Player, Pos, Team Height Weight Draft Grade
01 Darqueze Dennard CB, Michigan State 5'11" 188 A 6.9 Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:

Darqueze Dennard – Cornerback

In today’s college game, you seldom see defenses play an aggressive press man coverage like Michigan State does. More often than not, teams play zone and off. State has the corners to play press, and they do an excellent job with it. Their best corner is, of course, Dennard. He usually lines up on the short side of the field and can shut his opponent down.

He has ideal size at 5’11 – 196 with long arms and good speed. I would estimate he will run in the 4.45 – 4.50 range. He has quick feet, stays low in his pedal, and a smooth turn. He plays a physical game and is very effective with his jam. He can redirect a receiver with his jam, but he also has the suddenness to mirror his man through moves. In zone and off, he doesn’t give his opponent much room and is very quickly in transition. His ball skills are very good. 

While many corners have cover skills, few will support the run as well as Dennard. He reacts quickly to the run and is aggressive taking on blocks and tackling. He doesn’t wait for the run to come to him. He attacks the play. Dennard is one of the better press cover corners in college football. Because corner is a stop watch driven position (speed), where Dennard gets drafted will depend on his he runs at the combine. If he runs a sub 4.5, he will be a first round pick and play very early in his career.

02 Justin Gilbert CB, Oklahoma State 6'0" 195 A 6.9 Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:

Justin Gilbert – Oklahoma State

Gilbert is a fourth-year senior and a three-year starter at corner for Oklahoma State. He is also the primary kickoff returner. Gilbert has ideal size for the position. He is listed at 6’0 – 200 lbs, and I would estimate his speed at 4.45. Not only is Gilbert fast, but he has very good flexibility and body control. He shows a quick pedal and a smooth turn. He has no wasted steps when turning and has an instant burst out of his turn. He is very quick footed and moves quickly in transition to close. In the Cowboys' defensive scheme, he plays some press man, man off, and zone and is very good at all three. In press, he shows a strong jam and can mirror receivers through multiple moves. He has the speed to stay with speed receivers on the deeper routes. In zone and off cover, he can play a little loose but still has the anticipation and closing quickness to make plays on the ball. Gilbert’s ball skills are excellent. He can track the ball and has very good hands. In two of the interceptions I saw, he high-pointed the ball very well. This year he finished the regular season with six picks.

I'd like to see Gilbert become more consistent in run support. He seldom “attacks” in support, but he can do it when he wants. He is not the most physical run support guy, but he is good enough. As a tackler, he can wrap but seldom does. He is more of a block tackler. His ability to shed blocks is adequate.

As a kick returner, Gilbert has the skills to be a number one returner in the NFL. He has five career kick returns for touchdowns and a career average of over 26 yards per return.

Gilbert has all the tools necessary to be a starting corner early in his career. He has size, cover skills, and ball skills. He will need to upgrade his run support, but I don’t see it as a big problem. I really like his attitude on the field. He is competitive and wants to make plays. He has a short memory and doesn’t let a poor play bother him. He should go high.

03 Kyle Fuller CB, Virginia Tech 6'0" 193 A 6.9 Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:

Kyle Fuller – Virginia Tech

Fuller is a fourth-year senior and a three-and-a-half-year starter for the Hokies. He has also been a valuable special teams' player for them throughout his career. This year, Fuller played well the first half of the season before an injury forced him to miss four games and part of a fifth. It is unclear whether he will play in their Bowl game.

As a player, Fuller has all the tools necessary to play at the next level. He has good size (6’0 – 194), has speed (4.47 est), and is very quick, sudden, and athletic. In their defense, he lines up on the short side of the field and is used in press, off, and zone coverages. He is an extremely aware player and knows exactly what is going on around him. There are many corners who sit back and don’t aggressively play the run. That is not the case with Fuller. He reacts very quickly and comes up strong. He can be a good tackler but needs to wrap better.

In coverage, he shows a good jam and has good mirror skills. He has the speed to cover deep routes and the quickness to stay with receivers through moves. In off and zone he is very aware and will help out when free. He has excellent ball reactions and is very quick in transition.

I like the way Fuller plays the game. He is tough, instinctive, and productive. He has the physical tools to play the game at a high level in the NFL and, assuming he checks out medically, should be drafted high.

