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Position Battle: Top 3 CB Secure But Final Spots Interesting
Editor’s Note: Football analyst Bryan Broaddus has been previewing each position with one key battle to watch heading into training camp. Today, he focuses on the cornerback position.
It would be real easy to focus on the potential battle between Orlando Scandrick and Morris Claiborne for the starting spot at right corner but with the way that Rod Marinelli will be in his nickel packages, Scandrick, Claiborne and Brandon Carr are going to get plenty of work. Where we need to focus is on those other two or three spots on the roster that the front office will carry.
The way that Jerome Henderson and Joe Baker have been playing these corners in rotation has been Sterling Moore and BW Webb getting the work with the second defense with Tyler Patmon, Dashaun Phillips and now Terrance Mitchell getting some work with the twos but filling in with the threes. We have seen this play out before where Moore is getting solid work then for the final roster reduction, he is put on the street.
The corner that appears to have the most to lose in this group is Webb. Last season, I believe he was protected by where he was selected in the draft and the front office wanted to see him develop which is not an uncommon situation to see on all rosters around the league but now in his second season, he is going to have to performer better than Mitchell, Patmon and Phillips, if he wants to keep his spot on the roster.
Where Webb must improve is his aggressiveness. I thought he played entirely too soft where as if you studied his game at William & Mary, that wasn’t his style at all. He challenged receivers and attacked the ball. Of the rookie corners, all three bring unique traits to the position. Mitchell has surprised me with his understanding of how to play the position. Whether this defense has been in man or zone, he has not looked out of place one time. His technique is smooth and reactions have been spot on. He is very natural in the way he plays.
To my eye, Patmon appears to be the one that has the most explosive quickness and is the hardest for a receiver to get away from. He doesn’t have the ideal bulk at 179 but his reactions more than make up for it. Of the three, he might be the most competitive player down after down. Phillips has the smoothness of Mitchell but not the quickness of Patmon. He also doesn’t have the experience of playing in a bigger conference during his college career but the more he gets these snaps against these NFL receivers he will develop.
To his credit, he doesn’t appear to be scared or nervous about these matchups. This position has a very similar feel to what I am seeing at defensive line with all the young players attempting to win roster spots which makes the team strong in its depth. Read