Comparing cornerbacks

Here are my cornerback comparisons for the upcoming draft. To read my wide receiver comparisons, click here.

Darqueze Dennard: Darrelle Revis.

Justin Gilbert: Patrick Peterson.

Kyle Fuller: Darius Slay.

Bradley Roby: Chris Culliver.

Jason Verrett: Tim Jennings.

Bashaud Breeland: Leon McFadden.

LaMarcus Joyner: Captain Munnerlyn.

Keith McGill: Chris Cook.

Stanley Jean-Baptiste: Brandon Browner.

Phillip Gaines: D.J. Hayden.

Pierre Desir: Tharold Simon.

Jaylen Watkins: Kyle Wilson.

This article has 233 Comments

  1. I’m sorry but these are ridiculously off the mark. Only comparison that is in the same ballpark is Joyner to Munnerlyn.

    1. Gilbert isn’t athletically close to Peterson, Peterson has elite hip fluidity while Gilbert’s is average at best. Gilbert is more willing in run defense as well.

      Fuller is literally on the opposite spectrum as Slay. Slay gets by with athleticism but has very poor and recognition skills while Fuller has pretty good athleticism but wins with his excellent instincts and recognition skills.

      Breeland is again, the opposite of Leon McFadden. Breeland is a big corner that wins with his length and physical play. McFadden is a small corner who gets by on his quickness and instincts

      Jean-Baptiste is big but he doesn’t play anywhere close to the physical game that Browner does. Jean-Baptiste would rather react than initiate.

      I could go on but these are the worst offenders.

      1. Breeland isn’t big or long.

        Fuller is extremely similar athletically to Slay, and both were No.2 cornerbacks in college

        1. For Breeland it is far less about his measurables and far more in how he plays. Nothing on film for him says small corner. Slay ran a 4.3 40, Fuller on his best day isn’t nearly that fast straight line. But my point on him as well is that him and Slay play like polar opposites on film. Just because they’re both ~6 foot tall corners with long arms and fluid hips does not make it a good comparison. Slay compares far more to Gilbert than Fuller, as both Slay and Gilbert rely too much on their top notch athleticism rather than footwork and instincts.

          1. I agree tkamb. Breeland plays like a big, long CB, and he looks lanky. He’s also very aggressive and has good timing making plays on the ball.

            The Fuller – Slay comparison from Grant I think is largely based on both being primarily the 2nd CB for their team. I don’t see the comparison though – Slay started for one season, while Fuller was a 4-year starter, and he was the #1 CB for VT last season with Exum injured. He was also left on an island a fair bit, and showed good skills in shutting down opposing WRs 1-on-1. When I watch him play I see a lot of similarities to Carlos Rogers in terms of versatility and good skills sticking with a receiver and getting into position to break up the pass.

            1. Fuller held up for 7 games as the No.1 CB before he got hurt and missed the rest of the season.

              Fuller isn’t nearly as quick or agile as Rogers was when he came out of Auburn.

              1. I’m basing it on how they play. When I watch Fuller he has that same ability as Rogers to stick with his receiver in man coverage and the same versatility to play the perimeter or slot. Like Rogers he’s more likely to get his hand in there to knock the ball away than come up with the INT (though I think he has better hands in general than Rogers). Also like Rogers he excelled mostly in off-man rather than press.

            2. Terrible comparison, but so is Dennard being Revis. That’s like calling Watkins, Rice. Please don’t compare players to HOF. Here is an apt comparison in terms of style and tape of Breeland, Richard Sherman. Sherman is taller, longer, but less fluid and athletic in many ways (Sherman sometimes looks a little goofy out there. Great, but goofy). Both have amazing hips and uncanny ability once ball is in the air. Breeland is literally the opposite of Culliver in that regard.

          2. Breeland is an inch taller than McFadden, but McFadden has longer arms.

            Slay is faster than Fuller, but they have almost the exact same size, length and quickness.

            1.’s Daniel Jeremiah debuted Clemson CB Bashaud Breeland at No. 42 on his Top-50 rankings.

              “Breeland is a tall, fluid cornerback with good recovery speed,” Jeremiah wrote. “He lines up as the boundary corner in Clemson’s defense. In press coverage, he uses a one-hand jam and has the quickness and agility to mirror underneath routes and the speed to carry vertical routes. In off coverage, he has plenty of burst out of his plant/drive to make plays on the ball.” The scribe notes Breeland’s propensity to gamble and think his way out of position, but believes Breeland’s closing speed generally erases his errors. Breeland is a willing run defender, but he must improve his tackling technique. Feb 10 – 8:52 PM

            2. Scouts Inc.’s Kevin Weidl does not believe Clemson CB Bashaud Breeland will make it far past the second-round.

              “Breeland has a lot of appeal as a prospect,” Weidl tweeted. “Extremely long arms, easy mover (with plus) range.” Teams will put a premium on bigger corners that can slow down their opposition with length and contend at the catch point. Our own Josh Norris prefers Breeland over Stanley Jean-Baptiste, a prospect who is more frequently discussed. Feb 8 – 10:38 AM

            3. Scouts Inc.’s Kevin Weidl called Clemson CB Bashaud Breeland an easy mover with good range.

              Weidl specifically drew attention to one play against Syracuse where Breeland located a pass and high pointed an interception while trailing the receiver. Expect the Clemson corner to receive more attention as the process goes along. He might be the best “big” corner in the class. Feb 16 – 12:43 PM

              1. Ok, DaNiners, full disclosure please:
                Are you Breeland’s Agent?
                Just kidding. He looks good; we’ll see.

        2. the big knock on Peterson coming out was his hip stiffness. There was talk of him moving to safety because of it.

