2014 NFL Draft: Pre-Season Breakdown – Aaron Colvin, CB Oklahoma

Oct 13, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners defensive back Aaron Colvin (14) looks at the quarterback during the game against the Texas Longhorns during the red river rivalry at the Cotton Bowl. Oklahoma beat Texas 63-21. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma defense has one of the most talented but inconsistent cornerbacks in all of college football in Aaron Colvin.  Colvin has all of the physical ability and much of the technique to be a great corner and while he makes a ton of plays for the Sooners, he is incredibly inconsistent.  Colvin’s junior year looked extremely impressive on the stat sheet as he had 50 solo tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 11 passes broken up, and 4 interceptions.

Colvin could be on the cusp of putting everything together and becoming the complete corner he sometimes flashes he can be.  If he comes in stronger, he can play with more consistent technique as a tackler, but he needs to do a better job of mirroring opposing routes to stay in their hip pocket.  Colvin has shown the ability to flash dominance at times and his athleticism is intriguing going forward.  As it is, Colvin looks like a top 100 pick based on what he can do right now, but if he can become the consistent corner the Oklahoma defense can rely on from start to finish, he has a chance to improve his stock significantly and be fighting for a spot in the top 50 and maybe higher as one of the top senior corners in the NFL Draft.

Vitals & Build

Colvin is listed at 6’ 181lbs and while he is slightly high cut, his length for the position is great.  He has long arms, good athletic ability and while he needs to continue working on his ability to flip his hips because of his height, his overall body control is solid.  Colvin has great explosiveness and overall speed is excellent with plenty of range.  He plays with pretty good functional strength but does have the frame to continue adding strength and become better in that respect without losing any athleticism.  In addition to just getting smoother as an athlete, his ability to add strength could be interesting in what he is able to do as a senior and going forward into the NFL with his overall build.

Tackling

Colvin’s tackling is not always great in terms of form but he has pretty good results.  Perhaps because he is still somewhat lean, he leaves his feet too often to try to make tackles and while he does not whiff on them often, he could and that becomes problematic.  If he can add strength and make it show in his tackling, he should be able to do a better job of keeping his feet under him as a tackler.

The one area where Colvin shines is in how he breaks down and puts himself in position to make tackles, which is why he rarely misses.  Even in some big open field runs, Colvin gets in the right position to make the tackle himself, force an opponent out of bounds or delay the play long enough to where his teammates can make the play.  He also tends to tackle with good pad level which makes him look stronger.

For the most part, he wraps up pretty well and when he locks on, he is usually able to secure the tackle but strength would help and allow him to maintain his feet.  He can improve his technique and continue to increase his consistency but it is worth pointing out how accurate he is relative to the average defensive back and ends up being a pretty good tackler, at least in terms of results.  While defensive back coaches will preach technique and how to tackle, they want the play made and he does it.

Run Support

Colvin’s ability to tackle makes him a potential fit as a strong side corner at the next level as he is not afraid to attack the run and make plays behind the line of scrimmage.  When he diagnoses run, Colvin comes up quickly with an aggressive mindset looking to make an impact.  Colvin is not afraid to throw his body around even though it is still relatively lean and his sheer will seems to make up for some of that lack of size.

He is extremely inconsistent when it comes to taking on blockers and that can get him beat.  At times, he will attack the blocker, shed them well, and continue to make the play while there are others where he will be passive and try to get around the guy or allow himself to be washed out of the play too easily.

Additional strength would help but he also has to be more willing to fight through at times.  And while the Big XII has a ton of athletic receivers, they do not have the type of big bodies on the outside the NFL will as they want space players.  If Colvin cannot do a better job of taking on receivers in the Big XII, it is a little concerning going forward as to how he will do against NFL receivers who are the size of linebackers.

Colvin is able to blitz off of the edge and while he is going after the quarterback, he is able to adjust to running plays and make the play behind the line of scrimmage which makes sending him easier to do.  There are a lot of fundamentals Colvin will flash and can do that make him intriguing going forward and with more strength may come more consistency, but that is the issue he faces going into his senior year.

Man Coverage

Colvin has experience both in tight man coverage as well as off man in Oklahoma’s defensive scheme.  He has the ability to stay with and run with receivers on the outside but he seems to feast or famine.  There are plays where Colvin covers the receiver like a blanket and his size and length make him virtually impossible to throw the ball.  On the other hand, there are instances when he will be beat cleanly and give up some big plays.  Colvin has the athleticism to do the job but he can get caught up and make mistakes in mirroring.  These are not due to him simply not being athletic but making a mistake with what he is seeing the opponent show.  He will also occasionally get beaten on double moves.

