Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Teams are always looking for the next Richard Sherman in the draft, but many forget that Richard Sherman the draft prospect wasn’t the same thing as Richard Sherman the all pro. Sometimes you need to find players with elite traits, or the potential for them, and groom them into the players you want them to be. As my lowest draftable grade, it might seem as a slight to some, but these are the guys that are WORTH developing.
Quinten Rollins, Miami University
Looked at by some as a first or second round pick, the latter of which was where I had him at his peak during my evaluation, Rollins is clearly not ready to be an NFL cornerback. He has the size to make a difference in the NFL, but his measurements were below average in nearly every area (Only vertical graded in the green, and only just). His instincts are terrible, meaning a switch to safety is probably out of the question, but there’s plenty to like when you consider how little actual cornerback experience Rollins has.
Jalen Collins, Louisiana State
Like Quentin Rollins, Jalen Collins has limited NFL experience. Collins posted slightly better athleticism scores (On a broken foot, though, which is significant), but either of these two ‘ollins will require a significant amount of work from a dedicated staff. I don’t buy the high draft hype for Collins since his tape doesn’t back it up. Worth taking a shot to develop, though.
D’Joun Smith, Florida Atlantic
As mentioned, this draft is deep at nickel talent. D’Joun Smith will require more work than a IEO or Kevin White, but he’s probably worth developing. Similar in play to Lions 2014 draft pick Nevin Lawson, Smith has the tools to be an upper tier nickel cornerback with the potential to play swing. It’s going to be a long-term project, however, as Smith is going to have to bulk up and hopefully keep his agility with about 15 pounds of additional muscle.
Nick Marshall, Auburn
A 100% projection draft pick, Marshall played quarterback in college. Making the switch to a different position is risky, but Marshall has helped his draft status every step of the way. Marshall’s understanding of how offenses work coupled with his natural athleticism could make him a true NFL cornerback if given time to develop.
Where can Lions draft them?
It’s probable that Collins and Rollins both go higher than I’d be willing to invest in them. Smith and Marshall should still be available when the team’s later round picks roll around and would be worth the investment.
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