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Thread: Let's Talk CB

  1. #1
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    Let's Talk CB

    After a FA period that brought in former Pro Bowl CB A.J. Bouye (via trade) and the departure of our beloved (future RoFer) CHJ after 9 years with the team, the cornerback position remains a pretty big question mark on our roster.

    Regardless of how you feel about Bouye, he will be the CB1 when the 2020 season begins.

    Bryce Callahan will be our nickel CB and should see virtually all of his snaps there. In his four years with Chicago (and Fangio) he played 81.6% of his snaps in the slot (and 91.6% in his last two seasons there). Barring questionable personnel decisions, Callahan should continue to play that role. Of course his health is the number one concern, but after sitting out the entire 2019 season and having another full offseason to recover from his troubling foot injury-- I trust that he will be ready to go for 2020.

    Which brings us to the topic of CB2, the outside corner opposite of Bouye. Here is how we employed that position last year (per Pro Football Reference).

    Isaac Yiadom: 8 GS (games started), 16 GP (games played)
    Davontae Harris: 6 GS, 16 GP
    De'Vante Bausby: 2 GS, 5 GP


    All three corners are back for next season. Here are the 2019 stats for each of them.

    Yiadom: 4 PD, 0 INT, 38 completions/54 targets (70.4%), 490 yards allowed, 0 TD, 98.5 rating against
    Harris: 3 PD, 0 INT, 33/50 (66.0%), 330 YA, 3 TD, 104.6 rating
    Bausby: 3 PD, 0 INT, 8/15, 75 YA, 0 TD, 67.4 rating


    On the surface, it seems like Bausby has shown the most ability to lock down the outside corner position for our defense. Before a scary neck injury ended his 2019 campaign, Bausby was making the most of his opportunities after starring in the now-defunct AAF. Although he played well in limited action, it remains to be seen whether he can sustain that level of play for a full season. Elway re-signed Bausby to a one-year deal in March.

    Yiadom, a 2018 3rd round pick, has been underwhelming since he was drafted. I was high on him as a prospect out of Boston College, and I think he can continue to improve as he enters his third year in the league. Fangio and Donatell must develop their young CB and have him cut down on his tendency to grab in coverage-- which drew a fair share of costly penalties. If Yiadom cannot take the next step, he will fall into the "Brendan Langley" category of 3rd round busts at corner for Denver.

    Harris was impressive early on, but lost the starting spot to Yiadom mid-way through the season after giving up 8 receptions and 90 yards against MIN and a touchdown against BUF. He provides decent depth for our secondary, but I am not counting on him to take over at CB2 this upcoming year.

    So what to do?

    Much speculation has been made about bringing in former CHI CB Prince Amukamara and reuniting him with Fangio and Donatell. At this moment, it seems like Elway, however, is waiting until the draft to make any decisions regarding the other starting cornerback position. The 2020 CB draft class has a lot of talent, with many top prospects with pro-ready tools that can come in and make an impact during their rookie year. The bulk of that talent in his class appears to lie in the late-1st to early 3rd round range, with a bit of a drop-off after that. My take is that we need to take one somewhere in the first 2 rounds. Here is my tentative CB board at the moment.

    TIER 1 (early 1st RD):
    1. Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State // best CB prospect since Jalen Ramsey, no holes to his game

    TIER 2 (mid 1st RD):
    2. Kristian Fulton, LSU // shut down the best WRs in the SEC, all-around balanced skill-set, excelled in man & Cover 3
    3. C.J. Henderson, Florida // ultra-athletic, one of the best pure man CBs, has the potential to star on an island, poor tackler

    TIER 3 (late 1st - early 2nd RD):
    4. Jeff Gladney, TCU // tenacious, not afraid to tackle, silky undersized man corner with projectable ability to play zone
    5. Jaylon Johnson, Utah // smart playmaker, physical press man, disciplined w/ IQ to play multiple schemes
    6. Trevon Diggs, Alabama // lanky CB w/ spider-like length, patient eyes w/ good instincts, fit for press-zone or press-man
    7. A.J. Terrell, Clemson // ideal size/speed combo, good fluidity to be scheme-versatile, underwhelming tackler

