By now, you guys should know that one of my rock-solid beliefs in how to build an NFL team in the current era is that you can never -- as in never, ever, ever -- have enough quality cornerbacks. You just can't match up with all of the five-receiver sets and teams with multiple tight ends who can get down the field without solid fourh, and even fifth, cornerbacks.
The New York Giants just did not have enough of those guys last season. Corey Webster was solid, though not spectacular. Terrell Thomas and Aaron Ross are good players, neither of whom had an exceptionally good season. Beyond them was an endless parade of special-teamers and question marks. That won't get it done against some of the big-play offense the Giants face.
I would be a happy camper if the Giants were able to add a highly-regarded corner at some point in the early rounds of the draft. All of which, of course, brings me to the subject of today's 2011 NFL Draft prospect profile. Curtis Brown of Texas is a guy who scouts see as a starting-caliber guy with excellent coverage skills who should come off the draft board during the second or third round.
Scouting reports after the jump.
6-foot, 184 pounds
Projection: Round 2 or 3
From Draft Countdown:
- Ideal height and adequate bulk along w/ long arms
- Terrific speed and has a burst to close and recover
- Athletic with great quickness, agility and balance
- Displays fluid hips and nimble feet to transition
- Soft hands with great ball skills and body control
- Has excellent instincts, awareness and anticipation
- Is tough, physical, aggressive and very confident
- Will come up and get solid jam at line of scrimmage
- Capable of excelling in either man or zone coverage
- A willing tackler who will support against the run
- Will be able to contribute readily on special teams
- Durable w/ lots of experience versus top competition
- Frame is kind of slight with a thin lower body
- Didn't make a lot of impact plays in coverage
- Isn't a powerful hitter or much of a intimidator
- Not real strong and some trouble disengaging
- Struggled at times with cleanly fielding punts
Outstanding program pedigree and will try to follow in the footsteps of other Texas corners such as Quentin Jammer, Nathan Vasher, Cedric Griffin, Aaron Ross and Tarell Brown, just to name a few --- Was battle-tested against some big-time wideouts in college, including Michael Crabtree, Dez Bryant and Justin Blackmon --- Not flashy but possesses the physical tools, intangibles and well-rounded game to compete for a starting job at the next level.
From Sideline Scouting:
Positives: Good frame, could stand to add some weight, but has decent height... Has pretty good speed, is faster than combine 40-time suggests... Teams threw away from Brown much of the 2010 season, was solid in pass defense but did not get many opportunities to make big plays... Plays well in both man and zone coverage, is especially good at reading the quarterback in short zone coverage... Mix of speed and athleticism is a major plus, shows great change-of-direction skills and fluidity, recorded a blazing shuttle time of 4.00 seconds at the combine... Ball skills are above-average, although Brown is not a game-changer at this point... Has good leaping ability, had a 39.5" vertical at the combine, goes after the ball at its highest point... Good character guy, no major concerns in this area... No durability concerns to speak of, has not missed any time due to serious injury... Is a good special teams performer.
Negatives: Production has been sub-par in four years at Texas (108 tackles, two interceptions)... Not a sure tackler, is not capable of too many explosive hits, tends to miss open tackles in the open field by not breaking down or driving through tackles... Is not a very physical player, will get blocked away from plays and get out-muscled by bigger receivers... Seems to lack consistent concentration at times... Recovery speed could be better, will get beat deep and needs to do a better job of getting back into position to make a play... Lack of physicality is an issue, but could make up for it by showing scouts his speed and man coverage abilities.
Brown has great foot speed and enough size to develop into a quality starting cornerback at the next level. He has the long speed to blanket receivers on go routes and the hip fluidity to maintain momentum on double moves. He is effective on an island in man coverage and is well positioned in zone. He is a bit of a liability in run support, but he is a quick-twitched athlete that should not have a problem covering agile slot receivers in the NFL. Brown should be able to play immediately in nickel and dime packages and he will probably be a second-day pick.