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Draft Network’s Joe Marino loves this year’s cornerback class

The Draft Network’s Joe Marino talked all things cornerbacks Monday on Broncos Country Tonight.

Old Dominion v Virginia Tech Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

Joe Marino of the The Draft Network joined Ryan Edwards and Benjamin Allbright on Broncos Country Tonight Monday to talk quarterb...I mean, cornerbacks!

Because, yeah, Marino is high on the depth of the cornerback class this year and believes the Broncos will have their pick of the top CBs when it’s their turn at No. 9.

And if the Broncos stay there, Marino loves Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley, a guy he calls “one of the better cornerbacks that I’ve scouted in recent years.”

“For me, Caleb Farley is far away the best cornerback in this class,” Marino said. “Just really exciting physical gifts in terms of size, athleticism, length, foot quickness, fluidity in his hips. I think he could play in zone, man, press; the ball skills are there. He checks all the boxes.”

But if Farley is already gone or the Broncos trade back and aim to split the value of their first-round pick, Marino believes there are a lot of corners out there who can help Denver.

“I could get behind Patrick Surtain II out of Alabama; I think Jaycee Horn certainly has a case as well especially when you think of him in a Vic Fangio defense with a lot of press coverage,” Marino said, adding that although Horn isn’t as good of a tackler or have as good of ball skills as some others, he likes him in press-man. “A guy that plays with a lot of confidence, sticky in coverage. He’s a little grabby, but I think that can get coached out of him. What’s missing in his game are ball skills and tackling as a run defender.”

Also, for Marino the separation of the top guys and the “trade-back value guys” comes a lot with “who can take the football away for me?”

“I don’t know that Jaycee Horn does that at a high level, “ Marino said, “but as a trade-back option, sure yeah, you can target [Horn] at a mid-20 level cornerback, but I don’t know that I’d be comfortable picking him at nine.”

Even though he’s not as high on the South Carolina corner as Ryan “Horn’s my guy” Edwards, Marino doesn’t think the Broncos could go wrong with a number of the top choices - including Eric Stokes and Tyson Campbell from Georgia, Greg Newsome II out of Northwestern, who he believes really fits the mold of a Vic Fangio cornerback, and Syracuse corners Trill Williams and Ifeatu Melifonwu (who arguably has THE best name in the draft).

“I think the depth at corner is really good,” Marino said. “The intriguing thing with Denver is I think they’ll get the pick of the litter if they’re willing to pick at nine.”

Allbright floated the idea to Marino of the Broncos going inside linebacker at No. 9 and picking up a corner like Stokes or Asante Samuel on Day 2, and the scout was intrigued.

“If you tell me I’m going to get man-coverage reps from Asante Samuel, I really like him. He’s sticky. You talk about a guy that plays in the pocket all the way through the rep. You get that. I don’t love his ball skills but just pure man coverage, he’s going to match steps as good as anyone in the class.”

Given that Penn State’s Micah Parsons is considered one of the top off-ball linebackers/edge defenders in the class - and a potential guy for Denver at No. 9 - Marino believes there’s no question he has top 10 traits but there off-the-field issues to dig into.

Parsons has been accused of being a ring leader in the sexual harrassment/hazing situation at Penn State, and he may not be a guy teams want in the locker room.

“I think everyone is a little uncomfortable [with Parsons] right now, so when I think about Denver and its second-level of the defense, I really like what they have there now with Alexander Johnson, but I think they need some more speed alongside him to give them some more range.”

And for that, Marino likes Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah out of Notre Dame.

“He’s a bit lean, but you want to talk about a space linebacker that can play in coverage, a guy that can line up with the Travis Kelces and Hunter Henrys of the world, the really good tight ends in the AFC West, [he’s] the type of player I’d want to be targeting.”


Right now, what would you do at pick 9?

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    Pick Farley or Surtain II at No. 9
    (338 votes)
  • 12%
    Stay at No. 9 and pick the next BPA
    (84 votes)
  • 20%
    Trade down and take a top corner like Eric Stokes, Jaycee Horn, Asante Samuel, Ifeatu Melifonwu...
    (137 votes)
  • 6%
    Trade down and pick a different position
    (41 votes)
  • 8%
    Trade up and get one of the top four QBs
    (59 votes)
659 votes total Vote Now