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Top 5 Best Cover Corners in 2014 NFL Draft

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2014 NFL Draft's Top 5 Best Cover Corners

2014 NFL Draft
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no denying the pass-happy ways of the NFL today, and defenses have started to adjust accordingly with personnel better suited to prevent these aerial attacks from succeeding. If quarterbacks are given time to survey the field, the guys back in coverage must be able to stick with their man through it all. These five prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft will be elite level cover corners in the league very soon.

5. Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

Justin Gilbert
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

5. Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

Justin Gilbert
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

He may be the top rated corner by many analysts (and me as well), but Gilbert’s coverage skills are not as honed in as some of his peers. Perhaps the biggest drawback is his propensity to gamble that makes his coverage look a bit shoddier than it truly is. Whatever the issue, Gilbert needs to improve his ability to man up on the outside at the next level to get the better of bigger and faster athletes.

4. Bradley Roby, Ohio State

Bradley Roby
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

4. Bradley Roby, Ohio State

Bradley Roby
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Speed makes up for a lot of Roby’s inconsistencies, but he sports some of the best all-around coverage skills this class has to offer. He mirrors receivers well and shows great anticipation in coverage. When forced to cover short, underneath routes he will struggle, but as a flat out man-to-man coverage guy, Roby is one of the better prospects in this class.

3. Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska

Stanley Jean-Baptiste
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

3. Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska

Stanley Jean-Baptiste
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

He played a mixture of coverages at Nebraska, but when asked to line up man-to-man, Jean-Baptiste thrived by getting an early jam on guys to re-route and out physical them at the line of scrimmage. With a blend of great ball skills and instincts to break on the ball in flight, Jean-Baptiste is a real threat to make impact plays in the secondary. Putting him on an island at the next level should be no worry thanks to his 6-foot-3, 218-pound frame.

2. Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

Kyle Fuller
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

2. Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

Kyle Fuller
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a lot to like about Fuller and his ability to recognize route combinations before they happen. He has terrific anticipation and cover instincts that allow him to excel when it comes to reading and reacting in man-to-man. He’s a heady player who just flat out gets it, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him match up well one-on-one with elite receivers at the next level.

1. Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State

Darqueze Dennard
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

1. Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State

Darqueze Dennard
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Though he lacks the elite athletic abilities of some others in this class, there’s no question Dennard is the most skilled man-to-man coverage guy of this year’s prospects. He uses savvy technique to force receivers to make the first move and baits guys into running where he wants them to. Despite less than stellar speed and some complaints about him benefiting from playing with a great defense, Dennard is the class of this year’s cover corners.