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04 Bradley Roby CB, Ohio State 5'11" 193 A 6.8 Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:

Size – 5110e – 195e – 4.39e

Strong Points – Good corner size, very good athlete with excellent speed, back pedal and turn, transition, man cover, zone cover, off coverage, run support

Weak Points – Needs to tackle better

2013 stats - 69 total tackles, three interceptions. 13 PBUs

Summation – Roby is a fourth-year junior and a three-year starter for Ohio State. He usually lines up on the short side of the field. He has been a consistently productive player for Ohio State and has eight career interceptions. 

At about 5’11 – 195, he has good corner size. With his long arms, he can play taller than he is. He is a very good athlete with quick feet, loose hips, a quick turn, and the suddenness needed to play corner in the NFL. In the OSU defensive scheme, you see him play man, off, and zone. So you get a good feel for his abilities.

In man, he has a good jam and shows the quickness and speed needed to mirror receivers. He can stay with his opponent through moves with his excellent body control. When playing in off and zone, he anticipates well and consistently keeps good position. He has very good awareness and can play the ball well. His ability to plant and drive is excellent. Roby has very good ball skills and can track the ball either in front of him or when his back is to the ball.

There are many corners who are not very good run support players. That is not the case with Roby. He reacts quickly to the run and is aggressive. He can shed well and is a hitter. My only concern is that he doesn’t consistently wrap and will miss some tackles.

Roby has all of the tools to be a very good NFL corner. He just may time as one of the fastest at the combine. I don’t see any reason why he can’t play in any scheme, and he should be a starter his rookie year. He has the talent to eventually be a club’s number one corner

Grade A 6.7 

05 Jason Verrett CB, TCU 5'10" 182 A 6.7 Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:

I haven’t written up to many defensive backs in this series, and one player who I get a number of requests to write up is TCU’s Jason Verrett. Here are my thoughts.

Jason Verrett – TCU

Jason is a fourth-year senior and a junior college transfer. He played his junior college ball at Santa Rosa Junior College in California. In high school, he was producitve as both a running back and defensive back.
Verrett enrolled at TCU in 2012 and became a starting corner right off the bat. He has played both the left and right sides in their scheme. Jason does not have ideal size, he is listed at 5010 – 176 but scouts tell me he’s closer to 5’9 – 170. Despite his size limitations, he is a very tough kid who loves to play and he is a playmaker. This season, he had 63 total tackles and six interceptions to go along with 16 pass breakups.
When watching tape, you see Jason line up in press, off, and zone coverage. He is a very good athlete with quick feet, loose hips, and speed. He should time in the 4.45 range at the combine. As I stated above, he lacks ideal size but he plays bigger because he is so competitive. He has a fearless mentality on the field. When in press cover, he shows a good jam and has the speed and quickness to “mirror” receivers through all different types of routes. He has very good body control and change of direction and this helps when covering double moves or multi move routes. He keeps good position and does a good job looking back to find the ball.
In both off and zone coverage, he keeps good positioning and is both instinctive and aware. He can read things quickly and seldom gets caught out of position. Because of his quickness, he moves very well in transition. He has no wasted steps and can close. He ball reactions are very good and he has excellent hands. Verrett is a very good run support corner, he reacts quickly to the run, can slip or shed blocks and is a good tackler. He tries to play a physical game. 

Except for size, Verret has the tools and mental makeup to be a good corner in the league. What will hurt him on draft day is his size. Many teams will not draft corners under 5’10 and that’s what Verrett is. With his speed and quickness I see him as a nickel corner. He can do a great job lined up on many of the quick small slot receivers we see in the NFL. If he has to line up outside and matchup against some of the bigger receivers in the league, he will be at a huge disadvantage. While his play on tape says he should be a first round pick, his size says he will go in the second.

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06 Keith McGill CB, Utah 6'2" 202 A 6.6 Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:
Size - 6033 - 211 - 4.50

Strong Points - Rare height and length for a corner, press coverage, ball reactions, awareness in zone, instincts, excellent jumping ability

Weak Points - Average speed for the position, has some tightness in his hips, drops catchable balls, not as aggressive as a player his size should be, only one interception this year, age (will be a 25-year old rookie)

2014 Stats - 37 total tackles, 12 passes broken up, one interception

Summation - McGill is a Junior College transfer. He played safety at Cerritos College in 2011. He enrolled at Utah in 2011 and played in five games before sustaining a season ending injury. He missed the 2012 season while doing rehab on that injury. He moved to corner for the 2013 season and became a starter.

