Five keys to look for in your own tape study. Matt Bowen
February 17, 2012
Click here to read my five keys for grading the safety position.
Let’s go outside the numbers today and talk CBs. A premium position in today’s NFL vs. the spread looks we see on Sundays and a draft class that has some top tier talent: LSU’s Morris Claiborne, Alabama’s Dre Kirkpatrick, North Alabama’s Janoris Jenkins, Nebraska’s Alfonzo Dennard, etc. But what are you looking for when you turn on the tape and study these players?
Here are my five keys I use when grading CB prospects…
ICONAlabama's Dre Kirkpatrick is a first-round talent at the CB position.
1. Technique: I always start with technique at the CB position, because I want to target prospects that have some polish to their game. Watch their footwork, hands, plus the speed and athletic ability to open their hips and run. You want to see a clean “plat and drive” on the ball, a corner that can “mirror” the release of a WR, and maintain their initial leverage. Remember this: if they are sloppy with their technique on tape that is what you are getting in the NFL. You don't want to waste practice time trying to coach up technique to get a rookie ready to play.
2. Speed (and “recovery” speed): CB is a “stopwatch position.” You need to get a 40-time on all of these prospects; however, you must also apply that to the game tape. If you have a 4.4 guy, do you see that speed on tape? Check out how the prospect plays the top of the vertical route tree (corner, post, fade) and see if it matches up with the time he posts at the combine. It is one thing to run a 4.4 (or even sub 4.4) 40, but if you don’t see it translate to the field, this is a problem. A 4.5 guy can play like a guy who has 4.4 speed if he is solid in his technique, understands WR splits and plays through the initial release on tape. Bottom line: don’t be sold on 40-time alone with the CB position.