Scouting Report: Jalen “Teez” Tabor

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By: Shae Dougall

Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida

6’0”, 199lbs

Tabor

Tape Viewed:

Florida vs Alabama (2016)

Florida vs LSU (2016)

Florida vs Florida State (2016)

OVERVIEW

Teez Tabor can do a little bit of everything. He’s a very experienced, successful cornerback from Florida whose claim to fame is a rock-solid, consistent, high-quality presence in a very good group of DBs. Despite having fairly slow straight-line speed, he has that undefinable “quickness” quality that scouts love to talk about. Tabor was made to play more off-coverage, as he’s more of a finesse guy who would probably get beaten consistently downfield if he was forced to press big, fast receivers all the time.

 

Tabor is going to be a bit of a risk-taker in the NFL if his college tape is any indication. This will result in some picks, but will also result in some big plays going the other way. A team with a good group of safeties that play over the top would likely be the ideal fit for Tabor, because some of the craftier QBs will be able to take advantage of his gambling. Tabor is also not the biggest guy in the world, and much like Tre’Davious White, I’m concerned that his lack of size will result in him not only getting boxed out of quick routes, but also getting beat over the top. His vertical jump from the combine was only 31 inches, and he did struggle with deep speed at times in college.

 

COVERAGE

 

Play Recognition: 10 out of 10

The reason Tabor was so successful in college was due in large part to his ability to read the quarterback’s eyes and adjust to the receiver quickly. Since Tabor is not a once-in-a-lifetime type of athlete (not even close, really), he has clearly honed his play recognition skills to make up for these deficiencies. His read and react capability is off the charts, making a few plays where he actually left his assignment to follow a play that he knew was developing elsewhere on the field. This can also be viewed as a negative I suppose, but he seems to be instinctive and smart enough to understand when to take risks.

 

Speed: 3 out of 5

Tabor disappointed at the combine with a slow 4.6 40 time. Per NFL.com, there are also “whispers” that Tabor “fears deep speed”, which is evidenced by the amount of off coverage he played at Florida. I’m not that plugged in, unfortunately, but I did see several situations on tape where Tabor was pressing the receiver and backed off more than 8 yards before the play started. He has quick recovery time when the ball is in the air, but his penchant for getting beat over the top is concerning.

 

Mirroring: 10 out of 10

Even when pressing, Tabor’s mirroring ability is excellent. He sticks to receivers coming out of cuts like glue, consistently providing tight man-to-man coverage.

 

Pursuit: 4 out of 5

While Tabor isn’t going to catch up to any plays that are over his head, he has a very solid ability to chase down plays that develop on the other side of the field. More than once on tape (especially against LSU), I saw opposing quarterbacks scramble out of a collapsing pocket only to be chased down by Tabor once the line of scrimmage had been crossed.

 

Man: 12 out of 15

Tabor will be a good man coverage corner, as he is consistently able to read the play and mirror his receiver on shorter and intermediate routes. His deep coverage ability is a concern, though, especially with the precision deep passing of NFL quarterbacks. I’d also like to see Tabor get more physical at the line of scrimmage, but I don’t believe that his lack of physicality is unfixable or even necessarily undesirable. His desire to be physical at the line is probably affected by his knowledge of his own limitations on deep routes.

 

Zone: 14 out of 15

Tabor may be the best zone corner in this draft with his uncanny instincts and penchant for reading the quarterback’s eyes. Would be an ideal fit for a team that runs a lot of zone coverage. I expect some infrequent gambling-related breakdowns in zone coverage on trick plays and misdirection passing plays. Luckily, Tabor mostly knows when to hold ‘em, and when to fold ‘em.

 

Press: 3 out of 5

I don’t foresee an NFL future in which Tabor is playing much bump-and-run coverage. Tabor can press effectively on occasion, but Florida didn’t ask him to do much of it because it’s clearly not a strength of his.

