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Top cornerback prospects heading into the NFL Combine

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We’re continuing our look at positions of need for the Niners heading into the Combine by taking a glance at which cornerbacks made an impact in 2018.

NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Alabama vs Georgia Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Alex Eisen with another round of prospect rankings for the 2019 NFL Draft. Today we take a closer look at some of the draft’s top-rated cornerbacks. This cornerback class is deep with prospects who could be instant contributors at the next level. Without thinking twice about it the San Francisco 49ers will be looking to add more talent and depth at the cornerback position. The team has talents such as Richard Sherman, Tarvarius Moore, Ahkello Witherspoon, and K’Waun Williams. However, Sherman is not the long-term solution, and the team would be wise to invest draft capital in a young and talented corner who could make an impact in the near and foreseeable future.

With that said, let’s examine the top 5 cornerbacks in the 2019 NFL Draft Class!

This cornerback class is a deep one. A number of prospects were considered. Do YOU agree with this top 5? Who else are you excited to see in this cornerback draft class? Please share in the comments below!

1. Greedy Williams, CB, No. 29 – LSU
Height: 6’1” – Weight: 182 – 40 Time: 4.47
2018 Stats: 33 Tackles, 1.5 Tackles for a loss, 2 Interceptions, 9 Passes Deflected.

Greedy Williams created an island that opposing receivers did not want to find themselves on this past season at LSU. His long and lanky arms are effective in deflecting passes away in man to man coverage. Williams possess great speed for the position and runs fluidly through his hips. Williams has the ability to get up field and has sufficient high point skills to fight for jump balls in one to one match-ups. Can defend receivers at all three levels on the field and his acceleration allows Williams to stay stride for stride with those receivers looking to stretch the field vertically. His best trait are his ball skills and ballhawk mentality. Has strong football instincts and awareness for where the play is going to occur. Will often anticipate and dissect a quarterback’s decision. Williams often finds the right angles to make a play on the football. Perhaps the area that needs more polishing and developing is his run support which can come across as passive when watching his tape. Overall, Williams has game-changing abilities who could be an instant contributor in week one of the 2019 NFL season. Look for Williams to be a top twenty selection in the 2019 NFL Draft. Should the 49ers trade out of the number two pick, depending on how far down they end up in the round, Williams could be an option.

Draft Projection: 1st Round

2. Deandre Baker, CB, No. 18 – Georgia
Height: 5’11” - Weight: 180 – 40 Time: 4.49
2018 Stats: 40 Tackles, 2.0 Tackles for a loss, 2 Interceptions, 9 Passes Deflected, 1 forced Fumble.

One of the more physical corners this draft class has to offer, Deandre Baker made a positive impact in the Georgia Bulldog’s defense. Don’t let his size fool you one bit. Baker played a physical brand of football and made his presence known, especially along the line of scrimmage. Press coverage is a huge plus and strength in Baker’s game, and more often than not wins the battle along the line of scrimmage. Is able to physically dominate receivers off of their route and take them out of the action. Baker has the experience playing in both man and zone coverages. In addition, he has made positive results playing outside corner and in nickel. Baker will get himself involved in the run game and will crowd the box when the opportunity presents itself. The concern with Baker is his speed, especially on intermediate and deeper routes. Multiple times, watching game film, Baker was burned by those speedier receivers looking to stretch the field. Tackling and wrapping up his opponent have been inconsistent as well. He could give up yards after the reception if he is not in position to finish his tackles quickly. However, what I like most about Baker is his versatility. His ability to play any corner position, all of which have produced positive results is a big plus. Baker is a first-round lock in 2019.

Draft Projection: 1st Round

3. Byron Murphy, CB, No. 1 – Washington
Height: 6’0” - Weight: 182 – 40 Time: 4.49
2018 Stats: 58 Tackles, 4.0 Tackles for a loss, 4 Interceptions, 13 Passes Deflected, 1 Forced Fumble.

Byron Murphy broke out in 2018 and has shot up draft boards since the start of the season. One of the best corners playing man to man. Has great initial burst and short field quickness to defend against the run along the line of scrimmage. His footwork is a delight to watch on film. Works his angles well when looking to make a play on the ball. His hands are lively and active. This season he has developed further into a ballhawk-like corner. Murphy puts himself in position to make game-changing turnover plays. Overall, his ball skills are quite impressive. His transitional quickness is off the charts, and moves vertically and laterally with ease. Demonstrates his ability to make cuts and breaks in man to man coverage. Murphy has a lot of pop in his hits, and finishes with authority. Finishes his tackles quickly and his physical presence is not to be missed. Murphy is looking more and more like a first-round prospect towards the backend of the round.

Draft Projection: 1st Round

4. Trayvon Mullen, CB, No. 1 – Clemson
Height: 6’1” - Weight: 190 - 40 Time: 4.48
2018 Stats: 36 Tackles, 4.0 Tackles for a loss, 2 Sacks, 1 Interception, 3 Passes Deflected, 1 Forced Fumble.

An athletic freak with physical measures and traits that scouts and evaluators seek at the next level. Has a well-rounded skillset, and natural instincts for a defensive back. Will wrap up his opponent and finish tackles quickly. Does not hesitate to get physical with receivers within the first five yards. Mullen has the speed to matchup with receivers on the short, intermediate, and deep routes. On tape, Mullen is a long and physical corner. Has demonstrated fluid movement through his hips, and can change directions swiftly and efficiently. Mullen can count on reliable, strong hands, and has ballhawk tendencies in his game. Demonstrated strong leadership in the Clemson secondary, and is coachable. Mullen has played his way into first round consideration. At the moment I see Mullen as a late, first round pick who could slip into the early part of the second round on day two.

Round Projection: 1st-2nd Round

5. Julian Love, CB, No. 27 – Notre Dame
Height: 5’11” - Weight: 193 - 40 Time: 4.39
2018 Stats: 63 Tackles, 1 Interception, 16 Passes Deflected.

Julian Love has been feeling the love from many scouts and evaluators since the start of the 2018 season. His draft stock continues to climb and he has now made the top five of these cornerback rankings. Love can quickly match and go stride for stride with receivers at all three levels on the field. Love has a great initial burst and can be explosive when making a play on the ball. Does an efficient job of cutting and jamming receivers off of their routes. Love has great football instincts and awareness for where the play is going to occur. Uses his hands well to re-direct receivers off of their routes, especially when he is in off-coverage. Is always looking to make a play on the football, and will often win the one to one match-ups. Love did not earn 16 deflected passes by accident. The last thing I will point out is his presence on the field and how valuable he was to the Notre Dame defense. Against Clemson in the Cotton Bowl, before his injury, the defense was playing at a high level. When Love left the wheels came off of the Irish defense and the game quickly got out of hand. Love can be a real difference maker at the next level as his arrow continues to point upwards.

Draft Projection: 2nd Round