We've been a little quiet on the draft recently, allowing free agency to dictate where our coverage should focus. I still think the best strategy is to go best player available, however I can't believe for a second that Rex Ryan is comfortable with the cornerbacks he has. He can come out and say how much he believes in the players he has, but this man loves his corners and they represent one of the most important cogs in the defensive machine. I don't know why we couldn't find the value we were looking for in free agency, but I would be amazed if we didn't leave this draft with at least one corner. I wouldn't be surprised if we selected a couple.
So over the next month, don't be too surprised to see us focus in on the position. We've already covered a few corners, but I'm going to really hone in here and get as many covered as possible. Starting with one of my favourite corners in the 2nd-3rd round range. The tall and athletic Nebraska man, Stanley Jean-Baptiste.
Stanley left high school and spent one year at a prep school in North Carolina, he then joined Nebraska as a wide receiver. After failing to crack the depth chart, he was converted to a corner before the 2011 season. He went on to become a very good corner who led the cornhuskers in pass break-ups during his Junior season. Then in 2013 he doubled his interceptions, improved on his already impressive pass defences and became one of the top corners available for the 2014 NFL draft.
40 Yard Dash: 4.61
Bench Press: 13
Vertical: 41 1/2
|Year||Tackles||For A Loss||Sacks||Interceptions||Passes Defended|
- Measurables: The NFL by and large is a copycat league. Seattle just had success with big physical corners, so maybe that's where people should focus. Jean-Baptiste has the size and length to match-up with any receiver in the league.
- Physicality: Nebraska play a lot of different defensive looks, some require press-man coverage, some require off-man. So he has played in both and excels in both. However for me, he is much better suited to playing press-man, where he can bump his receivers off their routes at the line.
- Explosion: He has this short area quickness that you love in a corner. He plants his foot and drives forward quickly, and I can see him getting a lot of interceptions in the NFL because of his ability to close space quickly.
- Fluidity: For a man who's only been playing corner fulltime for three years, he turns his hips and transitions from the backpeddal very well. Just looks like a smooth athlete who can mirror any receiver breaks without losing much momentum.
- Active hands: One of the best things about receivers going to corner, they usually recognise when to get their hands in to break-up the pass. Jean-Baptiste is very good at using his length to ensure he is batting away balls.
- Height: I mentioned this earlier, but just to reiterate this, his height and length allow him to go up and compete with any receiver. He has excellent leaping ability and when you combine that with his physical frame and length, he'll be tough to beat on jump balls.
- Straight-Line-Speed: I think his fluid hips make up for a bit of this, but he can get beaten deep because although he is by no means slow, he's also not a burner either.
- Experience: He often bites on double-moves and play-action but he's only been playing the position for three years. I think with some coaching and reps, these will drastically reduce.
- Tackling: Here is the red flag, I saw him miss some tackles and he seems to dive at the feet, instead he should be concentrating on wrapping up the legs. Really needs to work on becoming more reliable.