By: Shae Dougall
Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
6’0”, 193 lbs
Ohio State vs Wisconsin (2016)
Ohio State vs Michigan (2016)
Ohio State vs Oklahoma (2016)
Marshon Lattimore is a beast of an athlete. His combine numbers were fantastic, and the tape backs those numbers up. He has ridiculous, natural coverage ability and makeup speed that could make any defensive backs coach swoon. His soft tissue injury history is concerning, but his raw talent and instinct are tantalizing beyond any team’s wildest dreams.
Play Recognition: 10 out of 10
Appears to always know what is required of him on any given play, and I never once saw him out of position on any tape that I watched.
Speed: 4.5 out of 5
Excellent speed for a shorter corner, easily able to keep up with any college receiver. Should be able to use remarkable athletic ability to recover against the fastest NFL receivers to make up for any straight line speed deficiencies.
Mirroring: 10 out of 10
Can instantly recognize, process, and mirror any route thrown at him. Frequently runs routes better than some WRs, especially deep ones.
Pursuit: 5 out of 5
One of Lattimore’s best skills; can catch up to any play, and can consistently outspeed receivers to defense or intercept underthrown passes (and overthrown ones)!
Man: 14.5 out of 15
Per NFL.com, Lattimore was only challenged 35 times in the entire 2016 season (average of less than 3 times per game), and it didn’t work out well for those quarterbacks, as it resulted in 4 interceptions and a whopping 14 passes defensed. Man coverage is definitely Lattimore’s strength, as he’s able to use his mega-athleticism to keep his receiver locked down.
Zone: 12.5 out of 15
At his best, Lattimore might be able to play safety with how instinctive he usually is in zone coverage. At his worst, he sometimes freezes when the zone coverage around him breaks down. As I’ve said 100 times already, though, he can use his great talent and athleticism to make up for those rare moments of indecision.
Press: 4.5 out of 5
Very willing to get up into opposing WRs grills. Will lock them up at the line without hesitation. Doesn’t win every single time and can get burned as a result, but it’s a trait I like to see in corners, and Lattimore also has the hip speed to catch up to anyone but the fastest receivers in these situations.
Tackle: 4.5 out of 5
Great open field tackler (for a corner). Was able to catch up to and bring down running backs and tight ends running route patterns if the initial tackler whiffed.
Ball Skills: 5 out of 5
Willing to go up and get overthrown passes, sacrificing his body for a diving interception in the Oklahoma game that I watched. The pass was deemed incomplete, but it wasn’t a great call. Lattimore has soft hands that would impress any cornerback in the NFL.
Tackle: 4 out of 5
Able to bring guys down when needed, but I question if his “go low” approach will work every time, especially in the NFL.
Play Recognition: 5 out of 5
Coverage ceases immediately when the run play begins.
Willingness: 3 out of 5
As willing as the average NFL corner to get involved in a run play; I didn’t see any tape to suggest otherwise.
Injury: 3 out of 10
This is easily the biggest concern for Marshon Lattimore. Chronic hamstring problems sidelined him for the majority of the 2015 season. They got so bad that he even had to have surgery. Don’t expect Lattimore to have many career years where he plays a full season, especially not in the NFL which practices harder and more often, plays more games, and generally requires more from cornerbacks from a physical standpoint. I don’t think these concerns are enough to keep him out of the first round or anything, but it’s definitely something to watch out for.
Total Prospect Rating: 85.5 out of 100
Pro Comparison: Jason Verrett, CB, San Diego Chargers
Verrett is perhaps the greatest coverage cornerback left in this league (a talent which I’ve endlessly touted Lattimore for above), and yet most people outside of the darkest inner regions of NFL fandom have no awareness of his existence or incredible work. This is because, like Lattimore, he cannot stay healthy for an entire season. With such a supreme and promising talent like Lattimore coming into the league, I think I speak for everyone when I say that I sincerely hope we see more of Lattimore than we have of Verrett up to this point in his career. Both Verrett and Lattimore share the ability to match up and truly shut down even the best competition, when they’re on the field, despite their relatively diminutive stature for the outside corner position.