Whether it's the environment, the coaching, or the eye for talent, some schools are just good at producing NFL talent at certain positions. We already know the Penn State linebacker pedigree, or offensive linemen from Iowa, but it's the University of Virginia who has been flying under the radar the last few years while producing several standout defensive backs.
Chase Minnifield seems to be poised to join Chris Cook (2010) and Ras-I Dowling (2011) as the next UVA CB to be drafted in the second round. At 6'0", 185 lbs with long arms to boot he has many of the tools teams are looking for out of a future #1 corner. However, he is still raw in a few areas and at times solid technique gives way to youthful exhuberance. This is something that will need to be worked on in time if Minnifield is to reach his full potential, but make no mistake the ability is there.
Currently rated 6th on Mocking The Draft's CB rankings, Minnifield is a versatile corner who can be used in several different ways. This mobility was exhibited against Idaho this season where he registered 4 tackles, 1 INT and 0.5 sacks. On field he proves himself to be an able, but not outstanding tackler who isn't afraid of contact. Really though, you select a CB for their ability to play the ball in the air, and it's here where he displays great skill; fluid footwork, good instincts and above-average speed all allow him to keep up with receivers.
A talented corner who can bend, re-direct, maintain balance out of his breaks and make plays on the football. However, had a tough go as a senior giving up a lot of plays and having a tough time maintaining balance when trying to locate the ball vs. bigger receivers. A potential starter only.
Minnifield is no perfect prospect; if he was we'd see him as a top 20 pick. However, he is a player with all the physical tools, but lacking some of the mental ones. If he can hone those abilities he'll be an excellent cornerback, and one the Falcons should keep an eye on.