        3. Breeland is 5’11 and Gilbert is 6’0, Breeland has 31.75 inch arms to Gilberts 33.25, Breeland has bigger hands. 5’11 CB’s and taller are generally considered “big” by NFL standards. Breeland is bigger in every measurable than Dennard, save height. Where they are both 5’11. In 3 years Breeland will be one of the best cover corners in league. Watched combine, watched his tape and he is more fluid, with better hips than any corner in the draft. Cant wait to have him on our team.

          1. In the 49er scheme under Donatell, “In 3 years Breeland will be one of the best cover corners in league”. I approve of this statement….

      2. tkam,
        Actually Gilbert is loaded with athleticism. His speed is undeniable. I just don’t see this fluidity thing either. At least at the combine he showed what fluidity is all about. Too me, he demonstrated the best hip movement and low position back pedal of all the other DBs at the combine. He stood out in the drills and skills. The rap that shows at times on game film is his back pedal, but even that looked to perfection in the combine.
        I personally think his problem is that he gets slightly lazy out there because his natural athleticism is so superior he can just sit back and rely on it. Instincts are sometimes lacking and a lot of that comes from film study. He also gets lazy in tackling when the target is away from him.
        He has huge potential and if that is being missed and he is falling then I hope he falls all the way to San Francisco Bay.

      1. Peterson had a -.4 grade last season against the NFC West. Only a +2.6 in the first game against SF made it even that good.

        1. Patrick Peterson is an elite corner. When you say other wise you lose any creditability. A top 5 corner no question. Carlos Rodgers graded out great as well. Does that make him a better corner then Peterson?

          1. And Carlos Rogers had a -3.0 grade on the season. It helps to know what you’re talking about before typing.

            1. Obviously you have zero clue when your talking about when it comes to corners. Patrick Peterson is no good your right! Clown.

              1. Well hammer not everyone lives at home with there mom and uses her desk top. Some people use there I phones which at times auto corrects incorrect grammer. But hey lets go back to football which you clearly lack knowledge in. It’s pretty cool that you take the time to look up meaningless statistics that you clearly rely on post after post. So I’m guessing you wouldn’t take those other 54 corners that are ranked ahead of him right? So why use those pointless statistics. Answer me this, was Arizonas defense regarded as one of the best in football before he arrived?

              2. I wish I lived with my mom, but she passed away almost 10 years ago.

                Funny thing, I use an iPad and an android and still can use proper punctuation.

              3. Hammer, I’m sorry to here that about your mom! I think those that don’t live with there parents anymore miss those times. Responsibilities suck. I try not to use English being a second language as an excuse but in reality it is.. I will work on my grammer for you hammer. You work on watching tape on Patrick Peterson.

              4. Yeah, I gave him credit for that earlier. That first game against SF was his best against any NFC West opponent.

              5. CK,

                Using Jack’s mom’s passing as an avenue to take another shot (that almost certainly isn’t based in fact, in the first place) is really bad. You should unconditionally apologize.

                There is no shame in having poor grammAr or spelling, if english really is your second language, but, please, stop with the auto-correct-on-my-iPhone-is-to-blame-for-my-misspellings nonsense. There once was a guy on here who claimed that’s what was screwing him up, too. Funny thing about auto correct, it doesn’t misspell words, that’s the point. It may insert a word you don’t want in there, but at least it spells them correctly.

                Again, really bad form bringing Jack’s mom into a discussion about a football player, even worse not letting it go, once you found out she had passed away.

              6. Ex golfer, obviously the joke I said about his mom was out of line considering that she passed away. I acknowledge that. I would never of gone there if I would of known of her passing. I used a joke that back fired. I apologize once again to jack and those I offended. As far as my grammer goes, this is not English class. We have a lot of people on this blog that spend a lot of time correcting people’s incorrect grammer instead of focusing on football. I think it’s pretty lame that people revert to that when there football knowledge gets critiqued.

              7. EX / CK,

                Let’s drop it.

                I don’t have a problem with anyone disagreeing with me, no matter how wrong they are.

                I also don’t have a problem with anyone using incorrect grammar, though it is quite funny to see it happen when they are calling someone else a clown. **See your earlier comment trying to rip CFC**

              8. CK, I have to agree with Hammer here. I was not impressed with Peterson play last year! He is playing with a very good defense and still gave up some big plays. I guess its all matter of opinion. GO NINERS

            2. Jack Hammer,

              The same ProFootballFocus you cited ranked Patrick Peterson 5th in the NFL in coverage for starting cornerbacks in 2013 with 14.1 snaps as primary man in coverage per reception.

              Top 5 in coverage is not elite?

              To prove that I am not merely cherry picking a (highly relevant) statistic, let us rely on a more qualitative and holistic measure, such as the NFL Top 100. The NFL Top 100 is an annual list that features the top one hundred players in the NFL, as chosen by fellow NFL players. The rankings are based on an off-season poll organized by the NFL, whereby players vote on their peers based on the performance of the previous season and their belief of how the player will perform in the coming season. Patrick Peterson was ranked the #1 cornerback and #33 player overall.

              #1 cornerback is not elite?

              Patrick Peterson is also a 2-time AP First-Team All-Pro (2011, 2013), and he has been in the league for only 3 years.

              Being an all-pro 67% of one’s career is not elite?

              Patrick Peterson is a 3-time Pro Bowl (2011, 2012, 2013), every year he has been in the league.

              Being a Pro Bowler 100% of one’s career is not elite?

              The criteria used for the foregoing accolades/achievements are the very definition of elite.

              You may disagree with current NFL players (NFL Top 100), the national panel of media members of the Associated Press (AP First-Team All-Pro), coaches, players, and fans (Pro Bowl), and highly relevant statistics (ProFootballFocus), but what is the probability that a player that is not elite would manage to receive all those accolades/achievements and universal praise, all of which happens to be supported by statistics?

