Third Round: 83rd Pick
In a 2013 NFL draft class rich with cornerbacks whose talent could warrant selection anywhere from late in Round 1 to Round 3, Rutgers’ Logan Ryan is currently jockeying for position with many other players at his position.
That said, Ryan is one of the most skilled players among them and has a good shot at ending up as a second-round selection.
Ryan does some things very well, but still has some significant flaws in his game which led to some inconsistent play and big plays allowed in his junior season, his final year of college football before declaring for the draft.
Ryan is one of the most physical cornerbacks in the draft class. He uses his hands very well in man coverage, while he is a strong tackler who consistently makes play in run defense and excels at coming off the corner blitz.
Ryan has great instincts both in coverage and against the run. He is good at finding the football in the air, and consistently makes plays on the ball. When plays are staying on the ground, Ryan does a good job of discerning what direction a run play is going and getting in position to make plays.
The most pressing issue with Ryan’s game is his lack of an effective backpedal. He has to turn and run to cover plays downfield, and when he gets beat, he tends to face-guard defenders, leaving him more susceptible to penalties. He is also sloppy with making hip turns to break with receivers.
Ryan does not have prototypical measurables for a cornerback, measuring in at 5’11” and 191 pounds with 31 3/8” arms at the NFL Scouting Combine, while running a 4.56-second 40-yard dash in Indianapolis.
He did prove at the combine that he has great lateral agility: his 6.69-second 3-cone drill, 4.06 20-yard shuttle and 11.28 60-yard shuttle all ranked among the top four cornerbacks participating in those drills. He must become more fluid in his hips, however, to fully take advantage of that lateral agility in coverage.
Ryan is not an explosive vertical athlete: his 32 1/2” vertical jump was the third-lowest among cornerbacks at the combine.
(All combine results per NFL.com).
Ryan is an instinctive player on the field who does a good job of reading offensive plays both to lead him in making plays on the ball in coverage and getting to the ball-carrier as a run defender.
Off the field, Ryan has no noted character issues.
Rutgers uses both man and zone coverage concepts on defense, but used Ryan most often in press man coverage, where he excels at getting his hands on and being physical with opposing receivers. Nonetheless, he has experience with both man and zone coverage, increasing his league-wide appeal considering most NFL defense do not use only man or only zone coverages.
Playing the Ball
No player in college football defended more total passes over the past two seasons than Ryan, who had 37 in that time span. The skills that made that possible should translate to the next level.
He does a very good job of finding the football in the air and getting in position to make a play on the ball. He does a good job timing his plays on the ball, and is a physical defensive back who is great at getting inside position and does a good job getting his hands in to knock passes away from intended receivers.
Against the Run
Ryan is an aggressive and active run defender. He does a very good job reading run plays and getting in position to make stops, and then makes good on that position by being a strong tackler.
He has the athleticism and quickness in the open field to make tackles all over the field. He also excels at making plays off the corner blitz.
Ryan’s physicality serves him very well in man coverage. In press coverage, he does a terrific job of jamming receivers at the line or at least getting his hands on his opponent within five yards to slow or adjust his opponent’s route.
He could draw some penalties for using his hands too much in downfield coverage, but he is consistently physical. When he is able to slow the receiver at the line, he does a great job of establishing inside position against his opponent to be in a position to force incompletions or make plays on the ball.
He did get beat deep on some occasions in his junior season, and struggles with recovery speed in a one-on-one coverage situation. But if Ryan can clean up his technique, he can be a terrific man cover cornerback at the next level.
Ryan is competent in zone coverage, but his game is better suited for man coverage.
As mentioned, he does a good job reading plays and getting hands on the football, which suits him very well in zone coverage. That said, he is unnatural in zone coverage, and sometimes allows receivers to make plays behind him while not picking up any coverage himself. Given his use of hands and physicality, he is more effective in one-on-one man coverage.
Ryan is a very effective tackling cornerback. He takes direct angles, effectively goes low to take out a runner and if he does not up-end the ball-carrier with a well-timed hit, he is effective at wrapping and driving his opponent back rather than allowing him to drive forward.
He hits strongly and soundly for a cornerback. He can make tackles all over the field, but is especially effective at making plays at or behind on the line of scrimmage with well-timed corner blitzes.
To be a successful NFL starter, Ryan must learn how to backpedal effectively.
He also needs to overcome his face-guarding tendencies. He does a good job finding the football when tracking it down directly or coming back to the ball, but needs to be able to turn back to the football when it is airborne in deep coverage.
His hand technique, however, is very good. Ryan is very good at jamming opposing receivers, and consistently places his hands effectively on his opponent in press man coverage.
Future Role/Scheme Versatility
Ryan has the ability to be a very good cornerback in either man or zone coverage schemes, but is best suited to play in a hybrid coverage scheme that places an emphasis on press man coverage, given his strength in that area.
Ryan may not have the size, speed or polish of a No. 1 shutdown cornerback, but he has the overall skill set to be a solid No. 2 cornerback as his game continues to develop. He is also a great fit to contribute immediately on kickoff and punt coverage teams.