    TIER 4 (mid 2nd - early 3rd RD):
    8. Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State // allowed only 1 TD in college, elite physically & fundamentally in press, great ball skills, worrisome long speed
    9. Bryce Hall, Virginia // length & willingness to tackle fits Fangio's prototype, high motor, one of the best zone CBs in this class
    10. Damon Arnette, Ohio State // solid, all-around CB, average athlete, consistent technique on every rep
    11. Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn // great athleticism, very raw, physical vs the run, a developmental project

    If we miss out on a top WR, I would be happy with Fulton at #15. If we manage to grab a WR in round 1, I like Johnson or Diggs at #46-- if they're not available there, I like Terrell or the top two Tier 4 corners on my board. These are the only players I really see being able to take over as CB2 next season. After them, I do not see a CB from this draft class that would be an upgrade at the position besides providing depth or ST contributions.

    What do you guys think we should do at CB2? Do you guys think it's a big need relative to WR, C, or OT? Which prospects do you particularly covet for us?
    Last edited by HDbroncos02; 04-08-2020 at 04:08 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Great question. Because the CB2 need is there. I have no confidence in Yiadom. Bausby is ok but can he stay healthy? Was surprised to see the stats about Callahan being primarily a slot CB. I thought I had read last season he was being brought in to play outside.

    Much will depend on highly Elway covets WRs and oline. My opinion is draft goes OT/ WR or reversed in the first two rounds. Does Elway?

    I would love to see it addressed before the draft with a free agent. Even a solid mediocre talent for a few million. Just a competent starter. Then draft a CB with one of the 3rds. You did a great job of describing them.

    I personally think Hall would be a great fit. The zone skills and very good tackler seem to fit the Fangio mold. The Broncos then have the luxury to break him ( or similar rookie) in with certain coverages or assignments. If he excels and takes over the starting job... awesome.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by FR Tim View Post
    Great question. Because the CB2 need is there. I have no confidence in Yiadom. Bausby is ok but can he stay healthy? Was surprised to see the stats about Callahan being primarily a slot CB. I thought I had read last season he was being brought in to play outside.

    Much will depend on highly Elway covets WRs and oline. My opinion is draft goes OT/ WR or reversed in the first two rounds. Does Elway?

    I would love to see it addressed before the draft with a free agent. Even a solid mediocre talent for a few million. Just a competent starter. Then draft a CB with one of the 3rds. You did a great job of describing them.

    I personally think Hall would be a great fit. The zone skills and very good tackler seem to fit the Fangio mold. The Broncos then have the luxury to break him ( or similar rookie) in with certain coverages or assignments. If he excels and takes over the starting job... awesome.
    Those numbers make me think that CHJ was likely going to play on the outside regardless of Callahan’s health last year. And if Bausby can stay healthy, I think there is a chance that he could have an AJ Johnson-like breakout on defense if he’s given the opportunity. I’m personally not comfortable taking that chance without bringing in another CB into that room at the very least.

    We will see what Elway does. I tend to agree with your view on how we go with the first two rounds (and vice versa). I am curious to see how highly they place OT as a need, though. Bolles did his usual act of playing decent to end the season, which gives everyone false hope until he becomes a total liability for penalties again the next year. The difference this time is that he is entering the last year of his rookie deal, which makes me think that the FO just let him start and prove himself for the last time before they make a real decision at LT in 2021. James is one of the highest-paid RTs in the NFL and will get his chance no matter what.

    I also think C is in the mix at #46 with the likes of Cushenberry III, Hennessy, and Biadasz probably all being available there. As it stands right now, we need a starting center unless Munchak really likes Patrick Morris or plans on sliding Graham Glasgow over to C.

    Back to CB, I digress. I agree with your viewpoint on the position. A veteran FA would be my ideal stop-gap solution since experience would greatly benefit a relatively young CB room. That way it opens up the draft for us to address other important positions AND allows a 3rd round pick or another mid-round corner to develop in Fangio’s system. Hall has some injury concerns that could drop him out of the 2nd round— if we could get him at #77, I would be ecstatic. He definitely has the upside to start early. But bringing in a vet would help Hall or any rookie come in without huge pressure on their shoulders or the threat of undergoing a “trial by fire”.

