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NFL Draft: What To Look For In CB Prospects

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - NFL Draft: What To Look For In CB Prospects

Today, we’ll take a look at the corner back position and I will attempt to explain to you what I look for when scouting individual players.

More than any other position in the NFL, the corner back position requires a really good knowledge of the game and that means you have to educate yourself about the different aspects that are required to play CB in the league.

Here are the positions that have been previously broken down about what to look for when scouting: Quarterback, Running back, Wide receiver, Tight end, Offensive line, Defensive end, Defensive tackle, and Inside linebacker.

The CB position is one of the hardest and most difficult to analyze and there are a lot of different traits that you have to be aware of when scouting these NFL hopefuls.

Understand Coverages

First and foremost, you absolutely have to be educated to the different types of coverages that corner backs are asked to play on a routine basis.

The uneducated scout believes there are just two coverages that need to be known, man and zone coverage, but there are actually five different types of coverages.

Cover 0: Man coverage without a free safety playing over the top helping.

Cover 1: Man coverage with strong and free safety help.

Cover 2 (Tampa 2): Safeties divide to the field playing zone coverage and corner backs cover the flats.

Cover 3: Corner backs and free safety divide the field into thirds and play zone coverage.

Cover 4: Corner backs and safeties divide the field into quarters and play zone coverage.

I can’t express enough how important it is to understand the different types of coverages in order to properly analyze the best fit for a CB in the NFL.

Speed/Acceleration

Probably more than any other position in the NFL, the trait that might just be the most important is a prospects speed.

If you pay attention to what the CBs job entails, then you know that he is already at a disadvantage before the ball is even snapped.

A wide receiver has the benefit of knowing exactly what route is about to run and has the CB at a disadvantage because he is running forward, while the CB has to backpedal until he can turn and run with the receiver.

In the blink of an eye the CB has to change direction and use his speed to stay step for step with the wide receiver down the field. A corner backs speed might just make the difference in a completed pass or an incomplete.

Acceleration goes hand-in-hand with speed when discussing the CB position. I really like to see a CB that can get up to speed quickly.

A CB has to be able to stop and change direction and use his acceleration to make a play on the ball.

When analyzing the CB position you have to pay close attention to a prospects speed and acceleration, because it is one of the most important traits for a player to succeed at the NFL level.

Instincts

Analyzing a prospects instincts is not always as easy as turning on the game film and studying the player. It requires more than that.Cowboys Draft - NFL Draft: What To Look For In CB Prospects

Sometimes, you kind of have to have a gut feeling about a player. His instincts may not always show up on film because of the coverage he is asked to play.

What I try to look for is whether or not a player has good read and reaction skills.

Does the CB look as if he is able to understand route concepts? Does he know when to undercut a route? Is he fooled by double moves?

It’s a process of seeing, processing, and reacting all in a matter of a split second.

Technique

Technique is a trait that can be coached up in the NFL, so it’s not a dealbreaker when putting together a prospects scouting report.

What I try to look for is if the CB playing at the collegiate level can get out of his backpedal and smoothly turn his hips when he is covering a wide receiver.

I like to rely mostly on game film, because that’s the same type of situation that they would be in on a regular basis. However, the NFL Scouting Combine provides drills that helps a scout see if there any weaknesses in this area.

At the NFL Scouting Combine, players are in full pads so it’s easier to recognize if they CB is stiff in his movements and when turning and redirecting.

I really like to see a smoothness from the transition of backpedaling and then turning to track the receiver down the field.

Like I mentioned earlier, this is a trait that can be improved upon once a player is coached the proper technique to play with in the NFL.

Agility

Agility is another important trait to look for when analyzing the corner back position. The CB position plays out in space the majority of time in the NFL and they have to be able to use their agility to make plays in the open field.Cowboys Draft - NFL Draft: What To Look For In CB Prospects 1

I think what I look for the most when trying to analyze a player’s agility is whether or not he has quick feet. A lot of times having quick feet can help a player make a play or get out of trouble.

Agility also is important to a player’s technique, because the more agile a player is the easier they should be able to transition from their backpedal to turning and running with a wide receiver.

