NFL secondaries were overhauled during the 2017 NFL Draft unlike any draft in league history. After zero defensive backs were selected in the top five and one in the top 10, teams went bananas on cornerbacks and safeties.
Fifty-seven of the 253 picks were defensive backs — an NFL record — led by top prospects Jamal Adams, Marshon Lattimore and Malik Hooker. Though it's unlikely history will repeat itself again in 2018, there are a handful of corners and safeties that are just as talented as that trio and may pepper the top 10.
Iman Marshall will draw Adoree' Jackson comparison because of similar athleticism and versatility. But Marshall is a much better cornerback.
At 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, he's bigger, more physical and provides great relief in the run game. Marshall has six interceptions, 17 passes defended and 119 tackles the last two seasons. He could very well wind up as the top cornerback prospect by next year.
If Alabama safety Ronnie Harrison takes another big step forward like he did in 2016, he'll be a sure-fire first-round pick in the 2018 draft.
At 6-foot-3, 216 pounds, Harrison plays safety like a linebacker, using excellent closing speed to deliver big hits or break up passes. He's surprisingly fluid for his size, doesn't get too handsy and can cover anyone on the field.
Like Ronnie Harrison, Derwin James is a huge safety (6-foot-3, 211 pounds) who was badly missed in Florida State's secondary when he missed all but two games last year with a knee injury.
Despite the injury and only one full year of film, James is still the best safety prospect in the nation who can line up anywhere on the field. According to Pro Football Focus, of his 719 snaps in 2015, 405 came at free safety, 132 came in the slot, 108 at strong safety or off-the-ball linebacker and four at outside corner.
He'd be the top-ranked defensive back if not for the missed time and could receive top-three love by next April.
After what feels like an eternity, Minkah Fitzpatrick is finally draft-eligible in 2018.
The five-star cornerback recruit was an immediate impact player as a true freshman in 2015, recording 45 tackles, two interceptions and two pick-sixes. The 6-foot-1, 203-pounder added two more pick-sixes in 2016 and already owns the Alabama record. He's responsibly aggressive, has terrific ball skills and is one of the best-tackling cornerbacks in college football.
He's a top-10 prospect who could slide into the top five.
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