NFL Combine: All vying for top spot, best cornerbacks in draft give Eagles options

NFL Combine: All vying for top spot, best cornerbacks in draft give Eagles options

INDIANAPOLIS -- Florida's Teez Tabor doesn't just think he's the best cornerback in the 2017 NFL draft.

He thinks he's the best player in the draft.

"That’s just the confidence I have in myself," he said, "and the ability I have to play the game of football."

Confidence is not lacking for the young cornerback. In fact, based on his media availability at the combine, confidence is oozing out of him. 

That confidence -- some might call it cockiness -- showed in just about every answer he gave Sunday afternoon. He said the NFL teams he's met with so far "without a doubt" like that confidence.

So which teams have shown him the most interest?

"Really everybody," Tabor said chuckling. "I mean, it's hard not to like a player like me."

While Tabor would clearly have himself at the top of the cornerback rankings in this year's draft, there's plenty of debate about that. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock ranks the corners in this order: 1. Sidney Jones, 2. Marshon Lattimore, 3. Marlon Humphrey, 4. Tabor, 5. Tre'Davious White.

But there are a lot more than that in this draft. The class is incredibly deep at corner and there are expected to be starters taken well into the fourth round.  

While the Eagles have signed plenty of "Band-Aids" at corner in free agency in the past, general manager Howie Roseman said the team doesn't want to force it anymore. He'd be willing to have a bare cornerback group until the draft. And if the Eagles want to take a corner in the first round, they'll have plenty of options. 

Among the top five on Mayock's list, as of Sunday afternoon, the Eagles had formally met with Jones, Lattimore and were scheduled to meet with Humphrey. There are plenty of options throughout the draft at corner, but here's a look at those top five guys.

1. Sidney Jones, Washington
Jones is Mayock's top corner in the draft for good reason. He's already being compared to another Huskies' product: two-time Pro Bowler Marcus Peters.

"I'm a lockdown corner," said Jones, who had a formal interview with the Eagles. "I'm an all-around corner. I give you instincts, ball skills and great football IQ. I'm a team player."

Jones didn't do the bench press at the combine -- he'll do it at his pro day on March 11 -- but said he'll compete in everything else. He has a chance to solidify his spot as the best of a very good bunch.

Despite his slender frame -- 6-foot-1, 186 pounds -- Jones isn't afraid to hit.

"I'm very aggressive," he said. "It's something I take a lot of pride in. I was a free safety until my freshman year of high school. Being a hitter is something that is always in my heart."

2. Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
Lattimore is a fascinating story because 2016 was the first year where he really got a chance to play and he was dynamic. He had four interceptions and nine pass breakups last year.

The big question about Lattimore -- and the one he hears from every NFL team he's met with, including the Eagles -- is about his hamstrings. Hamstring injuries forced him to miss the 2014 season and flared up again in 2015, ending that season early. Lattimore, a redshirt sophomore in 2016, has worked hard to leave his hamstring issues in the past.

"Just doing something different," he said. "It's not luck at all. I did yoga, I did extra exercises, stretching, all of that. It's no luck in that."

Lattimore said he knew this season was going to be different when he made it through preseason camp without the injuries flaring up. Then he went out and had a great season a year after his former Ohio State teammate Eli Apple (from Voorhees, New Jersey) was a first-round pick of the Giants.

"It's a lot of talent here from top to bottom," Lattimore said. "A team's going to get a great player in the fourth round just like they would in the first round. It's a deep draft and I'm honored to be considered one of the top cornerbacks in this draft. Just coming from where I came from, it's a blessing."

3. Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
While most of the guys on this list come from schools that churn out defensive backs, Alabama isn't one of them. Still, Humphrey is considered a really good prospect.
 
He's the son of former Crimson Tide running back Bobby Humphrey, which meant plenty of added pressure for the defensive back. But he handled it all really well.

"I think my best attribute is my speed and toughness," said Humphrey, who had a formal interview scheduled with the Eagles for Sunday night. "I think I can run with any guy. I think I can run with just about anybody." 

Humphrey said in most of his meetings with teams, the negative get more time than the positives.

"The negative feedback is just finishing the play, top of the route, things like that," he said.

4. Teez Tabor, Florida
The big question about Tabor is his speed, but he'll get a chance to put those fears to rest Monday on the field.

The biggest positive for Tabor is his aggressiveness on the field. Aggressiveness, of course, is a trait Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz really seems to value a ton.

"My passion for the game of football," Tabor said when asked where his aggressiveness comes from. "I'm not going to sit back and watch it happen. I'm going to make it happen."

The other question about Tabor isn't about his performance on the field. A failed drug test and a fight with a teammate have been focal points of his conversations with NFL teams.

