The DB’s of the 2016 NFL Draft

With the NFL combine wrapping up on Monday, we got a new look at all of the prospects looking to get drafted into the NFL. Now after new light has been shed on the secondary prospects, lets take a look at how they shape up now.

1. Jalen Ramsey (CB/SS)

  • 40 Yard Dash 4.41s
  • Grade 6.83

Ramsey took the combine by storm, posting one of the fastest 40 times, and had the leading vertical jump and broad jump. He has now cemented himself as the best DB in the 2016 draft class, and a top 5 pick at the lowest. He has a wild versatility that can be used in any defensive system, although he would be best used as a strong safety. His size and strength is something that works for him, commonly overpowering receivers. A huge issue for Ramsey is that he does not generate turnovers when the ball is thrown his way.

Potential landing spots: San Diego, Dallas, Jacksonville

2. Vernon Hargreaves III (CB)

  • 40 Yard Dash 4.50s
  • Grade 6.7

Probably the best cornerback in the draft, Hargreaves put together one of the strongest combine performances. He has a strong ability to read the play, and go where he needs to go to cover his receiver. He plays with a very aggressive, in your face nature. Issues come with his height, and the ability to be overpowered on the outside. Hargreaves is best used in a zone system with safety help for the deep ball.

Potential landing spots: Jacksonville, Baltimore, Tampa Bay

3. Mackensie Alexander (CB)

  • No 40 Time
  • Grade 6.22

The riskiest pick for a DB, Alexander could either be the best in the NFL, or a huge bust. He has some of the best game sense in the draft, and can predict the route before the play starts. Issues appear with size on the outside. He also has trouble creating turnovers, and can let his emotions take over his game.Works best in man coverage, against shifty smaller receivers like Antonio Brown.

Potential landing spots: Tampa Bay, Oakland, Pittsburgh

4. Eli Apple (CB)

  • 40 Yard Dash 4.40
  • Grade 5.68

One of the most physical DB’s in the draft, he is a polar opposite of Mackensie Alexander. He is big enough to contest the ball with any receiver in the NFL. The corner is a very scrappy player, and will try to defend the pass any way necessary. He can create lots of turnovers. Covering the deep ball is also a strong part of the ex Seminole. However he can almost be to physical, and tends to receive a lot of penalties. He also cannot read the offence very well, and is suspect to getting beat by fast route runners. Apple can be best used in a man formation lining up on the outside.

Potential landing spots: Minnesota, Arizona, Carolina

Kendall Fuller (CB)

  • No 40 Time
  • 5.64 Grade

One of the best in the class at defending the short pass, Fuller was sidelined by injuries for the majority of the 2015 season. Fuller can read the quarterback very well, and is very good and jumping the ball to defend passes and intercept. He is a very risky corner, and has a tendency to get beat deep. Often needs some sort of safety help on a deep ball. Excels best in a zone scheme.

Potential landing spots: Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay

6. Vonn Bell (FS)

  • No 40 Time
  • 5.68 Grade

The best free safety in this draft is Vonn Bell, and there is no arguing that. He is a strong ball hawk, and can read the play before the snap. He is never caught out of position, and is always there to make a play. He is weak against the run however, and is not the strongest tackler. Bell would excel best as a roaming safety in a zone scheme.

Potential landing spots: Carolina, Pittsburgh, Tennessee

That rounds out the defensive backs that are worthy of a first round selection. There is not a whole lot of first round talent in the defensive backfield this draft, but there is plenty in the later rounds. Look for teams like Tampa Bay and Baltimore attempting to trade with San Diego for their first round pick and Jalen Ramsey, to snipe him above Dallas and Jacksonville.


by Graham Besse



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