Jason Verrett is a California-born cornerback, who played his college ball at Texas Christian University (TCU). Verrett is considered one of the premier corners in this year's NFL draft, but he has not always been considered a top-tier guy; he's worked hard to make it to where he is today. After playing running back and defensive back in high school, Verrett was overlooked by Division I schools due to academic reasons, and opted to take the path of junior college, attending Santa Rosa Junior College. Verrett's performance at Santa Rosa, where he earned All-Conference honors, was enough to garner attention from bigger schools, and he ended up with the Horned Frogs for the 2011 season. In three seasons at TCU, Verrett proved himself as a premier cover-corner, earning All Big-12 honors in 2012 and 2013, and First Team All-American honors in 2013. He finished his three seasons at TCU with 160 tackles (10 TFL), nine interceptions and 34 pass deflections.
ESPN has ranked Verrett as an 89, which on their scale signifies an outstanding prospect. Verrett has been mocked to the Browns (26), Bengals (24), and Niners at (30), but could be on the Broncos' radar to fill out the corner position. With numerous teams at the back end of the first round looking for corner help, it's quite possible that Verrett has his name called before the Broncos are on the clock, but he's been a guy that Denver fans seem intrigued by, and injury flags in his senior year may scare off some GMs. The senior corner from TCU is a gritty, tough player to play against and is one of the most athletic defensive backs in this year's draft class. His addition would shore up the Broncos secondary, without question.
Cornerback, Senior, TCU
Height: 5'9" Weight: 189 lbs. 40 Time: 4.38
Arm Length: 30 5/8" Hands: 9 1/4"
Bench Press: 19 reps (Pro Day) Vertical Jump: 39.0 inches
Broad Jump: 128 inches 3 Cone Drill: 6.69 seconds
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.00 seconds
An athletic corner, who has excellent top end speed, and quick short-burst acceleration in both his back pedal and when running flat out. Plays a physical, scrappy style of football, making him hard to play against. Makes seamless hip rotations to break out of his backpedal. Great closing speed, returns to the ball very well, and has the ability to make quick read and react plays when the ball is in the air. Verrett tackles well in the open field, and provides solid run support; he does not attack the ball-carrier, but breaks down well and puts himself in good positions to make tackles. Tight man coverage, deterring opposing QBs from throwing his way. Positions well in zone coverage and reads opposing quarterbacks well. Physical in press coverage, and if beaten at the line has great closing speed to minimize the gap between him and his receiver. Makes smart breaks on the ball, and his athleticism allows him to make plays on the ball in the air that others at his size can't. Very smart player, who makes up for his size with sound positioning and great football instincts.
Plays larger than his size, but is overpowered by big WRs and TEs, especially when being blocked in the run game. Despite plus athleticism, can have a difficult time in jump ball situations with stronger receivers. Too many penalties on defense, needs to become a more polished player and avoid holding and pass interference penalties. Tackles well in the open field, but will need to get lower with the stronger players in the NFL. Multiple injuries are not a good sign, especially as a small player headed into the NFL.
Does Verrett fit with the Broncos?
Arguably, the Broncos' two biggest needs heading into the draft are on the offensive line at the guard position, and a three-down linebacker; however, cornerback is also an area that needs addressing. Heading into 2014, the Broncos have Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib as their one-two punch at corner, but lack a bona-fide third corner. Kayvon Webster showed sparks of brilliance in 2013, but it was hard to get a solid read on him because of injuries to him and Harris down the stretch, and it's quite apparent that Tony Carter is not someone who can be relied upon as a top three corner in the league. Verrett could be a very good nickel corner, who can play in the slot and on the outside, and would likely be an immediate upgrade on Webster if he can stay healthy at the NFL level. Verrett played exclusively against the number one guy on opposing teams for his final two years at TCU, according to his coach, Gary Patterson; this bodes well for his future development in the NFL. Although he would occupy the nickel corner role if drafted by the Broncos this year, Verrett is a guy who could seamlessly step into one of the top two corner positions if Talib or Harris were to be hurt. Verrett is a very talented player, but there are a couple reasons that he may not end up in a Broncos uniform: 1) There are numerous teams ahead of the Broncos that are in need of a corner; 2) John Elway seems to be trying to mold the Broncos into a more physically imposing team on defense, and although Verrett plays aggressively, he doesn't seem to fit the type of player that Elway is trying to add.