With the absence of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner there is a gaping hole at the cornerback position, and Patriots fans cannot rely on the Free Agent market to come through for them as that is all but dried up to this point. While Malcolm Butler, Kyle Arrington, Logan Ryan, Alfonzo Dennard, Bradley Fletcher, Chimdi Chekwa and Robert McClain all have roster spots the defense lacks top end talent at the cornerback position. So they will need to look at the draft to fill that gap.
One cornerback that could be worth a draft pick is Miami of Ohio's Quinten Rollins. Rollins is a raw football prospect as 2014 was the first time he was on a football field in four years. He was a starting guard for the University's basketball team since 2010. He earned the starting job and played in every game during the 2014 season at cornerback, while being voted team MVP and winning the MAC Conference Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Height: 5'11" 1/2
Weight: 195 lbs
Arm Length: 30 1/4”
Hand Size: 9"
4.57 40 Yard Dash
14 Reps of 225 on Bench
122" Broad Jump
7.10 3 Cone Drill
4.28 20 Yard Shuttle
11.53 60 Yard Shuttle
In his one year of college football he finished with 72 tackles, 7 INTs, 16 passes defended, and 1 forced fumble.
Finding a comparison for Rollins is tough due to the versatility he possesses. The best comparison I could find is with Tyrann Mathieu. His ability to play corner in college and then potentially switch to safety in the NFL is why I pull up Mathieu as a comparison. His rangy athletic play could allow him to play both safety positions, and slot corner in the NFL. Both of these players posses ball hawking ability while being able to tackle in the open field.
He is a pure athlete. Having played basketball for four years he knows how to run, jump and catch, its just a matter of whether or not that can translate over to the football field. For being away from the game for so long, he is a reliable open-field tackler and isn't afraid to mix it up in the run game and in the screen passing game. His biggest asset may be his versatility. He can play zone coverage as a corner, play center field like a free safety, but play the run like a strong safety. With the right coaching, he can become a day one starter for a team, and will absolutely make an impact on special teams.
3:39- You will see his ability to take away the screen pass, and show off his physicality.
2:05- Taking out legs of receiver, saving a big play.
2:24- Not afraid to take down bigger running back. Doesn't shy away from tackling.
An extremely raw talent that needs to get into the right system and find the right coaching. His footwork needs significant work and his technique leaves a lot to be desired. If he stays at CB he will translate to a zone coverage scheme, as he too often gets beat in man coverage and cannot be left on an island to defend against a receiver. Does not possess elite speed and loses a step when he is forced to turn his hips and run with a receiver. His struggles in man coverage are solely due to his inexperience.
0:59- 1 on 1 against outside receiver. Gets beat physically and allows inside cut. Gives up TD.
1:08- Walks up on #1 receivers. Eyes stuck on QB, loses tract of WR and gets beat on quick stop.
Mid 2nd round-Mid 3rd round pick. With the proper coaching he could develop into a solid slot corner, while having the ability to play CB, FS & SS. He will have an immediate impact on Special Teams, can become an every down secondary player with proper coaching and technique.
Will the Patriots draft him?
If he lasts to the 3rd round, they absolutely could take a flyer on a project like Rollins. Knowing that he could contribute immediately in a Special Teams role, while mastering his technique and learning the position from an NFL standpoint could be something valuable to the Patriots. Whether they draft him or not depends a lot on what they think they have in Butler, and Patrick Chung. Rollins could play Chungs role if they want to groom him for that spot.
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