Sep 7, 2013; Lincoln, NE, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers defender Stanley Jean-Baptiste (16) returns an interception for a touchdown against the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles in the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals Need Length in Defensive Backfield

The Senior Bowl in Mobile is almost the equivalent to a warm-up combine for seniors. There’s one topic in an upward trend though in the NFL, and that’s the long, physical and speedy cornerback.

That’s something the Seattle Seahawks have found in the new self-proclaimed best corner in the NFL , Richard Sherman 6’3″ , and his counterpart Brandon Browner(before his suspension) at a whopping 6’4″.

His backup, Byron Maxwell (6’1″) is taller than most corners as well in the NFL. Now the entire league is in a scramble to find a long corner.

The average wideout is anywhere from 6’1″ to 6’6″, and common sense would tell you that 5’10″ corners aren’t going to cut it any longer. Safeties will be OK under 6’0″ because they are usually put on a slot receiver who is also on the shorter end of the height chart.

Mobile’s Senior Bowl is the first sign that this is no longer just being talked about in NFL circles but it has become the hottest of topics in Mobile and for good reason. Out of the eleven corners at the Senior Bowl eight are over six feet, and a larger surprise is five being 6’2″ or better.

In comparison, Leon Hall (5’11″), Adam Jones (5″10″) and Terence Newman (5’10″) aren’t even 6 feet tall, and that’s helped lead to struggles against taller and more physical receiver like Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jefferey.

Hopefully, the Bengals have took interest in the longer cornerbacks, because I can promise you one thing in that all other NFL teams have taken notice.

With Seattle on the verge of a Super Bowl, a big part of their success is their long corners, so I’ve picked out the two tallest in this year’s draft class.

Stanley Jean-Baptiste 6’3″ from Nebraska and Keith McGill 6’3″ from Utah. Both these guys are ranked very low in the majority of prospect rankings.

McGill ranks in the 20s and Baptiste around the 10-15 range.  That’s very surprising, and I feel both guys stock will rise if they play well in the Senior Bowl, which they’ve done so far this week during practices.

NFL.com’s Gil Brandt agrees and likes the Baptiste-Sherman comparison:

Jean-Baptiste has rare size (6-foot-2 3/8, 215); he looks like a clone of Richard Sherman.

He’s a junior-college transfer who only played cornerback for a season and a half at Nebraska after switching from wide receiver in 2011. Has very long arms (78 3/8 wingspan) and is a willing tackler.

Looks fast in coverage and has quickness. If he looks like he can cover in man drills this week, he might move up into my top 100. Smart player who entered 2013 with his degree already in hand.

 

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Tags: Cincinnati Bengals NFL Stanley Jean-Baptiste

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