Round 3: Robert Alford, Southeastern Louisianna
Alford is not the most well known of prospects, coming from a decently successful school in a middling conference in the Football Championship Subdivision. But he is a name you should know, because he could be the next player to come from the “Division I-AA” level to make an impact in the NFL. Alford is someone we’ve profiled here previously, because he’s a playmaker at cornerback who has blazing fast speed and showed off during Senior Bowl practices. He was the best player on the field in college, and brought that confidence to his workouts in Mobile. He hasn’t faced receivers or quarterbacks on the level he will face in the NFL, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to be able to hang in the league. Check out his highlight video and you can see the plays he is capable of making.
Round 4: Will Davis, Utah State
It might seem strange to target so many small school players at the cornerback position, but the fact remains that these players often fall down the draft board thanks to questions about their level of competition rather than concerns about their ability. Davis is another player whose biggest question marks are about the level of competition he faced in his college career. The former Community college player transfered up to Utah State, and he worked his way up the depth chart until he was a starter and first team All-WAC. Rob Rang of CBS Sports says his mechanics are solid in terms of his balance and change of direction, and also notes that he’s experienced in press-man coverage. Davis broke up almost two passes per game in 2012, which was best in college football. He has proven that he can lock down receivers on a lower level of football, so it might be worth a middle round pick to see if he’s able to carry that over to the NFL level.
Round 5: Sanders Comings, Georgia
Comings is a player that comes from a great college defense, but seems to be way under the radar as a draft prospect. He has some character concerns and seems to struggle outside of being aggressive at the line of scrimmage. But NFL.com compares him to Brandon Browner of the Seattle Seahawks, and if Mark Dominik got to draft from current NFL players, Browner would definitely be high on his list. He’s strong, he’s big, and he’s still got good straight line speed. If he can step up his game in coverage and use his athletic ability in all aspects of defending receivers, rather than just controlling them at the line, he could be a good NFL corner. He’ll also have to stay out of trouble, which is a concern the Buccaneers will not take lightly.
Rounds 6 and 7: Vernon Kearney, Lane College
The Bucs don’t have a seventh round pick as the draft order currently stands, so we’ll take a look at a player who could be taken late in the draft, or signed after the draft is over. Much like E.J. Biggers a few years ago, Kearney was not invited to the NFL Draft Combine despite measuring up physically with any corner in the draft. Kearney was not targeted often in college (since he was one of the best players on the field), but still made enough of an impact to be invited to the Raycom All-Star Classic, where he wowed scouts. He’s originally from Bradenton, so if he doesn’t get selected at the tail end of the draft, he might welcome a chance to come to camp in Tampa and compete for a spot. Kearney is big enough and quick enough to play in the NFL, and given the chance, he could prove he’s good enough to play in the league as well.