NAME: Rashad Fenton
SCHOOL: South Carolina
JERSEY: No. 16
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
WT: 184 lbs
Feet – Feet are quick and smooth. Is able to cleanly transition and isn’t guilty of committing many false steps. Showcases good spring/bounce in plant and drive situations. Remains balanced and patient throughout his back pedal. Movement skills aren’t an issue.
Man Coverage – Has the length and foot speed to pattern match but he lacks the instincts to consistently stay connected. Is often late to read and react route beaks which leads to easy separation. Is most effective when he can disrupt in the contact window to mitigate some of his reactionary issues. Lack of size shows up against bigger receivers, creating some matchup liabilites.
Tackling – Has some positive moments as a tackler but more often than not he fails to come to balance, square up, wrap up and bring his feet through the target. Is guilty of making business decisions and there are plenty of timid moments on tape. Contact power is below average.
IQ/Awareness – Painfully slow processor when mirroring routes and functioning in zone coverage. Wires often get crossed with zone responsibilities and he can be way too loose with his spacing. Lacks a natural feel for anticipating route combinations and route breaks. Technique can be sloppy.
Physicality – I like his willingness to attack blocks on the perimeter and spill runs back inside. Keeps his hands active but lack of play strength and bulk limits his effectiveness. Concedes yards after contact as a tackler on account of below average hitting power. Can get bumped during routes and at the catch point.
Ball Skills – Had his share of gift-wrapped interceptions but does not have issues finding the ball in the air. Would have more chances to compete at the catch point if he stayed connected more consistently. Wouldn’t label ball skills as a strength or weakness.
Press Technique – Can be extremely effective in this area. Despite a shorter stature, Fenton offers decent length and knows how to land his hands on the receiver in the contact window and disrupt the timing of the route. Patient footwork and balance helps him compete and be effective jamming at the line of scrimmage.
Flexibility – Has some tightness in the hips but it’s a minor gripe that rarely limits him in coverage. Changes directions and transitions smoothly – he’s just often late to do so. Carries plenty of speed through turns to carry routes vertically.
Versatility – Will have some limitations as a boundary corner in the NFL but can do so situationally. Best fit likely comes as a slot corner who gets plenty of chances to play in press and man coverage. Needs development to not be a liability in zone and must become more consistent as a tackler to command reps on Sundays.
BEST TRAIT – Press/Recovery Speed
WORST TRAIT – Zone Coverage/Processing
RED FLAGS – Play Strength
Rashad Fenton has been a fixture in Will Muschamp’s secondary and enters the NFL with considerable experience against top SEC competition. For Fenton to carve out an NFL role, he will need to become a more consistent processor and tackler while continuing to thrive in press coverage and allowing his physical gifts to mirror in man coverage. By year three, Fenton has the upside of a starting nickel corner but he must become more consistent with his technique while adding play strength. His ability to become a quicker processor will be make or break for his NFL future.
PROS: Physical corner with good length despite average height. Does his best work from press alignment. Rides receivers off the line with the proper amount of physicality. Patient in his footwork in press. Matched receivers’ speed down the field, although I didn’t see him against any burners yet. Plays hard, assignment sound football. Understands where to fill in run/short passing game support and does his job. Works hard to get off blocks. Good technique to work around receivers to contest catches when he is in position.
CONS: Lacks the click-and-close to make plays on the ball from off coverage. Not an explosive mover and won’t make up ground to close out separation late in the rep. Instincts are below average. Not reactionary and can be too loose with his spacing in zone coverages. Missed out on opportunities to make plays because he wasn’t aggressive enough in his zone. Long speed looked good, not elite. Some stiffness in his hips gets exposed when asked to play in space. Lapses in form as a tackler. Does he have the athleticism to mirror-and-match in press man coverage all the time? Hopefully we see more of him in that role to give us a better answer.