 

Tackle: 3.5 out of 5

He’s not the best tackling cornerback out there, but he’s not the worst. Once the receiver is well-covered, he’s certainly not getting any yards after the catch. Open field tackles are more of a weakness though; Tabor was occasionally out of position to tackle on deep routes where the receiver wasn’t his responsibility but he was in the area.

 

Ball Skills: 5 out of 5

Tabor has great hands and the ability to affect the ball in the air. He’s also great at punching the ball out of the receiver’s outstretched hands, which I saw on more than one occasion. He finished his Florida career with 9 interceptions, an impressive number.

 

RUN SUPPORT

 

Tackle: 3 out of 5

This is a difficult category to speak to because I rarely saw Tabor stick his nose into a pile of guys and bring the runner down. I’m pretty sure he can do it because he can bring down receivers pretty consistently, but without seeing him take on the toughest college backs (even when Florida played LSU, I don’t recall seeing Tabor vs. Fournette on any occasion), I think it’s hard to be 100% certain.

 

Play Recognition: 4 out of 5

I caught Tabor out of position on a trick run play against LSU, but that was a special circumstance. I can assume that he usually realizes when the run is developing, similarly to how he always seems to know where the pass is going to go.

 

Willingness: 2 out of 5

He is not an eager participant in run support, but he will get involved if it looks like the play is getting serious or if he is the last line of defense. Usually he gets swallowed up by a block and lets somebody else do the dirty work.

 

GENERAL

 

Injury: 8 out of 10

This template is a bit flawed in the sense that I’m allowed to talk about a prospect’s injury history but not his suspension history. Tabor was suspended in college a couple of times, and it’s always difficult to say how that will translate to the NFL. It’s definitely a concern. Even though injury isn’t an issue with Tabor, I would say that it’s reasonable to see him miss some time for other, less wholesome reasons.

 

Total Prospect Rating: 81.5 out of 100

Pro Comparison: Asante Samuel

Tabor 1

Samuel

Okay, this is too easy. I don’t even have to write a lot. What other NFL player in the past 15 years gambled more and tackled less than Asante Samuel? He was also a good guesser, resulting in a lot of interceptions. I maintain that Samuel could have extended his career into his mid-40s if he had just switched to a situational free safety that had a contract requirement that he wasn’t allowed to tackle anybody.

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Scouting Report: Tre’Davious White

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By: Shae Dougall

Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU

5’11”, 192 lbs

White

Tape Viewed:

LSU vs Florida (2016)

LSU vs Wisconsin (2016)

LSU vs Texas A&M (2016)

OVERVIEW

White is the kind of player who will likely fall in the draft due to poor size, measurables (a 4.47 40yd dash, only 32 inch vertical), and unremarkable if not unimpressive film. Tre’Davious White is a good outside cover corner, but when LSU used him in the slot, his lack of size and tendency to shy away from physicality displayed on tape could be a red flag (if I was a GM of a team that required tough cornerbacks, that is). I’ve seen White slotted as high as the early 2nd round, and I don’t know if that’s really realistic in a draft class of other strong cornerback prospects that do what White does just as well as him. Maybe the SEC bias will kick in?

COVERAGE

Play Recognition: 9 out of 10

I have no issue with White’s play recognition. It doesn’t take him very long at all to get into the proper position for covering longer routes.

 

Speed: 4 out of 5

He’s got pretty average speed for a corner, especially when it comes to making up time when beat on a quick slant or dig out of the slot. (Can you already tell I wouldn’t want White playing in the slot?) White does have the requisite (and undefinable) “quickness” that is required to be an NFL corner, however.

 

Mirroring: 8 out of 10

Of the tape I watched, his mirroring of outside routes was excellent because of his quick footwork, but he occasionally struggled with opening his hips during sharp receiver cuts while playing in the slot. His technique can also get a little sloppy when forced to get physical, whether in the slot or outside, although his instincts and impeccable footwork may make up for this a little bit.

