Dominique Franks, Oklahoma, CB
Height and Weight: 5'11, 194 lbs
2007- 13 games played, 5 tackles, 0 passes broken up, 0 sacks, 0 forced fumbles, 0 interceptions
2008- 14 games played, 44 tackles, 10 passes broken up, 0 sacks, 0 forced fumbles, 4 interceptions
2009- 13 games played, 47 tackles, 5 passes broken up, 0 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 2 interceptions
When Dominique Franks said that he was returning to Oklahoma for his senior season in December, I thought that it was probably a good choice. He is extremely talented, and a senior season to showcase his improvements could vault him into a first round selection. So I was a little surprised a few weeks ago when Franks announced that he had changed his mind and would now enter the 2010 NFL Draft. Even after the draft committee said he was a 3rd round prospect
Franks started every game the last two seasons for the Sooners and has recorded six interceptions and 15 passes defensed in that span. During that time, he was awarded first-team all-conference accolades in 2009 and second-team honors in 2008. Franks was also a capable kick and punt returner while at Oklahoma. He improved his 40-yard dash at Oklahoma's pro day, running a 4.40, after managing only a 4.59 at the combine.
Projected Round: Bottom 1st - 3rd
A tall, long corner who reads the action well in front of him and has a nose for the ball, Franks possesses an explosive first step for his size and does a great job of clicking and closing when he's able to squat on routes. He looks most comfortable when throws are in front of him and showcases impressive closing speed and ball skills when jumping routes. But he isn't technically sound in his drop and routinely gets too high in off-coverage and will open up his hips prematurely.
He showcases some natural balance initially in his back-pedal, and the ability to stop on a dime and work back toward the ball/receiver. Franks showcases good straight-line speed, but struggles to get back out of his breaks once he opens his hips. Franks is consistently forced to regain his balance when trying to close.
He exhibits excellent ball skills in coverage, but he's blown his share of assignments during his time at Oklahoma and needs to pay more attention to detail.
Franks isn't a physical tackler, is long-armed and does a nice job playing off blocks, but he doesn't generate much power on contact and is more of a drag-down guy. Overall, he's a gifted size/speed corner who can close on the ball in front of him. But he isn't a technically sound corner, struggles to keep his feet under him and needs a lot of work in order to hold up in man coverage at the next level. His playing style reminds me a lot of former Buccaneers first-round pick Aqib Talib.
His ability to read and react to plays in front of him makes Franks a candidate for a team seeking a good zone or off-man coverage corner. He has long arms and strong hands that help when he closes on plays, but overall he is not a physical player. When Franks declared for the draft as an underclassman, he stated that he is able to "shut down one side of the field," which says more for his confidence than the reality of his ability. Last season, he had 47 tackles and two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. He flashes athleticism as a returner but seems to lack vision in finding the best place to run.
Franks has an excellent combination of size, strength and athleticism for the position. He doesn’t attack the run with consistency and should be more physical. Franks is a natural athlete with the speed, quickness and agility to contribute as a corner as well as having the size to move inside to the safety position. Franks is a better athlete than football player. Franks has excelled as a punt returner and should contribute at the next level in that capacity as well as on coverage units while honing his skills in the secondary.
Franks brings a nice combination of size, height and athleticism to the corner position. He’s been a highly durable, extremely productive player , and versatile performer who has displayed the ability to also play safety. Has special teams value with coverage experience and as a proven return man.
Franks is inconsistent in run support but could improve in this area given his physical gifts. Only plays with average instincts. He must improve his pursuit angles and become more consistent leveraging the ball.
Although Franks' coverage skills have been up and down, he shows great potential to be a cover corner. His numbers from his junior year at Oklahoma aren’t completely accurate as opposing quarterbacks wised up after his sophomore year and threw fewer balls his way.
He has a tendency to be fooled by stop-and-go routes but possesses the quick burst of speed to catch up to the route and tip the ball or make the open field tackle.
In zone coverage, Franks excels at coming off his primary man, although he struggles at times in his communication with the safety, allowing runners to get behind him unprotected on fly routes.
He has a tremendous plant-and-drive technique that keeps out routes out of the offensive playbook on his side of the field. His long limbs allows him to quickly recover with a tipped ball.
His hands aren’t the best, dropping would-be interceptions throughout his career.
Franks reads quarterback's eyes well and recognises screens and reverses often. He has great route recognition and will not only read his man, but others around him. He's a very physical corner, making contact often within the first five yards of a route. He has great technique backpedaling and turning his hips. He has good change of direction skills and will stay with his man stride by stride. Franks has the great recovery speed to bait QBs, so he can plant his foot and bat the ball away. His tackling is on or off, but he has the frame and abilities to bring down most ball carriers. With his time at Oklahoma, he never had issues with coaches. He has a strong work ethics and drive to get better.
While he excells in almost every category, Franks may need more work before he can immediately jump in and help an NFL team. He sometimes makes "bonehead" mistakes and has let a few interceptions slip through his grasp during his time in college. He doesn't possess ideal tackling technique. Franks didn't communicate well with the safeties at Oklahoma and there were more big plays allowed then there should've been. Although he has the ability to return punts and kicks, he hasn't shown flashes of being a dynamic return man.
Franks could land in multiple places on draft day. Some mock drafts have teams taking him towards the end of the 1st round, while others project he'll land somewhere in the 3rd. Franks has potential to be a solid #2 and would be a huge improvement at the #3 position. Franks can play return, safety and cornerback. He is weak against the run, but he can cover in man or play zone.