2014 NFL Draft: Preseason Player Profile: Jason Verrett

Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

DBNDraft: Preseason Player Profile: Jason Verrett, DB - TCU

While it's early in the evaluation process and the 2013 season hasn't even begun, I believe Jason Verrett is clearly one of the best defensive backs in college football. In 2012, Verrett's Junior year at TCU, he started all 13 games / racked up 63 tackles (46 solo, 17 assists) / 5 TFL / 6 interceptions / 16 pass break ups / and 1 blocked FG. His 6 interceptions led the Big 12 and were tied for fifth among the NCAA and his 1.69 pass break ups per game ranked first in the Big 12 and second in the NCAA. He was the only player to be ranked in the top 10 for both categories.

Verrett's instincts are elite and his ability to process the game and make plays on the ball help to set him apart from his competition. He has smooth footwork and the fluidity in his hips allow him to turn, mirror and run with receivers at all levels. If he continues where he left off last year, he will terrorize opposing quarterbacks all season long.

Unlike many smaller defensive backs Verrett is a willing contributor vs. the run and doesn't give up a lot of yards after contact. In fact, I think he's one of the best defensive backs in the NCAA when it comes to run support. He takes excellent angles, makes adjustments while breaking down and isn't afraid to initiate contact.

Given the limited amount of film available from 2012, one of the few areas I want to see more of in 2013 is his ability in coverage / defending passes. I want to be able to see him consistently jam a wide receiver at the line and re-route him. I want to be able to see him run with receivers deep, be able to turn while the ball is in the air, find the ball, and drive to high point and intercept or deflect the pass while in stride. That being said, Verrett has shown the ability to play well in both zone and man situations - reading the QB and diagnosing the play quickly. Verrett was able to get his hands on nearly 2 passes each game, and that's remarkable.

One weakness I noticed was that his confidence, at times, worked against him in coverage. On occasion his "jumping routes" left him open to being beaten by double moves. I also think that his overall tackling needs to improve, and I recognize that his height isn't ideal for what seems to be a trend towards "taller" NFL defensive backs.

I believe Verrett will fit just about any scheme at the next level, but will probably do best in a system that uses him in a combination of man and zone. He is probably best suited as a field corner, playing off-man or zone and using his ability to read/react to the play and drive to the ball as his bread and butter. That being said I feel he also shows promise as a potential boundary corner playing more jam coverage / press man to man and forcing the WR towards the sideline. If teams want him to become more of a boundary corner, he'll need to improve his strength and ability to break blocks at the next level. He'll also need to show that he can hang with bigger receivers. I think he has the entire skill set to do both but will need to develop over time.

Another under estimated area of his game that we saw more specifically while at Santa Rosa, is his ability to contribute to special teams. While he might not be asked to do so in the NFL, he could return punts or line up to block field goals.

Overall, Verrett's ability to read the game, process information, drive to/make plays on the ball are all elite qualities for this upcoming draft class. His instincts alone will have teams eager to add his services to their secondary and if he can improve his strength and tackling in 2013 and continue to makes plays on the ball, he has a chance to be one of the first, if not, the first DB off the board next year.

Strengths

Elite play recognition / awareness to bait throw and undercut routes

Smooth, fluid hips allow him to change direction easily

Excellent drive / closing speed

Ball / hand skills to disrupt passes

Man to man and zone cover ability

Smooth footwork / back pedal

Showed corner blitz ability

Willing tackler who takes good angles and isn't shy about contact, especially in run support

Weaknesses

Height + strength

Straight line speed isn't elite for position: 40 yard Dash: 4.49

While he's a strong player, weight / strength needs to be added at next level

While it's not a glaring weakness - press coverage ability: jam and re-route

He can be over-aggressive at times trying to "jump a route" which can leave him open to double moves

He appears to stand up, at times, in his back pedal, which diminishes balance



TCU vs. Texas Tech

Game Notes:

This was a 3OT game, so there was a whole lot of football played and lots of fatigue near the end.

Man to Man press coverage early - uses hands to jab WR and re-route.

Although lean, breaks WR blocks and contributes in run support.

Active early, breaking up 2 passes in first two drives by re-routing the WR at LOS and using his awareness and speed to attack ball.

Contributed well against run.

Effective and fast when the corner blitz is called.

Gets beat by a double move in the red zone and slips - WR was wide open but QB doesn't find him.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: TCU vs. Michigan State

Game Notes:

Steps up on first play of the game to support run defense; stuffs LeVeon Bell

1st quarter @ 13:43 - Good coverage on a dig route, stays on receiver's hip, excellent wrap up and TFL of 1 yard.

1st quarter @ 11:43 - Edge blitz, recognizes run, adjusts angle, steps up in the hole with Bell and makes leg tackle as he's gaining steam up the middle.

1st quarter @ 8:09 - Excellent read of the QB, uses quick burst and closing speed to sneak under TE and nearly makes INT but drops the pass; literally hit him directly in the hands.

End of 2nd quarter, beginning of 3rd quarter - several excellent tackles vs. Sims and Bell

@ 5:25 mark you see an excellent example of how well he contributes to run support; excellent tackle vs. Bell.

@ 4:38 - Verrett is playing off the LOS and is able to read the QB and the play quickly, changes direction from his back pedal then drives to the ball using his burst and closing speed to break up the pass on a quick inside slant.

Highlight Film

( If you don't like highlight music, this is a good time to hit mute )

@ :22 you see him essentially with a give-away INT off play action on a deep, underthrown pass. It's not a great play, nor a play that separates him from the next guys, but you can see his fluidity here, and his ability to track and catch the ball deep in coverage - again something I want to see more of.

@ :35 in you see what I consider to be an excellent NFL level play and INT down the field, great timing, great awareness and body control to avoid contact with WR, yet he's able to sneak around for the INT. Beautiful.

Block FG vs. West Virginia

Santa Rosa Film - 2010

Really shows Special Teams value in this film from 2010 at Santa Rosa.

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