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Hamp Cheevers Actually Has The Skills To Play Nickel; Its Time For the Redskins To Get A True Nickel DB

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Hogs Haven takes a look at 2019 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the Redskins

NCAA Football: Miami at Boston College Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Hamp Cheevers, CB
School: Boston College | Conference: ACC
College Experience: Junior | Age: 20?
Height / Weight: 5-10 / 180 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 4th or 5th Round
NFL Comparison: Avonte Maddox

College Statistics

Player Overview

Hamp Cheevers was a 2-star prospect from Trenton, Florida before he committed to Boston College. This past season was the first for Cheevers as a starter and he broke out in a big way. He’s undersized for the position but he isn’t lacking in competitive spirit and big play ability. Cheevers played on 92% of the defensive snaps and was voted to the 2018 All-ACC team. He was the co-leader in interceptions this past season and broke up as many passes. A large part of Cheevers success despite his size is due to his ability to read a QBs eyes, his ability to track the ball in the air, his athleticism, and his ability to finish plays with his ball skills. Cheevers decided to use this best season as a platform to transition to the NFL. Lots of interceptions doesn’t mean that a player will get drafted highly but Cheevers should be a solid day 3 pick in spite of his size because of his cover skills and athletic ability. He should get interest from any team looking to improve their CB depth and potentially getting a starting slot corner in this draft.

Strengths

  • Good athleticism. Has good deep speed and good acceleration. Made a lot of plays working back to the ball and jumping routes. Can recover in space and has nice leaping ability for a guy his size.
  • Good vision, awareness, and anticipation. Reads QBs eyes and knows where the ball is going. Always has a tab on his assignment. Eyes are on the ball in the air. Knows when to break on the ball.
  • Excellent ball skills. He’s come up with some impressive interceptions this season and probably should have had a couple more. He also is competitive at the point of attack and knows how to disrupt the catch process.
  • At times can be quite physical when contesting the catch or coming up in run support.

Weaknesses

  • Undersized and slightly built. He is a willing contributor as a tackler but might get carried a few yards. Tackling technique could use work.
  • Needs to work on his strength and technique when jamming at the LOS. Hand placement is not consistency and not very effective.
  • Much move effective as a zone defender where he knows his area. He can keep up with receivers but he’s not a mirror match corner.

Let’s see his work:

How He Would Fit On The Redskins

So the Redskins learned the hard way how important a slot CB is this past season. A slot corner is a starting caliber CB these days and their skill set should feature abilities rooted in quickness, change of direction, and play recognition. After trading away Kendall Fuller the Redskins moved Fabian Moreau inside and he struggled in this role because he is a man coverage corner and his weaknesses are highlighted because he lacks short area quickness and awareness which I wrote about here in 2017. I’m not an NFL coach but I’m shocked (or am I?) that they tried to fit a square peg in a round hole. If we are honest the Redskins currently do not have a cornerback on the roster with the necessary skills to play the slot effectively. Hamp Cheevers could help them out for cheap. Cheevers not only excels in these important areas in the slot but he is also a ball hawk and could add a lot of value to a team that should be looking to increase their turnover output. Traditionally slot corners also get a bit of help from safeties and linebackers in the middle of the field as opposed to boundary corners. Hopefully that would mitigate risk that Cheevers would bring as a tackler being as slight as he is. Every year there are slot options like Cheevers available on the 2nd or 3rd day of the draft. Since the Redskins haven’t pulled the trigger on one in a while I have to wonder if there is some sort of type they prefer at corner. I hope not because it would seem its preventing them from getting the best talent they could at the position. I think Cheevers could certainly start in the NFL and he does remind be a lot of Avonte Maddox who got better as the season went on. Considering how the secondary unraveled in several areas as the season went on slot CB should be one of many Redskin draft priorities.