Occasionally when I do these NFL Draft prospect profiles I want to get away from the guys who are guaranteed to go early in the draft. There are seven rounds, obviously. Somebody has to be chosen in those later rounds, and quite often a gem can be uncovered with one of those late picks.
So, today we will look at Kentucky cornerback Travard Lindley, a player who seemingly would have been much better off entering the draft after his junior season. Lindley, however, returned to college for his senior season and has seen his stock plummet from a sure-fire first day pick to a guy who figures to go in the last couple of rounds.
Still, you can never have enough depth at cornerback and scouts do like Lindley's skill set. Plus, at least one report I read drew a very interesting player comparison.
Lindley might be a player. He might also be DeAndre Wright or Stoney Woodson, late-round picks as cornerbacks who could not cut it with the Giants. Who knows?
So, let's take a closer look.
Trevard Lindley Scouting Report
From Walter Football comes a nice report, shown below.
Lindley is a very talented player who makes plays, and he will gain the muscle mass he needs in the pros so that is not a big concern to me. What is a big concern is his potentially average timed speed because teams do value this highly at the cornerback position. Has No. 1 cornerback potential in NFL. Easily the best senior corner in the country and it probably isn't even close.
Player Comparison: Corey Webster. Both corners are most comfortable in press coverage and have the athleticism to play bump and run.
Following the Senior Bowl, though, WF was not as kind to Lindley.
What happened to Lindley? As a sophomore he was one of the most dominant corners in the nation and now he looks disinterested and rarely made plays all week. He could go as low as Round 6.
Fantasy Football Toolbox has a Lindley profile written back in November, long before Lindley's draft stock began to plummet. To me, it is a profile which hints a player who might be worth a late-round flier following a very disappointing senior season.
Lindley has adequate size (he stands 6'0'' and 179 pounds), but it is his speed and technique which have set the cornerback apart as one of the best in the nation. He has been clocked at 4.40 in the 40-yard-dash and he is almost always in perfect position defending the pass, whether it's against the deep ball or a short route. Lindley's experience is hard to beat, and his durability was never an issue (and it remains a non-factor) until this season's ankle injury. He has the ability to be a shutdown corner at the next level, but he is not quite as fast nor as physical (especially at the line of scrimmage) as the NFL's best cornerbacks. Lindley must improve in those areas if he wants to become a Pro Bowl player.
SB Nation's Mocking The Draft gives a summary that reinforces the idea that Lindley would a late-round gamble worth taking.
Much like Sam Bradford of Oklahoma, Lindley is a player who would have been better served coming out a year early. He was given a second-round grade by the NFL Draft Advisory Committee last season, but returned to try and boost his stock.
Instead, Lindley had an off year while he battled a high ankle sprain. He missed four full games and spent the rest of the season less than 100 percent. The injury greatly limited Lindley's mobility, especially off the line of scrimmage.
But as a junior, Lindley showed he has talent. He has the most interceptions in Kentucky history and has made plays on a lot of balls during his career.
As a senior, Lindley was able to add more bulk, getting up to 179 pounds. He'll have to continue to get stronger because he can be pushed around at the line.
Why Lindley fits with the Giants
You can never have too many cornerbacks in today's pass-happy NFL. We know the Giants could use some depth at the position, with Kevin Dockery likely gone. GM Jerry Reese tried to build that last season with the late-round selections of Woodson and Wright. Maybe he tries again with a guy like Lindley, who has some ability but seems likely to fall into the late rounds.
Why the Giants should pass
If the guy looked "disinterested" at the Senior Bowl it makes you question his desire to be an NFL player. Most players don't survive on talent alone at the NFL level, especially late-round draft picks. Work ethic is also critical. A player like Lindley has a lot to prove at the Scouting Combine and in his private workouts.