Main as much as the 2021 NFL draft, which begins April 29, Yahoo Sports activities will rely down our prime 100 general prospects. We’ll rely them down in teams of 5 for Nos. 100-51, adopted by extra in-depth studies on our prime 50 gamers, with assist from our scouting assistant, Liam Blutman. We reserve the precise to make adjustments to gamers’ grades and evaluations primarily based on harm updates, pro-day exercises or late-arriving info from NFL groups.
Earlier prospect rankings: Nos. 100-96 | 95-91 | 90-86 | 85-81 | 80-76 | 75-71 | 70-66 | 65-61 | 60-56 | 55-51 | 50. OT Liam Eichenberg | 49. WR Terrace Marshall Jr. | 48. LB Chazz Surratt | 47. EDGE Joe Tryon | 46. OT-OG Alex Leatherwood
45. Florida State CB Asante Samuel Jr.
5-foot-9, 195 kilos
Yahoo Sports activities draft grade: 5.89 — potential starter
TL;DR scouting report: Undersized playmaker on the surface who takes after his father however tackles and performs extra bodily than you would possibly anticipate
Video games watched: Florida (2020), Florida State (2020), North Carolina (2020), Pitt (2020)
The thin: A 4-star Rivals recruit (No. 46 nationally), Samuel signed with FSU — symbolically on the anniversary of his grandmother’s loss of life — and noticed the sphere immediately as a real freshman. In 2018, he began three of 12 video games, making 17 tackles (one for loss) and 9 go breakups. The subsequent season Samuel made 48 tackles (one for loss), one interception and an ACC-best 14 passes defended (eighth nationally). As a junior, he began the primary eight video games in 2020, making 31 tackles (one for loss), three interceptions and 6 go breakups previous to opting out for the rest of the season and declaring for the 2021 NFL draft.
Upside: Excellent athlete. Properly sculpted physique for a smaller body. Extraordinarily fast and agile toes. Stops on a dime and closes quick and arduous. Sufficient pace to hold receivers vertically. Good stability transitioning from his backpedal. Possesses lower-body energy and explosion.
Nice pass-coverage instincts. Breaks on the ball sooner and drives on out-breaking routes than most corners on this class do. Trusts his instincts and confirmed extra of an attacking mentality later in his school profession. Crowds and annoys receivers together with his sticky protection. Likes to get in guys’ faces — hornet-like presence.
Feisty, scrappy nook — not a finesse participant by any means. Performs massive for his measurement. Doesn’t again down from bodily challenges. Heck of a tackler for his measurement — would possibly go low however is available in arduous. Extremely aggressive and assured play type.
Watch from his 2019 in opposition to Boston Faculty as Samuel chops down 250-pound RB A.J. Dillon, a second-round choose of the Packers in 2020:
Instances up passes effectively. Nice ball manufacturing — 4 INTs, 29 passes defended on 137 profession targets, per PFF. Allowed 51.3 % profession completions, and that features a true-freshman season during which he was picked on fairly a bit. Restricted massive performs in 2020 — lengthy reception allowed of solely 38 yards. Confirmed some return potential — ran again his three 2020 picks again for 74 yards, together with 38- and 36-yard returns.
Scheme-diverse. Has operated in man and zone protection and has improved press method. Very comfy and pure taking part in outdoors. Has performed sufficient inside to be thrown into nickel duties as effectively. Handles quickness effectively inside or outdoors. Has NFL bloodlines.
Draw back: Very small body and never getting any larger anytime quickly. Can get labored by larger, stronger receivers — particularly in man protection. Much less-than-ideal size to make performs on the catch level.
Extra of an ankle/drag-down tackler than a hitter. Even some quarterbacks broke out of his deal with makes an attempt (see North Carolina). Can’t detach readily from receivers’ blocks to make a play.
Flagged 5 occasions in eight 2020 video games — grabby downfield. Tries to get away with downfield contact and generally does however will should be extra refined about it. A number of pass-interference calls in opposition to him the previous two seasons.
Is perhaps finest in a zone system. Lacks nice size for press protection and provides too massive a cushion in off-man, even together with his glorious click-and-close skill. Will overplay receivers off the road to cross his face and permit fast, simple completions on slants and drags. Must work on bail/side-saddle method and simply tighten it up a bit. Seems to be much less certain of himself together with his again to the ball — responsible of an excessive amount of face guarding.
Not a lot expertise as a blitzer. Has stated he prefers to play outdoors.
Greatest-suited vacation spot: We see Samuel thriving finest in a heavy zone and off-man system, presumably as a nickel. However he needs to be given an opportunity to carry out outdoors earlier than making that decision. Samuel is likely to be on the small facet and lose some bodily battles, however he has the temperament to make it work in the long term. Any group looking for extra playmaking in its secondary ought to make a run at him.
Do you know: As you may need guessed from the identify, Samuel is the son of the four-time Professional Bowl and two-time Tremendous Bowl champion cornerback with the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons.
Samuel Jr. spoke to Yahoo Sports activities earlier this yr about his father and what he is engaged on to organize for the 2021 NFL draft.
“I’m simply making an attempt to make my very own approach,” Samuel stated. “It’s not about not desirous to be him, or no matter. Simply me making an attempt to showcase my skill to cowl and make performs.
“A few of it’s genetics, however I imply, I’ve all the time assumed nothing is simply going to be given to me due to my identify. I wish to work for the whole lot I’ve a shot at. That’s the place the arduous work pays off. If you happen to don’t put within the time, ultimately you’ll fail. I don’t need that to occur.”
Participant comp: A smaller Jaire Alexander.
Anticipated draft vary: Prime 50
Extra from Yahoo Sports activities: