Senior Bowl week is underway and it’s giving the Eagles and every other NFL team one of the few chances they’ll get to get up close and personal with some of the best prospects the 2021 Draft has to offer. Here are 3 cornerback prospects the Eagles need to keep a close eye on during this week.
Rodarius Williams – CB – Oklahoma State
Rodarius Williams has enjoyed a solid 4-year career in Oklahoma and should be on the Eagles watch list for the Senior Bowl this year. Williams, standing at 6 foot, 193 pounds is a great off-man corner who has a lot of different techniques to disrupt and cover receivers. Rodarius loves to be aggressive as soon as the ball is snapped and is constantly deploying his one hand jam to re-route the receiver and close down the window for the QB.
Williams isn’t the lengthiest of corners, only being 6 foot and having a wingspan of 76 inches, but he plays a lot longer than he looks and measures in at. Rodarius does extremely well to get out of his breaks quickly and it helps him to fly downfield and make plays on the ball, he’s a very smooth operator that breaks nicely and reacts quickly to what the receiver is doing in front of him.
However, Williams can be a little too aggressive at times and it hurts him the most when he’s up against speedy receiver and doesn’t have the long speed to recover. He’s is a great deep zonal cover corner but he struggles against receivers who run short and quick routes, he can be a little slow to react to quick breaks from a receiver.
Overall, Williams is a solid cornerback who stayed healthy for his entire 4 year career for Oklahoma State. The new Eagles staff love lengthy, aggressive corners and Williams fits that mold completely, he has great hand usage and knows how to break passes up, although he’s not the fastest of corners and he does need to start intercepting the ball more after on totalling 2 ints over 4 years.
Ifeatu Melifonwu – CB – Syracuse
Another cornerback the Eagles should be taking a close look at this week is Syracuse prospect Ifeatu Melifonwu, who made real improvements to his game in the shortened 2020 season. Melifonwu is a really exciting prospect who has a great blend of length, size, and speed at the position. He excels in zonal coverage, thanks to his ability to read the backfield like an open book, and he uses his length to great effect when making plays on the ball.
Standing at 6 foot 2, 212 pounds with a wingspan of 80 inches, Melifonwu uses his frame to really leverage routes and makes it difficult for the receiver to push past him. For a cornerback, Melifonwu is a very good run defender who uses his great vision to track the ball carrier and stop the play before it can really gain many yards. His quick feet and length also make him a great man coverage corner, so he can be used in a lot of different packages.
People have made the point that Melifonwu would make a great safety at the next level due to his run defense but I think that would be a waste of his potential. While he has good ball skills, he just needs to find a way to really translate those plays into interceptions, given he only had 3 in 3 years.
Bryan Mills – CB – North Carolina Central
A massive underdog heading into the game in Mobile, Bryan Mills definitely has major upside as a late-round corner who can really skyrocket his draft stock with a great display this week at the Senior Bowl. The former JUCO player, who transferred to North Carolina Central in 2019 and had a break-out year in where he recorded 5 interceptions and 13 passes defended in 12 games and instantly put his name at the top end of the list for FCS defenders.
Standing at 6 foot and 180 pounds, Mills is a surprisingly good press coverage corner for his size. Once he gets his hands on receivers, he does a good job at being physical and disrupting the route runner when they’re trying to sell their breaks. He Definitely plays bigger and stronger than he looks and will constantly be a threat if the ball is in the air, proven by his 5-interception season back in 2019.
Awareness is the major issue when it comes to Mills because he focuses so much on mirroring what the receiver does, he’s not aware of what’s going on around him. Mills is a small-school prospect with a big upside for a team, especially if he can prove that his awareness is better this year.
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