 

Pursuit: 4 out of 5

Doesn’t seem to possess elite catch-up speed on hard cuts. Does seem to have the ability to make up lost ground on deeper routes, although I’m unsure about whether that will translate to the next level where the quarterbacks are much more accurate.

 

Man: 13.5 out of 15

White can play man very effectively against a large percentage of college receivers, guys who either don’t have the speed, footwork, agility, hands, or route running ability to make it in the NFL. The problems, as I believe I’ve mentioned in just about every blurb now, bubble to the surface when he’s asked to play in the slot, or cover quick routes. He’s too finesse for that position right now. Maybe he could cover Victor Cruz, but if Antonio Brown moves into the slot, look out. That ‘Killer B’ is going to have one heck of a fantasy day.

That’s just one negative in an otherwise solid 3 years of starting experience playing mostly man coverage, though. White’s specific strengths on the outside (and the slot, for what it’s worth) include covering post routes and crosses, and other types of intermediate routes that don’t allow the receiver to effectively box White out of the play. In fact, I would feel very comfortable allowing White to play slot if the other team made some type of promise that they were only going to call flag routes.

 

Zone: 11 out of 15

Similar to his man coverage ability, White can cover these receivers fairly well, and I think that his zone skills will continue to develop nicely if the drafting team’s coaching staff affords a deeper off-coverage zone scheme. White will likely excel if used in those types of situations, but he’s definitely in a little bit of a box if the physical nature of his game never develops.

 

Press: 2 out of 5

Of all the tape I watched on Tre’Davious White, I don’t recall ever seeing him put his hands on the receivers he was covering, even when he was in press coverage. This is something that will certainly delegate him to “project” status with a lot of NFL teams, and perhaps even “undraftable” status for others. He does have a quick first step however, and even if he refuses to touch the receivers, he can at least keep up with their explosiveness…unless he takes a stiff arm in the chin.

 

Tackle: 3.5 out of 5

Despite the lack of physicality that I’ve lamented a billion times on this writeup, White can tackle a little bit. He’s not anything more than average in this category, but tackling is a lower priority for cornerbacks than just about any other defensive position, so it would be unfair for me to punish him too much for this.

 

Ball Skills: 3 out of 5

I don’t see White as having an incredible career where he averages 5 interceptions a year, because his hands simply aren’t very good. He can play the ball decently to collect some “passes defensed” stats, but I can also see the NFL’s current crop of behemoth receivers going over the top of him to snatch touchdowns on hitch and fade routes.

 

RUN SUPPORT

 

Tackle: 3 out of 5

White can probably tackle running backs if he wants to, but he’s not often asked to run blitz or get too involved. And why should he be? How is a 190 pound, sub-six-foot corner going to bring down Fat Eddie or Shady McCoy on his own? Is the message getting across yet? I AM NOT COMFORTABLE WITH TRE’DAVIOUS WHITE’S LEVEL OF PHYSICALITY.

 

Play Recognition: 4 out of 5

I noticed a couple of plays watching film where White didn’t appear to be all too concerned with the running play, although he was usually able to get around a block or two and eventually end up near the ball by the end of the play.

 

Willingness: 2.5 out of 5

The question I have to answer to write this blurb is simple: Does the defensive back seem to be willing to get involved in tackling the runner? My answer is even simpler: Not particularly.

 

GENERAL

 

Injury: 9 out of 10

Rarely missed time due to injury in college, but one would speculate that his rather slight frame could possibly result in some unforeseen time off. It’s unfair to dock White too much based on expectation, though, so I won’t.

 

Total Prospect Rating: 76.5/100

 

Pro Comparison: Ellis Hobbs, CB, Philadelphia Eagles/New England Patriots

White 1

Hobbs

This makes me sad as a former Eagles fan (read: current Eagles fan). Ellis Hobbs was a too-small corner who was often forced into the slot. He could cover some receivers more than competently, but he was often steamrolled by huge receivers, including a 2010 performance against the Titans where he was abused by none other than Kenny Britt (also known as my least favorite player of all time). A couple weeks later, he got a horrible back injury and was never heard from again, but I hope that doesn’t happen to White, who seems like a nice guy off the field and apparently has great leadership qualities. That being said, both White and Hobbs are very small. It was a problem in 2010, and it’s a problem in 2017.

