My Evaluation of CornerBacks in 2011 Draft – Talent Poor

Reviewing 2011 Draft, based purely on measurables, I wanted to review players left on the board, undrafted, who fit templates of draftable NFL players

It’s not easy. After David Arkin, Guard, was drafted in the 4th round, not another Guard was drafted for 60 positions. There was a Tackle drafted later in the 4th round but my profiles for Tackles is incomplete.

I’m not sure what makes a 4th round guard, but I can say that according to BirdDog26’s charts that Arkin was undraftable. I can imagine a logic like “He’s almost fast enough, he’s almost strong enough, if we get him in a big time weight program he’ll grow.” The problem is players from Small Schools don’t usually improve their measurables meaningfully. It’s impossible to gauge because once finished with the Draft process the numbers are never gauged again.

But my point is Demarcus Ware went to small school Troy and he came in to the NFL already strong, already fast. He’s an all time Draft Prospect, and Arkin is not even Just A Guy, but you see, small school players are represented by their measurables just as Big School players are. They know if they want to be in the NFL they have to lift weights and run fast.

On top of that, a small school player could have the athletic tools but will have far less experience in cutting edge schemes. So you can’t even gauge their football acumen realistically, like how Dallas failed to project what Akwasi Owusu-Ansah would do. Of course major program players fail too.

Back to Arkin. WHo was more draftable?

I only have a few templates to work with. I haven’t set up something for judging backs yet, or QBs, WRs, or OTs. So I’m skipping those positions. The 4th round of 2011 had a lot of WRs and RBs. Skipping those and looking at the CBs. None of them pass the test, that were taken in the 4th round. Chimdi Chekwa had too much missing data. Casey Matthews only lifted 13 times and he needs to lift 23. Cortez Allen was real close to being the best prospect at CB in the 4th round. He misses because he had a 4.01 time in the 20 yard shuttle and needed a 4. I’m being thorough. He’s been pretty good as a back up in Pittsburg, which I guess his numbers, almost good enough, suggest he’s capable of on a team that didn’t make the playoffs the last few years and has lacked speed in the defensive secondary. See what happens when you make excuses for drafting players with red flag markers in their athletic skill set.

I don’t have TE data so I can’t evaluate Julius Thomas, who clearly is the best pick in the late 4th round of 2011.

None of the DBs taken after David Arkin in the fourth were considered draftable by the standards we’ve been using. 20 yard short shuttle – scoring 4.12 seconds is why a CB gets burned by little fast guys.

Richard Sherman runs too slow of a Short Shuttle to be drafted.

It’s not shocking to see so many undraftable players, and perhaps the standards are too strict. However, so far, Richard Sherman is the only good Defensive Back I’ve come across in the second half of the 2011 draft. Everyone else is a backup at best, so maybe there weren’t many good DBs in the late 2011 draft.

Sherman does have a slow short shuttle. It goes to show what safety Earl Thomas does for him, covering for his lack of quickness. If  a team could get Earl Thomas on one side of the field and isolate Richard Sherman on the other with a fast guy, I bet you could burn Sherman. For the Broncos, Thomas the TE or Wes Welker should be able to free Demaryius Thomas, he of 6’3 and 4.3 speed, on Sherman deep.

After busting the numbers, I have to wonder if the standards are too strict. Now I realize not every player is seen as a good NFL prospect. In fact there may be very few.

There were 34 CBs in the 2011 draft:

  • 10 are too short.
  • Of the remaining 24,
  • 10 more weigh less than the required 195lbs
  • 6 of the remaining players ran over a 4.5 40, including the anomalous Richard Sherman.
  • Of the remaining 8, three can’t lift the required 225lbs 15 times.
  • No remaining CB recorded a sub 4 20 yard shuttle.

Names like this:

  • Patrick Peterson
  • Prince Amukamara
  • Cortez Allen
  • Ras-I Dowling
  • Jimmy Smith
  • Byron Maxwell

Seem promising but fall somehow short. Outside of Richard Sherman, it does seem like this batch of CBs was largely unremarkable. Sherman is a different kind of CB altogether so I’m not surprised he busted the template.

So I’m going to make a blanket statement. If I take the standards to heart and trust there is no rounding numbers when they’re being recorded to the hundredths place, ie 4.02, then I’d say not one single CB in this 2011 draft projected very well. Even Patrick Peterson runs a slow 20 yard shuttle.

I also wonder, applying the standards firmly, I eliminated every CB from my draft board. My standards, too high? This CB class? No good? One freak does not a draft class make. Future post material — is Richard Sherman the tallest CB to ever be elected to a Pro Bowl?

Next time I’ll continue my search, to put together a board of the 2011 draft based on measurables using the criteria illustrated by BirdDog26 in his post here. So far I’ve eliminated all the CBs.

Here’s the link to my spread sheet of the 2011 Combine Results, so you can data crunch too- this is in the description of my youtube video:

Here’s a fun couple of facts to wrap up the post.

Brian Waters had 86 receptions in college, listed at TE while at North Texas. I actually hear he played a lot of Full Back there too, something like an HBack. He rushed 6 total times for a 4.5 yard average and 1 touchdown. Maybe he’d like to come back as our Thumper back?

In 1999 he went to Camp with the Cowboys, and I can presume Jason Garrett threw him some passes while playing back up QB.

So that makes Brian Waters the only Cowboy on the roster to play in Dallas with Jason Garrett. Waters didn’t make it through camp cuts that year and KC really helped his career.

*Editors Note: Congratulations to Patrick Peterson on his probowl and apparently over coming his slow 20 yard shuttle.