Scouting cornerbacks in the NFL requires evaluating a player's size, speed, agility, technique, and instincts.
Below is a list of critical components we use to grade the CB position during the NFL Draft process. Every CB receives a grade on a scale of 1-10 for each of the below components during the scouting process. Once each player component is graded, we attach a final grade to indicate where the player stands before entering the NFL Draft, and then we attach a ceiling grade based on future potential.
Here are some key factors to consider when scouting a cornerback:
Size: A cornerback needs to have size to match up against bigger receivers and tight ends. This includes their ability to generate power at the line of scrimmage and disrupt routes.
Speed and Agility: A cornerback needs to be fast and agile enough to stay with receivers in man-to-man coverage and cover a lot of ground in zone coverage. This includes their ability to change direction quickly, accelerate off the snap, and keep up with fast receivers.
Coverage Ability: A cornerback needs to cover receivers in both man-to-man and zone coverage. This includes their ability to read and react to receivers' movements, maintain tight coverage, and break up passes.
Ball Skills: A cornerback needs to have good ball skills to make interceptions and disrupt passes. This includes their ability to track the ball in the air, time their jumps, and knock the ball away from receivers.
Physicality: A cornerback must be physical enough to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage and tackle ball carriers in the open field. This includes their ability to use their hands effectively, maintain leverage, and bring down ball carriers.
Instincts: A cornerback must have strong instincts to read and anticipate routes and recognize offensive formations. This includes their ability to diagnose plays, adjust to different offensive schemes, and communicate with their teammates.
Durability: A cornerback's durability is important, as they will be taking a lot of hits and making a lot of tackles on the field. This includes their ability to stay healthy and recover quickly from injuries.
When scouting a cornerback, evaluating all of these factors and the player's overall performance on the field is essential. It's also important to consider the team's specific needs and whether the cornerback's skills and attributes match the team's defensive system and style of play. Additionally, it's essential to consider the cornerback's penalties and mental mistakes, as these can be a liability for the defense.