This morning we continue our series of scouting reports on potential Chicago Bears draft targets in this month’s 2017 NFL Draft as week take a look at Ohio State’s Sophomore cornerback, Marshon Lattimore.
Player: Marshon Lattimore
School: Ohio State
Size: 6’3” and 273 LBS
It’s no secret that the Chicago Bears need help in their secondary. The front office has tried to make improvements by adding players since free-agency opened last month like Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper, and Quintin Demps. They also hope that second-year player Deiondre Hall can make the transition from corner to safety. At this point, the team should worry more about his off the field issues though.
The Bears still need to add to their secondary and they will be able to do that in this year’s draft. They have been linked to LSU safety Jamal Adams by many draft experts including ESPN’s Todd McShay. Another name that keeps popping up is Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore. As a red-shirt sophomore last season, Lattimore had 41 total tackles, nine pass defenses and four interceptions.
To be a consistent contender a team has to have depth at many positions. Drafting Marshon Lattimore would do just that for the Bears. He would have an immediate impact on a secondary that could desperately use some young bodies, but he does come with some risks, as most draft picks do.
- Athleticism: Accumulating an abundance of talent is something teams in a rebuilding phase have to do. It’s safe to say, Lattimore has a ton of athletic talent that the Bears are looking for. Lattimore uses his hands extremely well, which allows him to break out of blocks with ease. He is also a ball hawk. His quick step and dynamic skill set allows him to make interceptions that most corners would not make.
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- Physicality: Usually, when a corner is too physical it’s seen as a negative. The opposite is true for Lattimore. He is very physical at times, but committed just two penalties all season. He definitely has to work on easing up, but that can be learned overtime. I would rather have a corner with too much physicality than not enough.
- Ability To Defend Slant: Lattimore is the best cornerback in this year’s draft class when it comes to defending slants. According to Pro Football Focus, Lattimore allowed an NFL passer rating of just 2.8 passes on slants. Pretty impressive. Lattimore can run step-for-step with any receiver.
- Second Gear: Lattimore showed an ability to reach a second gear or burst when out on the field. This can be seen clearly with his interception against Oklahoma last season.
- Sound Tackler: This is where Lattimore’s physicality benefits him the most. He is a sound tackler. Last season, Lattimore had 37 solo tackles and didn’t miss any of them.
- Experience: Lattimore played just one full season with Ohio State. During that time, he played predominantly right corner. He has little-to-no experience on the left side and in the slot, which is concerning.
- Injuries: The reason Lattimore has little experience is because of injuries. Lattimore has chronic hamstring issues that were so bad he had surgery. He missed his entire freshman year because of it. His sophomore season, the chronic issues resurfaced causing him to miss more time. That could be a deal breaker for a lot of NFL teams, including the Bears.
- Fails To Get Head Around: On tape, Lattimore relies on the wide receiver’s eyes to determine ball timing downfield. This negative habit has the potential to create a lot problems in the NFL. Corners need to be able to get their head around to be able to accurately passes downfield and to avoid penalties.
Marshon Lattimore has the athleticism and skill-set to be a Pro Bowl cornerback in the NFL. However, his lack of experience and injury history is concerning. The Bears would benefit from adding a young corner with high upside, but I don’t see them taking a risk given their history of injury prone draft picks.
First round pick Kevin White has struggled with multiple injuries throughout his young career. Alshon Jeffery also had hamstring issues similar to the ones that Lattimore has suffered from. The Bears last three out of four first to second round draft picks have had injuries. Again, I don’t see them taking a risk on Lattimore with the number three overall pick.
One team will take a risk on Lattimore and they could be rewarded. If healthy, Lattimore projects to be a Pro Bowl corner within his first 2-3 years in the NFL.
Be on the lookout for more scouting reports this month as we near the April 27 NFL Draft!