With the No. 143 overall selection, the Carolina Panthers select Josh Norman
Skipping over future superstars can happen when it comes to the inexact science that is the draft, and that possibility is made more likely when evaluating a player from a small school who fails to stand out at the NFL Combine. Josh Norman played his college ball at Coastal Carolina and ran an official 4.66 40-yard dash. As a result, he fell into the fifth round of the draft and 14 cornerbacks were selected ahead of him. We take a look at all 14 of those defensive backs and where they are now.
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Morris Claiborne, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys traded up to select Claiborne with the No. 6 overall pick. Since then, he has failed to follow in the footsteps of fellow LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, who was drafted one year earlier at No. 5 overall. Claiborne's career with the Cowboys has been marred by injuries and poor play. Prior to the 2015 season, the Cowboys opted not to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. Although Claiborne played some of his best football at times in 2015, injuries caused him to get burned often down the stretch. He is a borderline draft bust.
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Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo Bills
The Bills selected Gilmore with the No. 10 overall pick. Billed by draft experts as a physical cornerback with excellent man coverage skills, Gilmore got off to an excellent start with the Bills during his rookie season, but faded. In his third season (2014) Gilmore emerged as a strong starter -- he allowed just one touchdown all season. In 2015, new head coach Rex Ryan had high hopes of using Gilmore on an island, like he had with Darrelle Revis when he was with the Jets. Gilmore was excellent in this role, building on his 2014 season, but a torn labrum ended his season early in Week 13.
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Dre Kirkpatrick, Cincinnatti Bengals
The Bengals selected Kirkpatrick with the No. 17 overall pick. The Nick Saban product struggled to get on the field through his first three seasons with the team -- he made very few starts and never played more than 247 snaps in any regular season. In 2015, he finally emerged as a starter, but he struggled. Kirkpatrick was arguably one of the worst cornerbacks in the NFL -- he racked up a whopping 14 penalties and 16 missed tackles.
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Janoris Jenkins, St. Louis Rams
The Rams selected Jenkins with the No. 39 overall pick. Jenkins entered the draft as one of the most talented defensive backs, but off field issues caused his draft stock to tumble. Since entering the NFL, Jenkins has stayed out of trouble. He has made big plays jumping pass routes from the start, but in 2015 he finally emerged as one of the 25 best coverage cornerbacks in the NFL.
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Casey Hayward, Green Bay Packers
The Packers selected Hayward with the No. 62 overall pick. Hayward didn't have much buzz leading up to the draft, but the Packers didn't care. Hayward immediately stepped in as the nickel cornerback and turned in a dominant rookie season. He served as the nickel back for the first three years -- playing at a very high level -- before being promoted to a starting role in 2015. Hayward didn't play at the same level after his transition, but he still proved to be a plus starter.
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Trumaine Johnson, St. Louis Rams
The Rams selected Johnson with the No. 65 overall pick. The little known prospect out of Montana turned in an impressive 4.50 40-yard dash at 6-foot-2 and 204 pounds, and the Rams saw him as an excellent compliment to Jenkins. Johnson was inconsistent through his first three seasons in the NFL, but he broke out in a big way in 2015. Opposing quarterbacks had just a 55.3 passer rating when targeting Johnson in 2015.
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Josh Robinson, Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings selected Robinson with the No. 66 overall pick. A 4.33 40-yard dash time helped the Central Florida product shoot up draft boards. Robinson struggled mightily in his first two seasons before turning in a solid season for the Vikings in 2014. He tore his pectoral muscle prior to the 2015 season and was a non factor after returning from the PUP list. Robinson is best known for his contraversial views on same sex marriage -- he once compared it to incest and pedophilia.
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Jamell Fleming, Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals selected Fleming with the No. 80 overall pick. He was considered a top college player, but he lacked size and speed -- many believed this would limit him at the next level. Fleming flamed out in Arizona before resurfacing with the Jaguars, Ravens and finally the Chiefs. Injuries forced Fleming into an expanded role at the beginning of the 2015 season, but he has since played sparingly for the Chiefs on defense.
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Dwight "Bill" Bentley, Detroit Lions
The Lions selected Bentley with the No. 85 overall pick. Nearing the end of the third round, the Lions took a chance on the Louisiana-Lafayette product with a blazing 40 time. After struggling during his first three seasons with poor play and injuries, the Lions released Bentley prior to the 2015 season. They brought him back in Novemeber after injuries crippled the secondary, but he waived again after a little more than a month.
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Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech
The Giants selected Hosley with the No. 94 overall pick. The Giants thought they were getting a steal -- Hosley flashed shutdown cover skills at Virginia Tech but had some off field concerns. Instead, Hosley was never able to establish a role for himself as an outside or slot cornerback. He remained under contract through 2015.
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Omar Bolden, Denver Broncos
The Broncos selected Bolden with the No. 101 pick in the fourth round. Bolden sat out the entire 2011 season at Arizona State with a torn ACL, but he was considered to be one of the top prospects befor the injury. The Broncos converted him to safety in the middle of his second season, and he has remained there since. However, he has rarely seen the field on defense since the 2013 season.
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Coty Sensabaugh, Tennessee Titans
The Titans selected Sensabaugh with the No. 115 overall pick. After struggling to carve out a role at cornerback in his rookie season, Sensabaugh converted to safety. Since, he has played sparingly for the Titans -- his season-high in snaps came in 2014 when he played 211 defensive snaps.
Brandon Boykin, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles selected Boykin with the No. 123 overall pick. Boykin emerged as one of the NFL's best slot cornerbacks through his first three seasons with the Eagles, but he didn't fit head coach Chip Kelly's size requirements to emerge as a starter on the outside. When Boykin voiced his displeasure with this situation, he was traded to the Steelers prior to the start of the 2015 season. Boykin played sparingly with the Steelers in 2015, and for the most part, they have used him at safety.
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Ron Brooks, Buffalo Bills
The Bills selected Brooks with the No. 124 overall pick -- he was the last cornerback taken before Norman. Brooks never made his mark at LSU, but he ran a 4.37 40-yard dash -- that was enough to get him drafted before Norman apparently. Brooks has played sparingly on defense throughout his first four seasons with the Bills.