  4. #4
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    Great topic to bring up and I just watched a bunch of snaps on these guys.

    First off, I would move C.J. Henderson into tier one, as I can see a team taking him higher than he is getting mocked. The tackling issue is being exaggerated (saw his man go into motion and he absolutely blew up the RB by shooting the C gap). Sure he can use some better technique, but unwilling guys do not go high as he is prone to do, they usually ankle dive. I do think he is a high% possibility at #15 for us.


    Kristian Fulton I would drop down to late first early 2nd for us, simply because there are concerns with his ankles , falsifying a drug test, and more of a press man guy than zone guy. I think he can play zone like CHJ can play boundary...gets by but not playing to his strength.

    My "Value guys" are Gladney (mid round talent that may slip into 2nd round based on size), Bryce Hall, and Amik Roberton (you would think he was 6' 220lbs by the way he plays, watch some film on him).

    My preference would be to go Queen and then Gladney (move up to early 2nd) or Hall in 2nd and then go after a couple WRs and OL to develop; however, if we go CB at 15, I would be more than happy to see Henderson as the pick. Still want Robertson in the 3rd or 4th if we can swing it.
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    Dantzler scares me with his long speed it doesn't seem to successful i really like Hall. i think he fits the scheme fangio seems to go for in CBs. but i also don't see us taking one to early. Fangio has never needed to use high picks on CBs

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    Quote Originally Posted by MHSalute View Post
    Great topic to bring up and I just watched a bunch of snaps on these guys.

    First off, I would move C.J. Henderson into tier one, as I can see a team taking him higher than he is getting mocked. The tackling issue is being exaggerated (saw his man go into motion and he absolutely blew up the RB by shooting the C gap). Sure he can use some better technique, but unwilling guys do not go high as he is prone to do, they usually ankle dive. I do think he is a high% possibility at #15 for us.


    Kristian Fulton I would drop down to late first early 2nd for us, simply because there are concerns with his ankles , falsifying a drug test, and more of a press man guy than zone guy. I think he can play zone like CHJ can play boundary...gets by but not playing to his strength.

    My "Value guys" are Gladney (mid round talent that may slip into 2nd round based on size), Bryce Hall, and Amik Roberton (you would think he was 6' 220lbs by the way he plays, watch some film on him).

    My preference would be to go Queen and then Gladney (move up to early 2nd) or Hall in 2nd and then go after a couple WRs and OL to develop; however, if we go CB at 15, I would be more than happy to see Henderson as the pick. Still want Robertson in the 3rd or 4th if we can swing it.
    I went back and re-watched the All-22 tape of Florida vs. LSU last season and I agree with you. They don't make quick-twitch defensive backs as athletic as Henderson and I think he has pro-ready shutdown ability already. I will say that his overall effort in run defense is very lacking-- but hey, a team drafts him to play CB, not LB. His technique can be coached up, but what I liked was his cheetah-like pursuit and closing speed when going after his man after the catch or if someone catches the ball in his area. Henderson had some off-man and zone reps where I felt like he was okay. He is unquestionably at his best when at the line of scrimmage. I also admire his competitiveness as he shadowed Ja'Marr Chase the entire game, both on the outside and in the slot. I don't think he's the best scheme fit for Fangio's defense but I think he has a very high ceiling and could develop into a very good corner in the NFL. You know what, I wouldn't be upset at all if he was the pick at #15. My comp for Henderson is a rich man's Bradley Roby.

    (sidenote: Justin Jefferson torched Florida's defense and Joe Burrow has even greater football IQ than I previously thought... sheesh!)

    Fulton is definitely not as athletic as Henderson, but I see a more cerebral player who looks comfortable playing both man and zone. Fulton played a lot more man in 2019 compared to 2018 where LSU ran primarily Cover 3. I think he will thrive in Fangio's system due to his high level of patience with his eyes and great instincts with deliberate read and react ability. I see where you're going with the CHJ analogy and while I agree (in terms of those things not being their strengths), I think Fulton has the tools and upside to get better at zone. I could see his 2017 suspension and previous ankle injuries drawing pretty big red flags for our FO, though.

