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The Other Guys: 2021 NFL Draft Day 2-3 Cornerback Prospects

Days 2 and 3 of the NFL Draft will have plenty of depth at the CB position. The Bears will have ample chances to replace Kyle Fuller in the Draft.

Shaun Wade NFL
Photo: Mark J. Rebilas

In honor of draft week, I will be putting a Chicago Bears focused spotlight on a specific position of need each day. Because 1st Round caliber guys get analyzed to death, I am going to focus on guys who are expected to be drafted beyond the 1st round. I have specifically chosen to only select prospects outside of the top 50, based on average big board rankings. I am not going to take a look at QB’s, as I have already put an article out on scouting this drafts QB’s which can be found HERE. Previous articles breaking down prospects are listed below:

April 26th – Offensive Tackle

April 27th – Wide Receiver

Today, we are going to take a closer look at CB. Information on each prospect is summarized from multiple sources, including:

Paulson Adebo

Photo: Getty Images

Pre-College:

Paulson was born in Farmington, Michigan to French-speaking first generation immigrants from an African country west of Nigeria (Benin). He moved to Texas when he was four years old and started playing football soon after. In high school, he lettered in basketball, football, and track. His first two year of high school, he primarily played wide receiver. As a junior, he became a starter on defense, playing both ways. He was a 2nd team academic All-State selection. He earned honorable mention All-State honors in his junior and senior seasons, and was a four-star recruit out of high school. He ranked as the number 14 cornerback in his class. 

2017 (Redshirt): 

N/A

2018 (Freshman): 

Played in 13 games, starting in 12 games. Earned first-team All-PAC-12 honors, and FWAA second team All-American honors. Led the nation in passes defended (22 PDs). 

2019 (Sophomore): 

Played and started in nine games, missing the final three games due to injury. Earned first-team All-PAC-12 honors based on coaches vote, and 2nd team All-PAC-12 honors from AP. Led PAC-12 in passes defended per game and interceptions per game. Ranked third and eighth nationally in both categories. 

2020 (Junior): 

Opted out due to COVID-19. 

Personal:

  • Prior to switching to defense, Adebo was receiving offers as a wide receiver. He originally committed to Notre Dame as a wide receiver before he flipped his commitment to Stanford to play defense. 
  • His older brother (Mouf) was a defensive end at Sam Houston State from 2012-2016. 
  • Competed in Track and Field at Stanford as member of the Sprints team.
https://relativeathleticscores.com/2021/01/23/2021-draft-class-ras/

Strengths:

  • Tall and long frame that matches up with size
  • Physical athlete who plays with a decisive mentality
  • Superior length and athleticism led to lots of ball production
  • Uses his length well to disrupt the catch point 
  • Quick feet and body control to mirror and match
  • Breaks and drives down on plays quickly
  • Aggressive mentality and doesn’t shy away from contact

Weaknesses:

  • Stiffness in the lower half leads to separation against more explosive wide receivers
  • Tendency to misread, arriving too early or leaving himself vulnerable to false breaks
  • Inconsistent with jam technique and break down tackling 
  • May have been fatigued against up-tempo offenses
  • Season ending injury as a sophomore

Benjamin St. Juste

Photo: Minnesota Athletics

St. Juste was born and raised in Quebec, Canada. His family spoke French, and he did not speak English until he was 17 years old. He grew up playing hockey, as a lot of Canadian children do. He started playing football at age 9, and went on to attend football camps in the USA. He graduated from high school at age 16, and spent the next two years at a higher education institution. St. Juste was a four-star recruit out of high school, and was ranked the number 39 cornerback in his class. 

2017 (Michigan): 

Played in 12 games with zero starts. Primarily contributing on special teams. 

2018 (Michigan): 

Missed the entire season due to injury (hamstring).

2019 (Minnesota):

Played in 13 games, starting in 9 games. Tied for team lead in passes defended (10 PDs).

