FanPost

NFL Draft 2014: Evaluation of 10 CB's

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

This is not a top 10 list. I believe this particular CB class is hard to evaluate. There is premium talent at the top and a mixed bag past about pick 50. A lot of players could argue to be in the 6-10 range. That is why I decided to just review 10 CB's before the draft. There is also no telling if the Panthers will stick with current scheme or draft to fit future wants (zone/off man vs man). I will have some extra notes on other prospects who impressed me while watching these CB's.

I want to also note I am not as versed in DB play as OL, DL and LB. I could use constructive criticism to get better. Pointing out specific games and instances could help us all learn, especially me.

1. Justin Gilbert OKST Mid-Late 1st
Watched 12 games via DraftBreakdown: (3 in 2011, 1 in 2012 and 8 in 2013).

Special skills:

Speed/Athleticism- Gilbert has that extra gear reserved for elite athletes. This can make up for any shortcomings in his reads. Great hips in press man or press bail. Extremely explosive in and out of cuts. Very fluid hips that allow him to move rather seamlessly.

Playmaker- Has the ability to turn a KR or INT into 7 points. Gilbert has a knack for scoring with the ball in his hands...blazing speed does not hurt.

Special teams- Added value as returner and ST gunner. His speed makes this an asset. Not adept at finding running lanes or running powerfully, but does not go down easy. Shies from contact as a returner (less in 2013) but not as gunner.

Ball skills- Pretty sure handed with a clear line of sight, strong hands. Will occasionally be a little greedy and go for INT instead of PBU. Rarely gambles big.

Press/Bail man coverage- One of the, if not the best man cover player in the draft. Mirrors excellently and plays the receiver well. Sometimes can focus so hard on receiver's hips that he loses focus on their eyes and the incoming pass. Excels on deep and long developing routes. Able to deal with double moves well.

Average skills:

Tackling- Gilbert is a willing tackler, usually. Does not have the best form or thump but will try to make a play or route a runner to the inside for help. Will take poor angles on inside rushes and blitzes.

Read/React- This is almost a strength for Gilbert. He takes his time reading the receiver and QB while refraining from guesses. He then takes off with his blazing speed and makes a play. If his recognition time gets better he could be an all star.

Needs significant improvement (Negatives):

Off man coverage (5+ yards off receiver at snap)- Has a hard time between watching QB and receiver. Can lead to easy gains because of awareness gap. Bad recognition of route breaks. Still, Gilbert has great recovery speed and can make a play because of it. Given time this could be a strength. Gilbert had an up and down game vs Texas in 2013. Had 2 picks and a TD (against Sanders) but was routinely beaten by Mike Davis on intermediate and deep patterns. Backpedal could use work, but not bad.

Block shedding- Gilbert has difficulties disengaging once blockers have a hold of him. This is especially apparent in the screen game where WR's can keep him at bay.

Run play recognition- Gilbert is slow to react to run plays. He rarely gets a TFL or tackles at the line of scrimmage. This leaves him out of position when blockers are attacking down field. Will bite hard on misdirection.


Bottom Line:
Gilbert has a massive amount of upside. He should be able to excel in a man coverage, especially press man, immediately. He has the athletic tools to be a fit in any scheme given time. I wish I could have seen Gilbert more in true zone coverage and playing the wide side of the field. He almost exclusively covered the short side where he could be more quick twitch and have to play the run less. But I will not fault him for that. Gilbert, to me, currently struggles in off man. Has hard time dealing with routes breaking to the outside (vs OK 2012 vs TCU 2013). Has trouble tracking ball over the outside shoulder. Very inconsistent in off man. If Gilbert clears up a few hiccups he could be a star. Gilbert and Roby are very similar. I think they both have the same upside and problem areas. I think Gilbert was more consistent year to year.


2. Kyle Fuller VT Mid-Late 1st
Watched 6 games via DraftBreakdown: 2 in 2012 & 4 in 2013

Special skills:

Ball Skills- The best ball skills in the draft when adding in FF. He consistently get his hands on passes. Is able to strip the ball while receiver is coming down to cause incompletion or after pass is caught. Very good at causing strips in pursuit. Does not give up on the ball if receiver is in process of possessing for a "sure" catch.

Tackling- The best tackler of the CB class. He wraps up well does not shy away from contact. No business decisions here. Fuller can also lay the wood and jar the ball loose from his hits. Was used as a rover or whip in VT's defense. That shows the respect his tackling had from the DC.

Off man coverage- Fuller is able to recognize breaking routes and adjust his back pedal or shuffle accordingly. Has great closing burst and extends fully in pass defense. His read/react skills help this tremendously. Makes him an asset on quick hitters and run plays.

Zone coverage- Fuller fools QB's in to thinking he is going to be in man or blitz while staying in his zone. Causes a lot of PBU's his way. His closing burst causes plays to go for minimal yardage. Able to peel off one WR to another in his zone seamlessly.

Flashes dominance- The most impressive part of Fuller is being able to dominate an opponent. He shut down Amari Cooper vs Alabama and thoroughly frustrated him. Can take over a game with PBU's, INT's and TFL's. Has game changing plays regularly. The Alabama game is a highlight reel on it's own. No need to focus on one play or a series.

Speed/Athleticism- Fuller is definitely fast enough to keep up with speed guys. He is not stiff hipped and has good overall flexion. Very explosive athlete. Able to power through blockers, knock ball carriers off their feet and dash in/out of breaks.


Average skills:

Gambling/Aggressiveness- Fuller is a bit of a gambler. This is partially due to VT's scheme but can be attributed to him as well. He will bite on double moves but can recover quick enough to mitigate.

Man coverage- Able to mirror receivers and make quick adjustments. Able to face guard without drawing penalties (or should not have been called penalties). Needs to get better at jamming. Not consistent at it. Left on an island often so he was used to the pressure.

Needs significant improvement (Negatives):

Injury- He has some injury history but not too serious. Fuller seems to be nicked up often. Could be a side effect of his wreckless play style and willingness to put his body on the line.

Frame- Could stand to add muscle and better be able to deal with physical receivers. Deals well with finesse already. This will also help his jam be more effective.

Bottom line:
For what the Panthers do currently he is the best fit. Adept at diagnosing and tackling. Fuller can cause TO's and make a team better. He is versatile and could fill the role that Munnerlyn had of being a joker. Able to blitz and make big plays when needed. I am a VT fan but I have enough impartiality to know he will be good. Fuller is very experienced and used to playing on big stages. I would be ecstatic if the Panthers took him at 28. He fills a need and could be a star if he stays healthy and physically matures further.


3. Jason Verrett TCU Late 1st-Early 2nd
Watched 8 games via DraftBreakdown: 2 in 2012 & 6 in 2013

Special skills:

Ball skills- Verrett is great at getting his hands on the ball and making a play. He is not overly aggressive and will take the PBU where prudent instead of gambling.

Speed/Athleticism- Has straight line speed and short area quickness. Able to open hips and run. Excellent leaping ability partially makes up for less than ideal size.

Man coverage- Verrett functions well in all forms of man coverage (press, off, bail). He has the ability to mirror hips well and sticks to his target. Creates small windows to throw to. Can accelerate when sitting back in off coverage and breaks well (vs LSU 2013). Does face guard sometimes and had a hard time in the OKST 2013 game. Left on an island a lot. I struggle with evaluating his off man coverage because it can be dominant or get him picked on.

Tackling- Better tackler than one would expect given size. He wraps up and takes carriers to the ground. Not a thumper and rarely jars the ball loose on hits (could not find any examples). Also an effective blitzer.

Awareness- Able to diagnose run vs pass quickly and make plays in the backfield. Verrett shows quickness in peeling off of receivers to go make a play upfield.

Zone coverage- Great burst to break up plays in his area. Can cover ground quickly and extends well to maximize length. Very good at hiding intentions of man vs zone. Verrett can pass receivers seamlessly. Makes the QB double clutch a lot.

Average skills:

Block shedding- Has flashes of stacking and shedding effectively. Good at avoiding blocks altogether as well. Can be overpowered by blockers.

Recovery- Recovers extremely well in press/bail and zone. Struggles in off man with good route runners. Can be caught guessing.