McGill has rare size for a corner at 6033 - 211, with very long arms. He is a bit of a strider with good top end speed. He timed in 4.50 at the combine but is not a quick starter. He has better underway speed. He is a good athlete but has some tightness in his hips. He isn't the smoothest guy, but still, his overall body control is good. He has a good pedal, and his transition to close is fairly good.

McGill lines up on both sides of the field. He is best in press coverage, where he shows a good jam and can keep good positioning on his opponent. He is able to stay with receivers through double moves. In zone, he shows good awareness and does a good job keeping things in front of him. In man off, he plays a bit soft, giving the receiver too much room to get open versus underneath routes.

McGill has good ball reactions and gets a number of broken up passes, but he has questionable hands. I have seen him drop too many potential interceptions. In run support, he reacts well, but he is not aggressive enough. He is not the tackler he should be given his rare size.

McGill will start early for a team that plays a lot of press man. As he has only played corner for one year, he will get better in off coverage as he gains experience. This player has upside if he is willing to learn and work.

07 Lamarcus Joyner CB, Florida State 5'8" 195 B 6.6 Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:
Lamarcus Joyner - Defensive Back - Florida State

Size - 5080 - 184 - 4.52

Strong Points - Durable three year starter, instincts, productive vs. the run, shed, productive blitzer, zone and man coverage, returns kicks

Weak Points - Size, speed at the Combine, hands

2014 Stats- 69 total tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 2 interceptions

Summation - Joyner is listed as a safety but the way he is used, he is more like a fifth defensive back. He is a three-year starter and lines up close to the line of scrimmage in an almost linebacker-like position. When the defense is playing against three wide receivers, he lines up over the slot receiver.
At 5080 - 184, Joyner lacks size and height, but he has very long arms for a short guy (31.5"), and that allows him to play much taller. He has a solid frame and is both strong and explosive. He is a good athlete with quick feet and suddenness. While he has some slight tightness in his hips, he still can turn quickly and has a good burst out of his turn.
Joyner is a very instinctive player who is consistently around the ball and makes plays. He anticipates very well and is seldom out of position. He is a good run defender who aggressively takes on blocks and is a sure tackler. He is used often on blitzes, shows very good timing, and comes hard. Not many defensive backs get more than five sacks in a season.
In coverage, Joyner is used mainly in zone. He has very good receiver awareness and does an excellent job keeping plays in front of him. He does play some man (both press and off) and has the suddenness required to mirror his opponents. He has a good jam and turns fairly well with a good burst out of his turn. He reacts well to the ball in the air and is quick in transition. He has six career interceptions, but dropped more balls than he caught at the Combine.
Joyner has been a fairly productive kick returner for Florida State, but he has not shown the skills to be a top returner in the NFL.
While Joyner is a very productive college player, he may have a hard time carrying that play over to the next level. He lacks size, and unless he runs faster at his pro day, he also lacks the required speed. There are some NFL clubs that refuse to draft a corner shorter than 5'10" and Joyner is 5'8". I see him as a nickel corner in the NFL, and unless he runs faster, he won't get drafted before the third round.

Grade - B 6.5

08 Stanley Jean-Baptiste CB, Nebraska 6'2" 214 B 6.6 Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:

Stanley Jean-Baptiste – Cornerback – Nebraska Cornhuskers

Jean-Baptiste is a fifth-year senior and a transfer from Fort Scott (Kansas) Community College. He was a 2008 high school graduate who attended prep school for a year before enrolling at Fort Scott in 2009. Jean-Baptiste redshirted at Fort Scott and then transferred to Nebraska. He started his collegiate career as a wide receiver, but was moved to defensive back. In 2011, Jean-Baptiste functioned mostly as a backup, but did get one start. In 2012, the cornerback got five starts and played in every game, paving the way to become a full-time starter in 2013. This season, Jean-Baptiste finished with 41 total tackles, 12 pass breakups and four interceptions. For his career, he has seven interceptions.

Jean-Baptiste has excellent size and is listed at 6030 – 220. He is a good athlete with good playing speed (4.50 estimate). He has good hip flip flexibility and good foot quickness. Jean-Baptiste shows he can stay low in his pedal and turn without taking extra steps. In the Nebraska scheme, he played mostly press man coverage, but will also play some off and zone. He is best with press man and is an adequate zone player. However, he can struggle some when in off man.

