2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Paulson Adeboby Charlie Parent April 28, 2021 2 comments
In a star-studded cornerback class with Jaycee Horn, Patrick Surtain, and Caleb Farley, Paulson Adebo is an underrated name that could be up there with the best of the best. Before opting out in 2020, Adebo had some serious first-round draft talk during last year’s offseason. This was obviously before the emergence of Horn and the other star cornerbacks in this year’s deep cornerback class. While the opt-out could have been a mistake for his draft stock, Adebo’s play on the field should do all the talking with regards to his talent.
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Name: Paulson Adebo
Weight: 190 lbs
Man Coverage (8.75/10)
Adebo is a superb man coverage corner. Easily one of the best corners in the class in regards to man play. He’s succeeded in both off- and on-man coverage and rarely has trouble. Where he does struggle a bit is his hands. He does a good job deploying his hands properly, just a little too late. He’ll have to get quicker with his punch to start jamming more guys at the line. Otherwise, Adebo is very skilled at mirroring routes and it seems he’s always draped over a guy when the ball comes near him.
Zone Coverage (9/10)
Adebo is an outstanding zone coverage corner. He knows exactly where he needs to go and gets to his spot easily. He’s very quick to react and make a play on the receivers in his zone. He sees the whole zone and processes everything very nicely. His route filtration is clean and there are no weaknesses in this category. His ability here is extremely impressive and he is really just an all-around fantastic zone coverage guy.
Adebos’s change of direction and hip fluidity is very good. He can be a little clunky at times, but his hips are phenomenal. He flips very well when tested vertically and through the middle of the field. He’s very agile in off-man coverage as well. He’s able to counter any sort of burst that the receiver tries on him in off-man.
Ball Skills (8.5/10)
There are many instances of Adebo having great ball skills but several where you are just left wanting a bit more. He tallied up eight interceptions in a two-year playing career at Stanford. This is a really high amount and his skill in this area does match up with the stats. He’s made some super plays in the air and has demonstrated tremendous body control. There are just a few times where he’s been unable to locate the ball to break it up, even when he has the receiver locked down. Ball skills were actually the top trait that he focused on over his opt-out season. This skill won’t be an issue in the NFL, but if he can add a bit more to it, he can be absolutely fantastic in this area.
There were some concerns and skeptics about Adebo’s athleticism and long speed in the NFL but he shut that down at his pro day. He ran a 4.42 40-yard dash and plays just like this speed. This isn’t necessarily an insane 40, but it’s definitely promising and shows he can get it done. He measured in with a broad jump of 10’1″ demonstrating his leaping ability. The athleticism matches up here and there really should not be concerns about his ability to move downfield.
Run Defense (9/10)
Adebo is one of the best run defenders in this class. he flies into the box and gets directly to the ball carrier. He can be a little over-aggressive at times, but he’s really great in most reps. Some of the plays he makes can wow you, especially from the mindset that this is a cornerback. He does not have any experience at safety, but if he wanted to, he could probably play there really well because of his run defending ability.
Adebo is an average tackler. He’s shown good flashes in his technique to wrap guys up but there’s still a good amount of misses on tape. His tackling varies in different areas of the field too. He’s more sound when tackling receivers, but not fully clean here. Against the run, there are a bit more misses and some areas to fix up. Overall, tackling shouldn’t be an issue for Adebo in the NFL but it still can be worked on a bit.
Adebo is rarely beaten, but when he is, he’s quick to dig back into the play. He seems to always be draped around the defender at the point of catch which shows how good his composure is. A cornerback with good composure is a cornerback who can succeed in the NFL assuming they have the compensating factors, and Adebo does.
Versatility is an interesting area for Adebo. He’s only really played on the outside in college. Thankfully, he’s played on both the left and right sides with similar results. He has very nice length for the outside and it should be the place he plays in the NFL. However, there are several places he could line up where he doesn’t have experience. For example, Adebo could go at safety or even a slot corner because of the talent he has. It will be interesting to see where teams use him at the next level if it’s not as a boundary cornerback.
Competitive Toughness (3.75/5)
Adebo is on-and-off in this area. He’s a physical player all around but does not get his hands on guys early which is a bit concerning as far as his willingness. He’s not afraid to tackle and get dirty in run defense and there are flashes of good effort all around.
Injury History (4/5)
Adebo missed a couple of games in his sophomore season due to injury. Otherwise, his list is pretty clean and he hasn’t shown any signs of setbacks from any minor issues.
After opting out in 2020, Adebo’s stock has taken a hit. This is not for any good reason, however. Adebo is a super talented player that should excel in coverage at the next level. There are no real weaknesses to his game and everything, except maybe tackling, is very very clean. Adebo projects as a day two selection in the NFL Draft but he should be going in the first round, even with the other great corners that will go ahead of him. He’s got the potential to be a high-caliber starting outside cornerback in the NFL who still has some room to grow.
Player Grade (84/100): Late-First Round