Zone Cover Skills
Zone Cover Skills
Emerson plays in a scheme where they run mostly zone principles. He is great when he can open to the field while keeping his eyes on both receiver and the quarterback. Emerson takes gambles on receivers running underneath routes and tries to jump the route. Emerson has a great arm length that allows him to cover a wide range of space and break up passes that seem out of reach.
Emerson shows that he is a willing tackler. In run support, Emerson will disengage with blockers to make the tackle on the ball-carrier. He also flashed the ability to disrupt screens, approaching them with an aggressive style and making the tackle for a loss.
Emerson has exceptional length that he utilizes in multiple facets of his game. At the line of scrimmage, he uses his long wingspan to press receivers and make it difficult for them to get a clean release. He also uses his length to make it difficult for quarterbacks to fit the ball into small pockets by getting in the way with his arm length.
Martin Emerson is from the state of Florida and chose Mississippi State over in-state schools such University of Miami, FIU, and FAU. Since his arrival in Starkville, Emerson has seen significant playing time, appearing in more than 30 games during his career. Emerson has exceptional length. When he is able to get hands on the receiver in press coverage, he has the ability to smother the receiver and prevent them from releasing into their route.
As an athlete, Emerson shows good reactionary athleticism in zone coverage to come up and make tackles on underneath routes. At Mississippi State, Emerson played in a predominantly zone defense that believed in keeping receivers in front of them. This style affected Emerson’s ball production, resulting in him only having one interception in his career for the Bulldogs. Emerson has scheme-specific athletic traits that he will have his best production in Cover 2 and Cover 3 schemes. Emerson has a great frame that will get teams’ attention throughout the draft process but has limited athleticism that only makes him a fit for specific teams.
Ideal Role: Zone defense where he can get eyes on the quarterback and receiver
Scheme Fit: Variations of Cover 2 and Cover 3 zone concepts
Written by Keith Sanchez
Games watched: Memphis (2021), LSU (2021), Alabama (2021), Ole Miss (2021).
Best Game Studied: Memphis (2021)
Worst Game Studied: Alabama (2021)
Man Coverage Skills: Emerson plays his best man coverage reps when he can press the receiver and disrupt them at the line of scrimmage. He has a long wingspan so he is able to smother receivers at the line of scrimmage, giving them little room to get a good release. At the top of the route, Emerson is really handsy and often holds receivers, which will result in a penalty in the NFL. You also see receivers get separation both laterally and vertically away from Emerson and expose his lack of quick-twitch and down-the-field speed.
Zone Coverage Skills: See Above.
Ball Skills: This player has a limited amount of plays made on the ball. At Mississippi State, they run a scheme that tries to eliminate deep throws and gives offenses the underneath route. This limits the number of opportunities Emerson has to make a play on the ball deep down the field. Most of his PBUs come on underneath routes where he has to slant and drive on the route to disrupt the pass.
Tackling: See Above.
Versatility: At Mississippi State, Emerson aligned at the left corner position and rarely moved from that alignment. Occasionally, when receivers align in bunch sets, Emerson will move further inside to act as the press guy. Emerson is a high-hipped corner that has long strides that affects his short-area quickness. With that being said, I don’t believe that Emerson will be an effective nickel corner.
Competitive Toughness: This is a highly-competitive player. He works to challenge every route by the receiver. He also shows his competitive nature when playing the run. Emerson is a corner that will fight to disengage from blocks to make the tackle on the perimeter, which is an example of his willingness to do what is necessary for the team to be successful.
Functional Athleticism: Emerson is a tall, athletic athlete that has long limbs and a well-built-out frame. With this frame, Emerson does a good job of reacting to underneath routes using a quick plant and driving to close. While he is efficient in his coverage of short-to-intermediate routes, Emerson lacks the top-end speed to carry receivers deep down the field.
Football IQ: Mississippi State runs a zone defense that places a huge responsibility on defensive backs to communicate and understand route concepts. Emerson’s understanding of routes is shown through his ability to properly pass off routes. He is a great communicator and usually stays disciplined in his zone.
Run Defending: Emerson is an active run defender. When the run comes his way, he works to disengage with blockers so he can make the tackle. He is a corner that has a physical temperament.
Length: See Above.
TDN Consensus: 73.38/100 (Fourth Round Value)
Crabbs Grade: 74.00/100
Marino Grade: 72.00/100
Harris Grade: 72.00/100
Sanchez Grade: 75.50/100