              Yes, Jack Hammer, it does help to know what you are talking about before typing. Maybe you should stop typing then.

              1. 007,

                You’re right, ranking 5th in cover snaps per reception is impressive, as is ranking 3rd in cover snaps per target. Then you realize that he also finished tied for 4th in TD’s allowed to go along with giving up the 55th best QB ranking.

                The cover snaps per reception and target rankings aren’t surprising. The Arizona secondary was not very good, and became even worse once Mathieu was injured. Why throw at Peterson when you can easily pick on Jerraud Powers? Being the best player on a bad team doesn’t make you elite.

                I don’t put a lot of value in postseason accolades. They are all popularity contests and say very little about how a player performed.

                Peterson made splash plays as a rookie with punt returns for touchdowns and that is what people remember. Unfortunately those punt returns have nothing to do with his play as a cornerback.

              2. I agree with Jack. I don’t consider him elite either, in the sense of a shut down corner. I think he’s good and will likely continue to improve and could possibly reach that point.

            3. Jack,
              In fairness, I think that if Patrick Peterson was on a different defense his pass defense rating would be much better.
              But if not then maybe Grant’s comparison of Gilbert tp Peterson is spot on. Like Gilbert, Peterson has the athleticism. If he is not getting the job done then maybe it is a lack of instincts or other less tangibles. That then sounds pretty close to Gilbert to me.

              1. And I am talking about the backfield D especially after Matheiu was unavailable in the nickel.

        2. Peterson had a +9.3 grade in 2012 and gave up a 64.8 passer rating — 9th-best in 2012. He’s 7 months older than Pierre Desir.

    1. I like the Peterson comparison because of the similar size/speed and return ability. I also like the Byron Maxwell comparison for Gilbert. Similar size, speed and length.

      1. I will tell you what, if Gilbert is anything close to Peterson I m all for trading up for him. I m not a fan of picking a corner in rnd 1 but if he is Patrick Peterson sign me up.

        1. CK,
          I would agree if Gilbert falls as latest story line has him doing. If he falls to mid 20s then make the move. I would not want to give away too much as there is some reasons for his roller coaster ride to draft day.

    1. I agree Mid West, If true then give everything away to climb up above 10 to get this guy. Eeyuk what a gynormous gamble.

  2. Grant, you’ve probably answered this question, but how much of these comparisons are purely physical and how much are projections in terms how good you think each prospect will be?

  3. Not a complete list, but some potential comparisons for some of the CBs:

    Darqueze Dennard: Joe Haden
    Kyle Fuller: Carlos Rogers
    Bradley Roby: Chris Culliver
    Jason Verrett: Brandon Flowers
    Bashaud Breeland: Casey Hayward
    LaMarcus Joyner: A smaller, slower, Troy Polamalu
    Stanley Jean-Baptiste: Trumaine Johnson
    Pierre Desir: Bradley Fletcher

      1. I’m really struggling to come up with a comparison for Justin Gilbert. Physically I think he’s quite similar to Dee Milliner from last year, but they play very differently. He plays like he thinks he is Deion Sanders.

    1. Two guys I like as middle round picks :Walt Aikens-compares to Keenan Lewis,and Philip Gaines -compares to Josh Robinson.

      1. I’m a little worried about the reports regarding Aikens character and arrest for theft. I think without that he’d be a solid mid-round pick.

        Phillip Gaines – comparison to Josh Robinson. How so? That’s not really high praise as Robinson has been pretty awful for the Vikings.

  4. While on the CB subject I thought it would be interesting to look at a ranking versus reality. Im not picking on walterfootball here but they are nice enough to offer what their ’13 positions rankings were so they get picked. The names on the left are the rankings and the names on the right are the order in which the players were taken;

    Milliner(top 16) – MIlliner 1#9
    Rhodes – Hayden
    Trufant – Trufant
    Taylor – Rhodes
    Hayden – Slay
    Banks – Banks
    WrenWilson – Amerson
    Alford – Taylor
    Amerson – Alford
    Slay –

    The #11 ranked player on the list was drafted #5 and the #7 ranked player went #13. The #2 rated player didn’t get selected until pick 25. The 4th ranked player was taken #8 against his peers. If I had easy access to more prior player rankings I bet I can find even more discrepancies of this nature. FFT as you line up those players in your mocks to make sure they make sense with their “rankings.”

    1. BTW McGill is the #7 or #8 rated CB depending on which list you check and I took him #4 against his peers. How much of a stretch is that really when you look at how players go versus their pre draft rankings in the real world?

    2. I don’t think this is fair, I have Bruce Ellington as my 6th best WR prospect in this class, that doesn’t mean I think he’ll be the 6th receiver off the board. I have Gilbert as the 3rd or 4th corner, doesn’t mean I think he won’t be the first one selected.

        1. Nah, for example the analysts who have Bridgewater as their top ranked QB but have Bortles going to the Texans #1 overall are too numerous to count. Mock drafts are for predicting draft order, big boards/player rankings are for evaluating talent.

          1. You can argue until your fingers bleed on the keyboard but it won’t make you anymore more correct. The point of ranking players is to suggest what order amongst their peers they will be drafted, maybe YOU have your own reasons for making player rankings but for everybody else they’re to demonstrate the potential draft order of that position.

            1. I would have to disagree on this Coffee, if only slightly.

              How teams rank players will vary greatly depending on scheme and fit.

              A team like the Bucs could care less if a player is awesome in man Coverage, as they are moving back to the tampa two zone concept. So thier ratings will differ from a draft prognosticators who are they rating players overall, not by scheme and fit.

              Mock drafts should however take into account team needs, and how a player will fit with thier scheme.

