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 Jason Verrett CB, TCU 5'10" 182 A 6.8 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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05 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 

06 Walt Aikins CB, Liberty 6'1" 195 B 6.6c Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:


Walt Aikens – Cornerback – Liberty University



Size – 6005 – 205 – 4.47



Strong Points: Excellent size, good athlete, speed, dominates level of competition, off-man coverage, zone coverage, tackling, played well in All Star games.



Weak Points: Level of competition, did not see a lot of press man coverage, raw, why did he leave Illinois?



2014 Stats: 62 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions for 44 yards, 1.0 sacks



Summation



Aikens is a fifth-year senior and a 3.5-year starter. He originally enrolled at Illinois in 2009 and started five games at safety. Transferred to Liberty and did not see game action in 2010. Has been a starter at the boundary corner for Liberty the last three seasons.



He has excellent corner size at 6005 – 205 to go along with good speed. His overall athleticism is good. Aikens can stay low in his pedal, has a smooth turn and can transition very quickly. He has the suddenness required to play corner in the NFL.



Aikens plays the boundary corner for Liberty. While you don’t see him in much press coverage, he plays a lot of zone and man off. He has good anticipation and awareness in off-coverage. Aikens doesn’t let the receiver close too much of the cushion and shows that he can mirror out of that type of coverage. He is an alert zone player who consistently keeps good positioning. He has very good ball reactions and no wasted motion when he breaks on the ball. His hands are good and he shows good running instincts after the interception.



With his size, Aikens plays the run well. He shows he can shed blocks and is a consistent tackler. He also has been used some to return kicks, but I haven’t seen enough to say he has NFL return talent.



Overall, Aikens is an interesting talent. He demonstrated at the Senior Bowl that he can play against better competition and he has ideal size. While he is still raw, he has a lot of upside. I can see him being a starter by his second year. Right now, I view Aikens as high “B” level player, but I can see a club with a need drafting him in the second round. Has too much upside. Why he left Illinois needs to be answered.



Grade: B 6.6

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 Keith McGill CB, Utah 6'2" 202 B 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.

09 Phillip Gaines CB, Rice 5'10" 190 B 6.6 Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:


Phillip Gaines – Cornerback – Rice



Size – 6003 – 193 – 4.38



Strong Points: 3.5-year starter, height, long arms, speed and overall athleticism, press coverage, zone coverage, ball reactions, hands, very good combine workout.



Weak Points: Was suspended for season-opener vs Texas A&M, strength, tackling, shed blocks, run support.



2014 Stats: 36 total tackles, four interceptions, 10 passes broken up



Summation



Gaines is a fifth-year senior and a 3.5-year starter. In 2011 he started the first three games, but sustained an injury and missed the rest of the season. Was awarded a medical redshirt season.



Gaines has excellent height at 6003 with long arms. He is very fast and athletic, with quick feet and suddenness. He has a low pedal and can turn, but takes an extra step in transition. This will have to be corrected at the next level.



Gaines lines up on the left side. He plays a lot of press coverage and some zone. You seldom see him in off coverage. In press, he has a good jam and turn and shows better than average mirror skills. He can get beat off of his opponents’ cuts, but he has the recovery and burst to get back into the play. Gaines plays the ball well in the air and records a number of broken-up passes. His open-field tackling is adequate.



In zone, Gaines shows awareness and is alert enough to help out when free. In addition, he displays excellent range. My only question in regards to Gaines’ zone coverage ability is his transition because he takes an extra step and this costs him some time.



Gaines is not an aggressive run support player. He plays back and waits for the play to come to him. He lacks upper body strength and struggles to get off blocks. He is not an aggressive tackler and you seldom see him try to make a big hit.



Overall, Gaines has a lot of talent. I feel his run support will improve with added upper body strength and confidence. However, until that happens, you can’t count on him to be a good cover guy on special teams.



With his speed, press cover skills and combine workout, Gaines is getting a lot of attention. Those things may get him drafted high. I see him as a top “B” level player (third round) because of his strength and run support deficiencies. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if he gets drafted during the latter part of the second round.



Grade: B 6.6

10 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.

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