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Cornerback Could Be a Draft Priority Again


While the Redskins have rarely put a focus on defensive line help in the draft, the cornerback and safety positions have often been a top priority.

Since 1999, the Redskins have drafted seven defensive backs in Rounds 1-3 of drafts.

This year, cornerback might not be a need if Carlos Rogers weren't fully healthy. Rogers suffered a knee ligament injury last October and his readiness for the start of the 2008 season is in question.

That leaves the Redskins with starters Shawn Springs and Fred Smoot and reserve Leigh Torrence as the primary backup.

With Springs at 33 years old, the Redskins may be ready to find his long-term replacement. (Smoot is 29 years old.)

Allthough coaches like the ability of young corners John Eubanks and Byron Westbrook, there is clearly a need for more depth at the position.

In recent weeks, the Redskins have put their draft emphasis on wide receiver and offensive and defensive lines. So it would be a surprise if the Redskins drafted a cornerback--but certainly not out of the question.

Here are some of the top cornerback prospects available in the draft (listed in no particular order):

-- Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida

Jenkins, 5-11 and 200 pounds, was a four-year starter at South Florida, but he did not post overly impressive stats. That could be because offenses did not want to test him often. He logged six career interceptions.

-- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State

The cousin of Chargers' CB Antonio Cromartie, Dominique worked out with Redskins great Darrell Green in summer 2007 to fine-tune his skills. He is 6-1 and 184 pounds and has 11 collegiate interceptions.

-- Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy

The next great defender to emerge from a college that also produced Osi Umenyiora and DeMarcus Ware? He logged four career interceptions at Troy, but teams rarely threw in his direction. The 5-10, 190-pounder is also a dynamic return specialist.

-- Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas

Talib, 6-2 and 195 pounds, emerged in his junior and senior seasons, logging 108 tackles, 35 pass break-ups and 11 interceptions. He also has intriguing versatility, having played served as a wide receiver and kick returner for the Jayhawks. He could be the next Fred Smoot, in that he's regarded by media as a quote machine.

-- Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona

Cason has been moving up draft boards in recent weeks. The 6-0, 191-pounder, whose father Wendall played for the Atlanta Falcons in the mid-1980s, was productive in college, starting four years. He averaged 63 tackles per season and totaled 15 interceptions.

-- Brandon Flowers, CB, Virginia Tech

Flowers, 5-9 and 185 pounds, was a two-year starter for the Hokies. He finished with 10 career interceptions and 35 pass break-ups in his college career.

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