Cowboys slot options for 2021 should include drafting Asante Samuel Jr.

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Ben Glassmire
·4 min read
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If the Dallas Cowboys choose to pass on a Day 1 cornerback and look in another early direction in the 2021 NFL draft then it will become a pressing need to address in the later rounds. There is a large clump of corners in the Day 2 conversation and the ordering of that group is all over the place. The players in consideration are of all different body types and will likely be drafted to a team which sees a spot for them right away or can see a developmental role for them in the long run.

Florida State’s Asante Samuel Jr. likely fits into the immediate starter category. There is an argument to be made that he should go on Day 1, but there are concerns to his game that will likely end up pushing him down team’s boards. Let’s get into why he is one of the more fascinating players in a talented class.

Measurables (Unverified)

(AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)

Height: 5-foot-9 Weight: 194 pounds

Stats (2020 - Eight Games)

Tackles: 30 Total Tackles, 22 Solo Tackles, 1.0 Tackle For Loss Impact Plays: 3 Interceptions, 1 Forced Fumble, 6 Pass Deflections

Games Watched

Wake Forest (2019), Louisville (2019), North Carolina (2020), Miami (2020)

Strengths

One of the smoothest movers in the class, shows off oily hips and excellent change of direction skills, routinely runs routes right with receivers and is attached to their hip most of the time in man. Footwork is so quick and efficient, very few missteps. Instincts in man are likely his best trait, in-depth understanding of route concepts and where to position himself, really knows how to best make himself available to make plays. Fantastic ability to turn and drop into recovery. Good tackler, does well in the open field and makes the plays he needs to. Quickness will really help him develop as a zone coverage defender. Skillset translates very well to the slot or nickel. Played very well on the outside at Florida State, likely won't stick there in the NFL but has experience that will be valuable to teams. Speed allows him to run with almost anyone.

Weaknesses

Undersized for an outside corner, not his spot in the NFL most likely, many teams will disqualify him from playing outside immediately, physically cannot match up against bigger and more physical receivers. Needs to be better about when to be physical, can get grabby at times but needs to improve at the line of scrimmage. Ball skills aren't great, doesn't always locate the ball well and will likely get bullied at the catch point if asked to play outside. Will occasionally get turned around. Little experience in zone but traits will serve him well. Will be interesting to see how he is able to play the run, doesn't shed blocks well and doesn't involve himself often.

Grading

Coverage Skills: 12.5/15 Instincts: 8.5/10 Fluidity: 4/5 Ball Skills: 4.5/10 Tackling/Run Support: 6/10 Recovery: 4/5 Change of Direction: 5/5 Frame: 1.5/5 Versatility: 4/5 Consistency: 4/5 Round Grade: 7.200/10 (2nd Round Value)

Player Summary

(AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff)

Asante Samuel Jr. is the son of former NFL cornerback Asante Samuel and boy does it show up on tape. Samuel Jr. has some of the best instincts in the class and knows how to overcome the challenges presented by his size. He has ridiculous quickness and foot speed as he routinely shows he can stay attached to the receiver across from him. While he will most likely have to shift to the inside in the pros, the experience he gained on the outside will not only make him versatile but help make the transition inside easier. His skill set is extremely rare and would be an excellent selection on Day 2.

Fit With the Cowboys

Samuel Jr. would not fill the traditional alpha corner role that the Dallas Cowboys are likely targeting in this year's draft which makes him unlikely to be one of the preferred selections in the second round. Samuel's best football in the NFL will likely come playing on the inside. He is undersized and for the Cowboys and Dan Quinn he lacks the length and build to be able to excel on the outside. This is not to say he will never be a Cowboy but the team would have to lock up someone in free agency to play across from Trevon Diggs that they would feel comfortable with before they were to consider selecting Samuel. His football savvy and instincts would be a welcome addition to the team if he were to become the selection.

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