            2. Not trying to argue with you, just trying to inform. Lets take two hypothetical prospects say CB #1 is a near complete prospect, he’s got lock down potential as a man corner but isn’t adept in zone coverage yet while we have CB#2 who is an inferior prospect but really excels in zone coverage already. If the top 15 teams all play zone and pick CB #2 first does that mean he’s suddenly a better player than CB #1? Of course not. Ask nearly every draftnik if their rankings are predictions or evaluations and they will say the latter.

              1. No one on here is wrong more often then me so I’ll leave this open to personal interpretation, for me and my understanding of it the point of ranking players is to suggest the order in which you believe they will be taken. I also believe most people on here make their rankings with this thought in mind, maybe I’m wrong.

              2. CFC,

                I agree with Tkamb. Ranking players and where they will be drafted are two different things. We all know teams say they will draft BPA but really draft for need. That means the best player often falls in favor of a player that suits a given teams needs.

              3. Yep, agree with tkamb and rocket – the rankings on draft boards are evaluations, not projections of where they will be picked. This is why these sites will have a big board AND mock drafts, and the mock drafts don’t always tie in with the rankings.

              4. I found it very interesting that gives number rankings for each prospect and their WR rankings go Watkins 7.0 Benjamin 6.4 Lee 6.2. Yet the highest I’ve seen Benjamin “mocked” is 28. Stuff like that makes me think that Benjamin goes higher than expected.

                I also love the scouting reports that contradict each other. One report for Richardson lists “can track ball over head” as a strength but then says “doesn’t track ball over head as well as he should” as a weakness. Seriously, you couldn’t make up your minds on that one?

              5. Well I’ve discovered 4 sites who’s ranking match their mocks, 2 sites that don’t but specfiy that their rankings are not supposed to match draft order and three sites that don’t match and don’t specify.

                I guess it’s to each their own.

  5. Some actual analysis would be nice rather than just randomly throwing names next to other names. Typical article by a Cohn – trying to make big splashes without any logic to back it up.

  6. The comparisons make for interesting blog fodder, but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if a player not mentioned on this list and is drafted on day 3 emerges to become better than the usual suspects Grant list’s above.

    It’s all pretty much a crap-shoot with these players until about a year or two down the road.

      1. Hammer,
        Cully’s cover skills really aren’t that bad.
        He seems to do a good job shadowing the WR. It’s his failure to react on the play when the ball reaches the WR that is scary.
        That is a recipe for disaster.

    1. Every player has bad tape. I don’t care who it is. I can find bad tape of Dennard, or Gilbert, of Watkins, of Lee. These guys aren’t robots…he could have been up late the night before.

    2. I think we have different perspectives on what is meant by ‘giving up’ plays. On most of those plays that Greene makes, Breeland appears to be playing zone coverage (playing FS at times), and Greene simply finds and sits in the soft spot in the zone. Good play by him, but harsh to blame Breeland for it.

      What he does very poorly in that game is lunge at Greene when trying to make a tackle (again, after Greene sits in the soft spot of the zone coverage and Breeland rushes forward to try and limit the gain), which led to a Greene TD. He also has a blatant PI on a deep pass where he let Greene get a step on him in man coverage. It was a bad day for Breeland, but he didn’t get beat as often as you have made it out to be.

  7. I think it would be useful for you to put projected round next to these prospects. I just don’t see the 9ers using their first round pick on a CB. I can see them going CB in the 2nd or 3rd though. Which players on this list are projected to be in rounds 2-5?

    I could see the 9ers going after Stanley Jean-Baptiste. In which round is he projected to be drafted?

    1. BeeRows quotes a source that lists the top five above as 1st rounders and Watkins, Desir, Baptiste, EJ Gaines, Breeland in the 2nd with McGill as 2-3. Thought it was kind of interesting.

  8. Gil Brandt ‏@Gil_Brandt 9m
    WR Allen Robinson having big day at #PennState pro day. 42 VJ, 11 BJ, sub-4.5 40. Stock will be up after today. #NFLDraft

    Numbers are huge for him.

    1. Very good prospect. I can’t believe he doesn’t get more hype. Maybe this pro day will put him in the spotlight some.

      1. He has his issues but they’re mostly fixable and he’s only 20 years old, still like him in the late 1st/early 2nd. Big guys with his quick feet are pretty rare.

        1. Yeah, I had him as my #2 WR in my pre-combine rankings, and I’m still liking him as a top 5 receiver in this draft.

          The quick feet you mention is exactly why I rate him so highly. It is very rare for a big guy to move so well in tight spaces. Especially one that also knows how to use his size and play like a big-bodied WR.

          1. Robinson also will be only 21 years old his rookie year and had his breakout year at 19. There is a theory out there that predicts NFL success for WRs who score well on three factors: age upon entry to the NFL (younger is better), age of breakout year in college (younger is better) and percentage of college team’s passing yards and TDs (higher % is better).

            Robinson would seem to score pretty well in each of those categories.

  9. In considering the various rankings of players by teams (notwithstanding draftniks), it may be helpful to remember last year, a bit after the draft, a story broke where somebody analyzed footage of an interview of JJ with his Big Board behind him. It’s your basic ego-driven security failure, but beyond that it showed that his rankings of players was Very different than media consensus, or apparently by other teams based on how the players were drafted. The CB Banks from Miss. I recall he had lower than most. Some is obviously system fit, but it’s also just opinion.

    1. ‘In considering the various rankings of players by teams (notwithstanding draftniks), it may be helpful to remember last year, a bit after the draft, a story broke where somebody analyzed footage of an interview of JJ with his Big Board behind him. It’s your basic ego-driven security failure, but beyond that it showed that his rankings of players was Very different than media consensus, or apparently by other teams based on how the players were drafted. The CB Banks from Miss. I recall he had lower than most. Some is obviously system fit, but it’s also just opinion.’
      I remember that.
      The most important thing to keep in mind though is that Jones, whilst certainly a beloved owner, is a lousy GM.
      No doubt he had MUCH to do with those player evaluations.
      At least that was the consensus from the Draft-saavy media at the time.
      I mean, how else can we explain the Frederick pick…?

