EJ Gaines   CB/S   Missouri

TALENT BOARD ROUND  1

STRENGTHS
EJ plays bigger than his size and will make your best receiver disappear in the biggest of games. He is fast and quick and has the agility to shut down those quick/fast slot receivers. He also has unusual natural strength to move the bigger receivers off their routes and fight with them in the end zone on those hard to defend back shoulder throws. He is very smart and shows on film excellent leadership skills. He can play more than one position in your defensive backfield and is the type of defensive back you can build around. EJ understands situational football and is like a coach on the field. He understands how to read a receiver during a route which makes it very difficult for his opponents and coaches to set him up for the big play. Iím not sure I have seen a tougher, smarter or stronger defensive back with the complete cornerback skills that EJ possesses since Champ Bailey was drafted. EJ may be a little smaller, but he is faster and quicker and just as strong. Like I said, he can make your best receiver disappear and thatís why I call him EJ (Magic Man) Gaines.

CONCERNS
EJ has to learn when in zone coverage to play the ball and not the man. He is a secure tackler, but if he is moved to the safety position, he starts to head hunt which will eventually lead to costly penalties. Iím not sure how good his hands are for interceptions, but he has, in the past, returned punts and that tells me his hands canít be too bad.

BOTTOM LINE
EJís ability to cover the bigger receivers with ease comes from the natural strength of his upper body. He has unusually wide shoulders that give him the ability to out muscle most receivers who are a lot bigger than he is. This freakish strength allows EJ to be able to body up while he looks back at the quarterback in one-on-one coverage which is what can throw off the rhythm of the receiverís routes resulting in all kinds of problems with a quarterbackís accuracy. He has excellent quickness to go along with tremendous speed. His ability to make interceptions and return punts will be the key to EJ becoming an impact shut down defensive player or just a solid core player, but either way, I think he will be an excellent player for the team that drafts him. This caliber of leadership with this type of talent doesnít come along often in a player who plays this position.

Drew Boylhart
DEC/2013