The lack of a Scouting Combine this year has forced NFL teams to rely on pro days for standardized athleticism testing. Coincidentally, many top draft prospects have also turned in incredible pro day performances.
South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn is no exception.
As the main attraction for South Carolina’s pro day, Horn ran a 4.39 40-yard dash, jumped 41.5 and 133 inches on the vertical and broad jump, respectively, and put up 19 reps on the bench press, all after measuring in at 6-1 and 205 pounds.
That speed and explosion at that size is not normal. Some would say it’s genetics! Horn is the son of former Pro Bowl receiver Joe Horn.
On hand to not only watch Horn amaze in the testing drills, but to also run him through positional drills, was a member of the Bengals coaching staff. Per Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy, it was a defensive backs coach for Cincinnati.
DB coaches working out CB Jaycee Horn at South Carolina pro-day:— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) March 24, 2021
The Bengals have two assistant coaches for their defensive backs, and considering the coach in question was there to work with Horn, it was likely cornerbacks coach Steve Jackson.
Horn proved why he will likely become a first-round pick in next month’s NFL draft, so it’s unlikely the Bengals would be able to take him at the top of the second round. Even if he was available, the recent acquisitions of free agent cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Mike Hilton wouldn’t leave very many current or future opportunities for Horn as a starter.
Why was Jackson himself down there to work with Horn? Because he was probably scheduled to be there before the team signed Awuzie, Hilton, and Eli Apple as well. Cornerback is not a position the Bengals are expected to draft early—if at all—next month, but if free agency didn’t play out like it did, Horn would be more on their radar.
Cincinnati’s staff have been busy working with some of the top prospects in this year’s draft class. Horn is just one of many they’ve conducted due diligence on.