Your Best 11 Mailbag: Pigeonholing Cornerbacks, SEC Network and Brooms!

Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterMarch 28, 2014

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel passes the ball during a drill at pro day for NFL football representatives in College Station, Texas, Thursday, March 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)
Patric Schneider/Associated Press

After a couple of weeks of some longer-form answers, we have three questions today and we are going to hit them hard. Enjoy the mailbag, enjoy the weekend and folks, let's hope that spring sticks for good at some point because the kid is cold.

I have no clue about getting out of a cable contract, I've been with the same provider since I was a child. We even had the same provider when I was in college. So, while I am no help there, one thing I can say is just wait a bit.

In SEC Country there are already strong plays being made to ensure coverage. Gulfport, Miss., is pushing to have the SEC Network on Cable One, something Get The Picture brought to light recently. Dish Network and AT&T U-Verse are already on board for the network, leaving Comcast, Time Warner and DirecTV as the outsiders looking in.

While DirecTV has been able to unabashedly say no to the Pac-12 Network, the other two cable providers both carry the Pac-12 channel; expect them to do the same with SEC Network. The current situation, where there is no deal in place and people are getting antsy reminds me of the 2010 Time Warner-Disney dispute that was ultimately resolved prior to the start of the season.

Expect a deal to get done if you're with one of those two major cable companies, just expect it to come a little later than what we have seen from Dish or U-Verse.

Ha! The broom that Patti is referencing is the one that QB guru George Whitfield was using to chase Johnny Manziel around during his pro day at College Station. The broom acted as a sort of defender chasing Manziel, forcing him to move and show his footwork in the pocket.

Does it work?

Yes and no. Yes, it forces the player to move and show he can recognize the pressure in his periphery while keeping his eyes trained down the field. No, because it is not a defender coming down to crush the quarterback, and everyone associated with the drill recognizes that point. 

It does help and gives some form of simulation. After all, if a guy can't get away from the broom, a broom designed to never catch him, then he has no shot against a defender whose job is to bury him on the play. The broom is a tool, some coaches use pads while others use GAs running with hands up to force the quarterback's actions.

They all work to a degree and in practice, or in this case a pro day, you just want to make sure the players are using proper technique to escape the pocket, step up into the pocket or move side to side.

There are a lot of moving pieces with this one, so I will try to hit each one. First and foremost, the NFL draft gurus are not pigeonholing the guys, rather they are calling it as they see it. Yes, on the surface, that seems to be a function of the limited coverages most college teams employ on a game-to-game basis.

However, it is more than just what coverage you see an athlete play. Determining if a guy is best suited for Cover 2, off coverage, press man and the like is about watching how he moves and what skills each player possesses. By combining the athletes' strengths and where their strengths shine in coverages, labels get created.

And the labels matter because, as you asked, what is asked from a player in different coverages varies greatly. There are players who excel at being part of run fits and rerouting receivers before sinking into zone coverage. Those guys get labeled as Cover 2 corners because that's what is required of them in that defense.

There are other guys who have to get their hands on receivers at the line and can run with them down the field to make plays. If they are not the best tacklers and struggle in space, those are press-man corners, and that is all they can do.

Others are really most comfortable off the line, getting to see through the receiver to the quarterback and making plays. They're a lot more comfortable as secondary run than they are force players. They fit in a less aggressive quarters or Cover 3 look.

The coverages are all different and players of varying skill sets excel at the coverages that best play to those skills. The best cornerback prospects can do everything. Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert is that type of a player in this year's draft. Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard is at his best playing press man, just like the Florida prospects Marcus Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy.

Meanwhile, Ohio State's Bradley Roby, who has struggled when isolated on the edge, will be a monster for teams who like to play Cover 2 because he is willing to mix it up on run fits and is a supreme tackler.

The differences are real, not manufactured or limiting in what players can do. It is tough to excel at every coverage because the requirements differ.