      1. Ha! Panic, I’d say. The (unconfirmed) spin after the draft went like this:
        JJ traded with SF because he thought he could get Eric Reid at 31 and Frederick in the second. He needed a center to stabilize his line.
        Then Sf took Reid. Doh! When 31 came around JJ takes Frederick. He actually played pretty well.
        I read that speculation maybe a couple of times and then not again, so we have to take all that with a grain of salt.

  10. Tuesday morning day off mock with middle round CB picks: (1) we luck into Marqise Lee-WR an auspicious start;(2)Carlos Hyde RB big bang back to complement Lattimore as our future backfield; (2A) yes you guessed it Donte Moncrief WR dynamic fast young kid to stretch the field-Lee and Moncrief spells danger(well figuratively speaking);(3) Travis Swanson C-swag;(3a)Philip Gaines CB-stock rising -Josh Robinson mold;(3B)Craig Loston -S, Reids stablemate pairs up in a year or two;(4)Carlos Fields-LB hits like a brick wall;(5) Walt Aikens nice big CB our Keenan Lewis(6)traded;(7)Brandon Thomas OL-recent ACL tear brings him to zombie red shirt zone for a year;(7a)Trey Millard TE/FB another red shirt ;(7b)and last but not least Aaron Colvin-CB another red shirt gem for storing!

    1. Nice one hightop – I also think the 49ers may just look at CB a little later than most are thinking. That would be a very nice haul. Love the Brandon Thomas inclusion – but will his draft stock fall that far I wonder?

      1. Thanks Scooter,some luck would be involved here particularly with Marqise and Thomas picks but just checked CBS draft site and they are within their estimations as well so really not alone in those guesses,who knows really but there you have my. current stab at it!

  11. B/R article today titled: “Who are the experts predicting to the 49ers in the first round of the NFL draft”, Marquise Lee gets a called “terrible pick” amongst other far from positive statements about his skills and potential. “Stock plummeting”, “should go in 2nd round”, “doesn’t possess great size or impressive speed”, “a player with too many question”,
    etc., etc., Don’t shoot the messenger guys, I’m just relaying this Bleacher Report from some so called “experts” from CBS Sports and

    1. The thing I found most interesting in that article were the comments about Lee’s style of play not really fitting the 49ers need at WR. As they point out, he’s at his best being given the ball in space with running room. Kaep’s not the best at hitting guys in stride on shorter patterns – he’s better throwing the intermediate and deep routes. And they already have guys that can fill this role in Crabtree and to a lesser extend Boldin.

        1. Good take. I’d be happy with Lee, but I do think he’d be a better fit in a different offense that will make better use of his run-after-catch ability.

    2. Bar None:

      Those negative comments you refer to came from the author of the B/R piece, Dylan DeSimone. The CBS Sports and personnel mentioned at the top of the article didn’t say anything negative about Lee; they were the ones predicting the 49ers would draft Lee.

      And DeSimone is not an expert. He’s barely a journalist; he writes for B/R.

  12. Claude,

    After going back to read the article again I see I misinterpreted the placement of the “experts” names at the top of the article. You are correct, those opinions are only those of the B/R articles’ author and not those of the aforementioned “experts”. That said, I still was surprised to see so much negativity directed at Marquise Lee. Matt Miller (also of B/R but a well known name in NFL writing circles) jumps aboard the hate train to a degree too, with some negative stats about Lee’s drop rates. Say what you will about B/R, it carries a bit more respectability around the country than “Inside the 49ers” by Grant Cohn does.

    1. BR does not hold out for professional writers. They are guys from fan sites or who are trying to break into the biz which is why you should take anything reported from them with a grain of salt.

  13. Grant, thanks for engaging us in football conversation since its nothing happening right now. I just was wondering how do you base your player comparison! is it based on their physical measurables, college performance or style of play? I just cant see the Dennard comparison vs. Revis! thanks for sharing your insight.

  14. Razor,
    The article you posted the link to (also B/R) was a much more persuasive take on Lee’s positives or upside than the article I referred was persuasive on trying to point out any potential negatives. I like the positive report a lot more and I think the Niners would be lucky to get Marquis Lee. Aint it funny though how you can get two such widely varied takes on the same player from the same source (B/R)?

    1. Good article thanks.

      I’m a huge Cooks fan… I now live in Oregon and watched a lot of his play last year. I agree with the author, he a better prospect then T. Austin. I was living in DC a little over a year ago and watch a lot of WV. Also Geno Smith and S. Bailey played a rival HS of mine (obviously much younger then me :)) so really focused on their play (FYI disappointed in Geno, also I think he is out of the league in 5 years) .

      Nonetheless, I believe Austin will become a serious problem for the Niners in the future. With that I believe Cooks is a better all around WR. I suspect he goes before the upside of OBJ. Cooks is what the Niners need to stress the Seahawks and Cards. There is no substitute for speed, especially when you add the unquestionable productivity he had in the pac12.

      Regarding M. Lee, if he goes to a team with a decent QB (, he will be the next Reggie Wayne. If he gets over the injury he will play with a chip on the shoulder about how he fell off, how he was slow, how all these other WRs were taken before him and how USC WRs under perform… that is the type of furious production I want on my team.

      Niners should: trade up for Cooks or Lee if the price is right. Then select another WR in the second like the cat from Fresno or the Vandy kid everyone is blabbing about… then fill in solid CBs and pass rush talent.

      Resign J. Goodwin if you are scared Kilgore is not the answer but don’t use a 1-3 round pick on a center for heaven sake…. maybe a G if the talent if there in the third, but this draft is too deep at skilled position.

