CB Asante Samuel Jr., Florida St.* (5’10”, 184)
Guess who his father is? Immediately stepped into a significant role as a freshman, finishing with eighteen tackles and nine breakups before escalating his production to 49 tackles, fourteen breakups, and an interception the following year. Over eight games in 2020, totaled 30 tackles, six breakups, and three interceptions before declaring for the draft.
Has pro bloodlines. Comes with three seasons of impressive on-ball production. Not an elite athlete but looks very natural at the position, gliding through snaps. Generally does a good job of matching releases at the line. Footwork looks smooth when working in shuffle/zone coverage. Speed is good enough to carry receivers downfield from shuffle technique in off-coverage. Pretty fluid mover with good balance when backpedaling from off-man. Knows how to constrain opponents’ maneuvering space when playing on the short side of the field. Processes route combinations well. Can anticipate and undercut throws just like his dad. Wasn’t tested often but managed to get his hands on a high percentage of the throws that came his way. Has soft hands and is dangerous once he’s secured the interception. Shows some physicality when taking on opposing blockers and coming up to support the run.
On the smaller size for a pro defensive back and some teams may not feel comfortable letting him man up on bigger receivers. Playcalling made it hard to get a feel for what he could do in different schemes, being asked to do very little press-man, bump-and-run, bail; would like to see him use his hands more to disrupt opponents and feel routes developing. Cushions allowed opponents to get inside positioning when working across the middle, and wasn’t aggressive enough about flattening out. Can be a little bit late to get his head around and locate when his back is to the ball. Lacks elite recovery speed when out of phase.Will let some ballcarriers slip through his grasp.
A smooth, polished, intelligent player with extensive experience and a father who was a legend at the same position, he looks capable of coming in and contributing relatively early, albeit perhaps in a bend, don’t break scheme which predominantly has their cornerbacks playing shuffle technique in zone coverage and is okay with them giving up some of the underneath throws. Being relatively smaller than some of the other top cornerbacks, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him slip into the second round, but it would be unexpected if he lasted beyond that.