2013 NFL Draft: Position Preview: Cornerback

Tharold Simon could be an option for the 49ers in round three or four - Scott Cunningham

We rank the top cornerbacks in this years class and look at some prospects the 49ers may target.

The 49ers do not always have more than two corners on the field at a time, but when they do, they play well. As solid as the defensive line and linebacking corps have been, the secondary has been reliable most of this season. While they've all made mistakes, the group of Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown, Chris Culliver, Perrish Cox, and Tramaine Brock is a good one. No team should ever settle for good though, and we know the front office is always looking to improve.

Carlos Rogers has done some nice things this season, but he also has looked really bad against shifty receivers such as Danny Amendola and Victor Cruz. Rogers is going to be 32 next season, so the 49ers will have to look for corner in the draft who will be able to take his spot in a year or two. Carlos is still a good corner in this league, but this year has shown us he is on the decline.

Tarell Brown is signed through next season and at only 28, he could be around for a little while longer, especially if he keeps up his stellar play.

Chris Culliver is young and highly talented, I believe he is good now and will only get better. He has great speed, and shows great instincts. At times Culliver gets flustered and makes a mistake, but I really like what he has to offer, and he should be a fixture in the 49ers secondary for years to come.

Tramaine Brock and Perrish Cox have played the least of the bunch, but they've contributed as well. I feel Brock is the least talented of the bunch, and plays I remember him making are bad ones. In the NFC Championship game last season, he was responsible for Mario Manningham's touchdown catch on a 3rd and long shortly after Tarrel Brown left with an injury. This preseason he was repeatedly abused by Peyton Manning and Caleb Hanie in the preseason. Brock tends to play too lose and with bad awareness. I fully expect someone to come in and compete with him and Cox for a roster spot (see "honey badger").

In the passing league that the NFL has became, you never can have enough quality cornerbacks on a roster. It's one of the top needs the 49ers will address in the draft, and I'd bet in the first three round the issue is addressed.

Here are my top ten cornerback prospects:

1. Dee Milliner 6-1 198 lbs- Alabama Stock: Rising Projection: Top 15

2. Xavier Rhodes 6-1 217 lbs- Florida State Stock: Steady Projection: 1st

3. Jonathan Banks* 6-1 185 lbs- Mississippi State Stock: Declining Projection: Late 1st-Early 2nd

4. Jordan Poyer* 5-11 190lbs- Oregon State Stock: Steady Projection: 2nd

5. Logan Ryan 6-0 190 lbs- Rutgers Stock: Rising Projection: 2nd

6. David Amerson 6-2 194 lbs- NC State Stock: Rising Projection: 2nd

7. Desmond Trufant* 6-0 186 lbs- Washington Stock: Steady Projection: 2nd

8. Will Davis* 6-0 186 lbs- Utah State Stock: Steady Projection: 2nd-3rd

9. Jamar Taylor* 5-11 198 lbs- Boise State Stock: Rising Projection: 3rd

10. Tharold Simon 6-2 193 lbs- LSU Stock: Steady Projection: 3rd-4th

Just Missed: Robert Alford-* Southeastern Louisiana;Blidi Wreh-Wilson*- Conneticut; Leon Mcfadden*- San Diego State; Darius Slay- Mississippi State; Tyrann Mathieu- LSU

*Senior Bowl

It appears that two corners will be drafted in the first round, Milliner and Rhodes, with Banks potentially sneaking in there as well. After those three, there are a lot of options in rounds two and three to grab a cornerback. In round two or three (49ers likely to have three picks in round three), I see that as where the 49ers grab a corner.

Tharold Simon could be an option in the third, or possibly even fourth round. Simon is a physical corner with great size. He'd fit best in a man coverage based defense where he can get his hands on the receiver at the line of scrimmage, I think he'd fit well in San Francisco. I don't like Richard Sherman's antics, but he's shown us that being a tall cornerback has it's advantages. Simon could shut down a tall red zone target. He's still a bit raw, but defensive backs coach Ed Donatell could do the kid wonders.

Desmond Trufant isn't as physical as Simon, but he's a fast corner who can shut the guy across from him down one on one. Trufant is known for his good coverage but not for his tackling. The 49ers love a corner who can wrap up, so this is something that may have the 49ers saying no thanks come draft day.

If Jordan Poyer slips in the 2nd round, he wouldn't be a bad pick up for the 49ers. Poyer hauled in seven interceptions this season. A pick machine would be nice to have on the 49ers. Poyer has good instincts, dashing speed, and shutdown ability. He can play good press coverage and is a very physical corner. I'd compare him to Cortland Finnegan. He's less annoying but just as feisty.

An intriguing name to watch in the mid to late rounds is the "Honey Badger", Tyrann Mathieu. Mathieu obviously has many, many off the field concerns, but I don't see the 49ers caring about that. He was a Heisman finalist and has a lot of good skills as a corner and a return man. If he's still on the board in the fifth or sixth round and he's the best pick available, the 49ers would be a team to take a chance on him. With so many picks in this draft, what would you have to lose potentially wasting one on him?

A lot of the top players mentioned are playing in the Senior Bowl. It will be cool to watch all of them and see who stands out from the rest. For now though, who would you want the 49ers to select?

Follow Me on Twitter: @Woods49ers

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