Could Stanley Jean-Baptiste be the Answer at Cornerback?

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Breaking down Jean-Baptiste to see how he fits as a Charger

Stanley Jean-Baptiste is another big bodied corner, who is new to the position, having played corner less than 3 years. While everyone is looking for the next Richard Sherman, Jean-Baptiste has his moments of greatness, but he also has moments that make you cringe. Before we get into where he excels, here's a look at how he stacked up to players at his position.

Measurable Jean-Baptiste Average CB at the Combine
Height 6'3 5'11.2
Weight 218 192.47
Arm Length 32 3/8 31.51"
10 yard Split 1.55 1.53
40 Yard Dash 4.61 4.5
Bench Press 13 14.5
Vertical Jump 41.5 36"
Broad Jump 128 121"
3 Cone N/A 6.89
20 yard Short Shuttle 4.33 4.16
60 Yard Shuttle N//A 11.43

Where He Wins

  • Off Coverage
  • Using Size/Athleticism to his advantage
  • Change of Direction Skills
For a 6'2 corner, it's natural to expect an athlete who is somewhat stiff. One of the things that jumps out to you right away when watching Jean-Baptiste is just how fluid of an athlete he is. It doesn't matter where he's going horizontally, or vertically, he effortlessly can flip his hips and change directions, without losing any speed. This allows him to be in contention to break up passes and be around the ball to make a play.

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This next GIF, many corners who are stiff, would take extra steps to get out of their break. This isn't the case with Jean-Baptiste, showing off his fluidity.

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Jean-Baptiste really uses his tools to his strength, as the combine numbers proved, he can jump out of the gym, and has a very lanky frame. At the line of scrimmage, he can get a great initial jam on the receiver. There's been moments when he was able to ride the receiver all the way out of bounds using his length. Another area where he uses his length is in the run game. He's able to lock his arms out, and disengage. The converted receiver shows the ability to high point the ball and catch the ball away from his body.

For a bigger corner, another common assumption is that they're limited to press coverage. Jean-Baptiste is very comfortable playing off coverage. In fact, I think he's best suited playing off the ball, where he can read the quaterback, and break on routes in his zone. Or if he's in man coverage, break on those routes. He's able to do this because of his ability to change directions, but his route recognition and ability to understand the QB's drop depth is an underrated trait of his that's not mentioned enough.

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Where He Needs to Improve

  • Form Tackling
  • Eye Discipline
  • Lunging at the line of scrimmage
One of the biggest issues with Jean-Baptiste is his form tackling. For a guy his size, he leaves his feet far too often. He lunges with his head down, and misses the tackle. Which is frustrating because this is usually after he disengages with the receiver. He needs to finish the play.

I mentioned he has good route recognition. His over aggressiveness gets the best of him. He's proven to be susceptible to double moves, which is an issue, because he doesn't have that burst to recover after he's beat. The same goes with at the line of scrimmage. Jean-Baptiste will get off balance at times and miss his jam, once he does that it's almost impossible for him to make up the ground.

His inexperience shows at times. This is usually down-field, where he gets grabby, or after his initial jam, where he could improve on his technique. He has the tools to do so, but Jean-Baptiste could be even more physical that he is at the moment.

Multiple Pro Bowl Player, Top 10 8.5 – 9.0
Highly Productive Starter, 1st Round 8.0 – 8.4
Very Good Starter, Early 2nd Round 7.8 – 7.9
Reliable Starter, 2nd Round 7.5 – 7.7
Potential Starter in Year 2, 3rd Round 7.0 – 7.4
Backup/Spot Starter, 4th Round 6.5 – 6.9
Productive Backup, 5th Round 6.0 – 6.4
Very Good Backup/STs, 6th Round 5.5 – 5.9
Quality Backup/Good STs, 7th Round 5.0 – 5.4
Backup/STs/Project Player, 7th Round 4.5 – 4.9
Priority Free Agent w/ Limitations 4.0 – 4.4
Non-Draftable < 4.0
Skill Weight Grade
Long Speed 2 1.5
Closing Speed/Acceleration 2 1.6
Ball Skills 3 2.7
Eye Discipline 2 1.3
Strength 2 1.6
Athletcism 2 1.8
Route Recognition/Instincts 3 2.6
Tackling/Run Fits 2 1
Cover Skills 4 3.6
Change of direction/Feet 3 2.8
Jean-Baptiste grades out to a 7.38, or a 3rd round talent. You can't teach his tools, and he's already progressed enough to where you can see the light starting to come on. He's still raw, and not natural enough throughout the play to be grouped with the top tier corners in the draft. I'm not sold on his deep speed/acceleration. I'm not sure he's a Day 1 starter because of this. However, I'm convinced that he will be successful in a scheme where he can play off, and read the quarterback. The ability to change directions, read the QB/WR, and ball skills are there. He just needs to be more consistent in his jam, and finish plays.

How He Fits as a Charger

Jean-Baptiste is a player that has the ceiling of a high 1st rounder, but if he doesn't develop, and clean up his game, the floor of a guy that won't make it to his second contract. In San Diego, they play a lot of off coverage, almost 70/30, in fact. This would maximize Jean-Baptiste's strengths. He would be a very good fit in the current defense. The thing is, Tom Telesco said he wanted to add speed to the position, and that's something Jean-Baptiste doesn't offer. So it'll be interesting to see how that plays out.
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