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Scouting Report: Adoree’ Jackson

Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC

5’10 186 lbs

Jackson

Tape Viewed: 2016 vs. Cal, 2016 vs. University of Washington, 2016 vs. Notre Dame

OVERVIEW

Jackson is definitely a mixed bag in terms of his prospects as an NFL cornerback. He has the attitude, confidence, short memory and athleticism to excel as a number 1 outside corner in this league. What he lacks is consistency, versatility in his skillset, and the ability to translate that elite athleticism into his coverage.

It’s quite bizzare watching the incredible fluidity of Jackson when he returns kicks and punts, versus the stiffness that shows up from time to time on tape in man coverage. Jackson is at his most comfortable rallying to the football, reading the QB’s eyes and contesting at the catch point. He did, however, have a brilliant game against Notre Dame in which he flashed press, bump and run capabilities. Too often, though, he loses his footing to give up huge plays, as he did in man against Notre Dame’s Kevin Stepherson and UW’s John Ross.

Jackson will immediately bring an electric edge to any team’s return game. I believe he has the ability to have a Devin Hester-like impact in that area with four kick return TD’s and four punt return TD’s in college to his name. Teams will need to be patient with bringing him along as a coverage man though, he needs to be coached up on his technique, but has all the traits to thrive, especially in a zone-heavy scheme.

COVERAGE

Play Recognition: 8 out of 10

By no means a weakness in Jackson’s game, it’s clear that coaches told him to run bail technique against John Ross to avoid the big play. In the other two games I reviewed, Jackson consistently puts himself in solid position to affect the play, however he got toasted by Notre Dame’s Kevin Stepherson on a sluggo which resulted in a TD.

Speed: 5 out of 5

Just watch one play and you know you’re dealing with elite, game-changing speed. This stretches into his agility and acceleration as well. More often than not, he’s an ultra-explosive athlete.

Mirroring: 8 out of 10

An area of the game that has improved steadily over his career, it doesn’t seem that Jackson has any issues following receiver movements in terms of recognition, but his footing causes him to trip up more often than you’d like to see from an elite prospect.

Pursuit: 5 out of 5

This is the single greatest attribute Jackson possesses, and likely what makes him such a great returner, he closes so well, and he loves it. You’ll constantly see Jackson trick QB’s into thinking he’s left his man open, only to jump in front of the ball and snag a pick or PBU.

Man: 11 out of 15

This is not so much of an indictment of his abilities going forward, because he has improved greatly in this area, but nearly every bad play Jackson has on tape is in man coverage. Make no mistake, he has many good plays as well. He has the attributes you want in man, but must take coaching to learn how to use his feet better.

Zone: 15 out of 15

There isn’t a better zone corner prospect in this draft. Jackson, in a zone-heavy scheme, could be an immediate impact starter in the NFL. His natural ability and fluidity in the return game translates perfectly to his zone coverage. He’s an absolute playmaker when he’s reading the QB’s eyes.

Press: 3 out of 5

The Notre Dame tape shows a lot of reasons to expect this area to improve going forward. Jackson looked natural bumping with one hand in press and flipping his hips to perfectly mirror receivers downfield. He just doesn’t do it often enough to warrant a higher score.

Tackle: 2 out of 5

This is a concerning area. He has one outstanding form tackle on tape, that’s it. He also has one impressive open-field tackle of John Ross. Both times, he needed help to bring his man down. There are also a few bad misses on tape in which Jackson throws his body out of position, to somewhat comical results.

Ball Skills: 5 out of 5

Another area where Jackson might just be the best in the draft, his 5 interceptions in 2016 are insane when considering he’s the single most talented member of that USC secondary, and QB’s didn’t challenge him much. That’s not even to mention his 28 career PBU’s.

