2015 NFL Combine Preview: USC CB Josh Shaw


USC defensive back Josh Shaw is headed to the 2015 NFL Combine in hopes of redeeming his rocky senior year.

What did he do at USC?

Shaw transferred from Florida after his redshirt freshman year with a hardship waiver from the NCAA which allowed him to play for the Trojans without sitting out a year.

As a sophomore, he began the year as a back up safety but made the switch to cornerback midway through the year and started seven games in that position. He led the team in pass deflections and nabbed two interceptions.

During Shaw’s junior season, he established himself as one of the leaders of the defense at cornerback, earning an All-Pac-12 honorable mention and USC’s Defensive Perimeter Player of the Year award. He once again led the Trojans in deflections and logged four interceptions.

Unfortunately, Shaw’s career was thrown out of whack at the start of 2014, when he fabricated a story about saving his nephew from drowning to cover for injuries he sustained while fleeing a domestic dispute.

Due to the very public lie and an ongoing police investigation — in which he was ultimately cleared — Shaw sat out ten games of his senior season. In three games he had 11 total tackles, including nine in the Holiday Bowl.

What’s his current draft stock?

No player may be harder to evaluate for this year’s draft than Shaw.

Both CBS and NFL.com rank him around No. 15 among cornerbacks, which could be good enough for a middle round pick.

“I know about the issues he had this year, but I did plenty of background work on Shaw and I had no problem giving him a passing character grade when I turned in my report.” — NFL scout, via NFL.com

From a football perspective, he has the size to fit in as a safety but may also find a place at cornerback because the trend has moved towards bigger athletes on the outside. While early in his career the fear was he was too much of an inbetweener, that may actually be an asset for him now.

Off the field concerns are the wildcard. Though Shaw had a pristine record before the big lie, the scandal will certainly raise questions about his character and reliability.

What can he improve?

At the combine, Shaw will need to continue to rehabilitate his image.

Still there are also several on-the-field questions which will need to be answered.

He cannot underwhelm in the 40-yard dash, since scouts already question his ability to stick with the NFL speed of receivers.

Perhaps even more important for Shaw are the position drills, where he will have to prove his hips are not as stiff as observers have noted.

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