Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida (Height: 6’0¼”; Weight: 191 lbs)
NFL Comparison: Tarell Brown, CB, Oakland Raiders
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+ Above-average height that exceeds desired threshold for many teams
+ Good quickness that allows him to cover underneath routes well
+ Strong press corner with good technique
+ Experienced playing as boundary and slot cornerback
+ Aggressive against the run but plays within the defense
- Poor instincts in coverage; loses location of receiver downfield too often
- Struggled in matchups against bigger, stronger receivers; needs to add strength
- Stiff hips lead to wasted steps in trigger down from backpedal
- Poor ball skills; doesn’t locate the ball downfield, instead gets overly grabby
- Missed 11 games during his career; can he stay healthy?
Marcus Roberson has an above-average athletic build with room to add weight to his frame. His short-area quickness is good, as he possesses quick feet. Roberson is a poor vertical leaper, which contributes to his trouble defending at the point of contest. His hips are stiff when turning and running downfield.
Roberson has had multiple incidents that led to discipline from his collegiate coaching staff. In 2011, he was arrested and charged with underage drinking. Late in 2013, he was suspended for violating team rules. There aren’t many positive remarks about Roberson’s character from coaches or teammates during his time at Florida.
At Florida, Roberson lined up at both boundary and slot cornerback. He often played press coverage and split time in zone and man. While in press-man, he rarely had safety help over the top to protect him in case he blew his coverage. For zone, he was able to play more aggressively because he had safety help in Cover 2 schemes.
Roberson struggles to look back to the ball while downfield in coverage. He often grabs at the receiver instead of locating the ball in mid-air and reacting to it. He doesn’t anticipate routes effectively, so great ball skills can help raise his overall game to the next level.
Roberson had multiple opportunities throughout 2012 and 2013 to make interceptions but dropped passes that hit him directly in the hands. He will need to improve his catching ability.
Against the Run/Tackling
Roberson plays with good intensity and assertion against the run. Although he struggles shedding blocks, he doesn’t give up on plays and is an asset to the defense against the run. He plays with discipline by filling his gap consistently and doesn’t over-pursue the ball carrier as they cross the line of scrimmage.
His tackling ability is average for a cornerback, as he will go through stretches of poor form but can deliver well-timed hits.
Since Roberson often played in press coverage, his strength is pressing receivers to disrupt their routes and timing. His technique in press is inconsistent but promising, showing a strong initial punch with good hand placement. As his strength increases he can become more effective in moving big receivers.
While in catch-man coverage, Roberson struggles to recognize routes and gets eaten up because he gives far too much room. Since he doesn’t have great speed, he tries to compensate for his speed by giving yards as room for error.
Roberson has good potential in Cover 2 defenses, which emphasize the ability to press and use short-area quickness to force risky throws on underneath routes. If his confidence and technique improve, he might be able to play as a rotation player in Cover 3. His distance speed is good enough, but he needs to stop holding receivers downfield.
Roberson shows poor technique during his backpedal and transition to throttling down due to his physical limitations. He flips his hips open too early in his backpedal, causing him to struggle coming back to the ball efficiently. His footwork will need to be cleaned up significantly.
When defending downfield routes, Roberson struggles to locate the ball and instead plays the receiver. By reacting to the receiver, he has no chance at forcing a turnover and instead hopes to cause an incompletion. He also maintains contact way past the five-yard limit, leading to costly defensive penalties.
Future Role/Scheme Versatility
Marcus Roberson doesn’t have much scheme versatility, as he is a press specialist who needs safety help over the top. He could play either inside as a slot cornerback or outside as a boundary cornerback due to his mixture of quickness and ability to disrupt at the line of scrimmage.