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Cowboys 2019 draft prospect: Michigan State CB Justin Layne scouting report

Get to know Michigan State CB Justin Layne.

Ohio State v Michigan State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Name: Justin Layne

School: Michigan State University

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 192 lbs


Length, length, and more length. Justin Layne fits the Kris Richard prototype to the “T” due to his long arms, height, and athletic profile. Layne has an excellent feel for receiver’s routes and consistently runs the route for wideouts when lined up in man-coverage. Physical nature at the line of scrimmage allows Layne to be successful in press-coverage, but instincts and eyes are above average when playing off-man and in zone-coverage. Twitched up lower body that allows him to run with receivers vertically, stay on the back hip of receivers in-and-out of their breaks, and to flip hips out of his backpedal to mirror receivers route’s. See’s the field well when play develops in front of him, but never seems to panic with his back to the football. Plays like a receiver when tracking the football down the field. Never gets caught with his eyes away from the football/quarterback. Ball skills and PBU’s seemed to make a big jump from year-to-year. Has only played 2.5 seasons at cornerback, so the sky's the limit for Layne.


Can be overwhelmed by bigger receivers at Michigan State. Struggled at times maintaining route’s up the stem and out of breaks against N’Keal Harry in 2018 and Simmie Cobbs in 2017. Needs to add some mass to his upper and lower half to help with long-term health. At times seemed hesitate when stepping up and playing the run. Wrap-up skills as a tackler need work as a boundary corner. Long speed is not as good as you’d like to see from a lighter corner. Took him until 2018 to record double-digit passed defended and never had more than one interception in his three years at Michigan State.

Overall Review:

Coming out of high school, Justin Layne was recruited to Michigan State as a WR before transitioning to defensive back halfway through his freshman year. There are a handful of cornerbacks in this draft class that fit the Kris Richard prototype, but Justin Layne is likely the ideal option if available in the second round. Layne’s arm length, height, and athleticism make him a prime candidate to be one of the top cornerbacks drafted in the NFL draft. Layne has experience playing both man and in zone which would make an easy transition if drafted by the Cowboys. Excelled when asked to press at the line of scrimmage and showed great feel for receiver’s routes when playing off. Instincts are extremely high for a player still learning the position. Ball skills, even without the interception numbers, showed to be above average at Michigan State.

Round Grade:




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