Logan Ryan | Cornerback | Rutgers | 6-foot, 190 pounds
Since earning a starting spot prior to his sophomore season at Rutgers, Logan Ryan has steadily improved. He's now one of the top cornerback prospects eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft. Twice named to the All-Big East team, Ryan showed his physicality this season with 94 tackles. He also registered four interceptions and 18 passes defended in his final season at Rutgers.
The 2013 NFL Draft has an impressive group of cornerbacks without a run-away, top five talent at the position. Ryan's skill set should be enough to get him first round consideration, although he has fallen into a crowded tier of corners that includes Xavier Rhodes, Jordan Poyer, Desmond Trufant and Blidi Wreh-Wilson among others. He should have a shot to sneak into the late first round.
Ryan is a physical cornerback who is at his best when he plays close to the line of scrimmage. He uses his hands well to get an initial jam on receivers and has fluid hips to turn and run with receivers up field. Ryan has shown the ability to mirror receivers down the field. He can move well laterally as well, making him tough to beat on underneath routes. The combination of his physicality and side-to-side quickness makes it tough to get separation on shorter routes. His ball skills also help him in this area. He breaks up a ton of passes, both in the underneath passing game and when offenses try to go up top on him.
Ryan has some scheme versatility to his game as well. During the games I viewed, Ryan was used both in zone coverage and press coverage effectively. In zone coverage, Ryan uses his eyes well to recognize when to break off of one man and onto the next assignment. He is able to diagnose plays without staring down the quarterback and losing track of his assignment.
The most refreshing aspect of Ryan's game is his willingness and ability to make plays in the running game. He takes on blockers and sticks his nose in on every play. His tackling form isn't perfect (who's is these days?), but he wraps up with enough consistency to be considered one of the more reliable run defenders at his position in this draft class.
The biggest knock on Ryan, which will be on display at the combine, will be his straight line speed. It will be interesting to see how he times in the 40-yard dash. Overall, Ryan needs to continue to work on cleaning up his footwork and technique. He will occasionally cross his feet over in his backpedal/slide step, which makes it easy for receivers to get separation. We also sometimes see Ryan allow receivers to get a bit to close to him before turning his hips in coverage. He doesn't quite have the make-up speed or length to allow that to happen.
Most of Ryan's struggles appear to come when he's playing off the line of scrimmage in man coverage. That's when his back pedal technique can hurt him. He also tends to misread what receivers are trying to do and gets caught out of position when playing that particular style of coverage.
As mentioned above, Ryan is part of a very crowded tier of cornerbacks that all seem to fit into the late first round or early second round range. He is not a lock to come off the board in that range, but given the right scheme fit, he has all of the talent worthy to fill that draft range. Given his worth ethic and competitiveness, he should at the very least be a solid No. 2 cornerback.
Pro Comparison: Richard Marshall, Miami Dolphins
Like Richard Marshall, Ryan isn't a big cornerback, but both players play with a physical edge. The reason for the comparison is how the two fare in the running game. Both come up and attack blockers and ball carriers in an effort to make an impact on opposing rushing attacks. Marshall probably has a bit more speed than Ryan, but time will tell how the Rutgers cornerback will develop.
Video from Draftbreakdown.com: