Trading for A.J. Bouye and hopefully having Bryce Callahan return should provide a big boost to the Broncos’ cornerback room, but they could still stand to add another through the draft.
For the sake of clarity, this isn’t a list of the five best cornerbacks in the draft or five the Broncos should take in the first round.
Instead, it’s a list of three corners that Denver should consider drafting wherever they’re valued because they could be exciting fits in Vic Fangio’s defense.
Jeff Gladney, TCU
Pro Comp: Denzel Ward
If the Broncos are eager to find their replacement for Chris Harris Jr., they should look no further than TCU’s Jeff Gladney.
The word that immediately comes to mind when trying to describe Gladney is “feisty.” He’s eager to make plays on the ball while it’s in the air, and he shows no hesitation or fear when faced with contact after the opposing receiver has made the catch.
He’s terrific in man coverage and excels working out of the slot. That may be a problem for the Broncos who are already set with Bryce Callahan in the slot, and have a greater need on the perimeter.
Gladney’s other red flag is his 5’10” frame that weighs less than 200 pounds. That’s certainly less-than-ideal size for an outside corner, but it shouldn’t be nearly as big of a concern as it has been, because he doesn’t play small.
Kristian Fulton, LSU
Pro Comp: Morris Claiborne
Kristian Fulton’s good tape makes you think he should be drafted in the top 20-picks alongside C.J. Henderson and Jeff Okudah, but his bad tape makes you think he’s a late day-two prospect.
Inconsistency and a lack of ball skills are Fulton’s biggest red flags. Despite starting more than 20 games for the Tigers in his college career, Fulton only intercepted two passes. Also, he isn’t the best tackler, a skill Fangio covets in his corners.
That being said, Fulton is great in man coverage and doesn’t shy away from engaging physically with receivers both at the line of scrimmage and throughout their route. This comfort with contact means that his tackling woes might developable and more a problem with technique than the desire to make a play.
Fulton is a good athlete that should hang with most receivers on vertical routes but he isn’t the most agile which could lead to him struggling in the slot. That’s not much of a concern for Denver though, who should feel comfortable with Callahan in that role.
A.J. Terrell, Clemson
Pro Comp: Aqib Talib
Pitching someone on A.J. Terrell is a tricky proposition because most people’s first impression of him was watching him get torched consistently by Ja’Marr Chase in the National Championship game.
In Terrell’s defense though, Chase is a monster who will almost certainly be the first pass-catcher off the board in 2021 and most any other year.
Outside of that one performance, Terrell was terrific in 2019 and plays in a style reminiscent of Aqib Talib. Like Fulton and Gladney, he’s great in man coverage and plays very tight to the opposing receiver. He’s also talented in pressing the receiver off the snap and has a special gift for jumping routes.
That physicality is a big plus for Terrell but it could also be his downfall as he gets away with a lot more hand-fighting and grabbing on receivers in their route than will be allowed at the next level.