    2. thank you so much for posting this article. I love this type of comparisons based on measurable data. Man i can not wait until the draft.

    3. Good stuff.
      What many people tend to forget these days is that in the pro’s you have defensive players who are generally bigger than WR’s almost running as fast.
      The 40 yrd sprint, which has been the staple of the NFL combine for years is no longer the measuring stick for finding talent imo.

      A small WR should have a combination of speed and even as important, quickness. Speed will help him outrun some CB’s, but quickness will keep him from getting jammed at the LOS and from taking a massive hit.

      On the other hand, being a larger WR with speed does not guarantee instant success either, just ask Terrell Sinkfield who is a bit bigger than 6′ and 200 lbs. This guy was timed at an unofficial 4.1 in the 40 and still couldn’t break into a poorest Bill’s line-up.

      It comes down to this: Size (and combine numbers) will not always be the dictating factor in the NFL. Either you know how to play or you don’t.
      With this new crop of talented players coming into the pro’s this year we’ll soon know who these real players will be/are.

      1. @AES

        “Either you know how to play or you don’t.”

        There it is!
        I’d add… you have the work ethic and self-evaluation/honesty to continue to improve your game… What are you doing to adjust to the NFL speed?, Get off Jams if that is your issue or find ways to set DBs up for separation. Not all DBs fall for the same tricks so you need to study film understand your weekly opponent and implement a plan to get open

  15. Grant and others, of these three simlar WRs which one would you want at pick 30? Lets assume they got no offers to tade down and that they don’t like any DBs. 1. Allen Robinson, 2. Cody Latimoe, 3. Devonte Adams?

    1. Latimore seems to have all of the momentum right now. He ran a 4.38 at his Pro Day. Adams ran a 4.47 at his Pro Day.

      1. Latimore does seem to have all of the momentum. Robinson did until the combine but he could be on the rise since he reportedly ran a sub 4.5 40 at his pro day. Adams seems like Crabtree 2.0. If they think they can’t resign Crabs they could go with Adams for to replace him.

        1. I think Adams is faster than Crabrtee and can’t break tackles as well as Crabtree. Adams reminds me of Hakeem Nicks.

          1. Until his pro day sprint, I didn’t think Adams was fast enough to compare to Hakeem, but maybe. There’s also that hard-to-define “field speed” that they’ll see on tape.
            These comparisons are tricky, it reminds me of the vernacular of the wine business. On the surface such terms as minerality or the taste refererences to tobacco, melon, citrus seem stilted and odd, but when you surrender to those terms they become a reference point for description of subtleties. But they’re still subject to interpretation of the reader.

              1. I haven’t watched enough tape, but could be. Slow old DC could pull away downfield. I’m coming to think that the term speed has a lot of layers. The splits in 40 times speak to that.

            1. Brotha,
              Speaking of field speed. Did you catch KY9ers take last week regarding Jordan Matthews?

              KY said that he caught quite a few of JM’ games in college and commented that JM does not seem to play at his 4.4 speed.
              That is an alarming factor as well as a red flag for me.

              Jerry Rice was the exact opposite. Rice had pedestrian 40 yd dash numbers but played much faster on the field.

              1. Brotha, when watching Jordan Matthews he doesn’t look to be a 4.46s player until he gets deep.

                He’s a real build up speed type of guy. He doesn’t have great acceleration or suddenness in his movement. But once he gets going he’s hard to catch from behind.

      1. I know you said no trade downs but any one of these guys would be overdrafted at 30. I’d look at DL if you were faced with no other WR’s or CB’s.

        1. Rocket,
          This creates a good question for Grant to throw at us all in future.
          To trade down or not to trade down that is the?
          My take:
          First –if the offer is to good to pass then make the trade for those picks in 2015.

          Second– my read is that there are 26 blue chippers (first rounder worthy) players here. Depending on what happens upstream especially concerning QBs then one of them could fall to 30. Then Niners grab that player.

          Third — The blue chip 26 are followed by at least 5 questionable 1rst round worthies such as DT Nix, DE Murphy and Martin, guards Martin and Richardson, WRs Cooks, Landry, Mathews, OLB Shazier, CB Jason Verrett. (that is more than 5 so pick your favs.)

          So my point is that you sit at 30 and see who drops all the while keeping an ear to the phone for the cries of the desperate, because chances are sitting on it will one way or another bring its worth or better.

    2. I like Robinson, but I can’t help thinking that when they re-signed Boldin they covered possession receiver and implied a need for a speedy guy to stretch coverage. Patton is the back-up & future Z.
      The closer we get the more info overload and the less clue I have as to what they’re going to do. Also, this draft makes it hard to mock with somewhat equivilent talent at a number of positions.

  16. An interesting QB comparison…

    “Alex Smith vs … Colin Kaepernick

    OF COURSE I’m saving this one for last! Controversy! Drama! Harbaugh! $20 million dollars a year! Let’s look at the stats…

    : 58.4%, 7.69 YPA, 21 TDs, 8 INTs, 524 rushing yards (5.7 YPC), 4 rushing TDs

    : 60.6%, 6.52 YPA, 23 TDs, 7 INTs, 431 rushing yards (5.7 YPC), 1 rushing TD

    Smith is more accurate, Kap throws for more YPA. Same efficiency running the ball. Who do you take? I have no idea what the tiebreaker here should be.

    I do know that third down and the fourth quarter is where QBs make their money. Looking at their splits, both are impressive on third down QB rating-wise, but Kap is superior on third down overall. Both have their ratings go down in the fourth quarter, but Smith’s is significantly higher there. Again, all tied up. These two seem determined to be as statistically equivalent as possible.

    Third and long is the last split I’m going to check before calling it a dealer’s choice. If third down is the money down for QBs, thirrd and long is the BIG money down. The stakes don’t get higher. Third down with nine-plus yards to go … You’re not going to believe this; they both have 51 attempts in that situation. Unreal.

