Just to be clear, part of this idea was originally proposed by the user smathis in passing, and I found it interesting enough to think about how it relates to our draft strategy and run with it.
Just for the record, I think that we trade up using 30 + 94 + LMJ to get Miami's #19 pick and use it for OBJ, but I also think that we should trade up with 56 and 61, which would get us back around 29, so that won't have a large effect on this.
Now that we have all the background info out of the way, we can get onto it. I have almost no questions at all about 3 of our top 5 CBs. Gilbert, Fuller, and Verrett seem like safe picks who are going to be useful contributors at worst. Dennard and Roby, on the other hand, have some question marks that few seem to be considering.
The question I am proposing here is this: Is there anybody in this group who we don't want, and how would we react if we got to 30 and realized that we didn't want the CBs that were left?
Who Don't We Want?
Darqueze Dennard is not an elite athlete. He can't run incredibly fast, he doesn't jump very high, and he has average to short arms. (Note: Yes, I take note of arm length, especially in defensive players. I know we joke about Baalke and arm length, but it can be vital at certain positions, like CB.) Additionally, Dennard will be called for PI with notable consistency early in his pro career because of his grabby style downfield. Refs in the NFL don't like that. I would not draft Dennard if he fell to 29/30. I know he'll go long before then, which is good because it means that somebody better will drop, but I do not like Dennard.
Bradley Roby is an elite athlete. Problem is, that's all he is. He relies on his athleticism too much. Gilbert does the same, but not to the same extent. Roby has almost no technical refinement, and actually played worse last year than the year before, which is a serious question mark for someone whose technique needed refinement in the first place. He's unfocused. I would not draft Roby if he was the only one of our top 5 CBs that was left at 29/30.
Dennard and Roby, in my opinion, are off the table at 29/30. Dennard will probably go before then. Roby could go before then or afterwards. We can't be sure, and it doesn't matter because I don't like his lack of focus. That takes care of the first part of my question, and leads us to the second.
What Do We Do If Nobody We Want is There?
What do we do if Gilbert, Fuller and Verrett are all gone at 29/30? (Note: here comes smathis' idea) Jimmie Ward. But why? We already have a safety in Antoine Bethea. Well, Ward isn't just a safety. He can cover as well as any cornerback, and he has ideal measuables. 5'11", 193. Ran a 4.47 40. Jumped 38". Those are very similar to Fuller. Ward can play the slot, and did so regularly at NIU. We also need a backup safety. Craig Dahl isn't very good, and CJ Spillman and Bubba Ventrone are only worth putting on the field on special teams. Jimmie Ward plays 2 roles at once. Nickel corner and backup safety. And in a year or two, once the CB situation is sorted out, Bethea has declined, and Ward has developed as both a corner and a safety, he can take over for Bethea.
The chances of at least one player out of Gilbert, Fuller, Verrett, and Ward being present at 29/30 are very high (no way it's Gilbert, obviously). Higher than just one of Gilbert, Verrett, or Fuller being available, and I think Ward is a viable 4th option for a top CB pick in a draft where I feel there are only 3 top pure CBs that fit what we're looking for.
Questions? Comments? Flames? (Reminders that nobody ends internet posts like that anymore?)