Cornerbacks in the NFL are like pass rushers, in that teams can never have too many good ones, especially with the way passing games have developed over the years.
This isn't a very deep class of cornerbacks, but it's very talented at the top, headlined by Ohio State's Jeff Okudah, who's hoping to be the next great Ohio State cornerback making the jump to the NFL.
Top 5 cornerbacks to watch at Combine:
1. Jeff Okudah, Ohio State, 6-1, 200
Started all 14 games for the Buckeyes and was first-team All-American, first-team All-Big Ten and a Jim Thorpe Award finalist. He led Ohio State with three interceptions and nine pass breakups this past season as a junior, also posting 34 tackles and a forced fumble. He has the size, length, speed, quickness and toughness to be a really good cornerback in the NFL for a long time. He's a likely top 10 pick.
View photos of NFL.com's top cornerback prospects attending the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine.
2. C.J. Henderson, Florida, 6-1, 202
A first-team All-SEC selection this past season despite playing in just nine games due to an ankle injury. He led the Gators with 11 pass breakups and 33 tackles (no interceptions). Henderson, like Okudah, has terrific length and burst, and is a willing tackler. He'll test well at the Combine and is a likely first-round talent.
3. Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn, 5-11, 200
The son of two Olympic-caliber athletes, Igbinoghene himself was a track star in high school, breaking the Alabama state record in the triple jump and finishing second in the nation in the event as a senior. He began his college career as a receiver before making the switch to defense, so he's still a bit of a work in progress. A two year starter, Igbinoghene started 12 games for Auburn in 2019 and recorded 42 tackles and seven pass breakups. He also averaged 35.2 yards as a kick returner with a touchdown.
4. Kristian Fulton, LSU, 6-0, 200
The interviews will be an important part of Fulton's pre-draft process. He was suspended for one season in 2017 after having someone else provide urine for a PED test. He started the last two seasons for the Tigers, playing all 15 games this season with 38 tackles, 14 passes defended (led team) and an interception. Good press-man corner, but some analysts question his long speed, so his 40 time will be key as well.
5. Trevon Diggs, Alabama, 6-2, 207
The younger brother of Minnesota Pro Bowl wide receiver Stefon Diggs. He's a terrific athlete, who played offense, defense and special teams as a true freshman at Alabama. Diggs started 12 games at cornerback this past season, finishing with 37 tackles, intercepting three passes and tying for the team lead with eight passes defended. Teams will love his length and ball skills. Like Fulton, there are questions about his long speed.
Combine sleeper to watch:
Amik Robertson, Louisiana Tech, 5-9, 183
He was overlooked coming out of high school because of his size, but he proved to be an immediate impact player for the Bulldogs. He plays much bigger than his size would indicate, recording at least 60 tackles in each of his three seasons at Louisiana Tech. He recorded 14 interceptions over the last three seasons and led the nation with 16 passes defended in 2019. He has a chance to be a very good nickel corner in the NFL with his instincts and ball skills.
Lions' need at the position: High
Cornerback Darius Slay is entering the final year of his contract, and has expressed an interest in signing a new deal.
"Of course I want an extension, but how it'll turn out, we'll see," Slay told a small group of Detroit beat writers at the Super Bowl a couple weeks ago. "If they give me a contract, I'll be blessed and fortunate enough for it. Like I've said, I've always wanted to retire a Detroit Lion, but if it don't happen, it's cool, I'll be alright."
Slay, 29, made his third straight Pro Bowl this season and was Detroit's most consistent cover man throughout the course of the year. Whether or not Slay plays out the last year of his deal, gets an extension or is traded, goes a long way in determining just how big of a need the cornerback position is for the Lions this offseason.
Justin Coleman was signed in free agency last offseason to play the nickel, but the Lions are still looking for someone to step up and take that outside spot opposite Slay, and eventually take over for Slay as Detroit's top cornerback. Detroit could also use some depth and competition at the position to go along with last year's fifth-round pick, Amani Oruwariye.
Key stat: Detroit finished last in the NFL against the pass, giving up on average 284.4 passing yards per contest, and was tied for last with just seven interceptions all season. The Lions gave up the second most 20-plus-yard passes in the NFL this season with 72.