The Phinsider's video review of 2013 NFL Draft prospects continues with a look at one of the top man-coverage cornerbacks available this spring: UCONN's Blidi Wreh-Wilson.
Finally! In a pre-draft season where quality scouting tape is scarce (where have you gone, NFL Draft Analyst?), we've found game footage of a top cornerback prospect going toe to toe with one of the best quarterbacks in the country.
The top corner prospect in question is, of course, UCONN's Blidi Wreh-Wilson. And though he currently isn't as big a name as Alabama's DeMarcus Milliner, Mississippi State's Johnthan Banks or Florida State's Xavier Rhodes, Wreh-Wilson is arguably the best man-coverage defender in this year's class (Washington's Desmond Trufant might have something to say about such a statement, though). How Wreh-Wilson has made it this far into the draft process with little-to-no scouting hype is beyond me; nevertheless, he should be one of the more visible names in this draft following the Combine next week.
One thing to note: the top quarterback prospect mentioned above is Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, a Miami native who might end up as the No. 1 overall pick in 2014. He did exit the UCONN game for a few series before returning to finish the contest; however, most of the throws on this tape come from Bridgewater.
Here's a brief guide regarding what to look for while viewing Wreh-Wilson's performance against Louisville last fall:
1) Not many corner prospects can turn and run better than Wreh-Wilson. His elite-level hips, balance and footwork are on display throughout the Louisville contest, and he's positively fluid in his ability to stay with receivers downfield. He's in bail technique for much of this video, but looks comfortable and tenacious in press-coverage situations. Wreh-Wilson also has the upper-body strength and arm length to re-route and disrupt receivers at the line of scrimmage, and keeps his feet moving throughout the jam. He's seamless coming out of breaks, and possesses good short-area burst for the position.
2) No one will confuse Wreh-Wilson with Dee Milliner in the tackling department, but the former shows the ability to wrap-up effectively, and sticks his nose in on most plays. He's average in terms of physicality, though, and will need to get stronger and more consistent at the next level. He's lightning fast in his ability to identify the run, but will occasionally take improper angles.
3) Wreh-Wilson's ball skills are just average at this point, but he does flash the ability to turn, locate and disrupt. He doesn't possesses an ideal "playmaker" skill set, but has the range and size to match-up with most NFL receivers.
Wreh-Wilson doesn't project as a turnover machine at the next level, but his speed, length and technical acumen indicate genuine potential as an excellent cover corner in the NFL.
Strengths: Size, speed and elite-level technique; effective jam at the line of scrimmage; fluid, instinctive defender; reads the game well and displays a natural, athletic feel for the corner position; smooth and balanced out of breaks
Weaknesses: Not a big hitter; hands don't always look natural; will occasionally take incorrect angles in run support