Jeff Okudah is likely to get drafted in the top-five in the upcoming NFL Draft, but he is not the only Ohio State cornerback who could make a mark in the NFL. Damon Arnette is a skilled defender who could make an impact on Sundays. He is here to show the world that Ohio State truly is DBU.
Pros: Arnette has excellent movement skills. He has smooth hips and good change-of-direction speed.
He also has good ball skills and is frequently disrupting passes. He maintains eye-discipline in both man and zone defense. In man coverage his focus remains on the receiver’s hips. In zone coverages he reads the quarterback and breaks on his indicators.
He is a physical, whether pressing a receiver at the line of scrimmage, making a tackle, or disengaging from blocks. He’s also extremely tough, Arnette, made a living pressing and jamming receivers all season despite having a broken right wrist.
Arnette is a versatile player who can play in the slot as well at outside corner, which adds to his overall value.
Cons: His 4.56 40 time at the combine was troubling, but his film does not show any deficiency in the speed department.
He is a willing tackler, but his technique could hurt him at the next level. He will reach and lunge and not stay disciplined to the defensive funnel, creating potential for the ball carrier to bounce out wide.
Red Flags: None
NFL Comp: Aqib Talib
Bengals Fit: With the departure of Darqueze Dennard and the physical nature of his play, Arnette could be the long-term answer at the Bengals are looking for at slot corner in case Mackensie Alexander bolts after this year. Playing inside would keep him out of the deep field zones and allow him to utilize his quickness.
Draftability: Arnette’s 40 time probably pushes him out of the first 50 picks. The Bengals could likely get him in the third round.
Summary: Arnette is impressive on film. He is a tough, physical cornerback who loves to initiate contact. He has equal success in both zone and man coverage and is very good in run support. His timed speed is a bit of a concern, but there does not seem to be any issue with his game speed.