Kevon Seymour proved that he was a great athlete at the combine, but can the upside of his college film convince NFL teams that he is draftable?
As a Trojan, Kevon Seymour’s career was filled with optimism, but ultimately did not produce as much on the field as expected. It does not bode well for him that he missed so much playing time, whether it was from injury or being beat out for the starting spot. But, there have been many players drafted in the later rounds based mostly off of athletic potential, and Seymour might fall into this category.
Seymour has great speed, which he showed off at the combine. He also has agility that allows him to stay with a receiver in man to man coverage and break on the ball. Check out his interception of Jared Goff in the 2015 game against Cal.
Seymour is playing man to man in an off coverage, meaning he is not trying to disrupt the receiver at the line. He also knows that he has a safety behind him to help in coverage, so he can afford to get in front of the receiver and make a play on the ball.
The Cal receiver is trying to run a comeback route, which starts by going vertical and then coming back towards the sideline. In this situation, the receiver wants to box out the corner by gaining outside leverage and coming back for the ball, thereby shielding the defender with their own body. Goff throws the ball before his receiver even comes back for the ball because he thinks the receiver is in a good position to make the play.
However, once the ball is thrown, Seymour is able to prevent the receiver from gaining outside leverage. At this point, we get to see the athleticism that NFL teams are interested in. Seymour breaks on the ball much quicker than Goff’s intended receiver can, which results in the interception.
From this, we know that Seymour has the ability to make athletic plays on the ball, but why does he only have three interceptions in his college career? NFL scouts will wonder if he can make big plays in the league, or if he is too error prone. Many Trojan fans know all too well what can happen when Kevon Seymour tries to make a play on the ball and misses.
Near the end of the infamous 2014 game against Arizona State, USC was up by two possessions while Arizona State was driving desperately and out of timeouts.
On the play, Seymour is in man to man coverage with a Sun Devil receiver with no help over the top. The initial coverage is good, but when Mike Bercovici rolls out of the pocket, the receiver is able to gain separation.
In the clip, the receiver is open, but we can see Seymour’s closing speed as he dives to get the deflection. This is a risk that is not worth the reward. Had Seymour chased down and tackled the receiver, it would have been 1st down with the clock still running, which you could argue is almost a better situation for the Trojans than second down with the clock stopped. He will have to prove to NFL teams that he can be more consistent if he wants to make it onto an NFL roster.
NFL teams have recently started taking more and more big corners to emulate the success Seattle has had with Richard Sherman, which partially led to Josh Shaw being picked so early in last years draft despite practically missing his entire senior season. However, Seymour is much smaller and less physical than Shaw was.
In an age where every team tries to have a 6-foot-5 receiver, smaller corners can only be so effective in certain situations and can often be bullied when trying to make contact at the line of scrimmage. This could entirely disinterest teams who like to play press man coverage.
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Scouts will look at Seymour as more of a project than an immediate contributor, which might land him sixth and seventh round consideration by a team that is looking to gain depth at the corner position. I could definitely see a team like the Panthers, Seahawks, or Patriots, who all have established number one corners in Josh Norman, Richard Sherman, and Malcolm Butler respectively, but questionable depth at the position, take a chance.
The Baltimore Ravens have such an extreme need at the defensive back position that it would not surprise me to see them get multiple players at the position during the draft, which could include Seymour.
Preliminary Prediction: Kevon Seymour is drafted in the Round 7 by the New England Patriots