When in press, Jean-Baptiste shows a good jam, can turn and run with most receivers he faces and is able to keep good positioning. He will occasionally have some trouble with double moves. Most of the time while in press, Jean-Baptiste tracks the ball well and displays adequate hands. When in zone, he tries to keep good positioning and shows fairly good awareness. He does a good job keeping things in front of him. When Nebraska plays off man, Jean-Baptiste can struggle. He plays too loose and doesn’t anticipate well. He seems to be back on his heels and often gets beat by moves. When this happens, Jean-Baptiste doesn’t have the catch-up speed to recover. On tape I saw him get beat deep a few times because of this. He also struggles with double moves when in off coverage.

With the natural size that Jean-Baptiste possesses, you would think that he would be a dominant run support player, but he’s not. He is not physical or aggressive in support and is just an average tackler. He flashes big-hitter capabilities, but needs to do a better job wrapping up as a tackler. He is used some to blitz and is inconsistent. He is not good a disguising a blitz and his timing can be off.

Overall, Jean-Baptiste has unusual size for a corner. There will be some teams enamored with that. He needs to go to a club that plays a lot of press man. If that happens, he may become an eventual starter. If he gets drafted by a team that plays a lot of zone and off coverage, I don’t see him becoming any better than a fourth corner. He will probably be drafted in the middle or later rounds.

09 Pierre Desir CB, Lindenwood 6'1" 205 B 6.5 Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:
Size - 6011 - 198 - 4.58

Strong Points - Size and length, athlete, rare jumping ability, dominates at his level of competition, press cover, ball skills and hands

Weak Points - Played at a very low level of competition, speed at combine, off coverage.

Summation - Desir started his college career at Washburn and then transferred to Lindenwood for his final two years. He has excellent size with long arms. He is a good athlete with rare jumping ability (11'1" LJ, 35" VJ). He is very smooth with loose hips and turns well. He can get a little tall in his pedal but still shows he can flip his hips and has a burst out of his turn. He possesses quick feet and can move in transition very well. He dominates at a very low level of competition (Div. II) and rarely goes up against a receiver with any kind of speed.

He is raw with his technique and can get away with that versus his competition. He played at the East-West and Senior Bowl and showed improvement in the two weeks there with NFL coaching. He has a good jam and is a good press corner, can mirror receivers through moves, and has the suddenness required. He didn't time well at the combine but plays faster. He will need to be re-timed at his pro day. His play speed is closer to 4.50.

At this time he is not a top man-off guy. He plays loose and doesn't anticipate really well. It is more a coaching thing and learning the concepts. He is an aware player in zone and will look to help out when free. He shows top range. He has good ball reactions and hands and can adjust to the ball. He is a willing run-support player but not overly aggressive. He can and will tackle but isn't a really big hitter.

Desir has talent but is very raw. It will take some time for him to develop, but I can see him as a starter by the end of his second year or beginning of his third year. This player has a lot of upside and should get drafted in the third to fourth round.

10 E.J. Gaines CB, Missouri 5'10" 190 B 6.5 Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:

E.J. Gaines – Cornerback

Gaines is a fourth year senior and a three year starter for the Tigers. He lines up on the left side. Missouri is predominantly a zone coverage defense, and Gaines is very good in zone. He has good size for the position at about 5’11 – 195 with long arms. He is a good athlete with quick feet, loose hips, and good overall body control. He has good, not great, play speed, and I estimate that he runs in the 4.5 range. He shows a good pedal and turn and has a nice burst coming out of his turn. His footwork is good, and he can move well in transition.

In zone, Gaines does a very good job keeping receivers in front of him. He is aware and will look to help out when free. He tries to be physical and does a good job re-routing receivers. He reacts well to the ball in the air and has good hands to make an interception. To date, he has four interceptions this year.

What I don’t see with Gaines, is press man coverage. Missouri will play off man, but in the tapes viewed, I never saw him in press, so it’s impossible to grade his jam and his ability to react in man. He supports the run very well. He reacts quickly to the run, can take on and shed blocks, and is a sure tackler who hits and wraps.

It’s difficult to give Gaines a fair grade because we don’t see him in press man. He can definitely play in zone schemes, but until scouts and coaches see him in press, he is a bit of a wildcard. If Gaines is invited to play in an all-star game, we should be able to see him play some man. His workouts for NFL coaches in the spring will answer many questions as well.

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