Breaking down 2012 DB prospects

When evaluating defensive backs, it is important to consider all aspects of their games, including instincts, coverage skills, ball skills and run support.

With the NFL draft kicking off this week in New York City, here's how we rank the top defensive backs by skill set (non-seniors noted with an asterisk) as well as our rankings of all prospects with a draftable grade, recent measurements and timing averages. We also evaluate Round 1 and 2 picks from 2011 and the number of defensive backs taken in each round of the past three drafts.


Prepares well and takes advantage of opponent's tendencies. Reads keys, diagnoses information and reacts quickly. Shows above-average route-recognition skills and tracks the ball well. Has "selective amnesia" and does not allow negative play(s) to snowball into a negative series/quarter/game. Stays disciplined. Understands role and consistently executes assignment. Is rarely caught peeking into the backfield and stays home against play-action.