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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Around the Draft, 54? Stanley Jean-Baptiste

I'm behind on prospects as I intend to break down 60 guys between the late first and late third for this year's draft.  Counting the pair of big receivers earlier, I find myself at 54 on day 53.

I'm looking at my first cornerback, and it won't be off the top of the pile.

Stanley Jean-Baptiste is a massive corner at 6'3, 218.  About ten years ago when everyone wanted to be Tampa-2 on defense, that was a weakside linebacker for some teams physically. That's how large he is.

With that comes a cost in athleticism for a non-top tier prospect.  While he has some straight line speed, and isn't a total slouch, he's not going to be elite there, running a 4.61 at combine.  He's a natural at turning hips and going upfield, so he loses nothing there, and he has natural instincts.

But, for his size he's just pretty good at chucking and riding a receiver in press-man, and he's not an exceptional tackler (especially for having safety size).  He's going to need work on proper tackling and run support.   SJB is raw. He's been a corner for three years, he's always going to have to get past a lack of high end speed with other abilities including a physicality that's inconsistent.

While best available means best available, or else Carolina wouldn't have had two rookie DTs back to back, the needs around CB have become greater than CB.  And that's with the supposed starting duo, on paper, being James Dockery and Melvin White with Josh Norman backing them.  Captain Munnerlyn isn't an option.  Drayton Florence is, and I believe when the dust settles he'll be back, maybe with another inexpensive veteran.

With that said, the meager expense that Carolina has put into CB over the last few years has included, by Ron Rivera's words, guys with length.  Physical, long cornerbacks that can tackle are the ideal here.  But Jean-Baptiste has some work left to do to get there.
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