FanPost

Aaron Colvin has the spotlight to himself vs. Baylor



Aaron Colvin will have an opportunity to make himself a ton of money tonight when he takes on Baylor’s air raid attack. Not only is he going against, in my opinion, the 2nd best draft eligible QB, he’s also facing 2 underrated speedsters in Tevin Reese & Antwan Goodley. The stage is all set for Colvin. He has a chance to cement himself as a day 2 pick.

There have been times this year where Colvin has looked like a 1st rounder. Against Texas Tech he put it all together; all his skills were on display. Then there are games like Texas, where his aggressiveness got the best of him. He was flagged for interference as well as biting on a double move. Tonight will be his biggest test yet.

I’ve narrowed it down to 10 specific skills when evaluating a corner. I’ll go over each and tell skill and tell how Colvin fares in each.

Long Speed

This is classified as "can you run stride for stride with the receiver downfield." I’ve yet to see someone run right by Colvin based on a pure speed route. He isn’t a true burner, like a Rodgers-Cromartie type, or a Bradley Roby, but he won’t show up and run a 4.61 ala Jonathan Banks, either. Colvin has good long speed. Tonight, against these receivers, will likely be his biggest test of the year.

Closing Speed/Acceleration

If you watch the West Virginia game last year, Stedman Bailey exposed Colvin’s closing speed on deeper routes behind him a bit.

He doesn’t have problem transitioning; I just would’ve liked to see him close a bit faster. When Colvin is coming forward he’s very good at closing on the ball. Whether its slant routes over the middle, or closing on a sideline routes, like comebacks and deep outs. I’m not too worried about his long closing speed, because in the NFL corners are rarely on an island with no help.

Ball Skills

Without question this is one of the most important skills for a corner. This is what separates the Deion Sanders from everyone. When the ball was in the air, Deion turned to a receiver, he had as good a chance to come down with the ball as the receiver did, that’s what made him so good.

I’m lumping ball skills with everything you would equate with the skill. Catching the ball, being disruptive at the catch point, playing the ball in the air, everything imaginable. I think this is one of Colvin’s best skills. He is very disruptive at the catch point. He has strong hands, that’s why it’s rare you see a receiver win a 50/50 ball with Colvin. He does a great job of catching contested balls, as well as getting his head around and playing the ball in the air. Most importantly, he finishes the play, by catching it.

Eye Discipline

This is what I would lump with biting on double moves in man coverage. Knowing where to be in zone coverage. Being with the right receiver in zone. This is the weak part of Colvin’s game. His aggressiveness is appreciated, but it gets him in trouble far too often. If he sees a route, he’s going to jump it. There’s been a couple pass interference calls his way, too. Luckily, this is all coachable, but Colvin can’t continue to bite on routes if he want s to have a long career.

Flexibility

Can a corner flip his hips smoothly? Does he lose speed when he has to turn and run? It’s all about how smooth they are in transitioning here. You can notice certain "jerky" movements with some players. Usually the more flexible the player, the more explosive he is.

I don’t have any concerns with Colvin in this regard; he’s a very smooth player. He has no problem turning and running without losing speed.

Athleticism

The term describes itself. You could say it’s a lot of these summed up as one. When you think athleticism you think "wow" "explosive." Can the player jump out of the gym, or outrun anyone. Colvin isn’t going to be a top 3 performer in the 40 or vertical jump, but he’s an incredibly smooth athlete that is more athletic than given credit for.

Route Recognition/Instincts

Not to be confused with eye discipline, this is solely based on if the player recognizes route combinations. Does he have good instincts. If he sees a 3 step drop, will he recognize a quick hitting pass?

Colvin has the instincts to be a starter at the next level. His interception against West Virginia in 2012 where he broke on a slant is a great example of this. Colvin trusts what he sees, allowing him to play faster than his true speed.

Tackling/Blitz Ability

Oklahoma uses Colvin on blitzes off the edge quite a bit. That’s because it’s something he’s very good at. As I said, his closing speed when coming forward is good. He’s also a very willing tackler. He has a tendency to launch himself, but he does wrap up most of the time and for this very skill, I think he can be a very effective slot corner, which is a compliment. Now a day’s teams are putting their best corner in the slot in the NFL.

Cover Skills

When you are in man coverage, are you able to stay in the receiver’s hip pocket? Can you stay low in your backpedal and get in and out of breaks. In zone, can you read the quarterback, show good awareness as far as identifying routes, and can you bait the QB into throwing the ball knowing you have the range to cover ground.

Colvin is used mostly in a man scheme, but everything I’ve seen from him he’s been solid in zone. His skills translate well into zone. In Cover 3, you basically have man principles. But his coverage is good, he’s normally always where he needs to be, he puts himself in good position to break up the pass.

Change of Direction/Feet

What allows Colvin to be such a good cover corner is his great footwork. He has fast feet, and there aren’t any wasted steps when he’s coming out of his backpedal. Which leads to his change of direction, much like his closing speed, he’s fine going backwards, not great, but acceptable. I think his strength is coming forward to this point.

Here is how the grading scale works

Multiple Pro Bowl Player, Top 10

8.5 – 9.0

Highly Productive Starter, 1st Round

8.0 – 8.4

Very Good Starter, Early 2nd Round

7.8 – 7.9

Reliable Starter, 2nd Round

7.5 – 7.7

Potential Starter in Year 2, 3rd Round

7.0 – 7.4

Backup/Spot Starter, 4th Round

6.5 – 6.9

Productive Backup, 5th Round

6.0 – 6.4

Very Good Backup/STs, 6th Round

5.5 – 5.9

Quality Backup/Good STs, 7th Round

5.0 – 5.4

Backup/STs/Project Player, 7th Round

4.5 – 4.9

Priority Free Agent w/ Limitations

4.0 – 4.4

Non-Draftable

The grading scale and how I come up with the figures can be viewed here.

So if we add it all together, here is how Colvin fares.

Long Speed

2

1.5

Closing Speed/Acceleration

2

1.4

Ball Skills

3

2.8

Eye Discipline

2

1.3

Flexibility

2

1.8

Athletcism

2

1.4

Route Recognition/Instincts

3

2.5

Tackling/Blitz Ability

2

1.8

Cover Skills

4

3.6

Change of direction/Feet

3

2.6

I have Colvin graded out to a 7.45. So he's an early 3rd round, late 2nd round pick for me. To this point, that sounds about right. Tonight he has the chance to really help himself.

FanPost are for the voice of the fan and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Crimson and Cream Machine administrators.

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