Name: Damontae Kazee
School: San Diego State
Position fit: Outside cornerback
Stats to know: 40 of the 72 passes thrown into his coverage in 2016 were either hitches or go routes. He allowed 19 catches for 316 yards, two touchdowns and had six interceptions on those targets.
What he does best:
- Solid tackler. Plays a lot of off coverage, so has to come up and make stops. Missed only five tackles from 69 attempts in 2016 when not always having an easy play to make.
- Reads the QB well. Rarely misreads where the ball is going, and it allows him to break on it well. Notched seven interceptions from 72 targets in 2016, one behind the highest figure in the nation.
- He rarely allows a player to get much after the catch, allowing 99 yards all season after the catch.
- Showed a good feel for zone, and multiple receiver threats. Made plays at times when being put in a bind between two routes.
- Measurables across the board — including size — are below average. He is just 5-foot-10 and 184 pounds, with a 40 time in the 4.5s.
- San Diego State ran quarters coverage almost exclusively, and he lined up almost entirely at right cornerback (467 of 505 coverage snaps in 2016), so there is a lot of projection involved to his NFL role.
- Was almost exclusively in off-coverage playing bail technique, so ability in press or closer to the line is projection.
- Would occasionally drift inside when bailing deep and allow a player behind him. Doesn’t have the speed to make that back up.
- Occasionally got a little physical with receivers deep in routes that would be called at the next level. Was flagged just once in 2016, but there were plays in there that would be NFL penalties.
Bottom line: San Diego State’s scheme makes Kazee’s evaluation a real challenge. There are teams in the NFL that play plenty of quarters coverage, but none that do it exclusively the way the Aztecs did, and certainly not always in off coverage with bail technique. Kazee faced little other than hitches and go routes, adding more to that struggle and his measurables have been poor to date. What is on tape however is largely good. He has the ability to defend the run and make plays on the ball in coverage, and being liberated from his college scheme could allow him to develop his skills a little bit more. He shows a really nice ability to read the QB and make the right break on the ball. His measurables will raise some concerns, but he could carve out a place as a third or fourth corner on a team and try and prove he can do more when he gets that opportunity.