The second round is a perfect spot to find a cornerback with superstar potential but might not be a sure starter right away. Cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. is an exception.
If the Dallas Cowboys can’t draft their corner in the first round, Samuel is more than a consolation prize. He is the fifth cornerback on Pro Football Focus’ mock draft rankings and could sneak into the end of the first round. There are good reasons for that.
He is one of the best coverage corners in the draft. Yes, that’s high praise; but it is because he gave up only 179 yards in nine games this past season. Even then, he gave up only 59 percent of passes thrown his way for a passer rating of 46.2.
You will not find a corner that is significantly better in coverage than Samuel. It is what makes up for the lack of size. At five feet and six inches tall, the majority of NFL wideouts have a size advantage. Weighing only 180 pounds doesn’t do him any favors either.
His RAS rating is above average at 7.46 but weighed down by his size. The rest of his portfolio looks great. That is especially so when it comes to his speed.
At Florida State’s pro day, Asante ran a 4.41-second 40-yard dash. What’s more impressive is his 1.5-second 10-yard split. Oddly enough, his quick acceleration doesn’t mean he is explosive.
His 35 inch vertical is average, and his broad jump is above average at ten feet and four inches. It may be concerning since he already has a small frame. General managers would feel better if the lack of height compensated with hops.
Agility is not his forte either, represented by a 6.98-second three-cone time. His 4.09 shuttle stands better, but that is a direct result of his quick acceleration.
You can’t question Asante Samuel’s college performance; it is as impressive as they come. The only thing questionable about him is his size. Players have proven that size is not everything.
The cornerback offers coverage that any defensive coordinator loves their guys to have. They will need to watch out for bad matchups against someone like wideout Mike Evans, but other than that, Samuel is a fantastic option in the second round, especially if the Dallas Cowboys miss one in the first.