan. (RS Senior). 6’3⅜”, 200 lbs. with 32” arms. Could he be a long, athletic Canadian CB to pair with last year’s Canadian WR? He certainly looked good at the Senior Bowl, but the general consensus seems to be that he fits the peculiar Seahawks-style Cover-3 system perfectly, but will struggle with COD skills when asked to play a system like Pittsburgh’s.
- CB Rachad Wildgoose Jr., Wisconsin. (Junior). 5’11”, 190 lbs. Opted out of 2020 after getting injured for game two. Looked pretty good in game 1 against the extremely athletic but very raw Illinois WR Josh Imatorbhebhe, but how much can be drawn from that alone? Reports say he had a very boom-or-bust 2019 run, with moments of greatness cancelled by some that were truly awful.
Everyone has focused on picking an offensive lineman in Round 1 of this year’s draft, and that is where I expect the team to go too, but only there are reasons why Pittsburgh could target some other position. There could be a run at the position. Or Kevin Colbert could go against his stated philosophy by trying to play the board; assuming that the sheer depth of this year’s OL class will all but guarantee a quality pick at both Tackle and Center in Rounds 2 and 3. There’s also the Steelers’ history to consider, which includes an evident reluctance to avoid Round 1 investments at the Tackle position.
If the pick doesn’t go toward the OL, the most likely alternatives have to be RB Najee Harris, or an exceptional defensive pick such as CB Jaycee Horn, ILB Zaven Collins, or maybe one of the top Edge Rushers. Maybe TE Pat Freiermuth…?
If the team does the expected and picks an OT in Round 1, the temptation to pick a Round 2 Corner could be intense. I like the prospects listed for Round 3, but there is a pretty distinct, half round drop off between the two tiers of CB’s, and it might make more sense to go with one of these players while waiting on a Center or RB. FWIW, it “feels” like there is an equally distinct, half-round step between the Round 3 and Round 4 prospects, so the same pressures will apply even more intensely if the team makes offense the focus in both of the first two rounds. [NOTE: that is based on current understanding of the consensus grades, and those are very much in flux.]
From Round 4 on things seem to descend more gradually as the physical, technical, or off field question marks get bigger. I can pretty much guarantee that this class contains some Day 3 Corners who will have long and successful careers in the NFL. It’s just going to be very hard to divide that wheat from the chaff.