Sports Info Solutions (SIS) brings you the second annual edition of The SIS Football Rookie Handbook, with scouting reports and statistical breakdowns on over 280 college football players who are likely to be drafted or signed as rookie free agents in 2020 (a glossary for the below stats can be found here). New features for this year include unique and informative NFL team pages, research deep-dives by the SIS R&D team, and—for the first time ever—the NCAA version of their flagship football statistic, Total Points.
Continuing our position-by-position preview of this year’s draft class, we shift our focus to cornerbacks. As a scouting staff, we use common terminology to grade every trait that we evaluate. We use a 1-9 scale with a 1 representing a “Reject” grade and a 9 meaning a “Rare” grade for whatever trait we are evaluating. We spend a lot of time in our internal Scout School making sure that our scales are calibrated with one another, and this common scale and set of language is a key aspect to ensuring that our evaluations are consistent (that…and cross-checks).
Additionally, for each position in the book, there are positional grading scales. As opposed to grading traits, these scales apply to stacking the final grades for each prospect. The final cornerback scale is as follows:
|9.0 – 7.0||High-end 3 down starter. Pro Bowl level.|
|6.9 – 6.7||Strong starter who plays on all 3 downs.|
|6.6 – 6.5||3rd CB. Capable starter with inside/outside flexibility.|
|6.4||3rd CB. Role-player. Lacks inside/outside flexibility.|
|6.2||Versatile backup with CB/DS flexibility.|
|6.1 – 6.0||Developmental. Top traits but needs time.|
|5.9||Top backup. 4th CB. Quality special teamer.|
|5.8||4th CB w/o special teams ability. 5th CB w/ SPT.|
|5.7||Low-end backup CB with growable upside.|
Jeffrey Okudah: CB Rank 1 of 36 | Final Grade: 7.0
Report by Alex O’Brien
Okudah is a high-ceiling prospect with the length, athleticism, and natural cover talent to become a top lockdown corner in the NFL.
Okudah primarily aligns as the left cornerback in Ohio State’s 4-3 defensive scheme, which plays mostly Cover 1 and Cover 3. He has started in 15 of 41 career games played. He possesses the desired combination of size, length, and athleticism for the position. He is a twitchy athlete who displays very good speed, burst, and agility. Okudah is a tough, competitive player who plays with a good motor.
In the pass game, Okudah displays very good reactive athleticism and is consistently able to mirror and match receivers. He shows good coverage instincts to read and react quickly by playing light on his feet, and the hip flexibility to transition very well. Having been given the chance to be a full-time starter in 2019, he rewarded the Buckeyes by leading the team in passes defensed and interceptions. He has the ability to read the hands of the receiver and typically takes good angles to disrupt throwing lanes with very good closing speed. He needs to show a little better timing, but he does a good job of attacking the ball and converting. He will mix between press and bail techniques. He has the quick feet, loose hips, play speed and patience to stay on top of routes. He has some trouble jamming and rerouting more physical receivers but has the speed to recover when beaten. In off-man, Okudah has the range to cover ground and close separation on crossing routes. He plays with confidence and has the ability to turn and run deep while maintaining a tight relationship with his man. Okudah is a good zone defender due to his transition ability, close, and route recognition. He has eyes on the quarterback constantly, which helps with anticipation but he needs to be more disciplined to not stare in the backfield for too long. He has the length to handle bigger receivers and the quickness to handle twitchy athletes in the slot. He does a good job of communicating with his teammates on the field.
In the run game, Okudah is a decent tackler with good effort in run support. He could show a little more aggressiveness and consistency coming downhill to make plays at the line of scrimmage, but when the ball comes his way he doesn’t hesitate. He typically does a good job of forcing the play back in to help and is able to utilize his length to work off stalk blocks, but physical receivers can agitate him.
Okudah projects as a high-end three-down starter in any scheme with the ability to become a lockdown cover corner. On third downs, he has the ability to play inside or outside and match up with the opponent’s top receiver. His supreme confidence will serve him well against the league’s best.
By John Verros
Jeffrey Okudah underwent surgery to repair a torn shoulder labrum in the spring of 2018. He played through the injury from his junior year of high school all the way through his freshman year at Ohio State. He was able to return from surgery and stay healthy for the last two seasons. There have been no reports of complications or instability in the injured shoulder and there was no word of any teams failing him medically at the combine. While he seems to be one of the locked in top picks of the draft, I guarantee every team is doing their due diligence on his long-term health outlook. In the last several years, it has been well-documented that players entering the NFL with a prior shoulder labrum tear have less games started and played when compared to players without this injury previously. Okudah is not a risky pick by any means, but his shoulder health is a question mark that will be tested in the coming years.
|Reactive quickness in man||Rerouting in press|
|Play speed and closing||Eye discipline|
|Open Field Tackling||5|
|Year||Trgt||Comp||Comp%||Yds||Yds/Trgt||Int||Int Drops||TD Alwd||Tkls||TFL||Brk Tkl||BT%|
|Year||PBU||Deserved Catch %||YAC/Comp||Rating||EPA||EPA/Trgt||Man||Zone||Total|
|Lined Up||Blitz||Man Coverage||Zone Coverage||Total Points|
|Year||Slot%||Blitz%||Man%||Yds/Snap||Zone%||Yds/Snap||Pass Cov||Run Def||Total|