Ohio State Senior
Has a good size and speed combination with good athleticism. Has nice hips and can run with receivers. Comfortable playing in press or off coverage. Quick to come up and defend the edge in run support. Wraps up and can deliver a hit to the ballcarrier on the edge. Usually is able to close to make the stop on the receiver to prevent yards after the catch.
Lacks instincts and awareness. Plays with poor footwork and technique, limiting his burst out of his breaks. Gets beat consistently on quick slants and deep patterns. Gives up too much cushion against deeper and intermediate routes. Does a poor job turning and locating the ball in the air, and rarely showcases the ball skills to make plays. Winds up chasing receivers rather than covering them, and has a tendency to draw penalties such as holding and pass interference. Tackles a bit too high at times.
Chekwa looks the part of an NFL corner, and has the sort of athleticism, speed, and size you like to match up. But he has very little ball skills and is not an instinctual corner. He draws too many penalties, and doesn't make very many plays. Had his best year as a senior with 42 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 sack, 3 picks, 9 breakups, and 2 forced fumbles. A three-year starter that was a nickel corner his freshman year. First three years combined for 103 tackles, 2 for loss, 3 picks, and 20 pass breakups. He ran track during his junior year as part of Ohio State's 4x100 relay team.
Chekwa is the type of corner that will get plenty of opportunities as a starter at the next level, because teams will fall in love with his physical tools. But there isn't a lot from the neck up that you really like. And he'll ultimately be a guy that can match up with premium receivers, but won't ever make the plays to contain them or shut them down. He'll wind up being an acceptable No. 2 corner for the most part. I'm immediately reminded of Chris Houston when I watch him play. And against quality quarterbacks and receivers, he's just going to wind up giving up a lot of big plays. And he'll always manage to be starting on a teams that are bad in coverage, and like Houston people will have to realize that he's a major contributor to why that is. Like with Houston, you'll always be waiting for him to turn the corner and he'll always seem like he is on the cusp of becoming a playmaker, but never will be. Teams that target him as depth will get value, teams that target him as a starter will be perennially disappointed. He has enough size and ability as a run defender that he might be better off moving to safety. But again, his less than ideal instincts will prevent him from being a playmaker there. But he'll probably be better there because he won't get burned as much. He'll basically be a poor man's Antrel Rolle, which will be he'll make an occasional play and teams will always be intrigued by his upside to continue to give him opportunities, but he'll never be a consistent guy there. I think the best thing for him would be to bulk up 15 pounds and move him to strong safety and hopefully team him with a good ballhawking free safety.
Chekwa is much more physically gifted than anybody the Falcons have on the bench right now, but his lack of instincts and awareness will mean he'll be just as prone to give up big plays in the nickel spot. He has very little potential as a starter and won't be any better in that role than Chris Houston was. He's not going to really add anything to the roster besides decent depth.
Chekwa has the talent of a second round corner, but because of his lack of technique and ball skills, any team that takes before the end of the fourth round will probably not get good value on him down the road.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Man Coverage: 2.0
Zone Coverage: 2.5
Ball Skills: 2.0
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