Needs significant improvement (Negatives):

Size/Frame- Unfortunately his size will be a detriment at times. He can be ragdolled by blockers that get a hold of him and trucked in the run game. He has excellent leaping ability but does not always use it to his advantage.

Physicality- Sometimes will play too rough in coverage and draw penalties. Can also be Boldin'ed around by physical WR's. Needs to gain more core strength and perhaps gain weight.

Aggressiveness- He needs to strike a balance between being over aggressive and too passive. Seems to lack a feel for what is coming from a receiver in off man and can lead to gambling.

Bottom line:
Unfortunately Verrett is 5'9". If he was around 6' he would probably be a top 10 selection. He has all the other physical tools you could ask for in a CB (speed, vertical, hips). However, if he cleans up some mental aspects (being too rough, aggressiveness, gambling) he could really turn in to a shut down corner, honestly. I would definitely take Verrett at 28 and be surprised if he made it past pick 40 in the draft.


4. Darqueze Dennard MSU Mid 1st
Watched 10 games via DraftBreakdown: 2 in 2012 & 8 for 2013.

Special skills:

Awareness- Dennard has great awareness in pass and run game. Able to diagnose quickly and get in to position. Rarely "sold" by WR's in to misdirection plays, but happens.

Savvy- Dennard does little things to keep close to his man without blatant holding or interference. Has nuance to his game that makes up for his lack of top end speed and acceleration.

Press/bail man coverage- Adept at sticking to a receiver with no cushion. Makes throwing window very tight. Can make a QB pay. Better when he does not have to back pedal at all. Dennard is able to be left on an island, big plus.

Zone coverage- Dennard is skilled at passing receiver responsibilities in a hybrid zone concept. Great at seeing the play develop, peel off his responsibility and make a play (vs Nebraska 2012).

Average skills:

Speed/Athleticism- Not a burner by any means. Hard to recover if beat on crossing routes, can make up for speed on deep routes (not sure why, hips?).

Run game- His technique is hit or miss but he could be very effective if he gains consistency. Sometimes makes business decisions. Inconsistent timing on blitz, could clean this up. Will take bad angles from time to time, but rarely. Can lay the wood with good angle.

Block shedding- Does not get man handled or tossed out of plays. Can disengage and force ball carrier to waiting defenders.

Technique- Does not sink hips and break well with receiver. Needs to give less cushion because of athleticism.

Ball skills- If he sticks to his man he can be unbeatable. Able to rip ball away even if tucked by receiver. Dennard will drop some easy INT's and does not always get his head around to defend the pass. Leads to some face guarding.

Needs significant improvement (Negatives):

Penalties- Likely to incur a lot of DPI if he does not clean up hand fighting. The biggest issue is most of the time it is unnecessary interference (vs Notre Dame 2013).

Recovery- Dennard has a hard time changing direction out of his back pedal. Also has difficulty with a hard double move. He will grab jersey to stick with receiver.

Off man coverage- Dennard struggles when not mirroring his man. Does not have excellent closing speed or burst. If he has a shorter distance (press or zone) then he can be effective and use his brains instead of body.


Bottom Line:
Dennard would fit with a lot of teams that look for a player to be on their own. Teams that like to play off man may not be as enamored with him. If a team needs a savvy, decent tackler than Dennard fits the bill. While Dennard is adept at zones he struggles with receivers that are agile and good route runners (vs Mich Gallon 2013). His upside is lessened by his athleticism and dependent upon scheme along with the ever dwindling physical nature of DB play. Many (outside of Seattle) get penalties called for a lot less than he committed in college. I do not think I am as high on him as most others. He has very few pieces to polish for a full set. At this point, he is what he is, may never get markedly better.


5. Bradley Roby OSU Mid 1st-Early 2nd
Watched 13 games via Draft Breakdown: 5 in 2012 and 8 in 2013.

Special skills:

Speed/acceleration- He has great speed and acceleration. Once he diagnoses the play he accelerates full speed towards target. In full effect on punt block formations.

Recovery- Good at acknowledging he is beat, turning hips and running hard to make up ground. Roby hits full acceleration and watches receivers eyes for ball placement. Saved back to back TD attempts vs PSU in 2012, one after he bit on double move by Allen Robinson.

