Impact late-round defensive backs become special-teams stars as rookies and work their way into sub-packages.
Asa Jackson, CB, Cal Poly: The undersized Jackson will have to prove himself capable of handling larger NFL receivers before receiving a lot of time on defense, though he is not contact-shy. He averaged 25.1 yards per kickoff return and 14.7 yards each time he brought back a punt during his career with the Mustangs; that will be his ticket to make an impact while coaches teach him to defend the slot.
Brandon Hardin, S, Oregon State: Even though Hardin missed the entire 2011 season with a fractured shoulder, teams couldn't help but look back fondly at the missile-like hits he made on coverage units and solid play at cornerback for the Beavers in 2010. The 4.4 40 speed he showed at his pro day while measuring 6-2 5/8-inch, 222 pounds simply added to teams' thinking that Hardin will be a special teams ace worth a mid-round pick, if not a playmaker at safety.
Coty Sensabaugh, CB, Clemson: The cousin of Cowboys starting safety Gerald Sensabaugh did not become a full-time starter until 2011 -- just like Gerald with Dallas -- but impressed with his athleticism, quick feet and strong hands at the line of scrimmage. He also fights for the ball in 50/50 situations, despite his wiry 5-11, 188-pound build, giving him an excellent chance to be an NFL starter in man or zone schemes.
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