If you haven’t noticed a theme yet, you probably will soon. Most of the Talkin’ the Draft interviews so far have been with players on the defensive side of the ball. And this week, we had our first safety on the show, and one the Cowboys are probably very familiar with.
After growing up in Texas, and playing his college football at the University of Texas, the Longhorns safety would be an excellent fit for the Cowboys defense in the 2021 NFL Draft. Check out his official scouting report, and out exclusive interview with him below.
Data courtesy CFB at Sports-Reference.com.
Name: Caden Sterns
Coverage, coverage, coverage. For a guy that looks more like your traditional strong safety, Texas safety Caden Sterns is more known for his ability to cover from both man and zone schemes. Sterns, a former four-star recruit out of Texas, has played in multiple roles for the Longhorns defense, playing both single-high, two-high, box, and the nickel role. Showcases impressive length at the position, Sterns is very physical at the line of scrimmage when asked to press receivers at the line in coverage. Fluid athleticism allows him to transition throughout the route-stem and flip his hips and run and cover space when playing the centerfield position. Had a ton of success reading quarterbacks keys early in his career to take the football away when playing in coverage. Noticeable arm length allows him to crowd catch points, recover if beaten across the middle of the field. Was a much more physical player in 2020, showing more willingness to stick his nose into the running game, and better angles when playing sideline-to-sideline. Good instincts against both the run and the pass, but could stand to trust them a bit more as he develops. Versatility stands out, as he isn’t a one-trick-pony on the backend for the Longhorns defense.
While angles and run game support improved in 2020, had some struggles in those areas earlier in his career. Good instincts, but could tell at times he was hesitant to trust them when driving on the ball or anticipating deep, sideline throws from the centerfield position. Has a tendency to dip his head at the strike-point, allowing ball carriers to bounce off tackle attempts due to inability to keep his eyes on, and drive through ball carriers. Dealt with his fair share of nagging injuries throughout his career at Texas. Nothing major, but missed multiple games due to being banged up.
In today’s NFL, the league loves defensive backs that can play multiple roles, and cover on the backend. Caden Sterns can do both, very well. Sterns, a three-year starter at Texas, was one of the Longhorns leaders on the defensive side of the ball, and his maturity and effort is off the charts for the former DFW native. Sterns showed success as a man and zone defender, and succeeded in his multiple responsibilities at Texas. Athleticism shines on tape, and should be confirmed with results from Pro Day, or however the NFL decides to handle the NFL Combine. Really good length at the position, and the ability to cover, and willingness as a run defender took big strides in 2020. If Caden Sterns can continue to develop his trust in his instincts and anticipation, and keep his body healthy, he should have a very long, successful career in the NFL. For Cowboys fans, Dan Quinn and Co. would love to keep the Texas born defensive back close to home in Dallas.
#7 S Caden Sterns is a fun prospect. He’s impressive physically & he’s proven to be versatile in his coverage & run def.— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) January 15, 2021
• 6’1” 210lb
• ball skills evident in ‘18
• trusts his keys when coming downhill
• instincts are there, needs to trust them more
• aggressive in coverage pic.twitter.com/mzAN0JwyIS