5. Tre'Davious White, LSU
White, a senior in 2016, followed a long line of really good defensive backs to come from LSU. He's very close with Eagles' second-year corner Jalen Mills. White credited LSU's coaches with getting their guys ready to play at the next level.

White is the kind of guy who is used to being on an island, which is something he'd be asked to do in Philly. As of Sunday afternoon, he hadn't had a formal interview with the Eagles but had talked informally with them. He was also at the Senior Bowl.

"I don't want to leave no question marks," White said. "I can pretty much do it all. I played inside and outside at a high level. I played a game at safety at the end of my junior year, so I have a high football IQ and know how to play all three positions in the defensive backfield at a high level."

NFL Notes: Raiders reward Derek Carr with record $125 million deal

NFL Notes: Raiders reward Derek Carr with record $125 million deal

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Derek Carr and general manager Reggie McKenzie never doubted the two sides could reach a long-term contract agreement to keep the quarterback with the Raiders before Carr's self-imposed training camp deadline.

Carr was open about how much he wanted to spend his entire career with the organization and after a decade searching for a franchise quarterback the Raiders weren't about to let a player they drafted and developed leave just as he was becoming a star.

So the two sides were able to agree on a five-year, $125 million extension that makes Carr the NFL's richest player, at least temporarily, and won't hinder the team's ability to give its other young stars like AP Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack, receiver Amari Cooper and guard Gabe Jackson new contracts before they hit free agency.

"I think that both sides wanted it to get done," Carr said Friday. "It was two family members just figuring out how to get along, and we did. We figured out a way to do it so that we have the opportunity to sign the other guys that I think are important to this organization. That was really important to me, not just to take every single dime that we could."

Carr will still get plenty. The $25 million per year in new money is the richest contract ever in the NFL, beating out the $24.8 million a year Andrew Luck got from Indianapolis. That could be surpassed with Detroit's Matthew Stafford and Washington's Kirk Cousins in line for new deals soon.

But Carr is not worried about that and the Raiders are pleased to have the face of their franchise under contract through 2022 as they prepare to move to Las Vegas in 2020.

"From the outset, both sides wanted the deal done, and I felt our guys did a great job getting together and hammering it out," McKenzie said. "We both wanted the same thing. That part was easy. We could tell that Derek wanted to be here. And we let him know, without a doubt, that we wanted him here" (see full story).

NFL: Prosecutors appeal Hernandez's voided murder conviction
BOSTON -- Massachusetts prosecutors on Friday appealed a court ruling that erased former NFL star Aaron Hernandez's murder conviction in the 2013 killing of a semi-professional football player.

Hernandez's conviction in the fatal shooting of Odin Lloyd was voided after the former New England Patriots player killed himself in prison. Under a long-held Massachusetts legal principle, courts typically erase the convictions of defendants who die before their direct appeals can be heard.

Bristol District Attorney Thomas Quinn III filed an appeal with a single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court on Friday. He called the rule "archaic" and said it "does not serve the public interest."

"A defendant who commits suicide should not be able to manipulate the outcome of his post-conviction proceedings to achieve in death what he would not be able to achieve in life," Quinn said.

Hernandez's appellate attorneys, John Thompson and Linda Thompson, could not immediately be reached for comment. A message was left at their office in Springfield.

Hernandez took his own life in April days after he was acquitted in a separate, 2012 double slaying in Boston.

The legal principle known as abatement ab initio, or "from the beginning," holds that a conviction should not be considered final until an appeal in the criminal case can determine whether mistakes were made that deprived the defendant of a fair trial.

In their appeal Friday, prosecutors argue that some states have moved away from automatically erasing convictions when defendants die before appeals can be heard. More than a dozen states allow appeals to continue even after death and only dismiss convictions when the appellate court finds that a new trial would have been warranted.

Prosecutors said courts should strike a balance between the rights of defendants and the rights of victims. Lloyd's mother fought back tears after a judge voided Hernandez's conviction in her son's killing.

Michael Vick's father arrested on drug-ring charges

Michael Vick's father arrested on drug-ring charges

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The father of former pro-football star Michael Vick has been arrested on charges of being involved in a drug ring.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that federal authorities arrested 55-year-old Michael Dwayne Boddie on Thursday. A federal indictment unsealed Wednesday in Newport News alleges that he and 11 others conspired to sell heroin.

Boddie is being held without bond until a Monday detention hearing. He was assigned a court-appointed attorney.

Lawrence Woodward, an attorney who's represented both men over the years, did not respond to requests for comment. The federal prosecutor's office declined to comment on the case beyond the charges.

Vick rose to stardom with the Atlanta Falcons before serving prison time for running a dogfighting operation. He played for the Eagles, Jets and Steelers before announcing his retirement in February.