Xavien Howard   CB/S   Baylor

Xavien has excellent size and straight line speed to play more than one position in your defensive backfield. He has those long arms that will give him a big catch radius and as a nickel-dime cover safety, he should be able to cover those big tight ends or slot receivers. Xavien does a good job covering close to the line of scrimmage and in the red zone because of his size. He also has the toughness needed to jump routes and make plays on the ball. He is overall a good enough athlete to be a specialty player in zone coverage and in single coverage close to the line against those big receivers and running backs coming out of the backfield.

Although Xavien has solid athletic talent, he is not a quick twitch athlete which makes it hard for him to stay in coverage down the field. He doesnít have solid recovery speed and lacks the capable hands to make interceptions. He also has a hard time adjusting to the ball in the air and doesnít seem to understand route concepts in general which causes him try to guess what a receiver is going to do instead of analyze. Xavien doesnít read his receiver and is easily fooled. Because of his lack of fluidity turning his hips, he has his hands all over the receiver to slow him down and this will culminate in penalties. He loses track of the ball and of his opponent on the deep ball. He definitely struggles when the ball is in the air with depth perception. Xavien also is not quick to come up against the run and is slow getting off blocks to make tackles when the ball is run to his side of the defense.

Because of Xavienís athletic talent and size, you have to think that there is potential to work with, but I donít think it is as a cornerback; maybe as a safety if Xavien can become a better tackler. Right now my thinking is that Xavien (for the next level) is a specialty player with the ability to cover big receivers in nickel-dime situations in the red zone. I know Xavien at the college level has been a corner and a good one for his team, but for him to be a corner at the next levelm Xavien would have to learn to play a lot smarter and learn zone coverages. He can become solid in zone coverage if he learns to tackle with more authority and improve his ability to intercept the ball.

Drew Boylhart  APR.2016