Man Cover Skills – Does well when he's given the chance to play in the face of his opponent. Shows some impatience at the LOS and as a result can give up too easy of a release. His ability to squeeze routes from the hip once he's in the trail is excellent, however.
Zone Cover Skills –He does not showcase a great deal of short area quickness to explode to the football. He's a heady player who does well in over-top leverage to peep the eyes of the passer and shade his landmarks as necessary. Good anticipation in deep third.
Feet/Change of Direction –He's got a lot of work to do in order to iron out his flip to carry receivers down the field. Steps are often long and don't promote quick reaction if receivers decide to break a route off as he's opening vertically. Short area burst tested well, but functional application requires technique.
Ball Skills –Tons of ball production, his wingspan and football IQ allow him to work into positioning to challenge the ball. Love how well he high points the football at the catch point and his awareness to extend back to the LOS to maximize his reach.
Flexibility –Not sure his hip looseness will help him any when having to flip 180 degrees and get vertical in a hurry. He's got plenty of hinge through the torso in bail technique to keep his hips open and eyes forward. His catch radius and body control at extreme angles are excellent.
Acceleration –Long speed is just fine, he's not a true blazer but once he's flipped vertically he can open his strides and take ample space to play turn and run coverage in man. He's got some lag getting himself back up to speed on account of footwork issues.
Zone Spacing –Click and close is only average and he's too soft in off coverage to really drive home and make up ground unless he's facing a weak armed passer. His leverage and ability to stay in position as a deep defender enable optimism for a role early on.
Competitive Toughness –Love how physical he plays. If he's on the body of receivers, he's pinning them down at the catch point. He's got some booming hits in his pads, too. Quick to flush and step up to the LOS vs. screens and blow up point men in the blocks.
Run Support –He'll second guess himself sometimes but it's usually as a conservative measure when tasked with playing the last line of defense. Quick to ID in zone coverage and can step inside to beat a block on the boundary.
Tackling –He's fearless here. Like his attitude and aggression to stay in attack mode in the open field and come to balance or cut low and take out the legs of the ball carrier. Large wingspan for wrap and roll scenarios at the catch point.
PROSPECT COMPARISON - Pierre Desir
BEST TRAIT – Ball Skills
WORST TRAIT – Transitions
BEST FILM – Michigan (2018)
WORST FILM – Ohio State (2018)
RED FLAGS – None
Justin Layne is a developmental cornerback who has the necessary physical skills to become a high end starting cornerback at the NFL level. Layne has terrific ball skills, prototypical length and good long speed. Where he's lacking? Layne is pretty rough around the edges in his transitions and struggles when detached from receivers to transition and gave up a lot of soft receptions as a result. With greater footwork, Layne has excellent potential.
ROUND GRADE - Third Round