As have seen in recent history, top corners are always worth a premium whether it be the draft or NFL free agency. Teams can never get too many good corners. Four corners were drafted in thie past April's draft and that number would have been higher if it weren’t for some unfortunate injuries suffered by some of the top corner prospects.
While it’s still too early to say how strong the corner class will be in the 2018 NFL Draft because we don’t know how many underclassmen will enter the draft, there is one who many clubs will be looking at closely once college training camps open up in a few weeks.
That player would be Florida State’s Tarvarus McFadden. McFadden is entering his junior year at Florida State and was a full-time starter in 2016. Coming out of high school, McFadden was rated as a 5-star prospect and one of the better prospects in the country, regardless of position. He chose Florida State over some of the best programs in the country. As a freshman he played as a backup and special teams player before becoming the starter a year ago.
Top cornerbacks are always worth a premium, and when that corner has height and length his value can be even higher. McFadden is listed as being 6-2, 195 poundsand to go along with that height he has very long arms. Watching tape, he looks as if he may be a bit “high cut” with very long legs also. While he is a very smooth athlete, he is not what I would call a burner. He can run but he is a long strider and his speed can be deceiving. That said, I have seen him lose a few foot races versus speed receivers and while in pursuit. At this time I would estimate his speed as being in the 4.48 to 4.50 range.
While he is a strider, he is smooth and quick-footed with top body control, flexibility and change of direction. He can flip his hips as well as any and transitions very quickly. In the Florida State scheme, they play a lot of press man and McFadden is very good playing press. He can jam and re-route a receiver and has very good mirror skills versus moves.
On tape we see mostly press, but FSU also plays a lot of off and McFadden is very good with that skill. One of the most important traits a top corner has to have is ball skills and that is where McFadden excels. He had eight interceptions last year to go along with another five passes broken up. Not only does he track the ball well but he has very good hands. His length really stands out when playing the ball and he high points the ball very well.
Where McFadden needs to improve is with run support and tackling. He has a narrow lean frame and he can be slow off blocks and misses some tackles because of his lack of top upper body strength. He is not a real aggressive type and we don't see him "attack" when in run support. Except for some run blitz plays, he often waits for the play to come to him. Being that he will be only a third-year junior and 20-year-old, I expect that he will show vast improvement in those areas this coming season. If that happens he will easily be one of the top corners in the next NFL Draft class.
With the college football season opening weekend only five weeks away, we will find out soon enough.