Following the release of Casey Hayward over the weekend, the Chargers were in some hot water as, at the time, Chris Harris was really the only corner left on the roster apart from some undrafted players. Getting Michael Davis to re-sign for three more years was a HUGE move and stops the Bolts from feeling the need to reach on a corner in the first round of this year. However, corner is still a need if the Bolts plan on using a high amount of Nickel to stop today’s modern NFL offense.
That’s why today’s news about a prospect meeting should be met with “hoorays” and other exclamations. According to The Draft Network’s Justin Melo, the Chargers met with Florida State cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. for the second time this offseason, further solidifying the strong interest the team seems to have in him.
#FSU CB Asante Samuel Jr. has recently met virtually with the #Bengals, #Lions, #Chiefs, #Rams, #Bears, #49ers, #Cardinals & #Chargers.— Justin M (@JustinM_NFL) March 15, 2021
Previously reported: #Packers, #Seahawks, #Falcons, #Dolphins, #Eagles, #Chargers, #Titans, #Saints, #Washington and #Cardinals. #NFLDraft
At 5’10 and 190 pounds, Samuel isn’t the normal type of corner you see the Chargers covet, but there’s a new defensive mind at the helm and so changes to past archetype preferences should be tossed out.
Samuel best fits in a man-heavy scheme where he can utilize his instincts and athleticism in mirroring pass-catchers. His short-area quickness keeps him in the back pocket of receivers and that inherently keeps him in good positioning for taking the ball away. According to TDN scout Joe Marino, Samuel still has plenty of progress to make in zone coverage as he played an overwhelming amount of man while at FSU. He also needs to work on getting his head around and finding the ball in the air more consistently. Staying with receivers is the hardest part of coverage, so fixing that issue doesn’t seem so daunting at the next level.
Samuel Jr. also offers the versatility to play in the slot if needed. While Harris is the team’s starting nickel defender, it would allow the defense to move those two around in order to better matchup on opposing offenses without sacrificing talent at the crucial position.
Samuel finished his time in Tallahassee with four career picks and 29 pass breakups, including 14 in 2019. His 2020 season saw him pick off three passes, break up six more, and recover two fumbles en route to earning First-Team All-ACC honors.