If there’s one thing that jumps out about the 2022 NFL Draft class, it’s how deeply talented and athletic it is. It seems as though there are players with legitimate potential just about everywhere you look.
Nebraska cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt didn’t get much buzz over the course of his red-shirt junior season. He was solid, knocking away 11 passes over the course of his 12 games, but he didn’t come up with many “highlight reel” plays. However, he has had a good draft process, with a strong showing at the Reese’s Senior Bowl (including getting a tooth pulled rather than miss the game), and had a surprisingly strong workout at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine.
The New York Giants are almost certainly going to like Taylor-Britt’s demeanor and toughness, but is he a fit for their defense?
Games Played: 40
Tackles For a Loss: 10.0
Forced Fumbles: 4
Passes Defensed: 22
Games Played: 12
Tackles For a Loss: 3.0
Forced Fumbles: 0
Passes Defensed: 11
Best: Competitive toughness, zone coverage, speed, run defense
Worst: Balance/change of direction, man coverage
Projection: A nickel defender with potential starting upside in a Cover 3 scheme
(Taylor-Britt is Nebraska CB number 5)
Cam Taylor-Britt is an athletic, physical, and highly competitive defensive back prospect from the University of Nebraska.
Taylor-Britt typically aligned as an outside corner in Nebraska’s defense, though he has experience as a safety. He was usually used in off-man and zone coverages, and played both on the line of scrimmage using a bail technique or with a cushion before dropping into coverage zones.
Taylor-Britt does a good job of quickly getting depth on his zone drops and has enough speed to keep up with most receivers on vertical routes. He does a good job of keeping his eyes in the backfield when playing coverage zones and typically reads the play well. He shows solid mental processing and wasn’t often fooled by misdirection or route concepts designed to create traffic. Taylor-Britt has a very quick downhill trigger on underneath plays. He wastes no time in transitioning from a coverage drop to coming downhill to defend the run or a short pass.
Taylor-Britt played less man coverage than zone, but shows a crisp, compact backpedal and reasonably loose hips in transitioning from his backpedal to running with receivers. He also has enough recovery speed to make up ground if he is initially beaten.
He has a very good closing burst and is very physical at the catch point.Taylor-Britt does a good job of playing receivers hands and is not bullied at the catch point. He had 22 passes defensed over the course of his college career and his combination of physicality and closing burst allow him to be disruptive for most receivers.
Taylor-Britt is also a very good run defender. He has good play strength to set a firm edge on the perimeter in run support, with the ability to stack and shed receivers’ blocks. He is a very aggressive tackler, playing with no hesitation and a complete willingness to hit runners. He shows that same aggressive trigger when coming downhill to make tackles from zone coverages as well.
While Taylor-Britt is a good run defender, his aggressiveness can occasionally get him in trouble as well. He can take overly-aggressive angles to the ball and run himself out of plays or put himself in poor positions to make effective tackles.
There are also some questions regarding his balance in man coverage. He has quick feet and fluid-enough hips, however he often needs to windmill his arms when forced to change directions quickly. Taylor-Britt has enough man coverage ability to execute coverage rules like “Man Only Deep” (MOD), but he can be slow to keep up with receivers through double-moves or unable to stay in phase with particularly quick receivers.
Overall Grade: 7.3
Cam Taylor-Britt projects most broadly as a nickel defender at the NFL level. His highest ceiling is likely in a Cover-3 defense, in which he could push for a starting job.
Zone defenses (such as a Cover-3) will allow him to use his awareness and down-hill trigger and speed to his advantage. He does have enough athleticism to play in off-man coverages as well, but he will need to take the majority of his reps in zones.
Taylor-Britt’s ability to play press-man coverage is something of an unknown at this point. It doesn’t appear to be a big part of Nebraska’s defense, so evaluating Taylor-Britt’s press-man ability is mostly projection. His play strength and aggressiveness suggest that he can deliver good, disruptive jams at the line of scrimmage. However, he shows enough balance issues when forced to change direction quickly to make staying in phase with a receiver throughout his route – without holding – a potential problem.
Teams could look at Taylor-Britt as a potential candidate to transition to safety. He has experience there, and several translatable traits that could make him an intriguing option at the NFL level. Taylor-Britt’s awareness in zone coverages are an obvious starting point, and his 4.35 speed should give him good range. His aggressiveness, physicality, willingness to hit, and ability to come up and play the run are assets as well. Taylor-Britt will also likely earn fans around the NFL for his competitive toughness. He’s obviously competitive on tape and returned to play in the Senior Bowl despite being ruled out after suffering a quad injury and chipped tooth in practice (he had the tooth pulled between practice and the game).
Taylor-Britt might need to start as a back-up and special teams player, but he could be a player coaches want to work with.