The 2017 NFL Draft is loaded with cornerback talent. Marshon Lattimore out of Ohio State may be the best of the bunch.
Over the course of the weeks leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft, we will take a look at the top NFL prospects at each position. This week, we dive into the defensive back position. Today we look at Marshon Lattimore from the Ohio State University.
There isn’t a ton of game footage to get a full grasp of just who Marshon Lattimore is. In 2014 Lattimore was redshirted, and in 2015 he only played in three games due to a hamstring injury. It wasn’t until this past season that fans got to see what kind of NFL-type pedigree Lattimore is made of.
During his redshirt-sophomore year, Lattimore was the star on a defense that ranked sixth in the nation only giving up 164.5 passing yards a game. Individually, Lattimore tallied 41 total tackles and four interceptions. Creating turnovers is always important, but it is not the only thing that shows the talent of a defensive back. NFL.com credits Lattimore with nine pass deflections while only being targeted 35 times all season.
Lattimore’s biggest strength is his athletic ability. At 6‘0 and 193 pounds he had some of the best numbers at the NFL Combine for a cornerback. He ran a 4.36 (third among corners) and has a 38.5 inch vertical jump (tied for third).
Scouts love Lattimore’s willingness to play press coverage. While some corners are susceptible to being beat off the line while in press coverage, Lattimore has shown fluidity in his movement that allows him to keep up with receivers in the open field. Rarely does a receiver gain separation from Lattimore.
On film, Lattimore doesn’t have many weaknesses. His biggest question mark is his health. Missing 2014 with a torn left hamstring and then missing 2015 for issues with his right hamstring will draw reasonable concern from NFL scouts. While Lattimore says he’s 100% and ready to go, NFL teams will be wise to monitor his health situation. Having only one year of game film will also be a concern for teams. While 2016 was a breakout season for Lattimore, GMs prefer to see consistency over the course of few seasons.
Marshon Lattimore is one of the most complete CBs I’ve watched in a while. Really no weaknesses does everything so well.— Jared Tokarz (@NFLDraftInsider) February 23, 2017
On the field, there isn’t much Lattimore can’t do. The biggest area he needs to improve is in the run game. He’ll have to work on getting off blocks against stronger receivers and help to stop the run.
Other cornerbacks have better statistics, but Lattimore is still the cream of the crop. NFL scouts will look past numbers and see a player that’s ready to step on the field from day one. NFL.com gives Lattimore a grade of 6.52, meaning they believe he has the ability to develop into a Pro Bowl-caliber player. That’s high praise for someone who only played one full season for one of the best teams in the country. Lattimore is a top-10 talent and should be picked up early by a corner needy team.
The NFL is a passing league, and that’s not changing anytime soon. In order to win you have to be able to stop, or at least slow down, the passing game. Out of the first 11 teams in the draft, six of them finished in the bottom half in the NFL in passing yards given up per game. Lattimore fits into any system he can be put into. He could go anywhere as early as third to the Chicago Bears or slip a little to 11th to the New Orleans Saints. I don’t see him slipping that far.
NFL Network (@nflnetwork) February 27, 2017
His best fit may be with the Tennessee Titans with the fifth pick. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will be able to get the most out of Lattimore and help a team that gave up 269 passing yards a game.
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