RUN SUPPORT

Tackle: 3 out of 5

It’s tempting to give this an incomplete, because he only has two tackle attempts on running backs on tape, which are successful. However, he consistently puts himself in position as a last line of defense and often allows tackles to happen by maintaining lane discipline.

Play Recognition: 5 out of 5

Jackson plays like the savvy three-year starter he is, and that doesn’t change against the run, in which he immediately (and often quicker than most members of the secondary) rallies to his position as a run defender.

Willingness: 2 out of 5

This is not to say he doesn’t like being a run defender, more that he doesn’t like being directly involved. Jackson prefers to become essentially a deep cover safety when a run play develops, trusting his speed and athleticism as the last line of defense. This approach has its merits and will be appreciated by some NFL scouts, though I would really like to see a nastier demeanor from Jackson.

GENERAL

Injury: 10 out of 10

This guy has started nearly every game since week 1 of his first year as a true freshman. And that’s while playing in all three phases of the game. You couldn’t find a more encouraging sign that injuries won’t be a systemic issue in his NFL career.

Total Prospect Rating: 82 out of 100

Jackson 1

Norman

Pro Comparison: Josh Norman, CB, Washington Redskins

While it is incredibly difficult to find a player with the exact (and incredibly unique) skillset of Jackson, Norman shares the same ultra-confidence, short memory and explosive pursuit which I expect will propel Jackson to quick success in the NFL as an outside corner.

Scouting Report: Marshon Lattimore

By: Shae Dougall

Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

6’0”, 193 lbs

Lattimore

Tape Viewed:

Ohio State vs Wisconsin (2016)

Ohio State vs Michigan (2016)

Ohio State vs Oklahoma (2016)

OVERVIEW

Marshon Lattimore is a beast of an athlete. His combine numbers were fantastic, and the tape backs those numbers up. He has ridiculous, natural coverage ability and makeup speed that could make any defensive backs coach swoon. His soft tissue injury history is concerning, but his raw talent and instinct are tantalizing beyond any team’s wildest dreams.

 

COVERAGE

Play Recognition: 10 out of 10

Appears to always know what is required of him on any given play, and I never once saw him out of position on any tape that I watched.

 

Speed: 4.5 out of 5

(4.36 40yd)

Excellent speed for a shorter corner, easily able to keep up with any college receiver. Should be able to use remarkable athletic ability to recover against the fastest NFL receivers to make up for any straight line speed deficiencies.

 

Mirroring: 10 out of 10

Can instantly recognize, process, and mirror any route thrown at him. Frequently runs routes better than some WRs, especially deep ones.

 

Pursuit: 5 out of 5

One of Lattimore’s best skills; can catch up to any play, and can consistently outspeed receivers to defense or intercept underthrown passes (and overthrown ones)!

 

Man: 14.5 out of 15

Per NFL.com, Lattimore was only challenged 35 times in the entire 2016 season (average of less than 3 times per game), and it didn’t work out well for those quarterbacks, as it resulted in 4 interceptions and a whopping 14 passes defensed. Man coverage is definitely Lattimore’s strength, as he’s able to use his mega-athleticism to keep his receiver locked down.

 

Zone: 12.5 out of 15

At his best, Lattimore might be able to play safety with how instinctive he usually is in zone coverage. At his worst, he sometimes freezes when the zone coverage around him breaks down. As I’ve said 100 times already, though, he can use his great talent and athleticism to make up for those rare moments of indecision.

 

Press: 4.5 out of 5

Very willing to get up into opposing WRs grills. Will lock them up at the line without hesitation. Doesn’t win every single time and can get burned as a result, but it’s a trait I like to see in corners, and Lattimore also has the hip speed to catch up to anyone but the fastest receivers in these situations.

 

Tackle: 4.5 out of 5

Great open field tackler (for a corner). Was able to catch up to and bring down running backs and tight ends running route patterns if the initial tackler whiffed.

