2021 NFL draft: 5 sleeper cornerbacks Chargers could target

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Gavino Borquez
·5 min read
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Every draft class includes a handful of sleepers waiting to surprise the rest of the league and force senses of regret upon the teams that passed on them.

The Chargers could take a cornerback in the early rounds, but the chances of head coach Brandon Staley wanting to build the secondary with his own guys are high. Therefore, he could choose to take more than one.

With that being said, here are five cornerbacks who aren’t receiving a lot of buzz that Los Angeles could target in this year’s draft.

Benjamin St-Juste, Minnesota

St-Juste, a transfer from Michigan to Minnesota, didn’t necessarily fill up the stat sheet. Over 18 games played between the two schools, he only logged 62 total tackles, 11 passes defensed with zero interceptions. However, the numbers don’t necessarily replicate his actual impact on the field.

Hailing at 6-foot-3 and 208 pounds with a wingspan of more than 80 inches, St-Juste uses his length and strength to his advantage to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage and at the catch point to disrupt throwing lanes. He also has fantastic agility and flexibility.

With L.A., St-Juste could be a versatile defensive back who plays on the outside and some safety. His deep speed, length and strength would carry over well as a gunner or jammer on special teams, as well.

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Tre Brown, Oklahoma

Starting 33 out of 51 games, Brown made his impact as the Sooners’ outside cornerback. In four seasons, he posted 141 tackles, 31 passes defensed, 8.5 tackles for loss and four interceptions. Despite having a smaller stature at 5-foot-9 at 188 pounds, he was a shutdown outside corner over his college career.

Brown is an excellent athlete who possesses speed, explosiveness and quickness. Those traits show in press-man coverage, where uses his quick feet to mirror and break quickly with receivers at the top of the route and make plays, even against wideouts 30 pounds heavier.

With the Chargers, Brown could be a versatile corner who plays both inside or outside due to his quickness. He also has a ton of special teams experience that would serve him well in a variety of roles, whether it’s as a returner, gunner or jammer.

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Shakur Brown, Michigan State

Brown burst onto the scene in 2020 for the Spartans, playing the best football of his collegiate career. The 5-foot-11 and 190-pound corner posted 25 tackles, five interceptions, four passes defended in seven games played.

Brown was one of the nation’s top playmakers, showing plus instincts, use of hands in press-man coverage, and awareness to decipher route combinations. Along with that, he does a fine job at playing with his back to the quarterback and shows good ball skills to come away with the rock.

Brown missed multiple games in 2019 due to an injury. But those concerns aside, he has key traits that can’t be taught that will allow him to rise to the top of a depth chart quickly, capable of playing inside or outside at the next next level.

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Rodarius Williams, Oklahoma State

Williams, the younger brother of Browns corner Greedy, started 48 consecutive games who showed outstanding development during the course of his career, becoming one of the top corners in 2020. He finished with 27 passes defensed and two interceptions.

Standing at 5-foot-11 and 189 pounds, Williams solidified himself as one of the top corners in man coverage, showing hip fluidity, speed and short-area quickness to stay glued to receivers. While he didn’t post a lot of interceptions, Williams is always in position to make a play on the ball.

Williams does need to improve against the run, but with his skills in coverage and his traits tailor-made to be a core special teamer, he could be primed for a long and successful NFL career.

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Olaijah Griffin, USC

The son of famous rapper Warren G, Griffin, a highly touted five-star recruit, played for three seasons with the Trojans. In 15 starts, Griffin accounted for 67 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 13 passes defended, and one interception.

Standing at 6-foot and 175 pounds, Griffin shows excellent athleticism, acceleration to turn and run with receivers, competitive nature & good use of hands at the line of scrimmage in press to disrupt the release, and the short-area quickness to close on receivers.

At the next level, Griffin must add some mass to his frame, improve his play strength and discipline in man coverage. But overall, his intriguing traits will enable him to become a starting corner down the road, projecting best on the outside where he can utilize his deep speed and reactive quickness.

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