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Minnesota Football: NFL Draft Profile - CB Jalen Myrick

The Gopher speedster looks to make it four years in a row with a Minnesota secondary member drafted

NCAA Football: Holiday Bowl-Minnesota vs Washington State
Jalen Myrick will look to make an impact both on defense and special teams in the NFL
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Cornerback Jalen Myrick flew under the radar a bit for the Gophers in his senior season. He was not flashy, but did his job on a weekly basis and was one fo the reasons why Minnesota finished with nine victories for just the second time since 1905. It is his pre-draft work where Myrick has really jumped up the draft boards of several teams...or should we say sprinted up their boards.

NFL Combine

Height: 5’10

Weight: 200 Lbs

Hands: 8.75”

40 Yard Dash: 4.28 Seconds

Bench Press: 13 Reps

Vertical Jump: 37.5”

Broad Jump: 10’ 4”

Myrick blew up at the NFL Draft Combine. Coming into the week he was relatively unknown, and was a late round flyer at best. Then he did this.

Myrick’s 4.28 40-yard dash was the fastest ever by a Big Ten Player at the combine. He will be the fastest defensive player and second fastest player in the draft after Washington wideout Jon Ross. His 37.5” vertical ranked eighth for defensive backs at the combine, earning him more respect from scouts and coaches.

Film

Below is the video that the athletic department produced for Myrick with highlights from his Gopher career. The video showcases Myrick’s in game speed. Not only does he have the in-line speed as shown in his combine sprint, but he can make breaks on the ball and take the best angle to make a play. While Myrick is not the biggest player, the video shows he is not afraid to lay the big hit when needed. You really get a good luck at Myrick’s breakaway speed in his 103-yard kick return to get the Gophers a win over Northwestern in 2015. Whomever drafts Myrick will not only get someone who can play cornerback, but can become a return threat immediately.

Strengths

  • Speed. The fastest 40-yard dash ever recorded by a Big Ten player at the NFL Combine. Get him some open field on a return and he’s gone. Has the ability on defense to run with a fast receiver down the field or close out against receivers who get an early jump on him.
  • Coverage Skills. Myrick allowed a completion rate of just 39 percent over his last two seasons. Able to mirror and punch out of press coverage to slow receivers from press release.
  • Run Support. He shows no hesitation to come up and make a stop if needed. Compact but strong and does not miss many tackles when given the opportunity.

Weaknesses

  • Given a lot of cushion to receivers. Myrick has a slow backpedal and can get beat off of the line. Needs to improve his ability to stay with his man and not sprint to catch up to make a play
  • Still raw—Myrick needs to improve his recognition of pass patterns and his anticipation. Often plays the receiver rather than attacking the path to the ball. Needs to improve his ball skills—can be late to find the ball.
  • Hands. While Myrick makes lots of plays on tipped balls he has shown below average hands and gave away sure-fire interceptions this season. Needs to bring in the balls that he gets more than just a finger on.

Potential Teams

PIttsburgh Steelers

The Steelers brought Myrick in for a visit and are looking for cornerback help. The Steelers had some success with another smaller Gopher defensive back....Tyrone Carter anyone?

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys talked to Myrick at the combine and then worked him out in early April in Dallas. The Cowboys appear to be very intrigued with Myrick’s return skills. He would be reunited with former Gopher teammate Damien Wilson.

Detroit Lions

The Lions are on the lookout for secondary help as well, and several mock drafts that have come out in the last week have hinted that Myrick would be a good fit for Detroit.

Others?

Myrick has also reportedly visited and or been worked out by the Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs, and others.

Outlook

Myrick has the potential to one day be a starting nickel corner in the NFL if he can improve his route recognition and ball skills. Otherwise, Myrick will be a good NFL backup and special teams player who may be able to see action as a gunner on punt coverage, and as a return man. With luck Myrick will be more of a Briean Boddy-Calhoun in the NFL rather than a Cedric Thompson.

Projection: 4th-6th Round