High motor- Saved several TD's by running from opposite side to track down ball carrier. High effort tackler and excels at special teams. Does not give up on plays. Stole the ball from the bottom of the pile on botched punt (vs Miami OH 2012). Motor was down in 2013, he said in an interview he should not have come back to school.

Zone coverage- He does well when asked to guard a certain area and jump any routes that come in his zone. This allows him to diagnose quicker and use his speed/athleticism to make a play, run or pass.

Press man coverage- Roby does exceedingly well when playing close to receiver. Able to mirror and stay in hip pocket. Effective jam re-routes receivers and throws off timing. Was not asked to do this often at OSU.

Average skills:

Tackling- Sometimes goes for the big shot instead of wrapping. Does not break down like he should when runner has eyes on him. Gives full effort, does not make "business decisions." Roby does much better when runner is facing away from him, not sure why. Can blow up plays in the back field. Added value as blitzer.

Ball skills- He excels at ripping the ball away from a receiver's body. Times his break just right to get a hand on the ball. This would be higher but 2013 he dropped off in this category, went for the pick a lot more.

Read/React/Route recognition- Excels at defeating in, outs, comebacks and stops. Struggles with double moves, back shoulder throws and long developing routes. Sometimes he over anticipates and tries to jump routes. Leads to boom (vs Nebraska 2012) or bust (Wisconsin 2013). Watch 4th qtr vs PSU in 2012 to see this on display in back to back plays.

Needs significant improvement (Negatives):

Block shedding- Struggles to get off of blocks. Once blocker has hold he cannot shed quickly enough to make a play. This mostly happens on outside plays, seems to stay off blocks when moving towards middle of field (vs Indiana 2013).

Gambler- Especially in 2013. He went for the INT a lot more than the PBU (aggressive under cutting, route jumping, etc). Played much more undisciplined. Suffered from David Amerson syndrome (My instincts are flawless!).

Technique- Plays high, especially in back pedal. Back pedal is a little lackadaisical. Would give too much cushion on routes in off man. Part scheme, part player.

Off man coverage- Roby struggles with double moves and judging distance. He thinks his speed can make up for more than it does. He goes with instincts and quick reactions (spies QB too much for too long, should shift eyes between QB and receiver).

Bottom line:
If I was just going off of 2012, Roby is a top 15 player. If I was just going off of 2013 Roby is a mid-late 2nd rounder at best. Abbrederis really exposed Roby's inability to deal with skilled route runners that can change their stems quickly. This may end up being a good thing for Roby; to know exactly what he needs to work on. I think his upside at 28 could be too much to pass up. If he returns to 2012 form he would be a steal at that spot. Roby's inconsistency may lead to a rough 1st year but I think he will pan out in the end.

6. Philip Gaines Rice Mid 2nd-Early 4th
Watched vs Miss St vs Marshall vs LA Tech

Special skills:

Speed/Athleticism- His speed will end up getting him drafted higher than going in to the combine. He has impressive short area quickness and has good leaping ability. Definitely good recovery speed.

Press/Bail coverage- He has great hips. Able to mirror and flip effortlessly. Gaines is rarely out of position and makes for tight throwing windows. He has a decent jam but it could do with some more punch. Gaines was able to move WR's when the ball was in the air without committing DPI, very subtle but lead to PBU's each time (vs Miss St in end zone). Very near to shutdown level at man coverage.

Average skills:

Zone coverage- Rice rarely played it so this is more of an incomplete. When I did see him play it he did decently, breaking on the route and making a few plays. May be better at it then I have been exposed to.

Ball skills- Not to the level of Verrett or Fuller but very adept at PBU's and being disruptive. Hands are not sure enough for this to be a special skill but he has a lot of potential in this area.

Awareness- Gaines has great awareness in the passing game. He peels off his man and makes plays if he sees the QB going a different direction. Makes good decisions in going for PBU or INT. Could be a FS with how he plays in space.

Needs significant improvement (Negatives):

Tackling- Not very physical. Timid in making contact. Gaines sometimes goes for the big hit instead of wrapping up. This lead to a few big plays. Does not take great angles.

Play recognition- Seems to struggle in diagnosing run plays. Gaines is very focused on coverage and can be fooled by WR's that do not tip their hand for running plays.

