2nd Round (#43)
Xavien Howard – CB – Baylor
Strengths: Ideal size for the position. Plays strong in man coverage, not shying away from any one-on-one challenge. Excellent in press coverage, showing understanding of hand placement. Understands how to use the sideline as an extra defender and uses his size and strength to squeeze receivers.
Quality athlete with quick hips to keep pace with receivers going downfield. Active hands when the ball arrives, capable of either ripping it away or taking the interception. Good awareness and vision, especially against short routes.
Weaknesses: Though solid, doesn’t possess elite speed and quickness. Can struggle against quicker receivers looking for a quick hit route. Will play too physical at times, which could be a problem at the next level. Can lose track of the ball, leading him to play for a breakup when he should be going for the interception. Some question as to whether he was a product of a strong pass rush at Baylor.
The Fit: Xavien Howard is the guy that a lot of people (mistakenly) think William Jackson III is. He hasn’t caught the hype train like other corners, but there are a number of scouts and analysts that are talking him up. Howard is an ideal press corner who already shows understanding of some of the finer points of the game. The reality of this pick is that the Chiefs stand to gain from other teams investing in defensive tackles early.
The expected runs at that position will allow talented players at other spots to fall a little bit. The Chiefs will still be young in the secondary, but the raw talent will be impressive.
Next: 2nd Round continued