 

Ball Skills: 5 out of 5

Willing to go up and get overthrown passes, sacrificing his body for a diving interception in the Oklahoma game that I watched. The pass was deemed incomplete, but it wasn’t a great call. Lattimore has soft hands that would impress any cornerback in the NFL.

 

RUN SUPPORT

Tackle: 4 out of 5

Able to bring guys down when needed, but I question if his “go low” approach will work every time, especially in the NFL.

 

Play Recognition: 5 out of 5

Coverage ceases immediately when the run play begins.

 

Willingness: 3 out of 5

 

As willing as the average NFL corner to get involved in a run play; I didn’t see any tape to suggest otherwise.

 

GENERAL

Injury: 3 out of 10

This is easily the biggest concern for Marshon Lattimore. Chronic hamstring problems sidelined him for the majority of the 2015 season. They got so bad that he even had to have surgery. Don’t expect Lattimore to have many career years where he plays a full season, especially not in the NFL which practices harder and more often, plays more games, and generally requires more from cornerbacks from a physical standpoint. I don’t think these concerns are enough to keep him out of the first round or anything, but it’s definitely something to watch out for.

 

Total Prospect Rating: 85.5 out of 100

 

Pro Comparison: Jason Verrett, CB, San Diego Chargers

OU OHIO STATE FOOTBALL

Jason Verrett, Jeremy Maclin

Verrett is perhaps the greatest coverage cornerback left in this league (a talent which I’ve endlessly touted Lattimore for above), and yet most people outside of the darkest inner regions of NFL fandom have no awareness of his existence or incredible work. This is because, like Lattimore, he cannot stay healthy for an entire season. With such a supreme and promising talent like Lattimore coming into the league, I think I speak for everyone when I say that I sincerely hope we see more of Lattimore than we have of Verrett up to this point in his career. Both Verrett and Lattimore share the ability to match up and truly shut down even the best competition, when they’re on the field, despite their relatively diminutive stature for the outside corner position.

Scouting Report: Sidney Jones IV

Sidney Jones, CB, Washington

6’0 181 lbs.

 

Jones IV 1

 

Tape Viewed: 2015 vs. USC, 2016 vs. USC, 2016 vs. Colorado, 2016 vs. Washington State, 2016 vs. Oregon

 

OVERVIEW

 

Jones is being hailed as a top prospect on the level of Marlon Humphrey and Marshon Lattimore, and I think people are overlooking some deficiencies.

Jones gets a lot of credit for not giving up touchdowns, and keeping plays in front of him, but struggles with closing speed on timing routes against good route runners. He is especially susceptible on tape to one of the most basic routes: the 10 yard hitch. Quarterbacks tended to shy away from testing him in college, but this aspect will be exposed in the NFL.

There are many things to appreciate about Jones game though, starting with his confidence. He plays the game with the mentality that he’s better than you, and it clearly intimidates his competition. His loose hips help with his exceptional mirroring ability in coverage, though he seems to have a lot of wasted movement that needs to be cleaned up by NFL secondary coaches.

Jones also has exceptional physicality in both the passing game and run support as a tackler. Watching the tape, the word that comes up again and again for him is feisty. While I believe Jones will struggle early in his career, he has pro bowl potential as a reliable number one corner.

 

COVERAGE

 

Play Recognition: 9 out of 10

 

Diagnosing in the pass often helps Jones to be in the right position, as evidenced by the fact that he’s thrown against so seldom despite there being NFL talent all over the Washington secondary.

 

Speed: 3 out of 5

 

I have my concerns about Jones’ burst in particular, as he is often burned by sharp cuts. He is also unable to keep up on deep crosses at times, and uses bail technique constantly to prevent big plays.

 

Mirroring: 9 out of 10

 

It’s clear that Jones is a natural in reading even the most experienced college receivers, as he reacts immediately and often anticipates route changes.

