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Next up on the BCC radar is Florida cornerback Joe Haden. The junior corner is regarded by many as the top corner in the draft, and second best secondary prospect after Tennessee safety Eric Berry. Haden is almost the prototypical elite cornerback prospect. He has smooth hips, a nose for the football, and could play one on one with any receiver he was matched up with in college. Perhaps even more impressively, Haden didn't go to the Deion Sanders school of tackling. He was a solid run supporter who could display sound tackling fundamentals.
The almost part comes from the disappointing 40 time he turned in at the combine. His 4.57 40 time caused many to question his ability to be an elite corner in the NFL. Haden then said he had a strained back, which to many sounded like excuse making. However, it seemed to be the case when Haden turned in a 40 time that was between 4.4 and 4.45 at UF's Pro Day. If his Pro Day 40 time is accurate, than it would seem Haden has the speed to go along with everything else.
The knock of Haden, besides his speed, was the defense he played on. UF's front four was one of the most dominant in college football, causing QBs to throw under duress often. While it is true a solid front four helps a corner out, Haden displayed he could play with any WR in the nation at UF.
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Joe Haden: By the Numbers
|At A Glance|
Position 1: Corner
Position 2: N/A
|Class: Junior||Age: 21|
Projected Round: Top 10
2007 Freshmen All-American
2008 2nd Team All-SEC
2009 All-American, All-SEC, Sporting News Defensive Player of the Year, Thorpe Award Finalist
According to the Experts
Does a nice job keeping an eye on the QB and the receiver when the route is in front of him. Effective blitzer and good special teams player. Excellent in run support. Sure tackler who uses sound fundamentals. Knows how to get his hand in and break up the pass. Good balance and body control. Best suited for press-man coverage as he can lock onto almost any receiver.
Size and speed will slightly limit him as a defender. Can be over-aggressive when breaking up the pass, drawing penalties. Will lose tackling fundamentals against larger ball carriers, as many defensive backs do. Will get caught gambling and guessing routes at times.
Displays elite high-point agility. Shows loose hips that he can open up to turn.Don't mistake Haden's eight interceptions in three years for ordinary ball skills. Where Haden's ball skills are evident when he's in the air with a receiver. He had 34 career passes defended and really came up his best here in big games. Haden's ball skills are what makes him a true shutdown corner.
You'd like to see Haden explode more when he opens up his hips, though. His change of direction ability isn't as great as you'd like, but it's serviceable.