We continue our scouting series on the Patriots draft picks with a look at the first of three Rutgers players chosen, cornerback Logan Ryan (third round, 83rd overall).
Alignment: Ryan aligned as a perimeter cornerback for Rutgers, often to the boundary side (the side with less distance from the football to the sideline. Some defenses prefer their best cornerback on the boundary side if he is a physical player for run defense purposes, among other reasons).
Build/athleticism: Ryan has good size and bulk for the cornerback position, standing nearly six feet tall and just over 190 pounds. He has good quickness both in his reactive movements and when accelerating at the break of a route. He has sufficient speed for the position, but is quicker that he is fast. Ryan has smooth hips and can transition from his backpedal to turn and run, and can also break off his jams at the line of scrimmage to retreat into his zone drop.
Skills/traits: What stands out when evaluating Ryan is his aggressive, physical style of play. He is unafraid to engage a wide receiver at the line of scrimmage to knock him off of his route, and he is an aggressive run defender with an edge-setting mentality. Patriots cornerbacks are asked to ably defend the run (Kyle Arrington and Devin McCourty, previously a cornerback, are both solid run defenders), and Ryan's style of play should fit in in that sense. He has good ball skills and anticipation to disrupt the football at the point of catch. He has good pattern-read skills and anticipation. The lack of top end speed hurts Ryan as a perimeter cornerback in man-to-man coverage, as bigger receivers who can leverage him have a chance to break free.
Projection: With Aqib Talib, Alfonzo Dennard and Kyle Arrington back in 2013, there's no pressure for Ryan to be an immediate defensive contributor, but look for him to be involved in sub packages as the fourth cornerback. He's an adept Cover 2 cornerback because of his ability to be physical in his jam and then sink into his zone duties. His aggressive mentality should make him a core special teams contributor as both a coverage and hold-up player during his rookie season. A solid but not spectacular cornerback who has a ceiling of being a second starter.