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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: CB Robert Rochell

  • The Draft Network
  • January 13, 2021
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PROSPECT SUMMARY – ROBERT ROCHELL

Robert Rochell is a long press-man corner who has been one of the more productive players to come out of the program in recent memory. Tearing his ACL during his senior season of high school, he fell into the lap of the UCA program after heading toward being one of the top-ranked prospects in Louisiana. With 38 career pass breakups and 10 career interceptions, he has high-end career ball production. Originally starting out his career as a wide receiver, he quickly transitioned to the other side of the ball after his redshirt freshman season. Rochell has a well-developed frame and one that’s been an asset on the perimeter of the team's defense. A handsy, ultimate competitor, he will need to clean up his willingness to grab targets on route stems. Forceful with his initial jam attempts, he will have to develop better control at the line as one of his biggest weaknesses is air space allowed after initial releases and at the top of routes. Because of his positives, some hip stiffness, and physicality, Rochell may be graded as a safety on the draft boards of some teams. Overall, Rochell is an inconsistent prospect that has lots of intriguing highs but concerning lows. Tying those loose ends together and sustaining his consistency over an extended period of time will be the biggest battle for the team that drafts him.

Ideal Role: Developmental No. 3 outside corner that could eventually turn into a No. 2. Some teams may view him on their boards as a strong safety. 

Scheme Fit: Cover 1 press-man.

FILM EVALUATION

Written by Jordan Reid

Games watched: Austin Peay (2020), North Dakota State (2020), UAB (2020)

Best Game Studied: UAB (2020)

Worst Game Studied: Austin Peay (2020)

Man Coverage Skills: Even though Rochell starts from a balanced position when challenging receivers at the line, his posture and technique immediately deteriorate. He's very aggressive with latching onto the shoulder pads of wideouts and displays little trust in his technique. An ultra-competitive and highly-grabby nature results in him being a penalty magnet even though some aren't always ruled as being pass interference or holding. Playing on his heels frequently, when unable to get hands on, he can struggle to mirror the initial movements at the line. Physical in route stems, he’s aware of feeling and reacting to receivers while in their routes.  

Zone Coverage Skills: Rochell’s zone turns can be a bit awkward as the process of playing zone coverage looks a bit uncomfortable to him. He's still processing how to keep his eyes on the QB while also having a feel for route concepts happening in his zones. When in Cover 3, he’s not afraid to pull the trigger with coming down quickly on shallow routes where he’s forced to come downhill and tackle.  

Ball Skills: As a converted receiver, his former playing days at the position are evident. Already having the innate trait of being able to locate and attach his eyes to the ball, he attacks it out of the air in order to haul it in cleanly. In all areas of the field, he has displayed comfort with finding and playing the ball out of the air. His ball production is a clear indicator of that. 

Tackling: Rochell doesn’t show any signs of hesitancy when coming up to tackle. He isn’t a prospect that will seek out contact, but when it’s demanded of him, he’s able to roll his hips and bring ball-carriers down to the ground. An aware run defender, he makes sure to keep his outside shoulder free to force plays back inside where his help is located. 

Versatility: Having played both wide receiver and cornerback, there are some scouts that believe that Rochelle’s best fit on the next level may be at safety. Because of how well put together he is, his physicality as a run defender, plus his smarts and ball skills, he may be a prospect that eventually makes the move to the high third level of the defense. That could be an experiment that's made based on the team that drafts him, but he projects as a Cover 1 press-man corner that provides plenty of edge.

Competitive Toughness: His competitive nature is seen at the line of scrimmage, as he fully enjoys the process and challenge of slowing down targets. He's also a competitor as a run defender. His willingness to get off blocks is another area where his fierceness is evident. An emotional leader of the defensive unit, he’s often been able to infuse energy into the back end and others in the group. 

Functional Athleticism: An already tall frame results in being even more elongated because of his impatience with trusting his technique and athleticism to match and mirror the movements of matchups. Because of his tendency to play tall, his pad level immediately swells. This has helped the opposition to create extra separation at the top of the route, which is an area that Rochell has struggled with the most. Wideouts who can get in and out of breaks with ease in all directions have caused constant trouble for Rochell, as he has high allowance levels at the top of routes.

Football IQ: With slightly above average overall I.Q., he still needs polish as a run defender. Eventually seeing and understanding run concepts is still a bit foreign to him as he can get too locked in on man coverage and oblivious to the run that’s already headed toward his side. Zone coverage is where his other steps will need to be made as he’s still figuring out the nuisances and details of how to properly play with his back to the sideline.

Run Defending: As a run defender, he isn't afraid to engage in tackles. His spatial awareness with following perimeter threats too far inside or vertically down the field leaves gaping lanes outside. Noticing when outside wideouts are attempting to accomplish "two for one" blocks by carrying him inside or up the field on their paths to block interior threats is another area of growth that will be needed. His eyes become too fixated on guarding the wideout that he doesn’t notice that the action and handoff in the backfield has already happened.

Length: Playing predominantly at or near the line of scrimmage, he was allowed ample opportunity to challenge matchups at the snap. With a long wingspan and aggressive demeanor to match, he's best suited for a press-man scheme. Rochell remains aggressive but controlled at the line when attempting to get hands on. With long arms, he also has the power to match in order to challenge receivers as soon as the ball is snapped. He switches up his approach often and he will sometimes elect to simply mirror quick moves off of the line instead of attempting to jam them with either hand. 

SCOUT GRADES

TDN Consensus: 70.13/100

Joe Marino: 72.00/100

Kyle Crabbs: 70.50/100

Jordan Reid: 71.00/100

Drae Harris: 67.00/100

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