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All Eyes Are On OSU Cornerback Marshon Lattimore

Marshon Lattimore Jeremy Birmingham, Landof10 via Flickr

NFL

Could Marshon Lattimore Fill Chicago’s Needs?

The Chicago Bears are likely to address their cornerback need in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft. They have been looking very closely at Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore to fulfill that need.

Kyle Fuller missed the entire 2016 season after being placed on the injured reserve list in September. As a result, his future with the team is uncertain. Tracy Porter is a great locker room presence, but he cannot be counted on to shadow a number one receiver. Deiondre’ Hall has shown flashes of what he could become, but the young corner only played a combined 79 snaps on the season. Though the Bears do have other options with Bryce Callahan and Cre’von LeBlanc, neither have been overly consistent, and both have struggled with injuries.

In 2016, the Bears had a historically-low eight interceptions. If they look to turn that around, they have to add playmaking ability to their secondary. With that being said, Lattimore could offer a start to that process along with the free agency signings of Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper.

Marshon Lattimore, Cornerback, Ohio State

Lattimore attended Glenville High School in Cleveland, Ohio, where he played both cornerback and wide receiver for the Tarblooders. During his senior year, he was among the six finalists for the U.S. Army Player of the Year Award and was rated as a four-star recruit.

Following a redshirt year in 2014, he appeared in seven games for the Buckeyes after suffering a hamstring injury. Lattimore was able to fully recover from his injury and become a starter in 2016. Lattimore would be named First Team All-Big Ten by the coaches.

Although 2016 was his only full season as a starter, he allowed just 18 receptions and a passer rating of just 31.9. He routinely made opposing quarterbacks regret their decision to challenge him.

With an overall grade of 86.4 in 2016, it isn’t hard to see why he has received a lot of national praise. He has it all, from range to ball skills. He has certainly shown himself to be the top cornerback in the 2017 NFL Draft class.

NFL Scouting Combine Analysis

At six feet tall and 193 pounds, Lattimore’s average size does not make him less of a force on the field. He is able to match receivers stride for stride on go-routes. He allowed only two of twelve targets to be completed. Being patient from his press and utilizing well-timed openings to match receivers enabled him to routinely blanket them out of the play.

Lattimore is a forceful open-field tackler who sees what he hits. He completed all 37 solo tackle attempts in 2016, proving that he is not a liability to play on an island.

While he uses his hands well on blocks and at the line, he has toed the line in terms of ‘too much’ physicality. Despite his style of play, he only committed two penalties all season.

His lack of experience against high-end receivers and his tendency to want to play the man more than the ball are his most significant weaknesses. These will likely show early on, but his competitive nature and confidence should help him overcome those issues.

Final Thoughts

Cornerbacks like Marshon Lattimore are an asset to any team. He has explosive athleticism and a loaded toolbox much like Indianapolis Colts cornerback Vontae Davis. Lattimore possesses an electric, flat-footed closing burst and an explosive hip flip that jump-starts him into top speed. He also has exceptional ball skills and will make teams pay for even looking in his direction. The Pro Bowl is undoubtedly in this young cornerback’s future.

 


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