CB Justin Layne, Michigan St.*

6’2” – 196 lbs. – 4.51

Played wideout in high school. Appeared in nine games as a freshman (including one at receiver), starting the last five at cornerback after converting to the position in midseason; finished with 18 tackles, one interception (pick-six) and one pass defensed. Took over as a full-time starter the following year (40 tackles, one interception, eight breakups), and expanded on those numbers as a junior (72 tackles, one interception, fifteen breakups) before declaring for the draft. Tall, long-limbed corner with a thin frame. Played a lot of press-man and shuffle technique, tending to line up on the short side of the field. Pretty physical cornerback who knows how to use his length to get physical with opponents and generally provide tight coverage through the route stem; a little bit inconsistent in how flat he plays inside breaking routes, but you can see the potential. At his best, can use his length to blanket opponents, with solid ball skills when in-phase to get his head around and make plays on the ball. Might need to dial it down a little bit and improve his timing to avoid drawing flags at the pro level. Pretty light on his feet, with the ability to match releases at the line and good speed to carry opponents down the sidelines. Mental element of his game is still a work in progress. Struggles to diagnose route combinations when playing in zone, and pattern recognition is still a little bit off in man-coverage; reaction times aren’t the fastest. Looks indecisive when teams line up two receivers to his side of the formation. Puts some awkward movements and is still developing his technique. Appeared to have some communication issues with his teammates during the Ohio St. game this past year. Willing to get physical and attack blocks in run support but despite his height/length, doesn’t have the functional strength to absorb contact and dig in. Has a tendency to overpursue and isn’t the most reliable or physical tackler. Still very raw just two and a half years after converting to cornerback, and will probably need to spend time refining his technique, improving his recognition, and developing his functional strength, but it’s hard to find cornerbacks with his combination of height, length, and athleticism, so someone will be willing to take a chance on him and see what their coaching staff could do. Combine solidified status as a high-ceiling developmental prospect.

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