As we've been doing all this week, we've been reviewing some of the top camp battles so far, and while we aren't predicting who will win, we are doing out best to step back and look to see how each player is doing. So far we've looked at the #4 wide receiver position and the #3 tight end spot. Today we'll be looking at the #5 cornerback spot.
Now the #1 and #2 corners are locks with Champ Bailey and Tracy Porter. The #3 and #4 positions are being fought for by veteran Drayton Florence and Chris Harris, they've flipped-flopped back and forth between them, but defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has made it clear both by snaps and in his post practice speeches, that those are the two player they want at the #3 and #4 cornerback spots. But that leaves the coveted #5 CB spot, this is the guy who gets to step up if a player goes down, this is the guy who gets to roam in the dime or dollar packages. This is likely the last chance for most teams who don't carry 10 defensive backs.
So how are the corners doing? Well we'll be looking at Tony Carter, Omar Bolden, Joshua Moore and Syd'Quan Thompson.
- Very fast (4.34 40 time)
- Athletic, can go up and get the ball
- Very good in coverage to either knock the ball away or take it away
- Very small
- Lacks good tackling form
- Has struggled to adjust to NFL wide receiver physicality and speed
Outlook So Far:
Not good, while he is higher on the depth chart than a number of corners, he hasn't done much in camp to impress and was only decent in the Bears game. While Carter is technically a three year veteran, Syd'Quan Thompson has played in more games in only one year. The best thing he has going for him is that Fox likes vets and being in the league three years might be enough to convince Fox to keep him over another corner.
- Has fairly quick speed, enough to keep up with most wide receivers
- Very good tackling form, doesn't miss tackles
- Has quick lateral speed
- Still adjusting to the backpedal of the NFL
- Has had two left knee injuries, torn ACL and sprained MCL
- Not a physical corner
Outlook So Far:
Bolden has a lot going for him. The biggest thing is he was drafted by Fox. That will secure his place on the team. He has also had a solid camp, while not overly impressive, he's made enough plays to further help him up the depth chart. Bolden is on the inside track to the #5 corner spot, unless he re-injuries his knee (a real possibility) or just is terrible from here on out, Bolden has the tools Fox and Del Rio want from their #5 corner.
#31 / Cornerback / Denver Broncos
Aug 20, 1988
No NFL Statistics
- Is the tallest of the corners competing for this position
- Has enough quickness to run with any wideout
- Aggressive mentality
- Very physically weak
- Can't backpedal and because of weak physicality can't play man coverage
- Poor tackling form
Outlook So Far:
Moore made a very impressive play against the Bears, big enough to get a lot of fans excited about him. He's also had a solid camp, especially in coverage, but between too many missed tackles and being unable to jam wide receivers has caused Moore to have trouble proving his worth. He's a hard worker, but between his bad form and overall struggles with being unable to play man coverage, Moore's going to have to net a lot of interceptions to work himself up to the #5 spot.
- Excellent instincts and reaction time
- Skilled enough to play zone or man
-Physical for his size
- Still a bit raw after missing his sophomore season
- Lacks top end speed to play catchup
Outlook So Far:
The tough thing for Thompson is the fact he missed 2011. Had he played last season and made an impact, the Broncos likely would not have drafted Omar Bolden and the competition would be favoring Squid right now. But due to missing the whole 2011 season Thompson has an uphill battle to see playing time as a corner, though his spot on the roster is likely safe due to his ability to be a returner and gunner on special teams. Overall Squid will have to really work hard if he wants to see the field as a corner ahead of Bolden, Moore and Carter.
The real battle is between Syd'Quan Thompson and Omar Bolden, both are young, have high ceilings and have missed a lot of time to a big injury. Thompson is a natural nickel or dime back since he has the instincts to roam the field almost as a 3rd safety, we saw him do that successfully in 2010. His biggest fault that will hold him back is his size, if he had just two more inches on him, he'd have been a late 1st-early 2nd round corner, but he just can't stack up to the bigger wide receivers in the league. His additional skills on special teams add something none of the others bring.
The thing that matters though with mid-round CB's is who the coach likes. Fox drafted Omar, he liked him and drafted him. Squid is a late-round hold over. Omar was also taken higher and is also bigger and can be able to match up against some bigger wideouts. Pretty simple really.
Veteran Tony Carter is a nice presence, but the fact he's bounced between two bad secondaries says a lot. Joshua Moore had an impressive first pre-season game but has been inconsistent at camp so he'll have a tough time beating the rest of the field for a spot. Really there just aren't many physical corners in this group, Moore and Carter are unable to be physical and while Squid and Omar do their best and are the better two, they aren't impressive in that category.
As I said, Omar seems to have the inside track, drafted by current coach, younger, and taken higher. That doesn't mean Squid is gone since he brings special teams skills the other corners don't.
This is a tough one and the competition is underway, things can, and likely will change, but as of this point, I'd say Omar Bolden seems to have the best chance of winning this competition, it's hard to see a situation otherwise, outside of injury.
Thanks for reading, let me know your thoughts, and as I said before, if you have a competition you want us to look at, comment and let us know.
Next Time: The #4 Safety Spot