Cornerback Shaun Prater is a fiery, athletic three-year starter out of Iowa with two interceptions returned for a touchdown in his career. He was a good player against some strong talent throughout his college career.
His stock dropped with a poor finish to his senior year, including the Insight Bowl against some of Oklahoma's NFL-caliber talent. But the 5'10", 192-pound Prater has the quickness and mental makeup to play early at the next level.
Prater declined to do anything other than bench press at the combine due to minor knee and hamstring injuries. He did 14 reps at 190 pounds, which is pretty solid for a CB.
Pro Day reports were mixed. According to SI's Tony Pauline, Prater posted 40-yard dash times as fast as 4.39 seconds, and also timed 4.19 seconds in the short shuttle. However, others reported he ran 4.48 and 4.49 40s, and a 4.29 short shuttle.
In the East-West Shrine Game, Prater had a very strong showing, looking sharp during the week of practice and causing scouts to take notice.
A plus tackler and a willing learner, Prater plays with high energy and is very aggressive attacking receiver blocks.
Has very quick feet and accelerates very quickly. Flashes ability to create turnovers.
"Prater has good awareness for a zone scheme," says Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
And NFL draft expert Mike Mayock states, "[Prater] is a third- or a fourth-round guy who can play nickel and play phenomenally on special teams."
However, he can get overmatched by bigger, more physical wideouts (for reference,is the same height, but 15 pounds heavier).
Will get complacent with his technique in Iowa’s Cover 2 base. Let too many WRs have outside releases on Cover 2, and gave up some big completions because of it. Consequently, probably best suited as a slot CB on the inside early in his career.
In man, Prater is competent but can struggle at times. He has the hips and footwork to mirror his man downfield, and the recognition to make a play on the ball once it's thrown. He has good flexibility, and it shows when he is maneuvering at the top of routes to stay in close to his man.
But while he has straight-line speed to stay with his assignments, he will look lost at times when having to look back to the quarterback. Most of Prater's issues in man can be handled with coaching.
Receivers can arm-bar downfield to create separation. He's too often caught peeking in the backfield and gives ground on double moves. Fails to maintain inside technique in man coverage. Not a press corner. Doesn't high-point the ball.
Prater can make an immediate impact as a nickelback or slot cornerback. His lack of size will limit his long-term potential to grow into an outside corner against elite receivers.
Rated above where he was taken, Prater could prove to be a smart selection, especially if he can make a quick impact.
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