3rd round (#67) – CB Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson (6’0 | 200 | 4.48)
It’s no secret that the Bears need cornerback help, but more specifically they need big corners who can match up outside the hash marks. The Bears most effective corners last year, Bryce Callahan and Cre’Von LeBlanc, are under six feet tall and best suited in the slot.
It seems like every year Clemson has an NFL-caliber defensive back and this year it’s Tankersley. He has good length for a corner and enough bulk to match up with big receivers at the next level.
Besides his obvious physical traits, the main thing that stands out to me about Tankersley is his ball skills. He’s been adept at both catching the ball with nine interceptions over the last two seasons and breaking up passes with 19. He’s shown a knack for consistently getting his hand in the catch window to force incompletions.
Tankersley can get a little too aggressive with his hands at times and will need to clean up his play at the next level to avoid interference calls, but his instincts to get his hands in the right place are part of what make him such an effective corner. According to Pro Football Focus, Tankersley allowed the 7th lowest QB rating in the nation and graded out as the 10th best corner overall last season.
He’s best in man-to-man coverage but shows the positioning, reaction time, and instincts to play zone as well. Tankersley struggles in press coverage and occasionally with complex routes, but his versatility to play either zone or man will make him a good fit with the Bears. He’s also a willing run defender, though will need to improve his tackling technique at the next level.
Overall, Tankersley has the size, athleticism, speed, and instincts to eventually develop into a shutdown NFL corner. I have him graded as an early second-rounder, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s available when then Bears pick in round three.