Recently on ESPN’s edition of Todd McShay’s top five fast five the subject matter was 2011 draft classes top five ball hawks. With ball hawks being rare and every team in constant search of one. Guys like Ed Reed in Baltimore and former Dallas Cowboy Everson Walls are and were known as ball hawks due to their uncanny knack of always finding a way to get their hands on the ball.
McShay didn’t necessarily run down the best five defensive backs but McShay’s top five ball hawks of the 2011 NFL Draft class. Players that McShay was opined to say, “You just don’t throw in these players zip code.”.
With both corners and safeties mixed in together and starting with number five:
5. Ras-I Dowling CB, Virginia - Dowling has the tools to play either corner of safety. Dowling should be a great fit as a 2nd round pick at the cornerback position. McShay feels like Dowling is better than Chris Cook was a year ago who happened to be a 2nd round pick of the MInnesota Vikings.
4. Robert Sands FS, West Virginia – Sands is 6’4″ and weighs 217lbs. Sands is very limited in coverage but will seperate his opponent from the ball if you throw over the middle when he doesn’t flat out just go get the ball instead. This guy brings the wood when it comes to hitting the ball carrier.
3. Kendrick Berney CB, UNC – Berney ran a 4.73 in the 40 yard dash which doesn’t help his draft stock but Berney was all over the field at UNC and had seven interceptions the last two seasons at UNC but it was basically a season and a half cause of the suspension he had to serve.
2. Rahim Moore CB, UCLA – Moore is the best pure safety in this years class. Fourteen career interceptions which ten of them came in 2009. Moore has great hands and like a wide receiver he believes the ball is his when its in the air.
1. Patrick Peterson CB, LSU – The exact same goes for Peterson as it did Rahim Moore’s mentality when the ball is in the air. Peterson is a classic press technique corner who will get in a wide receivers face, will use his hands to press the opponent and then when the ball is in the air he attacks it. He has great ball skills not only as a corner but in the return game as well.
McShay seems to have an eye for ball hawks when he sees them. His 2010 list consisted of New England’s Devon McCourty who finished tied for second in the league with seven picks last year. Safety Earl Thomas of Seattle ranked in the top ten in the league with five picks. Chiefs safety Eric Berry was phenominal finishing with four interceptions and made plays all over the field. And Cornerback Sam Shields finished in the post season with two picks matching his regular season total with the Green Bay Packers.
With McShay pretty much on point with four of his top five ball hawks from last years draft class and the Dallas Cowboys unable to cash in on any of the 2010 draft class ball hawks. We as fans can only hope that this time around the Cowboys can be on point when it comes time to call on one of McShay’s top 2011 ball hawks from this years draft class.