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2021 NFL Draft: Top 5 CB prospects 

Ohio State v Northwestern
Ohio State v Northwestern
ANALYST
Modified 28 Apr 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

With the 2021 NFL Draft just a day away, the excitement is at fever pitch.

Each of the 32 teams should now have their draft evaluations completed and be poised and ready to usher in the next generation of superstars beginning on Thursday night.

Several NFL teams need to strengthen their secondary in this year's draft, so expect competition to be hot for the services of the elite cornerbacks on the board.

But who are the absolute best players available in the cornerback position at this year's draft?

Let's take a look.

Top 5 CBs available in the 2021 NFL Draft

#1 - Patrick Surtain II, Alabama

Mississippi v Alabama
Mississippi v Alabama

Alabama's Patrick Surtain ll clearly takes after his father, the former Miami Dolphins cornerback Patrick Surtain, who was some player in his time.

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Equally adept at playing in zone or man-coverage, Surtain II has the discipline and athletic prowess required to make an immediate impact as a starter in the NFL come autumn.

The Alabama product wasn't flagged once throughout the entirety of the NCAA 2020 season, showcasing self-restraint not often seen at the college level.

Surtain ll also made great strides in his development in each year of his college career, as evidenced by his PFF grades. PFF gave the young prospect a coverage grade of 78.7, followed by 84.6 in 2019 and 88.6 in 2020.

Given Surtain's college performance and undoubted genetic pedigree, the championship-winning Crimson Tide star has to be considered the best cornerback available in this year's draft.

#2 - Jaycee Horn, South Carolina

South Carolina prospect Jaycee Horn is a big-hitter in the defensive backfield. He's more Jalen Ramsey than Asante Samuel if you get my point.

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A highly competitive player who reads plays quickly and gets himself into position to disrupt proceedings, Horn allowed the second-lowest pass completion percentage of any CB in the SEC, a measly 33%.

Horn needs to improve his discipline but is a top prospect and likely to go off the board in the first round of the NFL draft.

3. Greg Newsome II, Northwestern

In the 471 coverage snaps he's appeared in since 2019, Greg Newsome II allowed just one touchdown pass.

The Northwestern star also allowed just 0.44 yards per coverage snap during the Wildcats' 2020 campaign. As such, many believe that Newsome ll is the best CB in the NFL draft.

PFF's draft scouts are high on the player, too, writing:

Newsome is a super-long and super-smooth cornerback who makes the not-so-easy look easy. His hip-flipping ability is truly second to none in the draft class. It’s that ability to alter course on a dime that led to him allowing only 12 catches from 34 targets for 93 yards in six games this season.

#4 - Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State

Florida State v Boston College
Florida State v Boston College

The son of a former Patriot of the same name, Florida State's Asante Samuel Jr.'s stock has been on the rise during the build-up to this week's 2021 NFL draft.

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Samuel Jr. might be slightly undersized for a player in his position. But due to his excellent temperament and uncanny ability to read offensive plays as they unfolded, Samuel Jr. notched three interceptions and five pass deflections during Florida's 2020 campaign.

Samuel Jr. might find himself relegated to the slot once he makes it to the NFL. His future team will want to avoid having him match up with the likes of wide receivers Mike Williams and D.K. Metcalf at the boundary.

But for my money, Samuel ll has all the makings of a bonafide NFL star.

#5 - Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech's Caleb Farley has all the athletic gifts required to make a name for himself in the NFL. He's big, strong, fast, and plays the game at full tilt and with boundless energy.

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Farley possesses an elite level of awareness and incredible speed, which enables him to regularly get into position to make big plays. That's even more incredible when you consider the fact that Farley has played cornerback for only two years. His upside is tremendous.

There are a few concerns over an injured toe that isn't quite healing as expected, but other than that, Farley looks odds on to be a late first-round/early second-round pick in the NFL draft.

Published 28 Apr 2021, 22:10 IST
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