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June 22, 2017

Positional Analysis: Cornerback

This is the 13th of a 14-part series examining each position going into the offseason.

Starters (D): Losing Sam Shields to a concussion in week 1 devastated this position. Youngsters Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins, and LeDarius Gunter simply weren’t ready for the move up the depth chart. How shaky are things heading into the draft? So shaky that Davon House, who was cut by Jacksonville, is all but guaranteed a starting job. Randall will be given every opportunity to join him, but it remains to be seen whether his poor season was just a bump on the road to stardom or the beginning of a journey to Bustville.

Depth (D+): Gunter, a former undrafted free agent who runs over 4.6, was the team’s best corner in 2016, but he’s best-suited to be a role player. His size makes him valuable in the red zone; his lack of speed and quickness makes him vulnerable between the 20s. Rollins looked very promising as a rookie, but injuries and a loss of confidence ruined his sophomore season. If his head is OK, he should be able to contribute in the nickel and dime packages. Josh Hawkins is extremely raw, but has great speed and could surprise. Converted wide receiver Herb Waters impressed the coaches while a member of the practice squad. Veteran special teams standout Demetri Goodson (knee surgery) will most likely begin the season on the PUP list.

Player to watch: Hawkins might’ve been the most impressive of all the young corners last summer, but the NFL proved to be too big for the rookie once the regular season began. The odds are certainly against the former undrafted free agent. For every Shields, there are dozens of Robertson Daniels. Still, it’s hard not to be intrigued with a corner who runs 4.35, moves fluidly and has good ball skills.

*Level of need: If Randall and Rollins play like high draft picks and if House proves last season was a fluke, things will be OK at this very important position. But that’s an awful lot of ifs – too many for a team with Super Bowl aspirations. That’s why it’s a foregone conclusion that general manager Ted Thompson will draft at least one corner early.


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5 Responses “Positional Analysis: Cornerback”

  1. NP40
    April 23, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    No doubt that Randall and Rollins had injury issues last year but I thought a lot of Randall’s problem was in his head. Looked like he completely lost confidence. At times he played so far off the ball that there’s no way he could even challenge a pass. I’m not sure if it was Randall afraid of getting beat deep or Dom’s scheme ?

    To me this is a huge failing on TT’s part not to sign a solid starting vet to shore this area up. We had money and a couple decent CB’s were available. I don’t believe that House is that guy. Throwing another average CB in the mix really doesn’t shore up anything but depth. Maybe they’ll draft a guy high and hope he’s acclimated by playoff time ?

    He’s essentially betting the entire season on the fact that Randall and Rollins will rebound. Meanwhile Rodgers will check off another birthday. Having said that both Randall and Rollins showed promise their rookie years but do you want to stake the season on their rebound ?

  2. Thorny
    April 23, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Diggs torched Randall in Week 2 and that was it for him. He was at Ahmad Carroll level of usefulness minus the penalties after. Rollins isn’t fast but supposedly had great instincts. Injury shouldn’t take those away. Not sure if Rollins ever had those instincts, or not?
    Gunter runs like a TE or OLB. There’s little place for a player like him, yet, he was our best CB. Think about that. An undrafted guy who can’t run was our best CB. Brutal.

    Now, comes the draft where everyone is screaming for a high pick on a CB? Randall and Rollins haven’t taught us anything? How about Pat Lee? The only good high pick at CB went to SD and had a career year. MR typed a piece titled Ted doesn’t know LBs. He has never met a CB in comparison.

    Let me get this straight. We want to use another high pick at CB to make up for the 1st and 2nd CBs we drafted that failed but were drafted to let another 2nd round CB walk? So far, we have used up a recent first and two seconds and this is what our secondary looks like for all of that? The place to fix this was FA not another gamble on a high pick.

    If we take the 5th or 6th CB at 29 while a Dalvin Cook is sitting there I may keel over.

  3. Nerd
    April 23, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Randall and Rollins were peaking in the backfield early last season. Our running game was dominant at that time, probably because it was an area of team focus. These guys will be fine, we just need some speed at the position.

    Ted will find someone.

  4. NP40
    April 23, 2017 at 10:12 pm
  5. Nerd
    April 23, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    My theory on Lang was that, after the signing of Bennett, Ted needed to lose an established veteran like that in order to break even on the compensatory algo.

    Even so, I get sick of these players trying to run the team. If Aaron wants another ring, he should focus on hitting the open guy. Instead of shitting this team to 4-6 beforenhe starts to “really try.” Ever know how he can be so confident when he tells us to RELAX or when he says he believes we can run the table?

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