As we move through the pro days and hear the noise of outlandish forty times and verticals through the roof, I have personally gone through and done more research on every position.
The Football Scout 365 Big Board
Don't forget to check out the full Football Scout 365 NFL Draft Big Board.
After Further Review NFL Draft Edition On YouTube
You can check out our Football Scout 365 After Further Review NFL Draft Edition on Youtube. We have five shows so far, three covering the QB position where I break down and connect the dots between player skillset and what the player displays on film concerning such buzzwords like arm talent, arm angle, pocket presence etc.
What I look for when evaluating a DB.
Whether it's a safety or CB, I am looking for similar traits. It starts with the scheme fit and how they translate. Can they adapt to different schemes? Are they more comfortable as a man-to-man defender vs. zone? Are they able to play press-man? Speed and burst matter in the secondary, but speed doesn't matter if a player lacks agility and good technique. Players with quick feet and can react quickly on the fly by flipping their hips are valuable. What do I mean by flipping the hips? Going from your back peddle to a full sprint fast is very important to a DB. The critical part of that transition is flipping your hips to change your body orientation 180 degrees without momentum. It's an awkward body motion that guys at the NFL level make look easy. I also look for willing-run defenders. Can they provide support in the run game? Are they sound in the open field?
All of the above can be true for the safety position, but there are some differentiating factors from a CB. You have two safeties in football, free and strong, and sometimes you get a hybrid nickel or LB style safety. The definition of safety has become blurry as they have to be responsible in similar ways at both spots; that's where the hybrid effect comes into play or the undefined role of safety, so to speak, because of how defenses utilize them to defend against pass-heavy spread offenses.
So you can understand the difference between a traditional free and strong safety, I'll define it real fast. Free safety is often the deep safety lined up at least 10 yards deep, while the strong safety traditionally lines up on the TE side or the heavy side of an offensive formation. Free safeties are responsible for mostly pass coverage, while a strong safety defends the run while also being accountable for pass coverage.
2021 NFL Draft CB Rankings
Okay, so let's dive into the CB rankings;
1) Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II 6-1 203 lbs Instant Impact Player
The son of a former NFL player, Surtain has the pedigree. He is a long player who plays with discipline. Surtain excels in man to man but can play zone when needed. He plays with great technique, and does an excellent job at challenging receivers at the line of scrimmage—Surtain projects as the top CB prospect in the 2021 NFL draft.
2) Va Tech CB Caleb Farley 6-2 197 lbs Potential Upside Player
Farley played QB in HS and started his VT career at WR. He is now the 2nd rated CB on our board. At 6-2, 197, he has good physical traits. Farley excels in man coverage, mirrors routes at a high level, and is physical. He needs to improve his zone coverage skills at the next level.
3) South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn 6-1 205 lbs Potential Upside Player
The son of former NFL WR Joe Horn, Jacee has the pedigree and is a late riser on our board. He is a solid cover corner, can play zone and press. He needs to improve his tackling.
4) Northwestern CB Greg Newsome 6-1 190 lbs Potential Upside Player
A versatile defender who can excel in a cover three or press-man defense. He plays with a long frame at 6-1 and has the speed to stay in the receivers' hip pocket. He uses his body well to defend, not allowing receivers to box him out, and shows a knack for tracking the football down the field. He is an NFL-style outside corner. His primary issue is that he gets grabby at times in man to man. He won't be able to get away with that at the NFL level.
5) Florida State CB Asante Samuel Jr. Potential Upside Player
Samuel excels in man to man even at 5-10, 184 lbs; he is a physical player unafraid to play press-man with much larger receivers. As a smaller corner, he uses his agility and quick hips to adjust on the fly. Samuel will mix it up against the run; he is a willing tackler and does well in space. He can use more reps in zone coverage and some work on his catching ability once in the NFL. He projects as an outside corner and can play nickel which adds to his versatility at the next level.