Having finished up the front seven defensively, we move on the defensive backfield, more specifically the cornerback position. Unlike last year, this group has some serious talent across the nation, with four of the Power Five conferences being represented among this top five.
While schemes vary and you can only evaluate the position depending on the defense these guys are in, I tried to judge these corners as individual players and here is how they stacked up against each other.
As I have said so many times before now, we evaluate college players at this point, but unlike most other positions, this list will probably look very similar once the 2020 draft rolls around.
#1 Bryce Hall, Virginia
Despite being only a two-star recruit according to most outlets, Hall just received the highest Pro Football Focus grade among all returning FBS corners. The 6’1”, 200 pound standout led the nation with 22 PBUs and had a couple of picks to go with it. On passes that traveled 10+ yards with Hall being targeted, opponents went 14 of 44, as he limited big plays all year.
The feisty competitor does an outstanding job staying on the hip pocket of receivers and using that inside arm as a bar to control their speed. Virginia ran a ton of single-high safety coverages and left Hall on an island, where he really impressed me with his advanced technique on back-shoulder fades.
Hall had an awesome battle with N.C. State’s Kelvin Harmon and made a crazy interception on a jump-ball, where he snatched it away from the receiver with one arm, and he almost got another one later in that game. The coverage specialist is not hesitant to come upfield and cut down running backs at their trunks or jump on top of a pile either.
Hall is easily my number one corner in college football and looking forward to the 2020 NFL Draft at this point. The one area that concerns me about his game is how he leaves his feet and ducks his head as a tackler.