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Wile_E_Coyote
04-26-2006, 10:53 AM
NFL draft

Tough to turn a corner

Rookie DBs don’t become stars right away

By ADAM TEICHER

The Kansas City Star

http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/14428378.htm

As accomplished as he is today — two career Pro Bowl appearances and the fattest contract in Chiefs history — time was when cornerback Patrick Surtain survived on physical skills alone.

He eventually acquired the know-how that allowed him to become one of the best at his craft. He sure didn’t arrive in the NFL with it.
Like most young cornerbacks, he took awhile to learn the nuances of playing the position.

“It’s the receivers,” Surtain said. “In college you might go against one or two elite receivers a year, and maybe they’re not even elite. In the NFL, there are no slouches. You’ve got to come every single weekend. And you probably get scrutinized more than any other player on the field except the quarterback.”

The Chiefs appear intent not only on selecting at least one cornerback in this weekend’s draft, but playing him right away. They have a void in their starting lineup at cornerback opposite Surtain, and new coach Herm Edwards brings with him from Tampa Bay and the New York Jets a history of playing rookie defensive backs.

The Chiefs interviewed several potential first-round cornerbacks last week, including Florida State’s Antonio Cromartie, South Carolina’s Johnathan Joseph, Virginia Tech’s Jimmy Williams and Fresno State’s Richard Marshall.

Pat Dennis in 2000 was the last rookie cornerback to be a regular starter for the Chiefs. Before that, they had to go back to Kevin Ross in 1984.

Dennis didn’t last and was soon out of the league, while Ross eventually became among the best corners ever to play for the Chiefs. The Chiefs suffered through growing pains with both.

That’s the norm for rookie cornerbacks. Sometimes teams reap the eventual rewards for playing a rookie, but seldom does it pay immediate rewards.

It apparently won’t stop the Chiefs.

“We’d like to think that is a position that has some depth and quality this year,” Chiefs president/general manager Carl Peterson said. “There are going to be some good cornerbacks, whether it’s the first or second round, that you would hope if not immediately would be able to start and contribute for you pretty quickly.”

Edwards as secondary coach with Tampa Bay started a rookie cornerback named Donnie Abraham. As head coach with the Jets, he started one rookie corner, Justin Miller, and two first-year safeties, Erik Coleman and Kerry Rhodes.

None was drafted in the first round, but Edwards lived to tell about the experience.

“For the most part, I’ve been very fortunate,” Edwards said. “The guys we’ve picked kind of worked out. But I also knew the system we were in. That’s very, very important, to understand your system and understand what you’re going to ask this player to do.

“If you’re a talented guy, you can almost play in (any system).”

Left unsaid by Edwards is that lower-round cornerbacks are usually only successful in a defensive system right for their particular talents. Teams often make mistakes by trying to force a cornerback without the proper skills into a certain system.

Judging a cornerback’s ability in college also can be difficult.

“The problem you have in college football when you try to view a corner is that if he’s a good player and he has a (positive) reputation … first of all, how many good receivers is he going to play against?” Edwards said.

“How many (good) quarterbacks is he going to play (against)? The next problem you have is that they’re really not going to throw the ball to him a lot, so all you really see is him move and turn. You can see him move and that he’s fast and that he can cover a (slow) receiver …

“You can get (high-) quality defensive backs without always going to the first pick. I’m not saying there are not some available guys in the first round. I’m just saying if you don’t get one in the first round, I don’t panic and say, ‘Now we can’t play.’ I’m smarter than that. I’ve been in the league too long for that.”

Among this year’s cornerbacks, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper ranked Miami’s Kelly Jennings as the most polished and most likely to start immediately.

“He’s so experienced,” Kiper said. “He’s worked against some (high-) quality wide receivers at Miami and against the opposition. He’s a very fundamentally sound corner.”

Otherwise, cornerbacks who are first-round candidates carry some risk, as they usually do. Cromartie missed all of the 2005 season with a knee injury. Though his knee may be sound, he has much less experience than some of his counterparts.

Other risky cornerbacks include Joseph (“You either think he’s going to be the best corner in the draft or you can’t stand him,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said) and Williams (“He’s a boom or bust, either an All-Pro or a washout,” Mayock said).

The Chiefs, given their recent trials at cornerback, might tend toward the safer pick — if there were such a thing. Surtain, who didn’t establish himself as a regular and one of the league’s best cornerbacks until his third NFL season with Miami, can speak for that.

