Feet: Quiet feet with flexible ankles to enjoy a full change of direction range. Aggressive with his footwork and gains a lot of ground on his first instinct, but has quiet contact with the ground and can flip directions and change stride length with excellent instincts and reflexes. Feet can deaden at the snap at press coverage, which forces him into recovery situations he doesn't need to be in.
Man Technique: Highly physical corner who loves to crowd the kitchen and cancel throwing windows before they develop. Versatile in playing from various leverages and is adept at getting his eyes into the backfield in timing with route breaks to find the ball first and play through the catch point. Grabbiness can draw flags but it's worthy for his play style.
Zone Technique: Not super polished here, but has flashy reps that illustrate promise. Clearly understands route concepts and doesn't play himself out of position when his side suddenly vacates players. Can rock n roll with success and has great transitional quickness to get connected, but his spacing tends to be too distant early in reps. Doesn't sail technique well.
Press Technique: Has the goods, folks! Shows success in both soft-shoe and kick-step techniques and has the requisite length and agility to win in both. Feet can deaden and weight can rock back at the snap when soft-shoeing , which allows releases to immediately work to his outside shoulder, but his recovery footwork and angles are delightful, and he never misses an opportunity to crowd in the contact window. Aggressive kick-step technique works flawlessly and he can open his hips and speed-turn with success to respond to release moves. It's all there.
Ball Skills: Multiple quality PBUs on film generated as a result of quality eyes and crowding play style. Anticipates the catch point in phase with the receiver and is successful attacking the catch point with his back to the football. Understands how to work underneath breaking routes without losing phase with the receiver to get in a position to make plays. Solid length.
Mental Processing: Highly instinctual player who is at his worst when he's forced to sit and read patiently in off-man coverage or zone spacing. Will be suckered in by action in front of him and loves to be aggressive filling against constraint plays, which leaves him susceptible to routes developing behind him. Feel for routes breaking in man coverage is quality.
Reactionary Quickness: Flexible player with a full range of motion at his disposal. More twitched up than he is particularly agile laterally, but the explosiveness allows for him to quickly get in phase with receivers in the trail or attack downfield on short-breaking routes. Immediate reaction to receivers settling for the football or flashing hands at the catch point creates a ton of his high-quality plays. Ability to flip his feet and hips at the line is sublime.
Fluidity: Quality mover with a good profile for mirror man coverage from various alignments. Has great swivel and drive from odd angles to the ground and recovers his weight nicely when he gets beat off a bad release move. Better lateral agility would help him win more at the line of scrimmage in releases, but he opens his hips/feet so quickly that he conceals some of his agility limitations.
Tackling: He'll stamp you and then let you know about it, man. Highly physical dude with good density and great velocity to generate displacement force and finish tackles downhill. Able to chop down bigger receivers and ball-carriers at the hips and knees with nice flexibility to drop his hips and shoulders and carry power through the contact point.
Round Grade: incomplete
Best Trait: Man Tech
Worst Trait: Tackling
Player Comparison: Darius Slay
Summary: Damon Arnette is a Day 1 corner prospect for teams looking for a starter in press coverage, which should be every team in the league. The only concern with Damon Arnette's pro projection is the time it took for him to develop into a starter, as Arnette was a rare senior in the Ohio State secondary given his shaky junior performance. However, in his final season, Arnette displayed an aggressive approach to press coverage that allowed him to win by disrupting route timing early and crowding route stems in the short game. Arnette doesn't have elite speed and can lose own downfield routes, but his transitional quickness and hip mobility allow him a full range of short-area recovery, and he has tremendous ball skills at the catch point at all angles. Arnette should start in Year 1 in the league and find success as long as he keeps light feet at the line of scrimmage.