Today’s NFL is predicated on high-powered offenses and scoring a plethora of points. With that being said, you can never have too many cornerbacks on your roster, and the Dallas Cowboys have a great opportunity to grab a long-term starter at the position with the 10th overall pick.
Even if the Cowboys were to snag Alabama’s Patrick Surtain or South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn in the first round, that shouldn’t stop them from adding more depth to the cornerback spot. Day 3 of the NFL Draft is where diamonds in the rough are found, and Michigan State Cornerback Shakur Brown could fit that mold in Dallas.
After he redshirted his true freshman season in 2017, Brown played a reserve role a year later and only managed six tackles and an interception, which he took back for a touchdown. In 2019, he missed the first six games of the season with an undisclosed injury but still managed to be pretty productive with 23 tackles, an interception, five pass breakups, and two sacks. As a redshirt junior, Brown but everyone on notice with 25 tackles, five interceptions, and four pass breakups while garnering First-Team All-Big Ten honors.
Brown may be undersized at 5’10 and 185 pounds, but he’s very competitive and physical throughout routes. He has great anticipation skills with the ball in the air and reads the eyes of the quarterback well. Sticks to receivers like glue and possesses excellent ball skills. Has the ability to line up outside or in the slot which gives him valuable position flex.
The former Spartan may have a three-year body of work on the collegiate level but an injury during his sophomore season and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 only allowed him to register 12 starts. So, that means he’s still inexperienced, and he’ll need to work on his technique on the pro level to not get lost in the shadows.
Shakur Brown enters the 2021 NFL Draft as an early entry after enjoying a successful campaign in 2020 as a breakout defender for the Spartans defense. Brown, who was implemented in much more of a variety of roles in 2020 than he was in years prior, logged five interceptions on the season for 2020 and showcased the needed versatility to appeal to just about every defensive system in the league, regardless of what the primary coverage shell is. Brown is feisty and showed much better stickiness in coverage this past season, but he’s also entering into the NFL with a troublesome sample size; he has just 12 starts at the college level and is only now coming into his own as a defensive back—his 2019 tape was littered with false steps and errant challenges on vertical throws down the field. Brown has a fairly high ceiling and is probably most appealing as a nickel cornerback in a press-man style secondary, but teams who invest in him early are taking a major leap of faith based on his seven starts and quality play in 2020.
Ideal Role: Press corner at either perimeter or slot.
Scheme Fit: High occurrence of man-to-man coverage.
Pro Day Numbers
40-yard dash: 4.61
Vertical Jump: 35.5 inches
Broad Jump: 9’8″
Bench Press/225 pounds: 17 reps
Brown may not have had the best outing during his Pro Day, and he’s very raw as a prospect, but the film doesn’t lie. He has a pretty full tool bag and tremendous upside that can be molded into a very good pro with the right coaching. If the Cowboys want to add some value to the cornerback position in the later rounds, Brown should be a name they keep an eye on.