2020 (Minnesota): 

Played and started in 5 games, missing 2 games due to COVID-19 protocol. Earned academic All-Big Ten honors, and was named honorable mention for All-Big Ten. 

https://relativeathleticscores.com/2021/01/23/2021-draft-class-ras/

Personal:

  • In hopes of gaining recruiting interest, St. Juste attended a Michigan recruiting camp in 2015. Jim Harbaugh offered a full scholarship after the camp that St. Juste later accepted. After injury struggles, the Michigan medical staff refused to clear St. Juste to play and asked him to sign retirement papers that would eliminate his scholarship. Instead, St. Juste entered the transfer portal and moved to Minnesota with immediate eligibility. 
  • Graduated with his degree in sociology.

Strengths:

  • Significant height and wingspan for the position
  • Knows how to use length to disrupt the catch point
  • Quick feet, athleticism to mirror and match
  • Speed to recover in press man
  • Has a burst to his read and react in coverage
  • Plays with an aggressive mentality and is a willing tackler
  • Physical in run support with sound tackling technique

Weaknesses:

  • Thin with lean and boney frame
  • Transitions can be late due to undisciplined hips
  • Needs to learn patience in press coverage, gets too grabby and doesn’t get head around
  • Struggles in off coverage, difficulty multi-tasking between backfield and assignment
  • Lack of ball production; struggles to track football
  • Durability

Shaun Wade

Photo: Sports Illustrated

**The Bears sent Champ Kelly to Ohio State’s first pro day. Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy were present at Ohio State’s second pro day.  

Pre-College:

Born in Alabama. His father was in the Navy, and his family moved to Italy when he was young. After four years overseas, his family returned to the United States, settling in Jacksonville, FL. Wade was a standout basketball player growing up, and football was considered his second sport. He played RB and WR in youth football, and began playing CB in high school. In high school, Wade helped his school to four consecutive state titles. Wade earned All-State honors his junior season.  His senior season, he earned All-American honors, and was named the Defensive Back of the Year. He also was a three-year starter on his high school basketball team, and played with the areas top AAU programs. Wade was a five-star recruit out of high school and was ranked the number two cornerback in his class. 

2017 (Redshirt): 

Missed entire season due to a micro-tear in lower abdomen that occurred in spring drills and eventually required surgery.

2018: 

Played in 14 games, starting in 2 games. 

2019: 

Played in 13 games, starting in 9 games. Missed one game due to injury (abdomen). Was named third-team All-Big Ten. 

2020: 

Played in 8 games, starting in 7 games. Played through turf toe injury in 2020 that required surgery. Named Big Ten DB of the Year, and named third-team All-Big Ten. 

Personal:

  • Served as team captain at Ohio State in 2020.
  • Graduated with his degree in Sports Industry in 2020.
  • In the summer of 2019, Wade was one of five players who had an externship at the WWE Headquarters to learn about the ins and outs of the professional wrestling business.
https://relativeathleticscores.com/2021/01/23/2021-draft-class-ras/

Strengths:

  • Has an NFL frame with impressive length
  • Smooth in his transition from press
  • Ability to get physical with WRs at the catch point
  • Strong ball skills with a wide catch/PBU radius
  • Swarms in run support, able to be an aggressive tackler when he wants to be
  • Shed a label of immaturity in his time at Ohio State, according to Assistant Coach
  • Has played both inside and outside, and has special teams experience

Weaknesses:

  • Technique breaks down against strong route runners
  • Poor balance in his release and gets out of position in press
  • Route anticipation and understanding of space needs work, slow to diagnose
  • Late to break on throws in front of him
  • Coasted too often in 2020 film; lacked urgency (potentially due to turf toe?)
  • Durability

Isreal Mukuamu

Photo: Travis Bell Photography

**The Bears sent Assistant Defensive Backs coach Mike Adams to South Carolina’s pro day. 

Pre-College:

His father immigrated to the USA from Congo in 1995. Israel grew up in the Charlotte area. He spent his first three years of high school in the Charlotte area, playing multiple positions in football. His senior year, his father was relocated for work with the Air Force to Bossier City, LA. His senior year, Israel was teammates with LSU WR Terrace Marshall. He was a three-star recruit out of high school, and ranked as the number 47 safety in his class. 

2018: 

Played in 13 games, starting 2 games. Was named to the SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll. 

