For the cornerbacks: Experience in press coverage or schooled in zone principles. Tall, but not as fast, or a little shorter with speed.
For the safeties: Able to function downfield and close to the line of scrimmage. Or strictly a free or strong safety.
Among the several positions that have become more scheme specific in recent years, cornerback and safety are at the top of the list.
And it will impact how the draft plays out.
THE TOP 5
1. JUSTIN GILBERT, OKLAHOMA STATE
CB 6-0, 202: The consensus top cover cornerback in the draft. … Fourth-year senior who had 182 tackles and 12 interceptions in 51 games. … Seven interceptions last year were tied for second in nation. … Can also return kicks (six career touchdowns). … Led all defensive backs at Combine with 4.37-second 40-yard dash. … Moves well when he needs to change direction. … Good on-the-ball skills.
2. DARQUEZE DENNARD, MICHIGAN STATE
CB 5-11, 199: Won Thorpe Award for best defensive back last year and was unanimous All-American. … In 44 games, had 167 tackles, 10 interceptions and 30 pass breakups. … Broke up 24 passes in last two seasons. … Experienced in press coverage but played very little zone. … Needs to get better setting edge in running game. … Injured knee as freshman and later had double hernia surgery.
3. CALVIN PRYOR, LOUISVILLE
FS 5-11, 207: The biggest hitter of the group — he takes good angles and has good instincts before dropping hammer. … Can occasionally be over-eager so he’ll need to play more under control. … Had 62 tackles and three interceptions in 656 snaps last year. … Missed only six tackles in 2013. … Third-year junior who turns 22 in July. … Has range to play center field. … Started 32 of 38 games and had 218 tackles and seven picks.
4. HA-HA CLINTON-DIX, ALABAMA
FS 6-1, 208: Orlando native played 38 games for Crimson Tide and had 100 tackles and seven interceptions. … Third-year junior. … Last year, had 47 tackles and two interceptions in 616 snaps. … Suspended two games last year after accepting $500 loan from assistant coach. … Injured knee against Auburn but played in Sugar Bowl after surgery. … Strictly a free safety; not comfortable in the box. … Verdict is split on coverage skills.
5. JASON VERRETT, TCU
CB 5-9, 189: Played one year at Santa Rosa (Calif.) JC and then three for the Horned Frogs. … Allowed three touchdown passes in TCU debut and nearly quit team. … In 37 games, had 160 tackles and nine interceptions. … Second-team All-America as senior. … Durability is a concern — has had surgeries on left knee (spring 2012), right knee (January 2013) and shoulder (March 2014). … Ran 4.38 in 40 at Combine (second-best among CBs).
THE NEXT FIVE
-- Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State, 5-11, 194
-- Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech, 6-0, 190
-- Jimmie Ward, SS, Northern Illinois, 5-11, 193
-- Lamarcus Joyner, CB, Florida State, 5-8, 184
-- Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska, 6-3, 218
Ryan O’Halloran The Times-Union