 

Pursuit: 3 out of 5

 

This is an area that concerns me with Jones, though it is not necessarily a weakness.

 

Man: 14 out of 15

 

A true lockdown corner in college, Jones consistently shutdown his man in one-on-one, evidenced by his dominant performances against future NFL receiver USC’s Juju Smith-Schuster.

 

Zone: 11 out of 15

 

There isn’t much zone to review on tape for Jones, but some of his skillset would seem to translate well to zone coverage. Some of his less impressive plays were in zone though, and his pursuit is concerning.

 

Press: 5 out of 5

 

Jones loves to mix it up and hang in the receiver’s hip pocket off the bump, it’s where he’s at his best.

 

Tackle: 4 out of 5

 

He can get moved off his spot, but once he engages, he consistently brings the ball carrier down or out of bounds.

 

Ball Skills: 4 out of 5

 

This is an area where I’d like to see a top prospect earn top marks, but it’s by no means a weakness, Jones has some exceptional plays on the ball on tape, but several missed opportunities as well.

 

RUN SUPPORT

 

Tackle: 5 out of 5

 

Can get moved off his spot, but is exceptional in run support at bringing an end to the play prematurely.

 

Play Recognition: 4 out of 5

 

Most of his diagnose is solid, and he has some impressive reads on tape.

 

Willingness: 5 out of 5

 

Jones is clearly eager to be active all over the field and this extends in a very noticeable way to his run support.

 

GENERAL

 

Injury: 3 out of 10

 

Jones sustained an Achilles tendon tear while running the 40 at his pro day, putting his 2016 season effectively on ice. This could be an injury that affects his career going forward as Jones relies heavily on his sudden explosiveness.

 

Total Prospect Rating: 79/100

 

Pro Comparison: Aaron Colvin, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars

D.D. Goodson, Sidney Jones

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans

Colvin was far less touted coming out of Oklahoma, but proved to be an incredibly reliable cover corner that excelled as a run supporter, peaking in 2016, his fourth year in the league. Jones possesses a similar skillset with his ability as a run defender to go along with his incredibly confident play in coverage. Like Colvin, I expect Jones to take a few years before settling in as a solid starter.

2017 Free Agency Grades

Welcome back to my personal favorite time of the year, the offseason! A time of hope and wonder where we can even pretend that the Browns might improve to a four-win team if we just give them that extra 20 million in cap space.

Here, I will be covering what I feel to be the most interesting moves of the offseason, providing grades and insight as to potential fit and contract worthiness.

 

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NEW YORK GIANTS

Brandon Marshall, WR: 2 years, $12 million

Grade: B+

Marshall

After the absurd spending spree that kicked off last offseason for the Giants, which I roundly abused in last year’s edition, I’m digging the more under-the-radar approach, at least to start with here.

Marshall is not the player he once was, but there was no stability at quarterback for the Jets, and we saw similar decline in production in similar less-than-ideal quarterback situations for much younger guys in DeAndre Hopkins and Allen Robinson.

This, at least, should give the Giants brass hopes that a merely adequate starting quarterback in Eli Manning can help Marshall in the twilight of his career.

Scouting Report: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

6’1 196 lbs.

conley

Tape Viewed: 2016 vs. Clemson, 2016 vs. Penn State, 2016 vs. Indiana, 2016 vs. Oklahoma, 2016 vs. Wisconsin

 

OVERVIEW

Conley is an above average athlete who excels in coverage but benefits from the strong Ohio State defense that surrounds him. He looks comfortable in all game situations, but is a very spotty tackler and isn’t highly involved in run support.

Ohio State liked to use Conley as a blitzer out of various spots on the defense, and this seems to be because of his strong short-area burst, but on tape, he didn’t finish a single one of those blitzes for a sack, despite having many opportunities. He notably bounced right off of Clemson QB DeShaun Watson despite a free release.

Conley is a very confident player, constantly attempting to read the QB’s eyes, and rarely allows large separation. This leads to excellent disruption on the ball at the point of the catch.

