So, we finally get a CB, but he's probably going to be remembered as the guy we traded LenDale White for (and Kevin Vickerson). This one could work for both sides though, as LenDale gets to reunite with his beloved college coach, and we get a higher 4th and 6th round pick to help build some much-needed depth in the secondary.
Now, onto the prospect at hand: One thing that jumps right out about Verner upon first glance is that he continues this year's trend of drafting high-character players. I'm pretty sure at this point that all four of our draft picks have been good students whom coaches and teammates rave about in terms of leadership and work ethic. There have been questions about who would be the new leaders on the Titans now that Boom King, Bulluck and others are gone/on the way out, and it looks like the front office is taking these concerns to heart.
Verner is a smallish CB with good speed and a high motor. He certainly seems custom-made for our system because he's a stout tackler in run support and probably better suited for that short-zone style we used Nick Harper for prior to 2009. Here are a few notes from the ESPN page on him:
• Head Coach Rick Neuheisel raves about his competitiveness and leadership.2008: Academic All-Pac-10 acclaim.• Natural backpedal and seamlessly transitions out of it. Short-area burst is above-average.• Can hurry the quarterback when asked to blitz off the edge. However, doesn't show great recovery speed when gets caught in trail poison.• Locates the ball, takes precise angles to it and plays it well. Aggressive and doesn't wait for the ball to get to him. Has the body control and strong hands to come up with highlight-reel type interceptions.• Fearless competitor with good short-term memory loss. Anticipation is excellent in zone coverage and generally gets a jump on the ball. Displays a strong grasp of route concepts and does a nice job of playing cat and mouse with opposing quarterbacks.