Seventh Round: 218th Pick
Poyer has a chance to be the first Beaver defender selected within the top 50 picks since the Packers scooped up Nick Barnett in the first round in 2003.
Let's take a look at why Poyer ranks among the top cornerback prospects in this year's draft class.
The style with which Poyer plays seem to suggest he has a strong grasp on who he is as a cornerback. He knows his limitations, which can often be a cornerback's best asset.
Poyer is patient and skilled at reading the receiver and not biting on subtle fakes. This allows him to limit his false steps and stay with faster receivers down the field.
He also excels at reading the quarterback, which enables him to become the receiver when the ball is thrown in his direction. This is another key tool for Poyer, as he lacks the size and leaping ability to fight with receivers for jump balls unless he has the benefit of putting himself in the best posssible position before the ball arrives.
In terms of raw physical tools, Poyer definitely doesn't fall into the elite category. His modest numbers at the combine highlighted the fact that he will struggle against the elite receivers in the NFL.
Poyer doesn't lack athleticism, but his modest speed limits his ability to matchup with certain receivers. If he's lined up over a guy such as Mike Wallace on the outside, the defense will need to keep a safety over the top for protection.
While he possesses the strength and tenacity to battle with bigger receivers, he will also struggle with some possession receivers. He's just under 6'0" and his leaping ability is average at best. In other words, you don't want him competing with Calvin Johnson or Brandon Marshall in the red zone.
At the combine, Poyer posted some of the most uninspiring numbers of any prospect, regardless of position. His vertical jump, which barely topped the 30-inch mark, was well below average for a cornerback. His 4.58 time in the 40-yard dash was also disappointing.
However, it's worth mentioning that Poyer was slowed by a knee injury during his senior year which may have been a contributing factor.
Poyer is an intelligent athlete on and off the field. However, it should be noted that he was arrested for his role in a bar fight prior to the 2012 season (The Oregonian). Despite the arrest, he was selected as a team captain prior to his senior season.
With plenty of experience in man and zone coverage, Poyer can easily play in any system. The Beavers lined him up all over the field and he excelled in a variety of roles.
Playing the Ball
Poyer's ability to play the ball is arguably his greatest strength. He puts himself in position to read the quarterback and as a result, he's able to react to the flight of the ball rather than simply mirror the receiver.
For this reason, it's no surprise that Poyer came down with 11 interceptions over the past two seasons. He knows how to turn himself into a receiver and put himself into the best position to play the football.
Against the Run
Poyer isn't the type of corner to charge into the middle of the action and blow up a play, but he takes correct angles and puts himself in position to make a play as the last line of defense.
He often struggles to quickly disengage from blocks, but he's a feisty competitor who won't back down from a physical challenge. The effort is never lacking, so this is definitely an area in which he can improve if he added some weight and improved his technique at the next level.
Despite his modest size, Poyer won't back down from physical play.
He's strong enough to attack receivers in press coverage, but also athletic enough to remain confident that he can recover if he is beat off the line of scrimmage.
Poyer's footwork is crucial to his success in man. He lacks the speed to make up for mistakes, but he does an impressive job reading receivers and limiting his false steps. He will undoubtedly be fooled by veteran receivers early in his career and give up some big plays over the top, be he's smart enough to learn from these mistakes.
Poyer excels in zone coverage due to his vision on the field. He does an excellent job tracking and adjusting to the movement of receivers in his zone, while also keeping his eyes on the quarterback.
The play in this video shows how he initially reacts to the movement of the man in his zone, who runs a quick out-route into the flat, but also keeps his eyes on the quarterback. As soon as the quarterback commits, Poyer drops back and makes a play on the ball.
While he isn't exactly eager to take on the ball-carrier, Poyer will step up when needed. He consistently shows correct form and avoids lazy arm tackles than so many undersized cornerbacks rely on when faced with a more physical runner to bring down.
He could become a more valuable asset if he were more assertive when attacking the ball-carrier, but ultimately he gets the job done.
Poyer is one of the most refined defensive backs in this class, which allows him to make up for his modest physical tools.
Since he isn't the faster corner, Poyer makes up for his lack of straight-line speed by limiting his false steps. He's very patient and does an excellent job avoiding the temptation to bite on fakes. And while he lacks the elite speed, he does possess the quick feet and athleticism necessary to react quickly when a receiver breaks.
Future Role/Scheme Versatility
Coaches and front office personnel love finding versatile players outside of the first round, which will give Poyer's stock a boost. He has the well-rounded skill set to play corner on the outside, but he also has the quick-twitch athleticism to line up over receivers in the slot.
Poyer also played safety in high school and early in his career at Oregon State. As he ages and slows down, a switch back to free safety could potentially prolong his career in the NFL.
As an added bonus, he has experience returning kicks and punts and can produce in that role at the next level as well.
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