As a supplement to the "Position U" series, we take a look at the 2012 draft at the cornerback position:
One of the more unbelievable facts from the past five drafts is this: There have been an equal number of wide receivers and cornerbacks selected (162) in that span.
It probably shouldn't come as a big surprise that as pass offenses become more and more sophisticated, teams are looking for guys who can shut those attacks down.
Teams have spent 18 first-round picks on corners in the past five drafts; that's one more than has been used on wide receivers and the third-most of any position (defensive end/outside linebacker leads at 31, with offensive tackle second at 25).
As many as four corners could go in the first round this year, and all four have SEC ties. Morris Claiborne (LSU), Stephon Gilmore (South Carolina) and Dre Kirkpatrick (Alabama) starred at SEC schools last season, while Janoris Jenkins (North Alabama) began his career at Florida before he was dismissed from the program.
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Spotlight position: Cornerback
• "Position U" team: South Carolina
• "Position U" draft possibilities this season: Stephon Gilmore (considered a likely first-round pick)
• Number of cornerbacks drafted last year: 33
• First-round cornerbacks last year: Three (Patrick Peterson at No. 5, Prince Amukamara at No. 19 and Jimmy Smith at No. 27)
• Number of cornerbacks drafted in past five years: 162
• "Position U" cornerbacks drafted in past five years: Four (Chris Culliver in third round in 2011, Captain Munnerlyn in seventh round in 2009, Stoney Woodson in seventh round in 2009 and Fred Bennett in fourth round in 2007)
• First-round cornerbacks in past five years: 18
• Potential first-round cornerbacks this year: Four (LSU's Morris Claiborne, Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick, South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore and North Alabama's Janoris Jenkins)
• Conference breakdown in past five drafts: 24 from the SEC, 19 each from the ACC and Big 12, 18 from the Big East, 17 from the Big Ten, 16 from FCS schools, 15 from the Pac-12, 10 from the WAC, six from the Mountain West, five each from Division II schools, the MAC and Sun Belt, two from Conference USA and one from independent schools
• Conference breakdown of first-rounders in past five drafts: Four from the Big 12, three each from the Big East, Big Ten and SEC and one each from the ACC, FCS schools, Pac-12, Sun Belt and WAC
Sources: nfl.com; draftmetrics.com
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