    : 64.7%, 10.41 YPA, 4 TDs, 1 INT

    : 58.8%, 6.92 YPA, 1 TD, 1 INT

    I’m calling it. Every other advantage has been small for either player. This one? Not even close. Maybe what the Chiefs need to do to open up the offense this season is tell Smith that it’s always third and long. Couldn’t hurt.”

    1. Fascinating. Smith keeps improving. Last season his passer rating on third-and-11-or-more was 133.6, his completion percentage was 72.4 percent, and his YPA was 11.6.

      No longer Captain Checkdown.

          1. From my perspective (hindsight # 1), the move to KC was a godsend for A.Smith because he does not to look over his shoulder as would have likely been the case if he were still a 49er.
            Hindsight # 2. The move has worked out pretty darn good for both teams.

    2. Jack:

      Why do you want to rile up the fanboys? Are you bored?

      Do you have a link to the article?

      Did the author switch the order for the presentation of the 3rd and long stats? The presentation of the initial stats had Kaepernick first and Smith second, but for the 3rd and long stats, it looks like he put Smith’s stats first and Kaepernick’s second. Do I have that correct?

      1. That threw me off, too. But I looked it up. Surprisingly, Smith was the one who dominated on third-and-long last season.

    3. Numbers aside I really don’t think there’s much of a comparison when discussing talent… yes they put up similar statistics but anyone with eyes could see that Alex is inferior player when discussing talent. Colin is trending upward (though certain writers would disagree). He is at the beginning of his career and should continue to improve and tap into his talent. And Alex is….well he’s Alex…this is it for him.

      On that note I am glad Alex has found success and I hope he continues to find it….he’s a great guy.

      Great research though Jack.

    4. Alex Smith Lives on!

      I don’t know why this continues to be brought up, well I do, but it’s tiresome. However the easy answer here is that Alex Smith is a good QB who once given quality Coaching and solid foundational support, flourished like the player he was projected to be the year he was drafted first overall. That seems to get lost in the layers of criticism dumped on him over the years. The biggest difference is Kap has achieved the level Smith has in a year and half as a starter.

      Smith is still ascending even at 30, but so is Kap with more ceiling due to his physical ability. Both should be making in the 16-18 mill neighborhood when it’s all said and done.

        1. Thanks Leo.

          While I see Kap as having more upside than Smith, I also was a proponent of Smith while others were ripping him as a bust. For any player to succeed he has to have good Coaching and players around him. Smith had neither for the first 6 years of his career, had a revolving door of OC’s and also had the misfortune of suffering severe shoulder injuries which held him back for awhile. What people tend to forget is that he actually started to show a glimpse of what he could do before Harbaugh even arrived. He replaced Shaun Hill about 5 games in after recovering from the second shoulder surgery and threw 18TD’s. The next season was a disaster for many reasons and ultimately led to Singletary’s firing, but Smith started figuring it out and then flourished under Harbaugh. It should be no surprise that he is still improving under another great QB Coach in Reid. He’s always had the talent and mental toughness/determination; he just didn’t have anything else to help him until Harbaugh showed up.

        1. The point is that Kap is just starting out. Alex is 30 and has been is this league how long now 9-10 yrs and is barely now “finding himself”. Kap has been in this league for 3 and only 1.5 yrs starting and is already at Smith’s level.

          Age aside, the comment was geared toward experience.

          Plus 3.5 yrs means a lot in football yrs….its like dog year lol

          1. It was amazing how quickly one could “find himself” once the team actually was given a decent coach.

              1. Disdain is a strong word claude…lol

                Actually I’ve always liked Alex since he was drafted and pulled for him year after year and was even sad to see him go…but I’m excited for the future with Kap

                I just think its funny people continue to compare the 2 and only look at the number as opposed to the obvious

              2. “I just think its funny people continue to compare the 2 and only look at the number as opposed to the obvious”

                Completely agree with this. It’s interesting how so many folks forget how poor the coaching staff was during the Nolan/Singletary days.

              3. Yes Jack that….and the fact that Colin’s ceiling is extremely higher than Alex’s ever has been at any point in his career….especially now

                That’s all i’m arguing…..never more

              4. The whole ceiling/floor argument will be settled on the field. So far it’s a dead heat.

          2. Leo, well said! 3.5years of more experience in any sport is a life time. I do not believe you are hating but just making a good point. I supported smith when he was our QB and wished him success but at this point CK has much more potential to become a great QB.

      1. The number rarely stated is A.Smith’ number 1 overall draft pick compared to Kaep’s 2nd rd selection but hey, who really cares about that since AS gets a free pass for all the torture he endured pre-Harbaugh.

        I’d rather play with the cards in my hand than continue to wallow over someone else’s hand.
        OABTW, if rooting for my QB makes me a fanboy, than by all means put it up on the marquee with full lights because I’ll wear it proudly!

    5. When we talk about this comparison and if the 49ers should have kept Smith we CONTINUALLY forget that Smith has a salary of 9.5 million dollars. If the team kept Smith then the 49ers have no cap space to trade for and take on Boldin’s $6.5 million contract. Now I ask you all, would you rather have had Alex Smith as your starting QB with no Crabtree for most of the year or Collin Kaepernick and Anquan Boldin? IMO the 49ers don’t make the playoffs if they don’t trade Smith.

      1. In terms of total sacks taken, it was a tie: 39 to 39.

        However, Smith threw significantly more often than Kaepernick (508 passing attempts to 416). On a per drop back basis, Smith was sacked on 7.1% of his dropbacks (39/547), while Kaepernick was sacked on 8.6% of his dropbacks (39/455).

        I don’t have numbers on how many times either of them dropped back to pass and then took off running to avoid the sack. I assume Kaepernick did that more often than Smith, so the difference between the two would shrink, but not disappear. Slight edge to Smith.

