Barry Jackson

Analysts pan Dolphins’ pick Tankersley


What analysts had to say about the Dolphins’ third round pick, Clemson cornerback Cordrea Tankersley:

• ESPN’s Mel Kiper: "Better two years ago than this past season. In coverage, up and down. Was beaten more than you want to see. Gets grabby, which doesn’t work in the NFL. You can get away with some of that in college where they don’t throw penalties flags as much as the NFL. Decent awareness, decent anticipation but doesn’t always break down properly. I was underwhelmed this year with Cordrea Tankersley.”

• ESPN’s Louis Riddick: "He needs to play up at the line of scrimmage. When he’s reading from off, he doesn’t know what to look at. His vision gets lost. When you’re looking at too many things, you don’t really see anything. Then you grab people and hold them. He’s going to be called for a ton of PIs in the NFL if he doesn’t clean that thing up.”

• ESPN’s Todd McShay: “His best coverage came against tight ends… In this division, Patriots, it kind of makes some sense.”

• NFL Net’s Mike Mayock: “He’s a height, weight, speed guy. He can run fast. He’s a press corner. He’s the least interested defensive back in this entire draft supporting the run. [FSU’s] Dalvin Cook had two touchdown runs against them over 50 yards. He was directly responsible for support and did not get involved at all.

“While I recognize the length and the speed and the talent, the fact he won’t support the run means something to me. So I struggle with him a little bit but I do understand and appreciate the skill set he brings.”

• NFL Net’s Daniel Jeremiah: “One thing with him is he has a bad habit of panicking once the ball’s in the air. He’s in great position down the field. He panics and grabs and has had some penalties. But the height, weight, speed, you’ve got a nice base to work with.”

• Pro Football Focus’ in-depth analysis: 

What he does best:

  • Has the size to press at the line of scrimmage. Ideal for a press-man scheme, length facilitates effective jams at the line of scrimmage.
  • Moves well for his size, allowing him to play multiple coverages.
  • Strong in man coverage, possesses incredible instincts and change-of-direction skills.
  • Scheme diverse: instincts and aggression make him a viable zone corner and he closes well on the ball in "off" coverage, particularly for his size.
  • Physical, willing to attack the LOS on run plays/screens, missed only 12 of 114 tackle attempts over last two seasons.
  • Reliable, gave up only one catch of 30-plus yards in 2016 and only one touchdown.
  • Can play either side, lining up on both perimeters extensively.

Biggest concern:

  • Too physical at times, particularly at the top of routes. Had seven coverage penalties in 2016, and won’t get away with as much as he did in college in the NFL.
  • Lets WRs get on him in off coverage, has him playing catch-up far too often.
  • Really should have had more than four interceptions in 2016. Dropped another two that were fairly easy grabs.
  • Will lose the ball late down the field, loses subtle hand fight.
  • Tries to play through WRs hands, but not always successful, needs to time it better.

“Tankersley possesses a strong skillset for a cornerback prospect. He’s able to balance aggressive playmaking talent with the reliability to prevent big plays, picking his moments to decisively change games. Tankersley’s size and movement skills will keep multiple teams interesting, from those looking for a pure press-man corner to those teams who prefer changing things up and playing multiple coverages. If Tankersley can improve do a better job at the top of routes where he can get too physical, he can develop into a strong starter in the league.”

•’s Lance Zierlein:

STRENGTHS: “Angular build with good length. Looks to harass and smother receiver for as long as he can. Runs with access to a second gear when needed. Two-year starter with experience in a variety of coverages. Disruptive at the catch point using full arm extension to maximize his length. Ball production was very good; had eight interceptions in just two years as a starter. Shut down Virginia Tech's Bucky Hodges in conference championship game, holding him to one catch and grabbing two interceptions. Soft hands will pluck it out of the air if he gets into position. Gets desired depth in Cover-2 responsibilities, balancing between high and low. Comes to balance and squares up as a tackler. Looks to tackle low and springs into ball carriers with aggressive shoulder aimed at their thighs.

WEAKNESSES: Anticipation and instincts slightly below average. Eyes are unsure and can be slow to process and react. Lacks bend in his backpedal and bail techniques. Struggles to sink and redirect quickly for transitions forward against comeback routes. Allows too much route separation from off coverage and will need to squeeze tighter on next level. Balance concerns in coverage. Feet and hips can be clunky when it's time to open and run out of press shuffle. Will panic when he gets behind on vertical routes and starts to grab. Had eight pass-interference calls against him in two season. Inconsistent in finding the ball when back is to the quarterback. Needs to add more muscle to frame.”

Kiper also was critical of the Dolphins’ second-round pick here.