Size

In all honesty, I don’t put too much emphasis on a corner backs size. As long as he doesn’t have a problem controlling a receiver at the line of scrimmage, can make plays in the running game, and challenge receivers in jump ball situations, I can find a place for him.

However, we have seen in recent years that NFL teams have put an emphasis on finding bigger more athletic CBs. Teams generally like at least a 6’0″, 190 pound CB or bigger to play the outside corner back position.

They like these bigger CBs because they match up better against the taller wide receivers and they can play more physical and not be overmatched.

Smaller CBs are usually used in the slot and rely more on their quickness to cover the more shifty and agile wide receivers.

It mostly depends on what type of corner that the team prefers and how they plan on being used within the defensive scheme. Size is a matter of preference and it’s important to remember that when analyzing these prospects.

Tackling

I personally think that tackling has become somewhat of a lost art form in the NFL at the CB position, but with teams such as the Carolina Panthers running a read option offense, it could start to become more important.Cowboys Draft - NFL Draft: What To Look For In CB Prospects 2

I like a CB that is physical in the running game and isn’t afraid to make a tackle. In my way of thinking, there are 11 players on defense and I think that everyone of them should be an effective tackler.

I don’t really put too much importance on whether or not a CB is a big hitter or just a wrap-up tackler. I just want to see the prospect make a play when it is needed of them and not shy away from contact.

Tackling may never be one of the top traits to look for in a CB prospect, but it’s still something I like to look for when analyzing the position.

Summary

There are so many different traits and variables that you have to consider when analyzing the corner back position, and it is sometimes a frustrating and tiresome process.

The most important advice I can give is to educate yourself about the different coverages that a CB will be asked to play in the NFL and then try to analyze what type of defensive scheme they will best fit in.

One of my favorite defensive backs in the 2016 draft class is Kendall Fuller out of Virginia Tech. I personally believe that he would be a great addition to the Dallas Cowboys secondary and is exactly what defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli might be looking for to improve the backend of his defense.

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Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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NFL Draft

Sean’s Scout: Memphis WR Anthony Miller a Needed Weapon for Cowboys

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: Memphis WR Anthony Miller A Needed Weapon For Cowboys
AP Photo / Jessica Hill

Slotted to pick 19th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys find themselves in position to add a first-round talent to a team that fell just short of the playoffs at 9-7 in 2017. Faltering entirely on offense without RB Ezekiel Elliott too many times this season, it’s hard to argue this asset is not best spent on new talent at WR.

The Cowboys haven’t drafted a wide receiver in the first round since 2010, trading up for Oklahoma State’s Dez Bryant. Frequent injuries and the inability to develop with QB Dak Prescott have diminished Bryant’s status as a star receiver in Dallas, and it may be time to overhaul the position entirely.

After scouting Memphis WR Anthony Miller, he may be just what the Dallas Cowboys need. Let’s take a closer look at his fit in the Cowboys’ offense in the first draft-season edition of Sean’s Scout.

WR Anthony Miller 2 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

With 96 receptions for 1,462 yards and 18 touchdowns in his final season at Memphis, Senior WR Anthony Miller is one of the top players at his position in the 2018 NFL Draft. These inflated numbers in the Tigers’ pass-happy offense do little to highlight Miller as a next level prospect…

This film clip and quote from my full scouting report on Miller shows the pure play-making ability Miller has. Miller wouldn’t fill the Cowboys need for an over-the-top burner at WR, but he has no problem tracking the ball with ease and adjusting in the air to make big plays down the field.

…Miller is as tough of a cover as you’ll find thanks to his explosive and concise release off the line.

Anthony Miller is certainly a “Dak-friendly” pass catcher, as he possesses the catch radius to snag passes away from his frame using his exceptionally strong hands. Even when he is covered, Miller is open vertically.

With that said, Miller has more than enough ability to separate with good initial quickness and elite balance through his routes.

WR Anthony Miller 4 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

…he wastes no time accelerating through the secondary, and running with a powerful stride that makes it difficult to bring him down.