        You have to start doing your own homework.

  17. Jarvis Landry ran a 7.43 3-cone at his Pro Day. That is embarrassing. I really like him on tape but I wouldn’t take him before the third now.

    1. Wow. Love the kid’s toughness and savvy, but at under 6’0″ you want to see more athleticism than that. Heck, even at over 6’0″ you want to see more athleticism than that!

      1. It really is head scratching to see numbers that bad when on the field, he looks like a first rounder at times, and a second rounder at worst.

        Landry made a lot of plays during his time at LSU. I guess he’s what we often refer to as a gamer. Numbers aren’t great, doesn’t practice well and then is a star when the lights are on. I’d still take him on day two. Sometimes you have to forget the track times and let the game tape speak for itself.

        1. I’m on a road trip using iPhone, so not doing research, but I wonder what John Lynch’s numbers were from the combine back then? Not a super athletic maybe, but the guy you want back there.

    2. I like a comparison I saw to Kendall Wright…. I think he will be a good player….never a star or a #1, but definitely a contributor

    3. Landry’s pro day #s:

      40 – 4.58s
      20 yard shuttle – 4.55s
      60 yard shuttle – 12.14s
      3 cone – 7.41s
      Broad – 113″
      Vertical – 30.5″

      All of those numbers are terrible. I knew from reading various reports people weren’t expecting him to post good numbers, but those really are very bad.

      At what point do you disregard film and start judging him on how he will translate to the NFL athletically? He’s a tough one to grade right now.

      1. It’s tough to overlook some of those numbers, but as I said above, game tape has to be the main source of information imo. Boldin is a clear example of why you can’t focus too much on the testing. I think Landry will drop to the 3rd, and if so, he’d be a good risk at that point.

          1. He very well could Razor and if so, that compensatory at #100 would be a great value for him.


            No doubt the numbers are bad and while Boldin was bigger and stronger, the speed was about the same, and I think Landry is the better route runner at the respective stage of their College careers. The bottom line for me is the guy made plays. Slow as molasses and yet there he is game after game wide open beating DB’s in the SEC. For a 3rd round pick, I’m willing to overlook the measurements in favor of what I saw on Saturdays.

            1. Definitely worth taking at some point, but in a draft loaded with receiver talent I wouldn’t feel comfortable using higher than a late 3rd rounder on him.

              As razor said, he could be a guy that tumbles a fair bit. And as you suggest, he could then be a guy that makes a lot of talent evaluators feel pretty silly for questioning his ability.

        1. I completely agree that game tape should be the main source of information. I’m just wondering at what point you look at his measurables and start believing he won’t be able to make the transition to the NFL?

          Boldin is the guy people use as the case for Landry, but he’s bigger than Landry and actually put up better numbers. I can’t think off the top of my head any receiver in the NFL with as unimpressive measurables. Maybe Davone Bess?

  18. Great Stuff!

    Real excited. But then I remember how much of a pain it is to watch a Harbaugh preseason game… Very vanilla and run-heavy and almost zero Kaepernic.

    But hey football’s football

  19. As per Matt Barrows, 49ers were not well represented at the LSU pro day (only sent one scout), much like last year… before taking Eric Reid.

    1. @SiriusXMNFL: #LSU WR Odell Beckham tells us he met w/ #49ers, dinner with #Steelers & going to visit #Bills Thursday

        1. “LSU WR Odell Beckham had 7 reps of 225 pounds at combine. A.J. Jenkins, whose strength has been an issue, had 12 reps at 2012 combine”

          1. The day WRs start running with their arms I’ll worry about the bench press score.

            Beating the jam for a smaller receiver is all about good foot work and core body strength, not arm strength (or arm endurance).

            1. Yeah finishing tied for the 2nd fewest among wide receivers who lifted at the combine is nothing to worry about.

              1. Whichever team drafts Beckham will be pretty disappointed when they figure out they’d be better off benching him in the red zone.

  20. dude this is truly sad……comparing players based on height, weight…etc ……looks like you are still far away from puberty…..

    1. This is why you take all of this analysis with a grain of salt. With so much time between the end of the season and the draft, even the pros change their minds repeatedly over the course of the offseason.

      Roby at #15? Dennard to the Niners at #30? Why? What exactly has happened in the past few weeks to make Roby’s inconsistency disappear and Dennard to develop enough cracks in his game to warrant a fall to 30? I am a big Roby fan and would love to see him go to the Niners at 30, but he doesn’t come without some risk. Dennard is probably the safest CB pick in the draft.

      Too much time to think for these guys.

      1. I dig on Roby too
        Iggy compares him to Culliver but Roby is a much stronger kid and actually has ball skills.
        And again with the huge-hands thing…he’s got MITTS!
        Any idea what his 3-cone was?

          1. That’s a very repectable time.
            I dunno what the average this year was but it can’t be far off from that mark.
            I like this kid; it seems like he does it all.
            His film makes him appear in the right place at the right time most of the time.
            And his frame looks like he can add some bulk.
            He even blocks punts dude!

          1. So, you’re saying the 49es should draft Roby to replace Culliver, right?

            How does Roby feel about gay teammates in the locker room?

          2. ‘Roby seems to have trouble turning and finding the ball when it’s in the air, like Culliver.’
            If that’s truly a comparison (I don’t watch a ton of game tape) then it’s one of few.
            Roby’s production was far superior.

      2. Dennard is set to visit the Rams on Thursday and then the Bengals and Jets next week. A report surfaced yesterday which said the NFL was not as high on Dennard’s talent as the media is, so there is a chance the veteran corner could be selected in the second-round. Dennard excels in press coverage and staying physical with receivers throughout their route.

        Source: Gil Brandt on Twitter

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