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Film Room: Cam Taylor-Britt is just what the Bengals needed

Cam Taylor-Britt is a perfect fit.

NFL Combine Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals rarely make a trade to move up in the draft, but that’s just what they did to select Nebraska cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt in Round 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft.

After making the pick, the staff praised Taylor-Britt for his energy and consistency. Let’s see what Taylor-Britt brings to the table.

Taylor-Britt is #5 in red, at the bottom of the screen.

In this clip, Taylor-Britt is in press-man coverage and defending the fade (outside vertical route) by the receiver.

He does not physically jam the receiver at the line of scrimmage. Opting instead for the glide technique, he slides back and keeps his eyes focused on the receiver. When the receiver releases outside, Taylor-Britt puts both hands on him. This is a problem. He should only use the opposite of the receiver’s releases.

Bringing his inside hand when the receiver is releasing outside will help Taylor-Britt open up his hips and make a smooth transition. Putting his outside hand on the receiver will lock out Taylor-Britt’s hips and make it harder for him to transition.

Fortunately, he removes his outside hand pretty quickly, and is able to make a smooth 180-turn.

Taylor-Britt is able to run stride for stride with the receiver, staying right on his hip. Even when he turns and looks for the ball, he does not drift off. When the pass comes, he cuts in front of the receiver and makes a play on the ball.

This was a fantastic play that demonstrates Taylor-Britt’s speed, acceleration, and hip flexibility.

Taylor-Britt is #5 in red, at the bottom of the screen.

“But coach, who is that receiver?”

Well, in this clip the receiver is Ohio State standout and 11th overall pick of the New Orleans Saints Chris Olave. He’s pretty good. *wink

Once again, we see patience at the line of scrimmage as Taylor-Britt watches Olave and waits for him to declare his release. When Olave releases inside, Taylor-Britt brings two hands. As discussed above, this is something that should be coached out of his game. He still makes a smooth transition and is right on the receiver’s hip, when the ball is thrown in the other direction.

Taylor-Britt is an excellent athlete who can match up against top talent.

Taylor-Britt is #5 in red, at the top of the screen.

The Cornhuskers, like the Bengals, run a wide range of coverages. Taylor-Britt excels regardless of the defensive call. He does an incredible job of reading the quarterback in zone coverages, which gives him many opportunities to make a play on the ball.

In this clip, Taylor-Britt is responsible for the deep field zone, but he reads the quarterback and abandons the vertical to break on the deep out route. If you pause the clip at the moment the quarterback takes his hand off the ball (around 3 seconds), you can see Taylor-Britt is starting to break. This is perfect and not a rarity on Taylor-Britt’s film.

Taylor-Britt is off the screen at the beginning of the clip, but will be #5 in white, at the top of the screen, running behind the receiver.

The last clip was great, but what you really want to see are interceptions. That requires a good read on the quarterback, a fast break on the ball, and the ball skills to haul it in.

Ladies and gentlemen: the trifecta.

Nebraska is in a form of Cover 2 in this clip. As the Cover 2 corner, Taylor-Britt is responsible for the Curl/Flat zone. If you pause the clip around 2 seconds, you can see there is an out route in front of Taylor-Britt and a vertical route behind him. It’s his job is to defend both, which is a big reason why reading the quarterback effectively is so important (see previous play).

The deeper route is, of course, the priority, so he should be continuously dropping for depth. He should not simply jump the underneath route, leaving the safety on an island without underneath help.

If the quarterback takes his hand off the ball and has a low shoulder, the corner should break on the out route. If he can get there in time to make the tackle for little-to-no gain, that’s a win for the defense. This is why tackling is so important for cornerbacks.

In the case of a deep pass to the outside, the safety and cornerback will bracket the route. The safety is responsible for playing over the top of the receiver, so if the ball is thrown in front of the receiver, the safety must be able to make a play on it. The corner is playing underneath the recover, so if the ball is short or intentionally thrown to the back shoulder, the corner needs to make a play on it.

If, as happens in this case, the quarterback takes his hand off the ball and has a high shoulder, he is looking to put air on the ball. That means it’s going deep and outside. The corner must break underneath the vertical route, in this case a fade.

Taylor-Britt does an extraordinary job on this play, closing space and getting underneath the vertical route. He gets there just as the ball does and comes away with an interception.

Taylor-Britt is #5 in red, at the bottom of the screen.

This is one of my favorite Taylor-Britt clips because it shows his resilience.

He gets caught looking at the play-action and gets beat on the route. This play should be a touchdown. You see a lot of players give up on plays like this, but not Taylor-Britt.

He catches up just in time to give the receiver a little shove as he tries to secure the catch. It is just enough to force the incompletion. Taylor-Britt does no quit.

Taylor-Britt is #5 in red, and will come into the screen from the left.

Prior to defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo’s arrival in Cincinnati, tackling was a major problem, but in recent years they have placed an emphasis on bringing in excellent tacklers. Taylor-Britt will continue this trend.

In this clip, they bring a receiver in motion to block Taylor-Britt. The receiver is seriously outmatched. Taylor-Britt strikes the would-be blocker, pushing him back and quickly comes off to make the tackle.

Taylor-Britt is #5 in white, at the top of the screen.

Here the offense is running a quick screen to the receiver. Taylor-Britt runs right over the blocker to make the tackle for a loss.

Taylor-Britt brings the physicality that the Bengals are looking for to the cornerback position.

Taylor-Britt is #5 in red, at the bottom of the screen.

This clip also features a screen, but this time it is a running back screen going away from Taylor-Britt.

Taylor-Britt is blitzing, and when the ball was thrown, he keeps running. He tracks the ball carrier down and with a little help from his teammates, makes the tackle.

This is an incredible effort.

Cam Taylor-Britt is a great for the Bengals culture and defensive style. He makes great reads and has the explosiveness to make big plays in the secondary. His effort level is unmatched, which allows him to make plays all over the field.