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Irish On Tap 2020 NFL Daft Preview: Troy Pride Jr.

Troy Pride Jr. has seen his draft stock rise substantially since Notre Dame's season ended.
Photo: Matt Cashore/USA Today

Photo: Matt Cashore/USA Today

The 5-foot-11, 193-pound defensive back had about as great of an offseason in terms of bolstering his draft stock of anyone in college football. Troy Pride Jr. ran a 4.4 40-yard dash in the combine, which was fourth-best among cornerbacks. But that's not all Pride did to up his stock. During the week of the Senior Bowl, which took place in late January in Mobile, Alabama, Pride showcased elite NFL-ready quickness and agility. He also starred in one on one drills against wideouts, per the video below.

Pride's strengths are his build, quickness, and athleticism. When observing him partaking in drills, he looks like a future starting cornerback in the NFL. However, his tape tells a slightly different story. While he possesses elite quickness and speed, Pride sometimes struggles at sticking to his man. Normally this isn't a problem when he's facing the quarterback and everything is in front of him. However, once Pride has to turn around in man-to-man coverage or deep passes in zone coverage with his back to the ball and quarterback, that's when he gets beat. He appears to panic with his back turned and does a below-average job of meeting receivers at the high point in jump balls.

While there are some warranted hesitancies when analyzing the tape, I suspect Pride's combine results and Senior Bowl week performance outweigh that skepticism. Draft projections have him going as high as the late second round and as low as the late fourth round. It's doubtful he slides further than that. Although there is some tape that is jarring, Pride was phenomenal in the 2018 College Football Playoff against elite NFL-ready wide receiver talent and Trevor Lawrence, allowing just two catches for 12 yards. Honestly, he seemed to be disinterested against lower-level competition. That won't happen in the NFL. I have no doubt Troy Pride Jr. ends up being a starting cornerback in the league for many years.

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