Scouting report: Joe Haden, CB, Florida

Sporting News’ Pro Football War Room has hundreds of player evaluations in preparation for the 2010 NFL draft. Here is a capsule look at prospect Joe Haden.
 
NFL position: CB
Height: 5-11 3/4
Weight: 193
40 time: 4.46
Current projection: First-round pick
NFL comparison: Leon Hall, Bengals.
 
Coverage skills: Is a natural. Is physical, but must improve technique. Shows a choppy and high backpedal, limiting ability to transition as quickly as he could. More often than not, uses a side-pedal/shuffle rather than a straight backpedal and thus can be turned around by receivers who disguise routes until the break point. When in "trail" coverage, maintains good position on receiver’s hip, jostling and slowing receiver with slight contact and then using inside arm to break up passes. Grade: 7.5
 
Run/pass recognition: Shows great instincts. Does not get fooled by pump fakes or misdirection plays, and consistently stays in good coverage position. Reads quarterbacks/routes well to close quickly despite poor footwork. Grade: 8.0
 
Closing speed: Is explosive, usually arriving in time to break up the pass. Shows elite closing speed in pursuit; reaches full speed quickly to reach the ballcarrier quickly. Grade: 8.5
 
Ball skills: This is best asset. Controls body well to reach in front of receivers to break up passes without committing penalties. Is aggressive going for breakups. Shows good instincts and ball skills with back to quarterback, reading receiver well to know when to turn his head and go for the ball. Shows good hands. Doesn’t cut in front of receivers often to make tough interceptions; all interceptions we’ve seen on film came when he was in "off" coverage. Grade: 8.0
 

Run support: Is tough and aggressive, and will deliver hard hits. On quick dump-off passes to running backs, flies upfield, avoids blocks and closes quickly to make the tackle. Shows surprising competitiveness to fight through receivers’ blocks to make tackles. Grade: 8.5

 
Bottom line: Haden, a junior, is so physically gifted he will really impress anyone who has questions about his ability to overcome his technique problems. He is an instinctive defender who consistently competes at a high level and makes plays all over the field. Haden is not a finished product, but his combination of athleticism, explosiveness, competitiveness, instincts, toughness and ball skills have us convinced he will improve his technique enough to become a very productive NFL starter.
 
For more than 665 player scouting reports from Lande and his team of former NFL scouts — plus updated Mock Draft, Super 99 rankings and more — go to warroom.sportingnews.com.
Sporting News’ Pro Football War Room has hundreds of player evaluations in preparation for the 2010 NFL draft. Here is a capsule look at prospect Joe Haden.
 
NFL position: CB
Height: 5-11 3/4
Weight: 193
40 time: 4.46
Current projection: First-round pick
NFL comparison: Leon Hall, Bengals.
 
Coverage skills: Is a natural. Is physical, but must improve technique. Shows a choppy and high backpedal, limiting ability to transition as quickly as he could. More often than not, uses a side-pedal/shuffle rather than a straight backpedal and thus can be turned around by receivers who disguise routes until the break point. When in "trail" coverage, maintains good position on receiver’s hip, jostling and slowing receiver with slight contact and then using inside arm to break up passes. Grade: 7.5
 
Run/pass recognition: Shows great instincts. Does not get fooled by pump fakes or misdirection plays, and consistently stays in good coverage position. Reads quarterbacks/routes well to close quickly despite poor footwork. Grade: 8.0
 
Closing speed: Is explosive, usually arriving in time to break up the pass. Shows elite closing speed in pursuit; reaches full speed quickly to reach the ballcarrier quickly. Grade: 8.5
 
Ball skills: This is best asset. Controls body well to reach in front of receivers to break up passes without committing penalties. Is aggressive going for breakups. Shows good instincts and ball skills with back to quarterback, reading receiver well to know when to turn his head and go for the ball. Shows good hands. Doesn’t cut in front of receivers often to make tough interceptions; all interceptions we’ve seen on film came when he was in "off" coverage. Grade: 8.0
 

Run support: Is tough and aggressive, and will deliver hard hits. On quick dump-off passes to running backs, flies upfield, avoids blocks and closes quickly to make the tackle. Shows surprising competitiveness to fight through receivers’ blocks to make tackles. Grade: 8.5

 
Bottom line: Haden, a junior, is so physically gifted he will really impress anyone who has questions about his ability to overcome his technique problems. He is an instinctive defender who consistently competes at a high level and makes plays all over the field. Haden is not a finished product, but his combination of athleticism, explosiveness, competitiveness, instincts, toughness and ball skills have us convinced he will improve his technique enough to become a very productive NFL starter.
 
For more than 665 player scouting reports from Lande and his team of former NFL scouts — plus updated Mock Draft, Super 99 rankings and more — go to warroom.sportingnews.com.

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