2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Benjamin St-Justeby Jack Gaffney April 25, 2021 0 comments
The pride of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Benjamin St-Juste looks to become yet another Canadian NFL prospect to go early in the NFL Draft. After a two-year stint at Michigan that ended rather dubiously, St-Juste found a home at Minnesota. He would then have a great opening year in 2019, followed by another solid outing in five games in 2020. Now he looks to join former secondary partner Antoine Winfield Jr as the next of PJ Fleck’s players to hit the professional ranks.
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Name: Benjamin St-Juste
Class: Redshirt Junior
Weight: 202 lbs
Man Coverage (8.5/10)
This is the attribute that will earn St-Juste his keep in the NFL. He absolutely lives for pressing off the line of scrimmage, and at times took receivers out of games for good stretches. St Juste also is excellent in one-on-one situations inside the ten-yard line. With his size, this is not much of a surprise though.
Some negatives on St-Juste, are that can tend to be a bit grabby in tight coverage situations. Also, when he is not up on the line of scrimmage, he can have some trouble preventing his man from making plays. Not every instance shown resulted in a penalty but would imagine it will at the NFL level. A game that does him no favors regarding man coverage, would be against Penn State in 2019. St Juste ended up getting beat significantly by Jahan Dotson and current Denver Bronco KJ Hamler a couple of times each.
Zone Coverage (7/10)
St-Juste seemed to give up a decent chunk of the zone assignments that showed up. However, most of these plays were not terrible give-ups, and hopefully, it is just a coaching adjustment.
Change of Direction (7.5/10)
Outside of faster receivers getting the edge of him on occasion, St-Juste was shown to be able to hang with his man consistently. Also, St-Juste has great close in speed if he does get beat a bit.
Ball Skills (8.75/10)
Despite recording zero career interceptions in college. St-Juste had an elite knack for breaking up passes. In 2019 he was on the books for 10 breakups, which ranked third in the Big Ten. This was more than current NFL corners Jeffery Okudah, Michael Ojemudia, and Damon Arnette.
Even for his size, St-Juste is great at turning his hips and adjusting to his man. On top of this, St-Juste has great closing speed on his man and almost always makes a play on the ball.
Run Support (7/10)
One play that popped up that was not great was against Michigan in 2020. St-Juste completely misjudged a gap on a play that ended up going for a 70-yard touchdown for running back Zach Charbonnet. Outside of that one play, St-Juste was solid at getting involved in the run game when he had the chance.
Much like Shaun Wade, St-Juste is an excellent tackler. He uses every bit of his 80-inch wingspan to wrap up defenders and does so excellently. Like Wade, he can lay the lumber when he must.
Route Recognition (8/10)
Outside of one play vs Penn State in 2019, in which Hamler turned him around fairly well, St-Juste is more than fine in this area. He at times will give up some ground on inside intermediate routes, then burst in to break up plays.
St-Juste is not going to win teams any track meets per se but is good athletically in other areas. His three-cone, short shuttle drill numbers from his pro day, were both remarkably like combine performances of Patrick Peterson and Jalen Ramsey. Not to say he is that level of a prospect, but an interesting note. His downfield speed could be an issue depending on how teams plan to use him as well.
He played like a corner that knows he is going to win close to every matchup in college and it showed repeatedly. It felt like when he got his hands on a receiver, St-Juste knew he was going to erase him from the play.
St-Juste would miss his entire second year at Michigan in 2018 due to a hamstring injury. Afterward, he would make the jump to Minnesota and his bill of heath appears clean from that point on. It is worth mentioning, however, that there were dubious circumstances regarding his leave from Ann Arbor. Michigan reportedly claimed that St-Juste was going to medically retire after he was absent from spring training. This of course ended up not being the case.
The tape shows that St-Juste is a quality NFL cornerback. Despite only having 18 college games played in four years, he showed great man coverage ability and has unteachable intangibles. He may end up being more of a scheme-dependent player, based on his size and coverage ability. This could have St-Juste slide, but you cannot teach being 6’3” with his wingspan and short burst speed.
Final Grade (78.75/100): Mid Third Rounder
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