Cordrea Tankersley Scouting Report By Charlie Campbell
Great length and height
Has enough height to defend big receivers, tight ends
Weapon to cover pass-receiving tight ends
Long, press-man corner
Good ball skills
Capable Tampa 2 zone corner
Lots of man-to-man experience
Successful against good college receivers
Doesn't have great short-area twitch
Has some stiffness
Redirection skills are lacking
Could struggle with deep speed in the NFL
Not a good fit to play a lot of off-man coverage
Summary: While offensive players like Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins, Deshaun Watson and Mike Williams have been very high profile, Clemson has produced a lot of good defensive prospects for the NFL over the past few years. Early in the 2016 season though, the Tigers' offense wasn't clicking on all cylinders. Instead, it was the defense that was stepping up to keep Clemson racking up wins. One of the key's to Clemson's tough defense was the play of the team's secondary, and over the past two seasons, Tankersley was its feature cornerback.
In 2015, Tankersley was part of a tough cornerback duo with Mackensie Alexander. Tankersley showed impressive ball skills with five interceptions and nine passes broken up on the year. He also had 48 tackles. While Tankersley played well, teams did throw at him more than Alexander, but Tankersley held up well as the Tigers went to the National Championship before losing to Alabama. In 2016, Tankersley totaled 47 tackles, four interceptions and 10 passes broken up. He was Clemson's best cornerback on a team that got the better of Alabama to win the National Championship.
For the NFL, Tankersley would fit best as a bump-and-run press-man corner. He is big and long to be a press-man corner who manipulates the route that receivers can run after his jam. Tankersley has good height and length to handle big receivers. His size and ability to use the sideline can make it difficult to get the ball by him. Tankersley has above-average athletic ability and enough speed to run with big receivers downfield. He also does a nice job in zone coverage. Tankersley covers his territory and has the size to help cover up a variety of targets. However, he isn't as natural in off man, so he should be drafted for a press-man or Tampa 2 scheme.
Tankersley also has good ball skills for a big cornerback. Many big corners aren't great at making interceptions, but Tankersley had soft hands that led to his quality interception totals over the past two seasons.
For the NFL, Tankersley would be best in a system that primarily uses him as a press-man or a Tampa 2 zone corner. Tankersley is likely to be a second- or third-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Player Comparison: David Amerson. Amerson (6-1, 205) was a second-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, and Tankersley could go in the same range. They are similar in size as big corners who can match up against large receivers. Amerson had better ball skills entering the NFL, but Tankersley also has ball skills and may be smoother and more steady. In the NFL, I could see Tankersley being similar, but better than Amerson.
NFL Matches: Cleveland, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Washington, Detroit, Miami, Oakland, Houston, Dallas, Green Bay and Seattle
There are a lot of potential fits for Tankersley on the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft. The Browns could use cornerback help in the second or third round. He would give them an outside corner and let them move Joe Haden into the slot in the nickel. San Francisco and Chicago both need cornerback upgrades. None of these three teams is likely to draft a corner in the first three picks of Round 1, so Tankersley could go to one of these organizations on the second day.
The Chargers could use a third cornerback to go with Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward. Buffalo needs a corner to replace Stephon Gilmore. The Saints could use more cornerback help for their defense, so they could consider taking Tankersley.
Philadelphia needs multiple cornerback upgrades and a No. 1 corner. The Colts need another corner to pair with Vontae Davis, and Tankersley could be a fit for them. The Ravens could use a corner upgrade to go with Jimmy Smith. Washington needs a corner upgrade across from Josh Norman.
Among the playoff teams, there are a lot of cornerback-needy teams. The Lions need a corner upgrade across from Darius Slay. The Dolphins and Raiders need to improve their cornerbacks, too. The Texans need help at the position after losing A.J. Bouye, but Tankersley is not a good scheme fit for them, so I seriously doubt they wil take him. Dallas badly needs cornerback help after losing Morris Claiborne. The Packers also could use more talent at corner. Seattle also needs some young cornerback talent, and Tankersley is a great scheme fit for the Seahawks.