*This article is part of our 2012 Path to the Draft coverage presented by Warehouse Pool Supply
A position-by-position look at the 2012 NFL Draft (April 26-28), featuring exclusive analysis on potential Texans draft picks from Wes Bunting and Joe Fortenbaugh of the National Football Post
Path to the Draft: WR | G/C | OT | TE | RB | DE | NT | OLB
State of the Position (@NickScurfield)
The Texans have a glut of young cornerbacks already on their roster, but general manager Rick Smith said Tuesday that corner is one of two positions at which there's no such thing as a surplus.
"You can always add pass rushers," Smith said at his pre-draft press conference at Reliant Stadium. "You can always add corners. I've always said that."
Smith has drafted a cornerback no later than the fourth round in each of his five drafts with the Texans: Fred Bennett (fourth round) in 2007, Antwaun Molden (third) in 2008, Glover Quin (fourth) and Brice McCain (sixth) in 2009, Kareem Jackson (first) and Sherrick McManis (fifth) in 2010, and Brandon Harris (second) and Roc Carmichael (fourth) in 2011.
Veteran cornerback Jason Allen, who rotated with Jackson opposite Pro Bowler Johnathan Joseph in 2011, signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency. McCain is coming off an outstanding season as the Texans' nickel corner, while McManis and Harris played sparingly. Carmichael spent the entire season on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.
Will the Texans continue their trend of drafting a cornerback under Smith? If they don't, expect them to sign a veteran cornerback in free agency at some point in the offseason.
The Texans have a glut of young cornerbacks, but you can never have enough of them
DAY 1 CORNERBACK OPTIONS AT 1.26
1. Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama (6-3, 192): A second-team All-SEC selection in 2011 who played in 38 games at Alabama, Kirkpatrick recorded a career-high nine pass deflections last season with the Crimson Tide. He'll be an ideal zone corner at the next level because of his size, instincts and physicality. Kirkpatrick can press off the line and consistently re-route receivers, but isn't a dynamic quick-twitch athlete. He physically reminds us a bit of Chargers cornerback Quinton Jammer.
2. Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama (5-10, 182): Four years of collegiate football (including three at the University of Florida before he was kicked off the team) resulted in ten interceptions and 29 pass deflections for Jenkins, who could fall into the second round due to character concerns. If he can put it all together off the field, he's got the ability to develop into a very good cover man in the NFL and despite his size, Jenkins is going to be a really tough guy to separate from in just about any scheme he plays in. The talent is there, but the question is whether or not Jenkins is ready to be a professional athlete.
DAY 2 CORNERBACK OPTIONS AT 2.26 AND 3.13
1. Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina (6-0, 190): A four-year contributor who racked up an impressive 13 interceptions in 46 career games, Norman displays good vision when feeling routes, a solid initial burst when looking to close and exhibits "plus" hands when asked to come down with the catch. Talent says he's a top-60 pick, but there are some character concerns that could cause him to fall. Either way, Norman has the talent to quickly match-up with NFL receivers at the next level.
2. Trumaine Johnson, Montana (6-2, 204): Johnson is a physical cornerback prospect who recorded 15 interceptions in 47 career appearances at Montana. And coming from a small school, this guy's stock has begun to rise now that more teams are finally taking notice. Johnson is a tall, good-looking prospect with some natural girth to his frame, but isn't bulky and as a result, is still lean enough in his lower half to turn and run. Possesses good length and overall strength for the position as well. Has an ideal frame to be a press cover man and is a solid tackler in the run game.
DAY 3 CORNERBACK OPTONS AT 4.4, 4.26, 5.26, 6.26 AND 7.26
1. Robert Golden, Arizona (5-11, 200): A defensive back with 51 appearances spread out over four years under his belt, Golden is a strong, physically put together player with experience at both safety and cornerback. He might be limited to more of a cover two/click and close type corner, but he does have some developing press coverage skills. Also, Golden has a lot of value as a safety, as he can anticipate in the deep half, drive on throws under him and play over a receiver in nickel situations.
2. Ryan Steed, Furman (5-11, 190): Steed displays natural change of direction skills and can play the football, but looks more like a cover two guy, who must play with his back to the sideline because of his struggles to stay coordinated/low in his drop and out of his transition. He recorded 14 interceptions in 45 games at Furman and does a nice job tracking the play when the ball is in the air.