2019: 

Played and started in all 12 games. Was named second-team All-SEC by the Associated Press, and third team All-SEC by Phil Steele. Earned National Defensive Player of the Week honors against Georgia after intercepting Jake Fromm three times. Was named to the 2019 SEC Academic Honor Roll. Played one game at safety, and 11 games at CB. 

2020: 

Played in 6 games, started in 5 games. Opted out for the final 3 games of the season. Played through a groin injury for much of the season, playing both CB and S. 

Personal:

  • Majoring in Sports & Entertainment Management
RAS was not available: https://www.mockdraftable.com/player/israel-mukuamu

Strengths:

  • Impressive frame with monumental wing span
  • Flexible in his movement, and adequate with his foot quickness
  • Strong press and ride at LOS
  • Long stride runner with strong, top end speed
  • Length helps him make plays on the ball, last ditch effort tackles, and disruptions to the catch point
  • Coaches say that he and Jaycee Horn led a culture change in the program
  • Has experience at inside CB, outside CB, and S

Weaknesses:

  • Long stride disrupts his ability to make sudden movements
  • Tendency to bite on false routes and stay with good route runners when he does not press
  • Grabby when beat
  • Not an overly willing tackler, more likely to get dragged than to drive through the ball
  • Must improve toughness at point of contact

Darren Hall

Photo: CBS Sports

**The Bears had a virtual meeting with Darren Hall

Pre-College:

Born in the East L.A. area. In high school, played football and track. Was part of secondary that included Thomas Graham (Oregon), Jaylon Redd (Oregon), and Tayari Venable (San Diego State). He worked his way into the starting rotation his junior year. As a senior, he was named first team All-League. Was a three-star recruit out of high school, and ranked as the number 81 cornerback in his class. 

2017 (Redshirt): 

Played in 2 games with no starts. Missed several games due to injury and redshirted. 

2018: 

Played in 12 games, starting the final 3 games. Missed one game due to injury. Moved from safety to cornerback prior to the season. Shared the team award for Outstanding Freshman. Was named to the Mountain West Fall All-Academic Team. 

2019: 

Played in 12 games, starting 11 games. Missed on game due to injury (hip). Was named honorable mention All-Mountain West. Was named to the MW Fall All-Academic Team. Tied for most passes defended in the Mountain West (16). 

2020: 

Played and started in all 8 games. Was named first team All-Mountain West. Led team in PDs and INTs.

Personal:

  • Graduated with degree in Journalism in 2020. 
  • Committed to San Diego State over several PAC-12 offers (Colorado, Oregon State, Utah, Washington State)
https://relativeathleticscores.com/2021/01/23/2021-draft-class-ras/

Strengths:

  • Above average athlete
  • Calm and controlled in press man coverage
  • Jams with strong physical technique
  • In zone coverage, shows good ability to track QB’s eyes and read/react
  • Shows ability to track the football with playmaking instincts
  • Physical tackler in the open field

Weaknesses:

  • Undisciplined hips lead to blind spots
  • Not explosive in his transitions from off-man, leading to separation
  • Can be overly cautious in his drive on the ball, taking away opportunities to make plays
  • Takes chances in man coverage at times and doesn’t show recovery speed to make-up ground
  • Average size and length
  • Battled several injuries over the years

Other CB Prospects That Did Not Make the List:

  • Thomas Graham: Lacks high-end physical traits. Average size. Not sudden or explosive. Student of the game. Coachable and confident, plays with urgency but is only average as an athlete. The type of player you want, but lacks the ideal physical traits. Could make for a solid depth piece, and may surprise with strong acumen and work ethic. 
  • Deommodore Lenoir: Good enough size and athleticism. Issues with locating ball and anticipating plays. Lack of anticipation hurts playmaking ability. Some traits are there, but he is generally raw and lacks playmaking evidence. Must develop more to stick in the NFL. 
  • Rodarius Williams: Good enough size and athleticism. Aggressive, needs to clean up timing. Lacks recovery speed for press man. Needs to tighten up in some areas, but provides experience and confidence and could find success in a cover-2 scheme. 
  • Zech McPhearson: Fluid and twitchy athlete with good body control and quick feet. Runs well, but doesn’t have good recovery speed. Sloppy hips, and slow to read play development. Could compete for NFL starting reps in either man or zone schemes with inside/outside abilities. 

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