There are some red flags with his game, including his technique and tackling. Conley often looks like he’s playing out of control in coverage, which leads to wasted movement that he has to use his athleticism to compensate for, that will burn him at the next level. His tackling is atrocious at times, and this is also due to poor technique, as he doesn’t seem to understand how to square up and use leverage to his advantage. He’s often in the wrong position when attempting tackles as well.

 

COVERAGE

 

Play Recognition: 8 out of 10

 

While Conley has some fine moments on tape in this regard, particularly in breaking up a would-be TD on a 5-yard-out to receiver Dede Westbrook against Oklahoma, Conley struggles to diagnose read options and certain complicated route patterns.

 

Speed: 4 out of 5

 

While his straight line speed is exposed a few times on tape, especially by strong receiver prospect Mike Williams of Clemson, he more than makes up for it with explosive burst. This is the main reason Ohio State likes to put him in blitzing situations.

 

Mirroring: 9 out of 10

 

While he can get loose at times, Conley doesn’t have much trouble sticking to his receivers, and more than once on tape, he ran the receiver’s route better than the receiver.

 

Pursuit: 5 out of 5

 

On those plays where Conley gets behind his receiver, be it from a pick play or just beat off the line on a fly, he’s always putting in maximum effort and uses his explosion to close gaps in a hurry.

 

Man: 13 out of 15

 

Conley likes to play man coverage, you can tell watching tape he feels he’s the best player on the field and he brings that swagger every down, he’ll need to clean up his footwork and hip swivel at the next level, but he rarely allows separation.

 

Zone: 13 out of 15

 

A natural eye-reader, Conley uses his cognitive abilities to his advantage in zone coverage. While his spacing isn’t always perfect, his explosion helps close gaps and disrupt catch attempts. This is on display in the best possible way against Wisconsin, where Conley closed seven yards from the time the QB decided his target on the play to when the ball reached the receiver. Conley jumped the route and made the easy pick.

 

Press: 4 out of 5

 

While Conley likes to press, he sometimes misses his bump which leads to issues on downfield throws against faster receivers, this was on display against Mike Williams.

 

Tackle: 2 out of 5

 

Far too many missed tackles to garner a positive rating. His technique is often terrible and he’s usually out of position, though he has a few really solid form tackles on tape and shows a willingness to try to bring receivers down in his area.

 

Ball Skills: 4 out of 5

 

Conley is often at his best when the ball is in the air. He dropped a couple of interceptions and misused his hands on a few 50-50 balls leading to catches on tape. For the most part, though, he’s very disruptive at the catch point and locates the ball early while it’s still in the air.

 

RUN SUPPORT

 

Tackle: 2 out of 5

 

Same story as in pass defense, He flashes correct technique and contain principles, and on some plays just looks like a joke out there.

 

Play Recognition: 3 out of 5

 

With the exception, glaring though it is, of read option runs and designed quarterback runs, Conley seems able to read the direction of a running play well and takes nice angles to limit big gains.

 

Willingness: 3 out of 5

 

You get the feeling watching Conley sometimes that he wishes the offense wouldn’t run the ball, because he looks so much more comfortable in coverage, but he rarely shies away from the contact and doesn’t mind attempting tackles, even in the open field.

 

GENERAL

 

Injury: 9 out of 10

 

A minor shoulder injury was likely an anomaly. Conley’s health is not an issue going into the draft.

 

Total Prospect Rating: 79/100

 

Pro Comparison: T.J. Carrie, CB, Oakland Raiders

Ohio State v Michigan

carrie

Carrie has been an above average cover corner in this league for a couple of years now, really coming on in late 2016 after the injury to fellow Raiders corner D.J. Hayden, but that hasn’t helped his absolute deficiencies in tackling ball carriers. Conley and Carrie share similar frames, similar swagger, and similar technique issues that likely limit their ceiling as pros, at least in run support.