There may be better technical route runners in this draft class, but few set up defenders as consistently well as Miller — who has the production to match these NFL traits.

A willing run blocker too, Miller could walk into Dallas and immediately earn snaps as an X, Z, or Y receiver. Miller’s best fit to start his career is likely as a Z receiver, drawing less attention in coverage while being allowed to run a full route tree.

…Miller gets on cornerbacks in a hurry, setting them up with his fluidity and size to track the football through contact.

A potential replacement for Terrance Williams with the Cowboys, Miller is somewhat of a similar player in the way he wins with mostly size.

The Memphis product would still be an upgrade over Williams though, as it is much easier to get the ball in Miller’s hands. Add in the red-zone ability that Anthony Miller has to box out defenders, and the run-after-catch burst as an inside target, and Miller is a weapon the Cowboys could desperately use.

WR Anthony Miller 1 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

…I found myself constantly impressed with the speed at which Miller gets up the field when taking the ball underneath.

Miller will have nothing but opportunities to raise his draft stock over the coming months. He will be at this month’s Senior Bowl, receiving NFL-level coaching to refine his game. The Scouting Combine will also be critical for Miller’s testing numbers to confirm the athlete seen on tape dominating at Memphis will take the next step.

Earning a second round grade on my 2018 NFL Draft Board, there is a chance the Cowboys have to use their first round pick if they truly want Anthony Miller in Silver and Blue. A very complete player that fills a need, Miller as the Cowboys first pick could make plenty of sense in April.

Tell us what you think about “Sean’s Scout: Memphis WR Anthony Miller a Needed Weapon for Cowboys” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Luxury or Need for Cowboys to Draft Another 1st-Round OL?

Brian Martin

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Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, offensive line

Due to growing concerns about Tyron Smith‘s availability and future health, due to reoccurring back injuries, there seems to be a growing consensus among Dallas Cowboys fans that there’s a need to draft an offensive lineman with the first-round pick. But, is it actually a need, or would it be more of a luxury?

There is legitimate concern about Tyron Smith and his future health.

Back injuries have a way of flaring up at the most inopportune times. It’s also not an injury that’s going away anytime soon, if ever. This is the unknown the Cowboys are faced with heading into the off-season, and it could end up having a major impact on the direction they go in the 2018 NFL Draft.

There seems to be a growing consensus around Cowboys Nation that the Dallas Cowboys should seriously consider selecting the best available offensive tackle with the 19th overall pick.

There are probably two reasons for this:

  1. Tyron Smith’s health concerns, and
  2. the need to upgrade the swing tackle position after watching Byron Bell and Chaz Green play in 2017.

But, the question remains: is drafting yet another offensive lineman in the first-round a luxury or need for the Dallas Cowboys?

Personally, I can see both sides of this argument. So, let’s break it down a little and examine each.

Luxury

Zack Martin

Dallas Cowboys RG Zack Martin

The Dallas Cowboys have already invested an enormous amount of resources to build arguably the best offensive line in the NFL.

They’ve spent three first-round draft picks to acquire Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin, two of which have already received long-term extensions with Martin waiting in the wings.

That’s a lot of money devoted to one position, which ultimately means the Cowboys have to go cheaper in other areas in order to fit under the salary cap. This is the money that would be used in free agency to acquire some of those higher-priced free agents fans are always hankering for.

It also can be used to re-sign some of the Cowboys players at other positions, such as DeMarcus Lawrence.

But, it’s not only the money that makes drafting a first-round OL a luxury.

Four out of five of the Cowboys OL are already pretty much set in stone. The left guard position is really the only unoccupied position right now, but that could be filled rather easily. This, of course, is assuming Tyron Smith stays healthy, but regardless, he is the starting left tackle when the 2018 season begins.

Need

Byron Bell

Dallas Cowboys OL Byron Bell

There’s no reason to believe Tyron Smith will be able to play an entire 16-game season going forward. The last two seasons he has had to sit out several games due to injuries, and unfortunately his back issues aren’t going away anytime soon.

To make matters worse, Dallas doesn’t have an adequate backup, which was proven on more than one occasion in 2017. Hence the need.