Colvin has the makeup speed to cover up for some mistakes and he has the timing and presence of mind to deflect passes with the ability to make interceptions.  His inconsistency can actually work in his favor as a result as opposing quarterbacks will not be afraid to throw at him at times because he does give up plays.  He will occasionally punish them and can make big plays and force a turnover.  In the wide open Big XII where safety help over the top is usually a luxury, Colvin can have a game where he gives up a couple touchdowns but also come up with a couple interceptions.  He has the ability to be a shutdown corner one quarter and look lost the next.

Colvin will also try to bait quarterbacks into throwing at him, which has not always been a good move.  There are times when he is clearly playing off of receivers and betting on his ability to close the distance and make the big time play.  Usually, he does this on underneath routes but not always and it has backfired on him a couple times.  Colvin is a player looking to make plays and cause turnovers rather than just shut down a man in coverage.

Colvin also has shown some ability when it comes to press coverage and this could be a good fit for him at the next level, depending on where he goes.  His length and potential strength make him a good fit for pressing opponents at the line and getting an advantage right off the jump.  He is not afraid to play receivers tight and he has shown he can do it, although not terribly often.

Zone Coverage

Colvin has experience in zone and looks like he is comfortable playing in space with the ability to close quickly.  He needs to continue working and see the field better but he is someone who can make plays on the ball as well as make tackles in the open field.  His size and length in addition to his acceleration make him an intriguing option there but he needs to continue getting more experience in that area of the game.

Ball Skills

Colvin has a knack for getting his hand on passes and he is a threat to cause interceptions.  Part of this is due to the fact that teams are not afraid to throw at him but he makes impressive plays and can catch opponents by surprise with his length and his ability to come up and high point the football.  He has some pretty good hands and is able to get to passes some players simply cannot and while he can be inconsistent, Colvin can also periodically come up with some spectacular plays to force incompletions or cause the turnover.

Blitzing off the Edge

Colvin has the acceleration, speed, and ability to tackle that make him a worthwhile asset on the blitz.  He can get to the quarterback and make the play, but he is also able to adjust to run and make a play behind the line of scrimmage there as well.

System Fit

In many respects, Colvin is still a moldable piece of clay though he could end up playing on the strong side in the NFL.  He has a lot of ability and athleticism that could make him attractive to a lot of different schemes.  The combination of versatility and inconsistency has not produced a player that is an obvious fit in one system versus another.  He could play in an off man system, play in press, or help in zone.  It is unclear if he will be ready to come in and start but he could be someone that comes into a system and develops into a key contributor for a team over the next few years.

Schedule

Sat, Aug. 31 vs. LA-Monroe
Sat, Sept. 7 vs. West Virginia
Sat, Sept. 14 vs. Tulsa
Sat, Sept. 28 at Notre Dame
Sat, Oct. 5 vs. TCU
Sat, Oct. 12 vs. Texas
Sat, Oct. 19 at Kansas
Sat, Oct. 26 vs. Texas Tech
Thu, Nov. 7 at Baylor
Sat, Nov. 16 vs. Iowa State
Sat, Nov. 23 at Kansas State
Sat, Dec. 7 at Oklahoma State

Notable Games

The West Virginia offense puts a lot of pressure on opposing defensive backs as it spreads teams out and forces individuals to execute.  Last year, Colvin gave up big plays and made big plays and will be looking for a more consistently effective effort inn Norman this year.  Notre Dame has a spread offense and while the Irish have a different brand than the Mountaineers, the overall focus will be similar and Notre Dame may have more offensive talent this year.  The Red River Rivalry features a wide receiver in Mike Davis that will likely be a focal point of the game as Texas tries to bounce back from one of the uglier losses in the school’s history last year.

NFL Comparison

Colvin’s game could end up being similar to that of DeAngelo Hall of the Washington Redskins.  Hall was drafted as a top 10 pick by the Atlanta Falcons in one of the better draft classes in history, but he has had an up and down career.  Hall might be the biggest feast or famine corner in the NFL and while he can come up with interceptions, especially when he is playing against Jay Cutler, he also gives up a lot of plays as well.  If Colvin cannot find consistency this year, this could be the type of career he has going forward.  Both of these guys have a lot of natural ability, though Hall was a remarkable athlete when he came out of Virginia Tech.

Draft Projection

Colvin has a ton of ability and technique that NFL teams could like, especially since he appears to offer quite a bit of scheme versatility.  He can make big plays that change games but his inconsistency can be maddening as well.  If he can get stronger, he could play with better technique as a tackler and run defender, but it will all come down to whether or not teams feel he can be reliable in coverage or if there is enough to work with to develop into a future starter.  Colvin has a lot of upside and his ability warrants a top 100 pick, but if he really figures it out this year, he could not only be a terrific corner for Oklahoma, he could end up as a top 50 pick and establish himself as the second best corner in the conference behind Jason Verrett of TCU.

Topics: 2014 Mock Draft, 2014 NFL Draft, Aaron Colvin, Cornerbacks, Oklahoma Sooners Football

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