Block shedding- Does not really put up much of a fight when being blocked. Tries to shut off lanes and force runs inside more than make tackles.

Bottom line:

Phillip Gaines is a hard player to judge. He excelled against Conference USA opponents and more than held his own vs Miss State. If he puts on some size I honestly believe he can be a shut down man corner from the tape I watched. He is smothering in man coverage and makes every catch contested. He was thrown at less than most of the CB's I watched for this exercise. That makes it a little harder to judge. But when Gaines was targeted he normally made a play. If he lasts until the 3rd round I could see the Panthers pouncing. This evaluation may be a little over optimistic, but he could definitely step in for the Panthers and make an impact.


*7. EJ Gaines Missouri 3rd-4th
Watched vs Tennessee vs OKST vs Ole Miss (2013)

Special skills:

Off man coverage- Great at breaking on routes and getting a hand on the ball. Good at disguising intentions. Able to sink hips and burst forward.

Tackling- Great tackler. Knows how to take on ball carrier and get them to the ground. Wraps up when appropriate or cuts the carrier down when more applicable.

Flashes dominance- Had a great game vs Ole Miss only allowing a few catches and none of them big. Batted several passes and only had 1 penalty. Did exceedingly well vs OKST in 1st half of bowl game. Had a big INT and was disruptive. Made big tackles.

Average skills

Ball skills- Had pretty decent hands. Rarely missed a clean opportunity for an INT. This area may be stronger than I am giving him credit for. Plays the ball well in the air, can box out WR's to cause an incompletion.

Blocking Shedding- Very good at taking away a running lane with the blocker. Can shuck blockers and make plays close to the line of scrimmage. Had some inconsistency that kept this from being upper echelon.

Zone & Man coverage- From what I saw he mostly lined 4+ yards off the line of scrimmage and had 1 man to cover. He was rarely tasked to jam or stick close to WR at all times. Did not see too many places where Gaines was in zone. He did get a pick from zone vs OKST early in the game. Not enough for me too truly evaluate from lack of looks.

Needs significant improvement (Negatives):

Consistency- Gaines would flash dominance but then have a hard time in the same game (vs OKST in 2013). If he finds a way to keep in rhythm he could be extremely solid.

Bottom line:
I honestly did not see much to be disappointed with in Gaines. I kind of file this as an incomplete, need to see more film to give a better evaluation. Gaines was an interesting prospect that I knew nothing about. I wanted to review the film for myself. He is used to playing with a dominant defensive line so Gaines should have a good understanding of how long he needs to cover on a regular basis. His above average tackling and ability to defend in off man coverage should make him a good fit for the Panthers. He does not look to have elite speed but definitely enough to be functional. I personally view him as a low 2nd rounder but think he will go more in the 3-5 range. He may have gotten pushed up in years past but the top 5 corners in the draft drop him down.

8. Antone Exum Virginia Tech Late 2nd-4th (Wildcard, injury)
Watched 7 games via DraftBreakdown: 2 in 2011 (at Safety) and 5 in 2012. Injury derailed 2013.

Special skills:

Play recognition- Virginia Tech runs mostly off man and zone. To be productive in their system you have to have play recognition and be able to break on the ball. He can see the receivers break off routes and move to the ball quickly. Also adept at diagnosing running plays.

Tackling- Exum is a fantastic tackler. He can make big hits or wrap up and make that shoe string stop. He is not afraid to put his body on the line and refrains from making "business decisions."

Ball skills- This transcends what most DB's can do. He flashes ability to bat down balls and make highlight reel interceptions. The remarkable thing is the forced fumbles he accrues. There are multiple occasions tape where he gets beat on the route and then rips the ball from the WR's arms when he catches up. He did this more as a S than CB.


(Displays off man, ball skills, usage of sideline and press man)

Zone scheme- This is tied to his play recognition. He has a great closing burst and moves faster than expected for someone the size of a SS. Allows him to keep plays in front of him and attack. Especially RB's and plays in the backfield.

Off man coverage- This is the main coverage VT runs. Exum will give outside leverage a little too much, trying to maximize the sideline. It normally works but could stand a little mitigation.

Average skills:

Speed/athleticism- Exum does have athleticism but it is not eye popping. He is not a speed guy but has enough to stay with WR's and more than enough for TE's. Exum's hips are a little stiff. Has a hard time with dynamic route runners.

Versatility- His versatility is a bonus but I think it also hindered his development at being either a full time CB or S. This may mean he needs more time to learn whatever position he is asked to play and not be an out of the box starter. Definitely starter material at CB and S.

Press/bail man coverage- He was not asked to do it frequently at VT. Exum has a tendency to overextend or try to bench press the player instead of just re-routing them. The result was a mixed bag and cannot say it was a strength or weakness. But could use some improvement. Is not great mirroring WR's. If he can get a jam then he does much better.

Needs significant improvement (Negatives):

Inside routes/leverage- Exum had a tendency to get beat on inside routes. He was great at using the sideline to his advantage but may have played to that too often instead of using it appropriately.

Gambling- Sometimes he can be a gambler. This is part of the system for VT in trying to constantly create turnovers. Sometimes it is to the detriment of the team but he has a short memory and can recover the next play.

Injuries- I know he cannot really "improve" this part but there is something to be said about being seemingly injury prone. Does he need to lose weight? Workout more? Make sure to stretch properly? I cannot say but I know when healthy, he is dynamic.

Bottom Line:
I have watched more games than listed by virtue of being a VT fan. This is not strictly a homer pick. I only want a Hokie on the Panthers if he will improve the team, Exum can do that. Exum is one of those players where injuries derailed his college career. If he can recover, he could be a steal at the pro level. If Antone Exum's medical checks out I think he would be well worth a 3rd round pick. Lingering injuries may drive his stock down but I would be willing to gamble a mid/low round pick on him. It could be a way to fill 2 needs because of the versatility. Exum fits the Panthers defensive scheme very well and his tackling makes him a more attractive prospect. There are a lot of similarities between him and Kyle Fuller his teammate. I think Fuller is more polished and athletic of the 2. If the Panthers are looking for a CB with size and versatility than Exum would be an excellent choice outside of the 1st round.

9. Andre Hal Vanderbilt 3rd-6th
(He is all over when reviewing sources, some even like him in the 2nd)
Watched 6 games: vs USCe vs Fla vs NCST (2012) vs Ole Miss vs USCe vs Houston (2013)

Special skills:

Savvy- Adept at redirecting receivers in their routes. Able to turn WR or keep close through subtle movement. These are no flagrant moves that will likely not draw penalties.

Press/Bail man coverage- Excellent keeping a short distance to opposing receivers. Able to mirror hips and adjust to physical or skilled WR's. Hal is good at re-routing at the line of scrimmage. Very good at face guarding and turning at the last second to break up the play.

Awareness/Route recognition- Hal uses the sideline well as a second defender. Often forces WR's out of bounds just by impeding them. Good at peeling off of his man once ball is in the air. Reads QB eyes well to jump routes.

Average skills:

Zone coverage- He was not in zone too often, but when he was Hal made sound decisions and rarely gave up big plays or 1st downs. Hal needs to improve his run play recognition in zone. He sometimes has trouble sensing the WR around him and taking the appropriate depth.

Ball skills- Hal is able to extend around or over receivers to knock the ball away. He did this most impressively vs Ole Miss, even though one was called for a penalty (poor call by ref). Hal is better at getting a PBU than plucking the ball away. He has decent hands but nothing to get excited about. Hal also never gives up on a play and will dislodge the ball after it appears the WR has possessed it.

Special teams- Hal returned kicks at Vandy and was solid. He had some impressive returns but nothing that makes you think he is dynamic. He reads the blocks and makes his choice, not too much wiggle but enough speed to make a team pay for missed assignments.

Needs significant improvement (Negatives):

Run game- I am lumping multiple issues in to this assessment. Hal is not a consistent tackler. He does well against WR's but pretty poorly against RB's and QB's. Not aggressive and does make some business decisions. He did improve from 2012 to 2013 but he still needs to vastly improve. Hal is a terrible block shedder. This is extremely evident in watching the Ole Miss tape. They picked on him with bubble screens because he was unable to stop them. Will sometimes take bad angles.

