2019 is not a great year for NFL teams in need of immediate help at the cornerback position.
However, teams who could be a bumper crop of cornerbacks who are intriguing developmental prospects -- particularly when it comes to big, long, physical former wide receivers.
As it stands now, the New York Giants do need to look at the cornerback position for the future, but they might be okay for the present. That would put them in the group of teams who could be looking for mid-round prospects who could develop into starters. Both James Bettcher and Dave Gettleman have shown an affinity for long corners, and Justin Layne of Michigan State could catch their eye as a long press-man corner .
- Uncommon length for the position. 6-foot 1 ¾ inches, 33-inch arms.
- Good technique in press coverage.
- Good hips to stay in tight coverage with receivers.
- Uses length well to disrupt at the catch point.
- Willing run defender.
- Quick to come downhill against underneath throws.
- Needs to improve awareness of blockers in space.
- Can get lost in zone coverage.
- A bit slow-footed and leggy in his backpedal. Can make transitions difficult against quicker receivers.
What They’re Saying
Justin Layne is a developmental cornerback who has the necessary physical skills to become a high end starting cornerback at the NFL level. Layne has terrific ball skills, prototypical length and good long speed. Where he’s lacking? Layne is pretty rough around the edges in his transitions and struggles when detached from receivers to transition and gave up a lot of soft receptions as a result. With greater footwork, Layne has excellent potential.
- Kyle Krabbs (The Draft Network - Scouting Report)
Does He Fit The Giants?
If the Giants want to lean on press-man coverage as the backbone of their defense, the Layne certainly fits. He also fits the Giants’ archetype of big, long, athletic defenders and has an uncommon blend of size and athleticism for the position.
He is one of several converted wide receivers in this draft class, and shows it with his recognition of route concepts and when to make a play on a receiver preparing to catch the ball.
He needs to improve in zone coverage, both in his foot quickness and awareness -- he sometimes loses track of blockers while in pursuit -- but he does have the agility and burst to be effective there with good coaching.
Layne has remarkably similar measurables to Sam Beal, who the Giants selected with their (natural) third round pick during the 2018 Supplemental Draft, and they could view Layne as a potential Day 2 pick to develop alongside Beal.