The players you find on this list is where we need the most help right now. We need a second stud outside Corner to pair with big X and Slot WR’s and TE’s. Ward simply can’t handle those guys. We are looking for length, agility, physicality and some speed. Premium ball skills are a huge plus. We are extremely lucky this year that there is a deep class of long, physical Corners who have plus athleticism and fluid movement skills. If they can’t turn and run after pressing their guy at the line, they will give up TD’s all day long!
GOOD: Specimen from a size standpoint, with great length and arms to match. Very fluid mover. Can flip, turn and run to mirror. Excellent lateral agility. Solid backpedal to maintain balance. Confident with his back to the ball and came through in his final year with good production via his ball skills.
BAD: Lacks long speed. Does not have great make up speed so depends on positioning and hip flip to stay in phase. Not physical enough, certainly won’t win enough battles at the next level with his current on-field attitude. One national writer says his play demeanor was “lukewarm” which is not going to endear him to coaches or team mates in the NFL. Needs to find his inner demon.
BOTTOM LINE: Layne has rare size and athleticism for the position and could be special if he improves his playing style through physicality and fight at the mesh point. He is going to need to bring a lot more boom and anger against the run, because he is not stellar in that area. Ball skills show up in his stats with 15 Passes Defensed in his final year.
If he can take coaching to improve that is great, but most of this has to come from within and those things can be very hard to manifest. Teams don’t want to bet a high pick on a guy who might not be bringing his A game every day. For me, he’s great value in the early 3rd. He is likely to go in the 2nd however.
GOOD: Huge corner with violence and determination in his game. Fluid mover for his size, good enough technician to recover from an early mistake in route coverage. Excellent lateral movement skills. Crushes his man against outside boundary. Will rip and pull to win contested catches. His attitude and athleticism will win him fans on the team as he is inspiring to watch work against large NFL caliber receivers.
BAD: Lacks speed and ball awareness when he’s got his back to the QB. Does not have natural instincts for where or when the ball is coming if he’s not watching for it. Results in some really bad pass defense misses and big plays given up. His long speed is a concern even though he ran a decent 40 time for his size at the Combine.
BOTTOM LINE: Williams has half the stage covered that is required to be a good Press Corner. He is physical, he is athletic and long. He can make plays on the ball when the play is visible to him. But the speed of receivers in the NFL along with the need to work with your back to the play is going to make things very tough for him if he cannot learn and improve. Can coaching provide him with the proper keys to look for in order to assess what is happening when the ball is in the air? Maybe.
His production was on the upswing his last two years but only in terms of Passes Defensed. Pulled down 4 interceptions finally in his last year after ZERO the two years prior. Could signal he’s starting to put it together. Maybe. Probably a 2nd Round pick, mid to late. Best value starts in the 3rd Round.
GOOD: Excellent size and length, built like a Linebacker in the modern mould. Explosive, violent bully in press and against the run. Brings power to his run fills, very good open field tackler. Very skilled in Zone coverage, maybe better here than in Press man. Knows how to use the sideline to his advantage.
BAD: Ability to mirror and match quick smaller receivers. Lacks elite athleticism and speed so he can get exposed when asked to cover the Slot or to trail faster receivers. Long speed is a concern.
BOTTOM LINE: Jackson is one of my favorite players in the secondary. He is one of those incredible personalities that you know is having fun every minute and leaves it all on the field. Loves to be physical and the violence that comes with run support and blitzing. Probably best as a Zone Corner and possibly play that hybrid Safety/Linebacker role as a rover. He can develop into a solid #2 Corner on the outside as well, but he is strongest with the action in front of him so he can anticipate and get in position quickly. Will be an excellent player by Year 3.
Jackson has been rising fast in mocks the last 60 days and most of the national pundits and writers have him as a 3rd or 4th round guy. Some don’t have him going until the 6th! I firmly believe will go no later than the top of the 3rd where he would be excellent value. After that you’ve won the lottery if you’re a Zone heavy team!
GOOD: Insane athlete, linebacker size, fluid and agile mover in all directions. Can flip and run like it’s his job. Cat like agility for dude his size. Explosive in his movements when he wants to be.
BAD: Does not put all of his will into his play. Runs hot and cold in his play temperament. Does not bring physicality and violence like he should and could with his body type. Lags off of short zone opportunities to play the ball or squeeze the receiver. Not fighting for the ball the way he should, with a sense of ownership. Lacks experience and his production was terrible.
BOTTOM LINE: Johnson is a pile of possibilities who will get over drafted because of his size and elite movement skills. If he gets his mind right, takes coaching and makes football the most important thing (which is in question) then he could be an outstanding player by Year 3. Coming from JUCO world he did not get good coaching or reps and walked into Kentucky with a whole bunch to learn. His production shows that clearly. I believe he could be any kind of Corner role he wanted to play, just needs to commit to it 100%.
Probably getting drafted in the 3rd Round, but I would wait until the 4th at least given his questionable dedication and attitude. His time to impact would be short if he didn’t have these issues, but damn.
GOOD: If you want yourself a really high upside developmental prospect, here he is. Converted WR and track star, Johnson has mind blowing size, speed and quick-twitch athleticism. He is absolutely punched out of a laboratory for that CB/Safety hybrid who might be able to play Linebacker too. Flip, run, cover, he does it all well in coverage and in press man. Good recognition for Zone coverage as well.
BAD: Complete project. Was still playing WR his first two years at Houston! Does not understand quite yet how to use his body to his advantage in terms of positioning, physicality in press to smother without getting penalized. Very handsy because he finds himself slightly out of position often. Good violent punch in press but his feet are a mess and his timing is off.
BOTTOM LINE: Johnson is a major work in process, there is no doubt. This is all going to repair itself with reps, coaching and confidence. He is a Legion of Boom athletic CB model and will reward a team with patience in huge way once he gains momentum. Dude has simply ridiculous speed for his size. If he continues to improve in the run support and improves his ball skills he will end up being a complete player with plus plus athleticism and speed. Jackpot! He’s excellent value late 3rd or later since he has an incredibly high ceiling and could reward a team quickly by putting it all together in 2 years or less.