For better or for worse, the NFL is now a passing league. Teams spread the field with four and five wide receiver sets, trying to create mismatches for the defense. The increasing emphasis on the pass has put a premium on defensive backs.
Depth is important in the secondary, and cornerback is one of the deepest positions in the 2012 NFL Draft. Plenty of quality options can be had in the later rounds.
Let's take a look at some of the biggest slepers in this year's class.
Trumaine Johnson, Montana
As Jaguars general manager Gene Smith always says, "Scout the player, not the school." Teams would be wise to do so with rangy corner Trumaine Johnson of Montana. Johnson has to improve his press coverage ability, but his 6-foot-2-inch frame gives him the upside to do so. At that size, Johnson is surprisingly fluid and displays excellent athleticism.
Brandon Boykin, Georgia
Despite being a bit undersized, Brandon Boykin more than held his own in the SEC. Boykin is an extremely competitive cornerback with solid leaping ability. Ball skills are essential to a defensive back, and Boykin makes tons of plays on the ball. If he was a bit bigger, we could be talking about him as a first round pick.
Sean Richardson, Vanderbilt
Sean Richardson is athletic as he is physical. Richardson is a smart player, but he isn't particularly special in space. I really think he wil be an excellent run stuffer at the next level. In a weak safety class, Richardson could be a diamond in the rough.
Which defensive back in this year's class will outperform his draft position?