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More on Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Khalid Wooten, and Daimion Stafford

To conclude my series writing in more detail about the Titans' 2013 draft class, I'm going to take a look at all three defensive backs: third-round cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson from Connecticut, sixth-round cornerback Khalid Wooten from Nevada, and seventh-round safety Daimion Stafford from Nebraska.

The watch-word for the corners that were projected to go in the second and third round of this year's draft was "eye of the beholder." There were a lot of corners who could go in that area (12 of those 65 picks ended up being corners), and the group offered something for everyone. The Titans indicated before the draft they might be looking for press-man-type corners with good size, and found one of those in Wreh-Wilson. He has good size at 6' 0 3/4", 195 and ran a 4.53 40 at the Combine.

Watching Wreh-Wilson, he was used almost exclusively as an outside corner. When there wasn't a wide receiver to his side, he tended to align in an over the top position like a safety rather than play on the inside. There's about one snap in the slot in four games, against Louisville's 4-wide set, of him in the slot (he gave up a slant). Like all college corners, he'll have an adjustment to make to the NFL's illegal contact rules and contain his contact to the first 5 yards. That makes it tough for me to judge college corners' long speed, as they can disrupt or slow down receivers in a way they won't be able to in the NFL. Wreh-Wilson isn't slow, but his ability to recover is still an open question to me.

One thing I noted that was also in a couple of the scouting reports I read is that while he has good size for the position, he wasn't outstandingly physical. Having corners who are real physical in the run game ranges from a bit of a luxury to essential based on the defensive scheme, but it shows up in the pass game as well. One thing Rutgers did in 2012 with some success was throw smoke routes when he was in off coverage and force him to tackle their big receivers like Mark Harrison (a UDFA this year). While Andrew noted a scouting report praising his short area quickness in his draft writeup, I think like McCourty and Sensabaugh he could be vulnerable to the comeback and sharp breaking routes.

Something to remember when watching Wreh-Wilson is he played soccer the first three years of his high school career, so he's not as experienced as most other fifth-year seniors. It'll be the Titans' job to coach him up in terms of technique. Everything I've seen indicates he's a smart and high character person, which is encouraging but of course doesn't necessarily mean a hill of beans when it comes to being a good player.

As to sixth-rounder Khalid Wooten, he has good size as well, but is built differently than Wilson-at 5'11", he doesn't have the same height, but he's bigger at 210 (at the Combine; 205-06 per his draft conference call). He timed fairly similarly to Wreh-Wilson at the Combine, running a 4.53 40 with a 1.58 10-yard split and a slightly better 3-cone (6.95 v 6.97), though Wreh-Wilson edged him in the short shuttle (4.12 v 4.18). In addition to the size and speed, the Titans praised his ball skills, as he had 10 interceptions in college. He also has some experience as a return man. The basic take on him is he's probably not experienced enough yet to be an immediate contributor at cornerback, but is an intriguing player who can provide special teams value while being developed. If that sounds like "the new Tommie Campbell" to you, that Ruston Webster indicated he may eventually be a safety instead of a corner should just strengthen the comparison.

Finally, when I advocated the Titans taking a developmental strong safety to be the 2014 starter, I was thinking a little earlier of a pick than seventh-round compensatory selection Daimion Stafford. Good size for the position at 5'11 5/8" and 221 pounds. He's somewhere between a strong and free safety, though his size and struggles in space indicate the Titans likely view him as more of a box strong safety. About the most positive thing I found on him was Pro Football Weekly's 4th/5th round grade, though reading the writeup it's hard to see why. The margin between very like seventh round picks and priority free agents is a fairly slim one, though, and the Titans may just have wanted to get Stafford and address other positions with non-draft picks, though. He'll compete for a spot, but he'll have to earn it.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Blidi Wreh-Wilson: There are a number of corners who get drafted in the second and third rounds who have the physical attributes to become starting NFL corners. Cosell definitely puts Wreh-Wilson in that category thanks to his size, length, and movement. Not all of those corners succeed? Why do some succeed and others fail? From Cosell's perch and mine, it's hard to say. It may be the player, the coaching, the situation, or something else. Farrar wondered if he might be the slot corner or an outside guy who pushes Alterraun Verner inside. Cosell concurs with my opinion he's more of an outside guy, and that's where the Titans would want to put him, with Verner going to the slot or safety. As I noted when I covered Verner recently, I think Verner is definitely an NFL player but one who doesn't fit what the Titans are ideally looking for in either position. […]

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