Cowboys Draft Prospects: Korey Lindsey

Might the Cowboys bring in a late-round cornerback like Korey Lindsey to challenge Bryan McCann?

Today, our tour of potential Dallas draftees turns to the Missouri Valley Football Conference, where the Southern Illinois Salukis and cornerback Korey Lindsey play ball. Lindsey is a three-year starter, who received First Team All-America accolades in his last two seasons (becoming only the third SIU player to do so). In addition to this, he was listed as First-Team All-MVFC in 2010 after tallying 41 tackles, a pick and a sack. He also returned 10 punts.

At 6 feet tall and 190 pounds, Lindsey is slightly undersized (most scouting reports note that he is thin), but not terribly so. Nevertheless, he plays as big as his frame might allow. Moreover, he is a fluid, natural athlete, with good feet and loose hips (here he is batting away a fourth down pass to preserve a victory over Norther Iowa). That said, he doesn't have elite make-up speed (most reports have him in the 4.5 range). Perhaps this is why he was one of the most notable Combine snubs.

Still, with Lindsey's height, and the prospect of his bulking up after a year or so in an NFL conditioning program, its no wonder that so many tams are intrigued by his upside. Indeed, Lindsey has a total of nine visits and two private workouts with the likes of the Bengals, Texans Eagles, Cardinals, Bears and Saints in addition to the Cowboys.

Clearly, a lot of teams like the combination of his frame and athleticism combined with the fact that his small-school status is likely to keep him out of the first two or three rounds. In short, he could be a real find in the third to fifth rounds. After the jump, lets take a look at some scouting reports for more details.

National Football Post (Wes Bunting) 21st-rated CB; 167th overall

Possesses solid height for the position, but looks thin and narrow in the lower half and doesn't play real physical in the run game. Showcases a willingness to attack the line and sniff out the ball carrier. But is more of a drag down guy, takes decent angles, but doesn't always see what he hits, tends more so to launch himself at the ball carrier and will fall off tacklers easily at times.

Is an above average athlete for the position. Showcases natural fluidity in the hips when asked to turn and run and can keep his pad level down when asked to redirect or transition vertically. Displays a slight second gear down the field, locates the football quickly and has the ability to make up for a false step. Displays good body control when asked to go up and get the football and routinely is able to get his hands on the throw when he puts himself in position to make a play. Isn't the most technically sound corner at this stage, looks at his best in zone coverage when he can play with his back toward the sideline, key in on the quarterback and go get the football. However, doesn't do a great job keeping his feet under him at all times. Gets very fidgety in his drop — especially in man coverage — gets overextended with his footwork and doesn't have great click and close ability. Doesn't waste a ton of motion because he still takes compact steps and keeps his base down, but doesn't generate a great burst toward the football. Opens up his hips prematurely in man coverage as well and is going to need to learn to sit into his stance in coverage and be patient off the line.

Impression: Possesses good but not great size/speed attributes, but he does a nice job finding the football and making plays on the throw in the pass game. Is raw in his drop and gets fidgety in his drop, but has some natural fluidity and bend and should be able to clean himself up quickly. Looks more like an off/zone corner though.

Pro Football Weekly (Nolan Nawrocki) 34th-rated CB; overall unknown (not in top 150)

Positives: Bends naturally and has a low center of gravity. Good feet, hip flexibility and body control. Mirrors in short area. Good awareness and route recognition—plants and drives quickly on three-step routes. Good production on the ball. Active and energetic—likes to play and it shows. Not afraid to stick his nose in the run game. Experienced, durable three-year starter.

Negatives: Adequate size and speed. Could be stressed by vertical burners. Has short arms and very small hands. Gets hung up on blocks and can be boxed out by larger receivers. Relies on a shuffle technique and can be driven off. Low, cut tackler. Regularly faced inferior competition.

Summary: Short, thickly built zone corner who lacks ideal measurables and was not tested very often at the FCS level but will not back down from a challenge and could be a serviceable reserve if he can prove his worth on special teams.

ESPN/ Scouts, Inc. (Gary Horton) 39th-rated CB; overall unknown (not in top 150)

Instincts/Recognition: Above-average route recognition and can jump routes when asked to match up in man coverage. Above-average discipline. Occasionally overreacts to rollouts and bootlegs but can read quarterback's eyes without drifting or getting caught out of position when asked to drop into zone coverage.

Cover Skills
: Not fast enough to run with NFL receivers and will be a big-play liability when left on an island. Footwork is a touch inconsistent and gets turned around at times but has above-average short-area man-to-man cover skills. Fluid hips and shows good burst out of breaks. Shows average range in underneath zone coverage and does above-average job of limiting receivers' production after the catch. Times hits well and flashes the ability to jar the ball loose.

Ball Skills: Shows adequate closing speed when the ball is in the air. Can trap ball against frame with one hand when can't get two hands on it. Flashes the ability to make diving catches.

Run Support
: Size is an issue. Can get covered up by bigger receivers. Can dive at ball carrier's feet and will have some problems getting bigger ball carriers to the ground. On the other hand, more than willing to step up. Gets downhill and tries to blow up running plays at the line of scrimmage by ducking, slipping or submarining bigger blockers.

Intangibles
: Named team's most valuable defensive back in 2009. Son of a coach. Good teammate. First male on mother's side of the family to attend college.

As I noted in a recent post, its difficult to determine what the Cowboys' strategy is vis a vis defensive backs--the list of Valley Ranch invitees features guys who figure to be drafted in every round. One thing that is certain is that they will draft somebody--and if the Prince Amukamaras and Aaron Williamses of the world slip through their fingers (hopefully, because Dallas takes other guys with higher grades), they they may look to a guy like Lindsey, probably at the beginning of the third day. I'm going to slot him in the fifth round, where Dallas has pick # 176.

Next up
: USC Cornerback Shareece Wright

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