“I can’t say I really knew what I needed to know as a player until my third season,” he said.

He mentioned the skills of the opposing receivers as one reason for the tough transition from college to pro. He didn’t mention those of the opposing quarterback, though he could have.

Rare is the college quarterback who can make all of the throws, but they’re everywhere in the NFL. Pro corners who sleep on certain routes quickly wind up on the bench or in another line of work.

“It’s tough to do, play corner as a rookie,” Surtain said. “It’s a big adjustment. I think besides quarterback, corner is probably the hardest position to make that jump.

“The defensive systems teams are running today are so elaborate. There’s a lot more studying you have to do than in college.”

jlscorpio
04-26-2006, 11:01 AM
draft Cromartie plz

BigChiefFan
04-26-2006, 11:06 AM
The Chiefs are laying the ground work for not drafting a corner in the 1st round. They are so transparent.

oldandslow
04-26-2006, 11:08 AM
The Chiefs are laying the ground work for not drafting a corner in the 1st round. They are so transparent.

Yup...

Gonna be a DE.

CosmicPal
04-26-2006, 11:11 AM
I think Edwards and Surtain are a match made in heaven.

58-4ever
04-26-2006, 11:12 AM
Yup...

Gonna be a DE.

Hopefully.

kregger
04-26-2006, 11:19 AM
Agree with DE. We need more help on the line creating pressure on the QB than we need secondary coverage.

htismaqe
04-26-2006, 11:37 AM
We have much bigger needs at DE, DT, and S.

I hope this article is accurate.

Mecca
04-26-2006, 11:48 AM
We have much bigger needs at DE, DT, and S.

I hope this article is accurate.

If they take a safety in the first round, I'll go bash my head into a wall.

ChiefsfaninPA
04-26-2006, 11:48 AM
This article is accurate in part, because I can name at least two corners who did make very good contributions as rookies. But I will agree that our needs are more serious at DE or any of those line positions. I still beleive that our secondary isn't that bad IF we got more pressure on the QB. I can not think of one good defensive team with a good secondary that has a terrible front four like ours. If you give the QB all day to make a completion, you could have Law, Surtain, Polamolua(sp) and Hope back there, someone will eventually get open enough to hurt you.

Chiefs Pantalones
04-26-2006, 11:54 AM
I think the first pick is going to be a Dlineman. Herm knows that's where it starts, or else he wouldn't be so easy to put in a rookie DB, IMO. He knows if you have a good dline, your secondary is that much better. So I see a Dlineman with the 20th pick, although, it could be best player available or trade down, depending on how the picks are being layed out before the Chiefs.

Mecca
04-26-2006, 11:54 AM
Thing is though, what if the available corner is much better than the Dlineman left? You don't just not take the corner cause you must have Dline when the corner is better.

Mr. Kotter
04-26-2006, 11:55 AM
If they take a safety in the first round, I'll go bash my head into a wall.


Can we request a brick wall? Will you provide pictures, please? ;)


Actually, Jason Allen or Jimmy Williams, I could see. they will probably be moved to saftey early in their carreers.....

milkman
04-26-2006, 12:03 PM
Thing is though, what if the available corner is much better than the Dlineman left? You don't just not take the corner cause you must have Dline when the corner is better.

Trade down.

milkman
04-26-2006, 12:05 PM
If they take a safety in the first round, I'll go bash my head into a wall.

Maybe that head bashing will knock some sense into you. :hmmm:

Molitoth
04-26-2006, 12:12 PM
booo

htismaqe
04-26-2006, 12:13 PM
Thing is though, what if the available corner is much better than the Dlineman left? You don't just not take the corner cause you must have Dline when the corner is better.

Trade down.

milkman
04-26-2006, 12:23 PM
Trade down.

We really are on the same page in this draft.

Trade down.

Mecca
04-26-2006, 12:24 PM
OMG......you guys don't want to take the best player on the board. Alright, have it your way, take positions over the best players available even though it's generally proven that's how you jack up drafts.

htismaqe
04-26-2006, 12:32 PM
OMG......you guys don't want to take the best player on the board. Alright, have it your way, take positions over the best players available even though it's generally proven that's how you jack up drafts.

Who's the best player available on the board? Cromartie?