Off man coverage- Hal is not good at keeping the WR in his periphery. He does not have the same awareness of the stems a WR will run. This may improve if he just learns to peek at the WR a little more in off man instead of fixating on the QB.

Size/athelticism- Hal has good short area burst but lacks long speed and has trouble switching gears. Struggles to recover from bad angles or double moves. Takes him time to get up to speed. He is not small but plays small. Gets man handled in the run game and can get shoved around a little by more physical receivers. I saw multiple uncalled pushoffs. He has decent leaping ability as well, makes up for his size somewhat.

Bottom line:
Hal is by no means a finished product. He could definitely use coaching in the run game where he is inconsistent and rather porous. His man coverage skills will push him higher on some boards. His need to improve in off man, spotty tackling, and zone coverage may not make him a fit for the Panthers. He would fit best in a press/bail scheme that does not require CB's to stick with their man for too long but rely on the jam to help the pass rush. He did flash some dominance over Ole Miss (outside of screens), Mizz and Fla in 2012. I would not take Hal before the 4th but expect him to contribute quickly on ST and work his way in to sub packages.


10. Keith McGill Utah Early 3rd-5th
Watched vs BYU vs ASU vs Colorado vs UCLA (2013)

Special skills:

Frame- Keith McGill is a massive CB/S standing over 6'3" and weighing 200+. His long arms allow him a little more room for error in pass defense.

Press coverage- McGill is good at jamming receivers and re-routing their trajectory. This can stifle quick hitters and blow up play design.

Playing downhill- He is exceptional at going forward and making plays in the pass game. He is a little deceptive between his burst and length. May fool QB's and WR's alike with how much ground he can cover. He struggles going laterally and flipping his hips.

Average skills:

Ball skills- He can make a spectacular INT and then drop an easy one. Very frustrating. His long arms allow him to reach around a receiver and swat with little contact.

Speed- McGill has decent short area burst and good long speed. He struggles getting from gear to gear, more of a long strider. Needs time to get up to full speed.

Zone coverage- Has great burst once he diagnoses the play and breaks well. His shuffle is much better than his back pedal. If a receiver can get him to back pedal and then make their break he is toast. Paul Richardson and Cody Hoffman did a good job of exposing him there.

Needs significant improvement (Negatives):

Tackling- For being so big he makes a lot of business decisions. Avoids contact often and lets ball carriers get more yardage than they should. Is also not sound at breaking down and driving through tackle.

Block shedding- He lets smaller WR's push him around in the run game. He takes long amounts of time to disengage and gets washed out of plays too easily.

Off coverage- McGill does not have the athleticism to back pedal, drop his weight and break on the ball. This area may never improve since he does not have intermediate speed.

Athleticism- McGill has extremely stiff hips. He has a hard time with speed and above average route runners. He has a hard time recovering from stutters and double moves.

Technique- He plays extremely high and has a lackadaisical back pedal. He does not sink his hips well and burst towards pass. McGill is also really physical on WR's and will probably get called more often for it in the NFL (see vs Hoffman of BYU).

Bottom line:

McGill is a really rough corner but has some good potential. He could fit in to a press man scheme the quickest but would need some development for zone and a lot of time for off man. His tackling leaves something to be desired. He definitely needs a fire lit under him if he wants to succeed. I would not personally want him before the 4th round considering the amount of work he needs. His size will cause some teams to drool and possibly take him too early (Jacksonville, Seattle?). He is a more gifted version of Josh Norman at this point.


Extra notes:
I had watched some other CB's during the season. I like Carrington Byndom in later rounds as a slot CB. He is shifty and tenacious. Not exceedingly fast but quick. I was impressed with Aaron Colvin before he unfortunately tore his ACL. He would have made waiting on a talented CB a little more feasible at the end of the 2nd. On a side note I think WR Marques North of Tennessee may end up being a big time player. He stood out when reviewing Tennessee OT tape last week and the EJ Gaines tape for this exercise. Just a guy to watch out for. Seemed pretty dynamic.

Wanted to put up a poll of the position I should review next (or if no one wants another of these I'm cool). I will need to finish by 5/2 and will actually be overseas for the draft...THANKS ROGER! Hopefully these are helpful.

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