With the Bengals' first of three fifth-round selections, the team has decided to use the No. 156 pick on Iowa cornerback Shaun Prater. Prater is the second cornerback the Bengals have taken in this draft as they used their first overall selection on Dre Kirkpatrick. They also seem to be going back and forth between offense and defense to fill holes and pick talented players on both sides of the ball.
Prater will have to be squeezed into the roster somewhere as the team is loaded on cornerbacks right now. After signing Jason Allen, Terence Newman and re-signing Adam Jones to join Leon Hall and Nate Clements and Dre Kirkpatrick, Prater, as a late-round pick, could struggled to find his spot on the team through the offseason. Prater could earn playing time, at least early in his career, by carving a place out in special teams. Of course, this could also be a sign that the team may not be comfortable with some of aging talent they have at the position heading into the season.
Prater is an athletic corner who has the quickness and mental makeup to play early at the next level. He was a three-year starter at Iowa and has been a good player against some strong talent. He will be hindered by a poor finish to his senior year that culminated in a rough showing against Oklahoma and some NFL-caliber talent.
STRENGTHS Prater is an athletic guy, he is able to cover in man and has the burst and recognition to react well when playing zone. In man, he has the hips and footwork to mirror his man down the field and the recognition to make a play on the ball. He understands how to work back in zone and see players in front of him, and he has a much better burst from a still position to react to thrown balls than he does to stay with a man deep.
WEAKNESSES Prater can struggle in man to understand when the ball is thrown. He seems lost at times when having to look back toward the quarterback. He is just average in run support and tackling.
OVERALL FOOTBALL TRAITS
|Production||"2008: (13/0) - 11-2 2009: (10/10) - 41-8-2 2010: (12/12) - 68-6-4 2011: (13/13) -- 51-3-1"|
|Height-Weight-Speed||"Slightly below average in terms of height, arm length (30 3/4) and hand size (8 1/2). Did not test at the combine due to a nagging minor hamstring injury but clocked in at 4.48 at his pro day, which is above average. "|
|Durability||Missed 2010 Eastern Illinois game with an injury. Missed 2009 Northern Iowa and Iowa State games. Missed 2009 Arkansas State game with an injury.|
|Intangibles||Suspended for the first two games of the 2009 season after being arrested for DUI in February. Passionate and love to play the game. Recipient of 2010 hustle award for work on defense and on special teams.|
CORNERBACK SPECIFIC TRAITS
|Instincts/Recognition||Possesses above-average football instincts. Flashes anticipation and route-recognition skills that allow him to get a quick jump on the ball. Can improve recognition in zone coverage and can be late picking up targets coming into his zone on occasion. Displays above-average discipline to hold water when receiver's dial up double moves.|
|Cover Skills||Above-average athlete that displays smooth movement skills. Displays fluid hips and quickly opens to turn and change direction. Needs to take an extra step or two to gather at the top of backpedal when transitioning forward. Shows very good short-area quickness. Displays ability to mirror receivers when aligned in press-man coverage. Closing burst is above-average and can cut down separation when the ball is in the air. Shows ability to quick transition and regain balance against double moves. Flashes adequate recovery speed when caught in trail position.|
|Ball Skills||Interception production dropped a bit but displays adequate hands and playmaking ability. Does nice job of using sideline as his ally and squeezing receivers when defending the deep ball. Times leaps well to go up and play the ball. However lacks of size and strength can make him vulnerable in one-on-one downfield situations against bigger and more athletic receivers.|
|Run Support||"Lack of size and strength can cause him to struggle to shed blocks against bigger and more physical receivers. Does a nice job of slipping blocks in the open field to make plays. Takes good angles in pursuit. A wrap-up-and-drag-down tackler. Can have issues getting more powerful runners off their feet in the open field. However, does show good technique and timing when submarining ball carrier's legs. "|