This is the 21st century. There's a salary cap. The draft, more than ever before, is about BALANCE between getting the best available athlete and finding one that fills a GAP in your roster...

milkman
04-26-2006, 12:41 PM
OMG......you guys don't want to take the best player on the board. Alright, have it your way, take positions over the best players available even though it's generally proven that's how you jack up drafts.

To echo Parker's post, I believe you have to balance BAA with a position of need, that can contribute immediately.

While I don't disagree that corner is a position of need for this team, corner is the position that is least likely to contribute immediately, save for QB.

HemiEd
04-26-2006, 12:46 PM
OMG......you guys don't want to take the best player on the board. Alright, have it your way, take positions over the best players available even though it's generally proven that's how you jack up drafts.

I am not real sharp sometimes but I think they are saying to trade down to a position where the best available athlete is our position of need, DL and pick up additional picks.

Mecca
04-26-2006, 12:47 PM
Because we don't need a corner........90% chance the best player available when we pick will be a corner, and corner is a position of need on this team.

milkman
04-26-2006, 12:49 PM
Because we don't need a corner........90% chance the best player available when we pick will be a corner, and corner is a position of need on this team.

Read post #21.

htismaqe
04-26-2006, 12:51 PM
Because we don't need a corner........90% chance the best player available when we pick will be a corner, and corner is a position of need on this team.

We do have a need for a corner. Is it our most pressing need? Arguable.

As for the 90% chance the best player available when we pick is a corner, well, that's nothing but pure speculation and it's based most likely on your want of Cromartie.

KevB
04-26-2006, 12:57 PM
Trade down.

Trading down from the 20th spot in this draft will be difficult.

htismaqe
04-26-2006, 01:00 PM
Trading down from the 20th spot in this draft will be difficult.

Maybe, maybe not. It depends on who falls.

buddha
04-26-2006, 01:00 PM
How can we be any thinner at CB?

Can somebody honestly answer that question?

How are we in worse shape at any other position?

Yes, we have needs at most of the defensive position groups...big surprise there! We have for years now. However, as bad as Woods and Bartee are, they can alternate at one safety position with Knight at the other one and we can survive.

Surtain is all we have at CB right now, folks. Hoping that Battle or one of the other no-names on the current roster are somehow going to be even adequate at the other CB position is nothing but wishful thinking!

buddha
04-26-2006, 01:03 PM
Because we don't need a corner........90% chance the best player available when we pick will be a corner, and corner is a position of need on this team.

Mecca...who is the starting CB opposite Surtain and why do you have even an ounce of faith in him?

milkman
04-26-2006, 01:05 PM
How can we be any thinner at CB?

Can somebody honestly answer that question?

How are we in worse shape at any other position?

Yes, we have needs at most of the defensive position groups...big surprise there! We have for years now. However, as bad as Woods and Bartee are, they can alternate at one safety position with Knight at the other one and we can survive.

Surtain is all we have at CB right now, folks. Hoping that Battle or one of the other no-names on the current roster are somehow going to be even adequate at the other CB position is nothing but wishful thinking!

As has been illustrated over and over again, you can compensate for lesser talen at corner with outstanding play from the front seven, and an outstanding safety.

milkman
04-26-2006, 01:06 PM
Mecca...who is the starting CB opposite Surtain and why do you have even an ounce of faith in him?

I think you need to read Mecca's post again.

el borracho
04-26-2006, 01:16 PM
"Rookie DBs don’t become stars right away"

:Lin: Seems like I have read that line every year for the last 5. Well, guess what... at some point you have to draft a talented corner early and develop them. If we had drafted one 4 or 5 years ago he would no longer be a rookie.

I would prefer that the Chiefs draft a Dlineman but I am seriously sick of reading about how we should never draft a corner early because they take time to develop. If they take so much time to develop then we had better get started.

milkman
04-26-2006, 01:45 PM
"Rookie DBs don’t become stars right away"

:Lin: Seems like I have read that line every year for the last 5. Well, guess what... at some point you have to draft a talented corner early and develop them. If we had drafted one 4 or 5 years ago he would no longer be a rookie.

I would prefer that the Chiefs draft a Dlineman but I am seriously sick of reading about how we should never draft a corner early because they take time to develop. If they take so much time to develop then we had better get started.

I'm not opposed to taking a corner early.
Just not in the first round in this draft.

CoMoChief
04-26-2006, 03:39 PM
I hope we can trade down and draft Kiwanuka or Hali in the first round and pick up an additional 3rd rounder. It just all depends on who falls.