With the exception of the quarterback, the left tackle position is arguably the most important on offense. They protect the QB’s blindside and are largely responsible for keeping him healthy and upright.

There’s a reason they are drafted so highly and paid so handsomely: they are that important to a team’s success.

There was also a reason the Dallas Cowboys offense started to sputter once Tyron Smith started missing time. Opposing defenses no longer respected the Cowboys LT, and started putting their best pass rusher on that side to get after Dak Prescott.

Prescott ended up having happy feet and it had a ripple effect throughout the entire offense, and not in a good way.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Quite honestly, I think it would be a luxury to draft any kind of offensive lineman with the Cowboys’ first-round selection, but I wouldn’t be completely surprised if that’s the direction they went. There are positives and negatives to both sides of the argument.

But, if they stick to the draft board and an OL is their highest rated player there, I say go for it.

The only thing we can do is have faith that the Dallas Cowboys know more about Tyron Smith’s health and his availability to play then we do as fans. If they decide to draft an offensive lineman early, I think we should all take that as an indication that they are worried about Smith, at least a little bit.

Luxury or Need: Do the Cowboys draft a first-round OL?

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The Dallas Cowboys Will Have More Than Enough Trade Ammunition

Mauricio Rodriguez

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The Dallas Cowboys Will Have More Than Enough Trade Ammunition
James D. Smith / Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys football team has a lot of needs on both sides of the ball. Sure, that’s pretty sad to say as a die-hard Cowboys fan, but it should make for a very interesting offseason. This front office needs to find a way to add talent in the draft, and probably in free agency as well, all while finding ways to keep Anthony Hitchens, DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving, and extending Zack Martin.

Maybe they’re not able to achieve everything, but as long as they don’t lose all of these guys, they should be fine. We may even see a surprising release or trade. It sure would be interesting to see this team release Dez Bryant, for example.

Last year, Dallas lost Barry Church, Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr and Ronald Leary… among others. But what do these four guys have in common? They all resulted in compensatory picks for the Dallas Cowboys’ 2018 NFL Draft.

Cowboys Nation on Twitter

Including the expected Compensatory Picks that the Cowboys will receive for their Free Agents that signed with other teams in 2017, the Cowboys should have the following picks in the 2018 Draft:

The Cowboys got two additional fourths and two fifths. After trading up to get Xavier Woods in 2017, Dallas had no original fifth rounders for this year’s draft.

This is a front office that avoids making “big splashes” in free agency and in the draft lately, but I wonder if they’ll at least explore trading possibilities this time.

With three fourth-round picks and two fifths, they should have more than enough ammunition.

Will McClay Discusses 2016 Cowboys Draft Class, Looks Ahead to 2017

Dallas Cowboys VP Stephen Jones, Will McClay

This team has done a nice job in the last few drafts, and with Will McClay staying for at least one more year, they might as well try to get everything they can out of their draft picks. After all, Dak Prescott himself was a fourth-round compensatory pick.

Even still, I would like to see this team do something out of the ordinary.

Whether it’s trading up to get a well-fitting player who might otherwise go before their pick, or if it’s to get another team’s player, it would be interesting to see this front office pull the trigger on an interesting trade.

Sometimes it’s surprising what NFL teams can get with late round picks.

The Buffalo Bills traded away Marcell Dareus for only a sixth-round pick less than a year ago. I mean, how would you have felt if Dallas had gotten Dareus for just a sixth rounder? I would’ve been completely fine with it, to be honest.

The Cowboys have enough ammunition to consider pulling a trade-off in free agency or the NFL Draft.

We may not like the coaching, but in the past few years, this front office has done a good job when it comes to team-building.

We were all frightened when we saw the defensive players that were leaving in the secondary, and a season later, the young defensive backs are one of the reasons why we’re very optimistic about this team’s future.

So if they decide to keep their picks to themselves, I’d say it’ll be worth it, too.

After a sad season, at least we have an intriguing offseason ahead of us to keep us entertained.

Tell me what you think about “The Dallas Cowboys Will Have More Than Enough Trade Ammunition” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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