How Mike Hughes Can Become A Successful NFL Cornerback

Throughout the 2017 season, the UCF Knights primarily used their cornerback Mike Hughes in a hybrid of man and zone coverage. Hughes would line up on the right side of the field in the area between the numbers and the sideline boundary. As a result, Mike isn’t going to follow a receiver all over the field; he will just defend the receiver who lines up within his area. Once the play begins, he will follow his assignment all over the field for the duration of the down unless the quarterback throws the ball immediately. For example, there are instances where Mike Hughes will line up eight to ten yards away from the line of scrimmage. When Hughes lines up eight to ten yards away from the line of scrimmage, he will either look directly at the receiver; or open up his hips towards the middle of the field to look at the quarterback. If Mike looks at the receiver, he will backpedal because he does not know the receiver’s direction. Once the receiver chooses a route, he will stop back peddling and go towards the path. On the other hand, if Hughes looks at the quarterback,  he will laterally move his way downfield until the receiver chooses a path.

However, there are instances where Mike Hughes will line up one to three yards away from the line of scrimmage. When Hughes lines up one to three yards away from the line of scrimmage, he will look to guide the receiver in one direction. For instance, Mike will put his right hand on the left shoulder of the assignment. The technique allows Hughes to push the receiver towards the sideline taking away his ability to move horizontally while simultaneously giving the quarterback a smaller window to throw the ball.

As a result of this, the NFL team who selects Mike Hughes should primarily use him as a hybrid cornerback. This is because Hughes has played as a hybrid for so long that it is the fastest way for him to be successful. On the other hand, if the NFL team wants him to transition into playing man coverage, they would need to give him anywhere between a couple of games to a full season to adjust to opening up his hips in both directions.

How Jaire Alexander Can Become A Successful NFL Cornerback

Throughout the 2017 season, the Louisville Cardinals primarily used cornerback Jaire Alexander in man coverage. Man coverage can be described as a cornerback following his assignment all around the field for the majority of the game. When Alexander is in man coverage, he usually switches back and forth between two different techniques. For instance, Jaire will line up one to two yards away from the line of scrimmage in press coverage. However, moments before the play begins he will take a step back and to the side to open his hips towards the middle of the field. Once the play starts, Jaire Alexander will move laterally down the field until he figures out where the receiver is headed. If the assignment is told to run a route to the middle of the field, Alexander just has to run forward because his hips are positioned in that direction. On the other hand, If the assignment is told to run a route to the outside, Jaire Alexander has to take a forward and up to get his hips in position to run up the field. Not only is Alexander comfortable playing press coverage, but he is also comfortable giving the assignment a large cushion. For example, Jaire will line up eight to ten yards away from the line of scrimmage in off coverage. However, moments before the play begins he will restart the process of opening his hips towards the middle of the field.

As a result of this, the NFL team who selects Jaire Alexander should primarily use him as a man coverage cornerback. This is because Alexander has played man coverage for so long that it is the fastest way for him to be successful. On the other hand, if the NFL team wants him to transition into playing zone coverage, they would need to give him anywhere between a couple of games to a full season. Since he would need to gain a feel for when is the right time to pass off the receiver to a teammate, focus on reading the quarterback’s eyes or retreat to his area.

How Denzel Ward Can Become A Successful NFL Cornerback

Throughout the 2017 season, the Ohio State Buckeyes primarily used cornerback Denzel Ward in man coverage. Man coverage can be described as a cornerback following his assignment all around the field for the majority of the game. For instance, if Ward’s assignment lines up on the right side of the field near the sideline boundary, he will line up on the same side one to three yards away from the line of scrimmage. Once the play begins, Denzel has the option of choosing between two different techniques. Ward can turn his body sideways to look towards the middle of the field by taking a step to the right with his left leg. The method allows Denzel Ward to be in the position to run forward in case his assignment is told to run a route into the middle of the field.

On the other hand, Denzel Ward can choose to put his right hand on the left shoulder of the assignment. The technique allows Denzel to push the wide receiver towards the sideline taking away his ability to move horizontally while simultaneously giving the quarterback a smaller window to throw the ball. However, when Ward is covering his assignment in the slot, he can only backpedal because he does not know the receiver’s direction. Once the receiver chooses a path, he will stop back peddling and go towards the path. For instance, if the assignment is in the slot on the left side of the field and chooses to go to the sideline, Ward will break towards the sideline by taking a step to the right with his left leg.

As a result of this, the NFL team who selects Denzel Ward should primarily use him as a man coverage cornerback. This is because Ward has played man coverage for so long that it is the fastest way for him to be successful. On the other hand, if the NFL team wants him to transition into playing zone coverage, they would need to give him anywhere between a couple of games to a full season; to gain a feel for when is the right time to pass off the receiver to a teammate, focus on reading the quarterback’s eyes or retreat to his area.

How Joshua Jackson Can Become A Successful NFL Cornerback

Throughout the 2017 season, the Iowa Hawkeyes primarily used Joshua Jackson as a zone cornerback. A zone cornerback can be described as a defensive back who is just responsible for a specific area of the field.  Due to this, Jackson would line up on the right side of the field and about five to ten yards away from the line of scrimmage. Once the play began, Joshua was solely in charge of the area between the sideline boundary and the numbers. For instance, if a wide receiver released towards the outside, he would step to the left with his right leg to open up the hips and follow the receiver. On the other hand,  if a wide receiver released towards the inside, he would let him go free and retreat to his area.

As a result of this, the NFL team who selects Joshua Jackson should primarily use him as a  zone cornerback. This is because Joshua has played zone coverage for so long that it is the fastest way for him to be successful. On the other hand, if the NFL team wants him to transition into playing man coverage, they would need to give him anywhere between a couple of games to a full season to adjust to opening his hips in both directions.

Therefore Joshua Jackson could be an option to replace Richard Sherman on the Seattle Seahawks.  This is because, over the past seven seasons, Pete Carroll has implemented a defensive system that is centered around the cover three defense. According to Bleacher Report, in a cover three defense, cornerbacks are told to cover the deep outside third of the field. As a result of this, they usually stand 7 or 8 yards away from the line of scrimmage and only worry about covering the area between the line of scrimmage and the numbers. This particular alignment for the cornerback is meant to give them extra time to turn their bodies to get in position to defend the potential streak, fade or stop and go route. On the other hand, the linebackers and the strong safety are responsible for covering all the short routes across the middle and boundaries. Meanwhile, the free safety is in charge of defending all the deep routes across the middle or offering help to the cornerbacks if he is having problems stopping the deep ball.