It's not terribly difficult to notice one of your high-end draft selections during rookie minicamp; particularly because they are (theoretically) the most talented of the bunch. However, USC cornerback Josh Shaw, selected in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL draft, is forcing head coach Marvin Lewis to take notice.
"I noticed Josh a little more out there today because of the position he plays," said head coach Marvin Lewis when asked to compare Shaw and safety Derron Smith. "He’s going to be good. He’s going to be ahead of the curve that way, and that’s a good thing. I feel good about that. We just need to teach him to play the game as an NFL DB and not a college DB."
Shaw started 14 games during his junior season in 2013, with three starts (Hawaii, Arizona and Notre Dame) at safety and the rest at cornerback.
"Lewis smiled when asked about the difference," writes Geoff Hobson with Bengals.com. "'Hands,' he said, which means Shaw has to keep his hands off people or he’s going to be bombarded by penalty flags."
Cincinnati felt strongly enough that someone could draft Shaw in the fourth round, that they searched for a trading partner to move up earlier in the round. Despite having no takers, Shaw still fell to them at No. 120. During his three-year collegiate career (Florida and USC), Shaw generated 119 tackles, six interceptions and 14 pass deflections (mostly all at Southern California).
A recent story on Bengals.com explained that defensive backs coach Vance Joseph plans on developing Shaw as a cornerback and showed scouting tape from his days at USC. Here are a few of the quotes from the tape:
- "Look at his feet. Look at how much ground he takes up. For a cornerback that big, that’s really good."
- "He’s the left corner here and look how he lines up in the guy’s face. He gets beat off the line, but he catches back up. See how long he is and how he can recover?"
- "Smart. Versatile. Look how he read it and how much explosion he has."
- "He’s got some safety possibilities. He’s a big athlete. Strong. 26 reps (of 225 pounds). A 4.39 40. There it is. A good, big athlete."
If we're offering a maddening projection of where Shaw would sit on the team's cornerback depth chart, he'll most likely be buried behind Leon Hall, Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard (not in that order).