In our last edition of the Las Vegas Raiders NFL Draft This or That series, we took a look at a best player available scenario between Cincinnati linebacker Darrian Beavers and Kentucky edge defender Josh Paschal. For those curious, Beavers won that competition with a commanding 67 percent of the votes.
Today, we’ll take a look at another Cincinnati Bearcat and go back to a position-specific scenario between cornerbacks Coby Bryant and Cam Taylor-Britt from Nebraska. In this hypothetical draft-day scenario, Bryant would be the Raiders’ third-round pick — 86th overall — and Taylor-Britt would be the fourth-round selection — 126th overall.
NFL Mock Draft Database consensus big board rank: 95th overall, 3rd round
Full Scouting Report link (via The Draft Network)
Bryant is a corner with the versatility to play as the No. 2 in either a zone or man coverage scheme. He also has great ball skills with 47 combined interceptions and pass breakups in four seasons as a starter in college. However, he tends to panic against twitchy receivers and likes to dive at ball carriers' feet when tackling.
New defensive coordinator Patrick Graham would absolutely love to have Bryant at his disposal. With the former Bearcat’s versatility to play multiple coverages and top-notch ball skills, he could fill a role similar to what Graham had with James Bradberry in New York. That’s something the Raiders’ defense has lacked for years as turnovers have been scarce in the desert.
With a 4.54-second 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine last month, Bryant lacks the ideal long speed for a corner and this impacts his ability to cover short to intermediate routes against faster receivers as well. When he knows he doesn’t have a speed advantage, he panics and is quick to bail which opens up all the underneath routes, too. That, combined with some questionable tackling will frustrate defensive coordinators and potentially lead to big plays.
NMDD rank: 115th overall, 4th round
A physical defensive back who has some versatility to potentially mix in at safety as well as corner. Taylor-Britt has the instincts to be effective in zone coverage and isn’t afraid to help against the run and has some pop when tackling. Man coverage might be an issue for him at the next level though, as he lacks the change of direction skills to stay in phase against sharp route runners.
If we’re talking about versatility, Taylor-Britt is the one who shows the ability to play multiple positions at the next level. Graham would certainly love to have a defensive back with the former Cornhusker’s flexibility to lineup at multiple spots, and he brings much more to the table in run support than Bryant does. Also, while the consensus has Bryant over Taylor-Britt, both PFF and TDN have their rankings flipped. I can’t say I’d agree with the latter, but it’s certainly a feather Taylor-Britt’s cap.
The additions of Rock Ya-Sin and Anthony Averett have seemingly signaled that the Raiders will run a man coverage-heavy defense, which the Nebraska product wouldn’t be a great fit in. While he could play more safety, he’s more likely to take on a role similar to Johnathan Abram’s than play as a second deep defender in two-high coverages, which is the Silver and Black’s more immediate need at that position. Taylor-Britt does have good ball skills, but his production in college was not on the same level as Bryant’s with 23 combined interceptions and pass breakups in three years as a starter.
Other options at 126: Max Mitchell, OT, Louisiana (120th overall), Nick Cross, S, Maryland (121st), Terrel Bernard, LB, Baylor (125th)
Who are you drafting?
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Coby Bryant, 3rd round (86th overall)
Cam Taylor-Britt, 4th round (126th overall)