The Bears' former director of college scouting, Greg Gabriel has over 30 years of experience in NFL scouting. You can follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe
Going into the Combine, it looked as of the corner class in this year’s draft would be the strongest in years. At one time it looked as if seven or eight corners could possibly be drafted in the first round. Since then there have been some injuries and other concerns that will drop some players, but I still believe that as many as six corners could go in the opening round.
Before the Combine, Florida corner Teez Tabor looked as if he would be a lock first-rounder. Then he ran the 40 and the perception of his ability changed. Looking at tape, it was thought that Tabor would run 4.50 or maybe even a little faster because he has such great quickness and suddenness. Then he ran a pedestrian 4.65. The original thought was that maybe he just had a bad day and he would run much better at the Florida Pro Day. That didn’t happen, as he ran much slower. Many scouts had him in the 4.74 range.
At that speed, he is now a tough sell to take in a premium round. Many of the press-coverage teams won’t be interested at all while some predominately zone teams may take a chance in the third round. I’d be shocked if he went any higher than the third. Corner is a stopwatch-driven position and what a player times has a lot to do with where he gets drafted.
Washington’s Sidney Jones looked like a lock top-three corner until his last drill at the Washington Pro Day. During that drill, he had the misfortune of tearing his Achilles tendon and now his draft status is up in the air.
After surgery, Jones swore that he would be ready to go by training camp. While athletes always give a positive prognosis, history tells us something different. An Achilles tear can be very difficult to come back from. Yes, many do, but many others don’t. No one is certain that Jones will come back to the same form he showed before the injury.
During meetings leading up to the draft, clubs will rely on their medical staff to give them the answers. It goes without saying that all 32 clubs will not have the same opinion and where Jones gets drafted is a bit of a wild card.
UCLA’s Fabian Moreau was a steady riser prior to his Pro Day. His tape was outstanding and then he had one of the better corner workouts at Indy. He ran 4.35 40, had a 38-inch vertical jump and an outstanding 11’4” standing long jump. He was a player that was worthy of being drafted in the 20-to-30 range of the first round.
At his Pro Day, Moreau suffered a torn pectoral muscle and had surgery shortly after. While that injury is not difficult to come back from, he will still miss time. Recovery time can be in the 5-6-month range depending on the player. Still, that means he will miss all of the offseason program and OTAs. It is also probable that he will miss at least the first few weeks of training camp and perhaps the start of the regular season.
Because of that lost time, he will most likely not get drafted in the first round. If the medical people are satisfied with his surgery recovery to date, he could still get selected in the second round.
While these three instances have hurt the top part of the draft at that position, it is still as deep a positon as there is in the draft. What changes is the order the players come off the board. There could be as many as six corners drafted in the opening round. This players are Marshon Lattimore from Ohio State, Marlon Humphrey from Alabama, Quincy Wilson from Florida, Gareon Conley from Ohio State, Kevin King from Washington and perhaps Adoree' Jackson from USC.