    I like those CBs you mentioned in Gladney, Hall, and Robertson. I forgot to mention Robertson in the OP but I think he is the biggest sleeper in this draft class. He would be a fantastic pick in the 3rd round. I might slide him over Igbinoghene on my board in the next few days.

    Coming away with Henderson and Robertson would be a helluva haul for Elway and Fangio. I would like Queen and Gladney/Hall but only if we traded down in the 1st and got Queen. I like your draft strategy a lot.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyousukeneko View Post
    Dantzler scares me with his long speed it doesn't seem to successful i really like Hall. i think he fits the scheme fangio seems to go for in CBs. but i also don't see us taking one to early. Fangio has never needed to use high picks on CBs
    Dantzler's long speed (4.64) is definitely worrying. His only TD that he allowed at Mississippi State, in fact, came on a 20+ yard pass. My belief, however, is that his exceptional press skills and great length give him an advantage in a way where he already takes the receiver out of play at the line of scrimmage before they get the chance to burn him deep. One of Dantzler's standout performances last season came against LSU where he arguably put up the best coverage on Ja'Marr Chase out of any corner in 2019. Compare that to A.J. Terrell (4.42) who got torched by Chase in the National Championship.

    Here's a little clip from that game. It demonstrates a lot of the tools that he consistently shows in other games as well.


    You're right about Fangio not draft corners early. In his years with CHI and SF, they never drafted a CB higher than the 4th round. It will be interesting to see how much Fangio values our current personnel and if he wants to buck the trend and invest in a CB early or not.
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    My worry is receivers in the nfl are alot better at beating press then in the college game. He will struggle alot and I am not sure he can adapt with his speed. He probably needs to convert to safety in the nfl

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyousukeneko View Post
    My worry is receivers in the nfl are alot better at beating press then in the college game. He will struggle alot and I am not sure he can adapt with his speed. He probably needs to convert to safety in the nfl
    That's a fair projection. I don't think he's the most athletic corner in the draft, but I think his playing speed is slightly better than what his 4.64 would indicate. When I watch his games, he just doesn't get beat deep. Of course he will face better, faster receivers in the NFL so your concerns are legitimate. I don't think safety is in his future with his wiry frame but if does get toasted by NFL WRs then he would probably have to switch to have pro success like you said. In my eyes, Dantzler is a slower DRC as far as player comps go.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HDbroncos02 View Post
    That's a fair projection. I don't think he's the most athletic corner in the draft, but I think his playing speed is slightly better than what his 4.64 would indicate. When I watch his games, he just doesn't get beat deep. Of course he will face better, faster receivers in the NFL so your concerns are legitimate. I don't think safety is in his future with his wiry frame but if does get toasted by NFL WRs then he would probably have to switch to have pro success like you said. In my eyes, Dantzler is a slower DRC as far as player comps go.
    What would he do against please like Julio who is fast and bigger then him probably to big for him to press well. I think he may project as a good number 2 but he will have trouble with the freaks or guys like michael thomas for sure

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyousukeneko View Post
    What would he do against please like Julio who is fast and bigger then him probably to big for him to press well. I think he may project as a good number 2 but he will have trouble with the freaks or guys like michael thomas for sure
    Might be time to consider how well he (or any CBs ) will do against the KC WRs or deal with the Raiders likely taking a WR in the first. Have defend in those Division games.

    Interesting tidbit about Fangio typically not taking early CBs. Tends to make me think that if they chose to select defense it would be a LB in Queen or Murray. If still on the board.

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    I think you left Tony pride Jr from ND. I think he would be a good addition in the 3rd round
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    I wouldn’t sleep on Antoine Winfield being drafted to play CB early with a transition to S to replace Jackson down the road.

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    Bryce Hall is my guy. Reminds me of Fuller on Chicago. If not for his injury we would be talking about him a lot higher.

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    Quote Originally Posted by beastlyskronk View Post
    I wouldn’t sleep on Antoine Winfield being drafted to play CB early with a transition to S to replace Jackson down the road.
    Jeremy Chinn could be another of those hybrid guys we look at. Plus if we want guys who want to be Broncos, who better than Atwater's Godson

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