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By: Shae Dougall
Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson
Clemson vs Ohio State (2016)
Clemson vs Virginia Tech (2016)
Clemson vs Troy (2016)
Nothing really stands out to me about Cordrea Tankersley, except his awesome name. As you read on, you’ll find that I view the former All-American third teamer to be slow to react, stiff, upright, and not particularly good in coverage. Currently projected as a fourth round pick, I wouldn’t touch Tankersley until the sixth round as a project pick. He’s a press corner with a lot of stuff that needs to get coached into him. He was able to get away with his deficiencies at Clemson because of the ridiculous talent around him, but will struggle to make a name for himself in the NFL except in very specific, beneficial circumstances.
Play Recognition: 6 out of 10
Tankersley is consistently befuddled by deep routes with a lot of cuts. He might recognize the play, but it’s hard to tell. I’m not confident in his chances to successfully make the leap to the NFL because his reaction time is just too slow.
Speed: 3.5 out of 5
Tankersley perplexes me. His combine 40 yard time of 4.4 should speak to excellent straight-line speed, and yet…it doesn’t show up on tape, especially on deep routes. I feel like this indicates some sort of mechanical issue. He definitely seems to play a little bit stiff and upright, which isn’t conducive to maintaining top-level change of direction speed at all times. Until Cordrea can get coached up, a 3.5/5 his speed score shall remain.
Mirroring: 7 out of 10
Tankersley can blanket the receiver on just about any quick route, making it difficult on them and occasionally bumping them off of the route completely. This ability scales back the longer he has to cover and deeper the route gets.
Pursuit: 3 out of 5
Takes too long to come back to the ball on any route that ends with a hitch, although he does usually make a strong, squared-up tackle in those situations. He can catch up to some guys that have burned him, but usually only when the pass is inaccurately thrown.
Man: 8 out of 15
Tankersley has a bad tendency to get beat deep. Even worse, he gets called for pass interference a lot on those plays. He has the size necessary to cover bigger receivers, but the tape indicates that he doesn’t have the speed, despite his 4.4 40 yard dash time at the scouting combine. He also lacks the lower body explosiveness to go up and get the ball in jump ball situations. Finally, Tankersley allows way too much separation on off-coverage routes, failing to quickly close on the ball. This is either due to lack of recognition or lack of athleticism (or both).
Zone: 8 out of 15
Whiffed badly in some of the zone situations I watched on tape. On one play, Tankersley was so far out of position that he had to run nearly 8 yards downfield just to get to the receiver…and then he promptly missed the tackle. Simply lacks the instinct and reaction speed necessary to play effective zone coverage.
Press: 5 out of 5
I’m most confident in Tankersley when I see that he’s right on the line of scrimmage. Assuming the receiver doesn’t blow him off the line immediately, he’ll be able to compete with them for a while using bump-and-run technique. This almost always causes enough of a problem for the quarterback’s timing to be thrown off, which allows Tankersley to compete for underthrown passes, whether in zone or man coverage.
Tackle: 3.5 out of 5
I saw more than one occasion on tape where Tankersley was in position to make the tackle and made the tackle…and then there were some other times where he was in position to make the tackle and missed the tackle. So, he’s basically like a lot of cornerbacks.
Ball Skills: 5 out of 5
Despite mechanical issues and slow reaction time, Tankersley sure did seem to be in the right place at the right time a lot in college. He came away with 8 interceptions with just two years of starting experience at Clemson and he consistently plays the football very well when it’s not going over his head for a huge gain.
Tackle: 3.5 out of 5
Tankersley won’t be pulverizing guys in the open field too often, but he seems to have the mechanics of tackling down pat. You could certainly do worse at the cornerback position.
Play Recognition: 2.5 out of 5
Like on passing plays, Tankersley is often slow to react to a running play. Curtis Samuel made him look foolish on a cutback in the college football playoff, catching Tankersley out of position and blowing by him for a huge gain.
Willingness: 5 out of 5
On every running play I saw, Tankersley showed the want-to that a lot of cornerbacks don’t possess at any level. He consistently ran towards where the ball was going, even when it wasn’t close to his side of the field.
Injury: 8 out of 10
Missed a couple of games due to injury in 2016, but that might have been due to Clemson’s coaching staff not wanting to risk him aggravating something that was pre-existing (read: resting him because they were playing mediocre South Carolina and something called South Carolina State).
Total Prospect Rating: 68/100
Pro Comparison: Jonathan Banks, CB, Chicago Bears
Both have the prototypical size to match up with number one receivers and absolutely lack any further abilities necessary to do so. Whether in zone or man, these players look lost more often than not, though certainly not due to their prototypical size and tantalizing athletic abilities. Banks was a second round pick, a fast-riser following a solid pre-draft season. Tankersley could follow the same path to be horribly over-drafted as teams scramble to make sense of the absolute cluster-f of cornerbacks graded between the second and fourth round.