Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice (HT: 6’0⅜”; WT: 193 lbs)
Third Round: 87th Pick
NFL Comparison: Josh Robinson, CB, Minnesota Vikings
|6003||193||31 7/8"||9 5/8"|
|40-yard dash||10-yard split||Vert||Broad||3-Cone||Shuttle|
- Great height, weight and arm length. He’s physically ready to play in the NFL right now, needing very little weight or conditioning.
- Excellent distance speed that was displayed at the NFL combine, where he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash. He didn’t look that fast during games, but he didn’t look like a guy lacking good speed, either. He shouldn’t have any issues lining up against speed receivers in the NFL.
- Solid technical skills beginning with his pre-snap stance, which is low and balanced. He keeps his eyes in the backfield while smoothly backpedaling.
- Mirrors receivers well when playing on-man coverage. His quick feet help his lateral quickness when changing directions.
- Has fluid hips, especially for a bigger cornerback, and that allows him to play in a variety of coverages. He really shone in Cover 3, where he keeps his eyes on the quarterback and controls his chunk of the field very well.
- Good closing speed with short area explosion. He can break up passes at the last second with his combination of length and closing speed.
- Stays with the receiver well and is able to direct the target by staying physical. His aggressive mindset helps him attack the football in midair.
- Disguises his coverage well through his movements and waiting until the last second to either cover the underneath route in Cover 2 or go deep in Cover 3.
- Times his jumps very well when attempting to intercept passes. Most of his interceptions in 2013 came from perfectly timed leaps and being in a better position than the receiver.
- Highly productive player that limited opposing receivers only 13 catches on 40 targets in 2013.
- Greatly improved throughout his career, both technically and instinctually. His feel for the game reached a new level as a senior.
- Didn’t have any interceptions before 2013, but his passes-defensed statistics are impressive. He was in a good position most plays, but he dropped a few easy picks.
- Didn’t play against great competition, as he was unable to play in Rice’s 2013 opening game against Texas A&M, and he wasn’t lined up against Houston’s Deontay Greenberry often.
- Very conservative approach against the run, showing little hustle to get to the ball-carrier and deliver a hit. Being a bigger cornerback, teams will want to see a physical mindset, not one that shies from contact.
- He stays physical in coverage downfield, which helps him get into great position to make an interception, but the NFL is strict on contact, and he might take a while to adjust to that.
- Prone to wandering in underneath zone coverage when a receiver isn’t in the immediate area. He’ll have to stay discipline or attack the line of scrimmage instead of wandering, because the field can become 11 on 10 if he takes himself out of the play.
- Lets the receiver get a clean release off the line of scrimmage too often. He will need to use his arm length to jam initially and then use his athleticism to smother his man downfield. The potential is there, but now he has to refine his press technique.
- His hands are poor, dropping at least three interceptions that hit him in the hands in 2013.
- First Team All-CUSA cornerback in 2013
- Suspended for 2013 season opener after being arrested for having illicit drugs in his possession, according to the Houston Chronicle.
- Graduating with a degree in economics.
- Former 2-star recruit from Converse, Texas.
Gaines is a sneaky-good athlete that shows solid intelligence on the field as well. Most hadn’t heard of him before his explosive NFL combine performance, but he’s been a shutdown cornerback in back-to-back seasons at Rice. I think in a zone or off-man scheme he can be a great cornerback.
Draft Projection: Second round