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NFL Draft Profile: A Film Breakdown of Josh Shaw

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Shaw's senior season was essentially ruined after injuring himself and fabricating the truth surrounding the incident.

However, his size (6' 1", 200 pounds) and impressive performances both in past seasons and at this year's NFL scouting combine have made many consider him a very good NFL prospect. He played both safety and cornerback in his time at USC, but he will almost definitely be a corner at the NFL level.

Shaw's size and length allows him to be physical on the line of scrimmage, and he was often asked to play press coverage under Clancy Pendergast at USC. He does a really good job of getting his hands on receivers and using his body to "squeeze" them toward the sideline, like he does here:

And, even though the receiver was flagged for offensive passing interference on this play, Shaw was still able to stick close and contest the throw with his long 31" arms, which is all you can ask for consistently from a DB:

As also shown in the above press coverage example, Shaw is pretty good at flipping his hips in transition from a backpedal to running with his receiver.

He does an excellent job again of using his body to limit the receiver's options, playing inside leverage and forcing the receiver to run outside of him. It is then easy for Shaw to flip around in coverage:

However, there are some downsides to being a "big" corner. In open space, large defensive backs can sometimes have difficulty staying with quicker receivers, especially when the receiver has a wide range of options open to him. Here, Shaw makes the mistake of stopping his feet, plays with tight hips, and doesn't play inside or outside leverage, instead allowing the receiver to dictate his own moves:

However, when Shaw can come forward and has the opportunity to break on routes/the ball, his ability in this regard really showed up as a strength on tape.

The receiver tries to run a little "whip" route back toward the sideline here, but Shaw smothers it. Shaw is too big to be bodied up by this receiver, and does an excellent job of reading the receiver's route, keeping his feet moving, and staying disciplined/not trying to jump the route:

And a great job of sticking his foot in the ground and breaking on this slant route here:

Shaw is also a willing and able tackler, which is what you really like to see in a larger cornerback:

In my estimation, Shaw is better right now as a zone corner rather than a man-coverage corner. He excels at running forward and breaking on the ball as well as tackling, all of which would really benefit him in a zone scheme. His tall stature also allows him to contest deep passes one-on-one, which he would need to do as a cover-3 corner (much like Richard Sherman or Byron Maxwell).

I could also see Shaw playing a hybrid role, as kind of a slot cornerback/safety/nickel linebacker type of player who can come in and guard big slot receivers (think Brandon Marshall, Marques Colston, etc.) or tight end receiving threats (Jimmy Graham, Travis Kelce, etc.). Shaw has experience playing multiple positions, and some team will draft him and use this versatility smartly and get a really nice role player who has the chance to play himself into a starting role.