DRAFT PROFILE: Asante Samuel Jr., Cornerback, Florida State
Measurables: 5’10” 184 LBs
Asante Samuel Jr. is a 22 year old cornerback for the Florida State Seminoles. The son of four time All-Pro cornerback Asante Samuel, AJ hails from Sunrise, Florida, where he played his high school football at St. Thomas Aquinas where he helped lead the school to 7A State Championships in his sophomore and junior seasons. AJ was ranked as a consensus four-star recruit and number 25 overall by ESPN, while being named an Under Armour All-American and first-team all-state honors as a senior. With that many honors, AJ had a full recruiting process which led to him choosing Florida State over numerous offers from Miami, Alabama, LSU and Ohio State. During his time at Florida State, AJ was named to the Third Team All-ACC in 2019 and First Team All-ACC in 2020 while compiling 78 tackles, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and 4 interceptions between the two seasons. Samuel is a bit undersized for the position but covers up his size with outstanding man coverage ability, game breaking speed and aggressive tackling. Unlike most undersized corners, Samuel is a competitive run defender with good tackling ability and isn’t a liability in this aspect. Size may suggest that he’s best suited for a slot only role but he is fully capable for playing on the outside in the NFL, although he does have some slot experience. Playing mostly man coverage in college, Samuel could stand to improve in zone where he doesn’t seem all that comfortable. As far as ball skills, he’s slightly above average. He isn’t consistent in turning his head to find the ball which creates issues when challenged from speedier receivers.
- Quick Feet
- Positional Versatility
- Fluid Hips
- Good Back Pedal
- Man Coverage
- Willing Tackler
- Gap Discipline vs. Rush
- Ball Skills
- Zone Coverage
Denzel Ward. An undersized, sticky man corner with a lot of solid production in college but stands to grow tremendously in the NFL. Much like Ward, AJ can take an elite level step forward if he showcases his ability to grow in zone coverage and get his head around with his back to the line-of-scrimmage. Defensive coordinators have to be willing to give AJ a shot at covering on the outside due to his sticky man coverage while letting him grow as a zone corner but would be best suited for a man-heavy defensive scheme.
Round 2-3. Size is going to push Asante Samuel Jr. down a lot of boards because of the prototype that is set in the NFL right now. Tall, lengthy, willing tacklers who are good in coverage is exactly what NFL teams are looking for right now. If AJ were 2-3 inches taller, we’d be discussing him as a top 15 pick instead of being a second or third round prospect. A team willing to take that chance will be rewarded plentifully if they get him a defensive backs coach that is willing to put in the time to help him develop in zone coverage and working with his back to the line-of-scrimmage.
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