Welcome back to part 2! Make sure you check out Cornerback Tips Part 1, by the way.
Again, the list of skills we’re looking at come from the late-great Bill Walsh, Greg Gabriel, a gentler30 year sver 30 years NFL scouting experience, and Scouts Inc. on Cornerbacks, an article at ESPN.com, that covers Scouts Inc’s criteria for grading cornerbacks.
Let’s finish-up with the rest of the skills and abilities.
Physical toughness. Gabriel’s take on physical toughness:
Corners have to be good run support players who can take on and shed blocks and be sure tacklers. Those who shy away from contact don’t last long in the league.
Coach Walsh’s opinion seems to be pretty much in-line with Gabriel’s:
…the great cornerbacks have been able to play a physical game with receivers. They can bump the receiver on the release, but more important go up for a ball and not be overwhelmed or knocked off the pass by the receiver.
Mental toughness. Coach Walsh on mental toughness:
…the cornerback must be emotionally resilient. He must continue to function after passes have been thrown in his vicinity, or after he has given up a touchdown pass. It takes a totally composed athlete to put aside these types of plays that will be obvious for everybody to see and judge. So they must have an inner confidence, to the point of cockiness, that demonstrates itself.
Gabriel on mental toughness:
Mental toughness is important because good corners have to have short memories. They are going to be beat at times and when they are, they have to be able to instantaneously forget about it and come back the next play.
Ability to shed blocks. Corners are often the last line of defense when it comes to keeping a play from going the distance, so they have to know how to get off-blocks to make tackles.
Ability to tackle. The Scouts Inc asks four simple questions when they’re analyzing a corner’s ability to tackle:
Do they wrap up well? Do they tackle low or high? Are they able to drag down? Do they tackle with power and are they punishing?
Confidence. Gabriel on confidence:
…confidence can border on cockiness. A top corner believes he can shut down any receiver.
Related: How to Gain Confidence in Football
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Reference web pages:
Bill Walsh’s How I Evaluate Each Position: Cornerbacks (via sportsxchange.com)
Greg Gabriel’s Scouting Defensive Backs (via National Football Post)