Jason Verrett | Cornerback | Senior | TCU | 5'10, 182 pounds
Jason Verrett had only played one game, but he already wanted to quit. After transferring from junior college, Verrett was met my Robert Griffin III and Baylor in the 2011 season opener. Verrett was no match for the Bears' passing offense, as he allowed three touchdowns on his own in the 50-48 loss. The next day, Verrett told Gary Patterson he wanted to give up, according to Richard Obert of AZCentral.com.
Since that low point, Verrett has piled up 123 tackles and become an All American for the Horned Frogs. Not too shabby. Now with two seasons and more than 20 starts under his belt, Verrett's days of wanting to hang 'em up are a distant memory. The early signs point to the 2014 NFL Draft being a strong one for cornerbacks, and Verrett looks to grade out near the top of the class with a strong senior season.
What he does well
Turn on a TCU game, and it's hard not to notice Verrett. At 5-feet-10-inches tall and 182 pounds, Verrett flies to the football whenever it's on his side of the field. His high number of tackles is evidence of his ability to diagnose plays and break on the football. As an added bonus, Verrett is willing and tenacious in run support. His tackling technique isn't always picture perfect, but Verrett delivers hard hits and doesn't hesitate to take on ball carriers, regardless of size. A prime of example of this was when Verrett took on Le'Veon Bell in TCU's bowl game against Michigan State. Despite a 50 pound weight difference between the two, Verrett showed no hesitation in going after Bell in the open field on numerous occasions. The results were varied, but the toughness alone is worth noting.
In terms of coverage, Verrett is a versatile weapon. His best asset is his play recognition. He knows when to break off his zone to make a play on the football and closes on the ball well. Verrett has excellent speed and the short area quickness to match. He is able to stay with defenders on crossing patterns and also has the speed and fluid hips to turn and run in bump and run coverage.
It would be foolish to write about what Verrett does well without mentioning the ball skills that made him an All American. The Big 12 leader in interceptions (6) and passes defended (22) a year ago, Verrett has the long arms and closing speed to make plays on the football, but also the leaping ability to get the ball at its highest point. He's always aggressive and makes like difficult on opposing receivers. Verrett loves to play the game, and it shows with how competitive he is on contested footballs.
What he needs to improve on
Size could be an issue for Verrett going forward. While he can't improve his height, he could stand to get a bit stronger and bulk up his 180-pound frame. While Verrett has the hips and the speed to play press coverage, he needs to improve his initial jam at the line of scrimmage to be able to knock receivers off their routes.
Verrett is an asset in run defense, given his aggressiveness and speed in closing on ball carriers, but added strength would help him take on blocks and could improve his ability to tackle.
Ohio State's Bradley Roby is getting the early hype among the draft eligible cornerbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft, and for good reason. But Verrett isn't far behind. If he hits the weights hard this offseason while maintaining the quickness and fluidity he has show consistently in the last two years, Verrett should have no trouble finding a spot in the first round of next April's draft. The work isn't done yet, though.
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