The Rivals.com recruiting experts have broken down countless hours of film and racked up plenty of frequent flyer miles to see the top prospects compete at events across the country to come up with the most extensive and accurate prospect rankings and evaluations you will find. In the process of evaluating overall talent, several prospects gained notice for their mastery of specific skills.
Today we rank the top five cornerback prospects in five categories. Five-star Patrick Johnson is so dominant, it is almost a surprise when he is not at the top of a list.
Jeremy Crabtree's take: To be a big-time cornerback, you have to have speed, and that's what this group brings to the table. They not only have the track-type speed, but they have great ability to translate their quickness to the football field.
Mike Farrell's take: Monroe can flat out fly as one would expect from a track star. These other guys can move as well, but Monroe is in a class of his own.
JC Shurburtt's take: Speed is perhaps the most important thing for a cornerback, in particular the ability to turn and run. I have seen Harris and Hester and Hester is a tick faster, so I have to question that, but both can move.
Crabtree's take: Johnson is without question the best in my opinion, but also watch out for Hester. He's just so deadly going up and getting the football, making adjustments and just making the key plays when the ball in the air. He's very adept at making things happen once the quarterback releases the ball.
Farrell's take: Patrick Johnson is a unanimous selection at the top for best ball skills. He has receiver-like hands and ability to adjust to the ball.
Shurburtt's take: Johnson without a doubt has some of the best ball skills I have ever seen in a cornerback.
Crabtree's take: Johnson is one of the best I've seen in quite some time. He's able to lock you down and use his speed, quickness and athletic ability to stay on you. Jenkins, Cissoko, Williams and Bryant are also very, very good in this area. I think Cissoko could easily be No. 2 on this list, but the top three are about as solid in this category as it gets.
Farrell's take: This was a close battle between two Floridians with Johnson edging out Janoris Jenkins. Both of these guys stick to receivers like glue.
Shurburtt's take: I think Jenkins is too high in this category, but other than that, it is a very strong group top to bottom. Johnson is the best in coverage I have seen.
Crabtree's take: I really love how Jenkins is able to use his body to make things happen. Part of being a great cornerback is knowing when to be physical and use your body and your hands to defend passes. All of the guys in this group are really strong in this area.
Farrell's take: Corners don't come around as physical as Jenkins every year. He thrives on bump and run coverage.
Shurburtt's take: Top to bottom a very strong group, exactly how I would rank them. Jenkins' best attribute is his strength, which he uses at the line of scrimmage to jam wide receivers.
Crabtree's take: I personally would have liked to see Hester higher, as I think he's just a rare athlete that can translate that ability to the field quickly. But I also see no problems with the others on this list, too. Not only do they bring a good total physical and speed package, they're great athletes, too.
Farrell's take: Johnson wins in a runaway but Whitlock is a great athlete in his own right as well.
Shurburtt's take: All of these guys are versatile and have many different strengths as a player.