Rodgers-Cromartie quietly emerging as top prospect

Tennessee State CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, cousin of Chargers standout and 2006 first-round pick CB Antonio Cromartie, is developing into one of the most intriguing stories in the 2008 NFL draft. The 6-foot-1½, 184-pound corner made his mark as one of the top playmakers at last month's Senior Bowl and continued his predraft heroics with one of the finest performances of the 333 prospects invited to this year's combine. Rodgers-Cromartie displayed outstanding feet and hip-fluidity during position-specific drills, which is helpful for a taller defensive back whom some scouts project as a better fit at free safety. Running the third-fastest 40-yard dash of all the corners didn't hurt his case, either.

In a corner class deep with talent but lacking a consensus top choice, Rodgers-Cromartie is quietly emerging as one of premier prospects. In fact, it would no longer be a surprise if he sneaks into the bottom of the opening round -- a sizeable feat considering there hasn't been a small-school (non-FBS) prospect taken in Round 1 since 2000, when a pair of Jackson State players -- WR Sylvester Morris and DB Rashard Anderson -- were selected with picks No. 21 and 23, respectively.