PFF scouting report: Nick Vanhoose, CB, Northwestern

Sam Monson and the PFF draft analysts break down the play of Northwestern's Nick Vanhoose ahead of the 2016 NFL draft.

| 7 months ago
(John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)

(John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)

PFF scouting report: Nick Vanhoose, CB, Northwestern

Below is the PFF draft profile for Northwestern’s Nick Vanhoose, which incorporates PFF’s college grades and scouting intel from our team of analysts. To see all of PFF’s 2016 scouting reports, click here.

Position fit:

Outside corner, ideally suited to a zone scheme

Stats to know:

Led the entire nation class in PFF grade in 2015 with a PFF coverage grade of +17.7

What he does best:

• Plants and drives on stops and comebacks better than any corner in this draft class. Benefitted from the college hash and some bad QB play at times, but allowed just 33.3 percent of comebacks thrown against him to be caught and 35.7 percent of hitch routes.
• Makes plays on the ball. Had 14 total combined interceptions and passes defensed, which is 19.2 percent of the passes thrown his way, or just under a fifth of all targets he received.
• Reads the quarterback well and gets in good positions in zone coverage. Has a good feel for route combinations and how to split two threats before breaking on one of them to make the play. This is necessary at the next level where routes are designed to stretch zone players between two threats

Biggest concern:

• Is comically weak against the run and screens at times. There are plays on his tape where he is driven 20 yards off the line by a TE, and often bounces off the contact when he comes down to set the edge. Less important than covering, but it will be an issue at the next level unless he improves
• He has a strange, clunky way to his movement which makes him look very slow and non-athletic, though I’m not sure that’s the case. He has yet to post any measurables, as he wasn’t invited to the combine and is missing Northwestern’s pro day sue to personal reasons
• Doesn’t find the football well in man coverage, but does very well in zone
• Beaten on a few very ugly double moves, which is not unusual for a college corner playing a lot of zone coverage, but needs to be tightened up at the next level

Pro style comparison:

Rashean Mathis. Finding a pro-style comparison for VanHoose is not easy, which probably in and of itself says something about his pro prospects. He is an unusual player, but has some similarities to Mathis in terms of his instincts and size and ability to play well within a zone scheme. Adding in his awkward-looking movement and weak play against the run leaves me drawing a blank for a true match, however.

Bottom line:

Nick VanHoose may be one of the most underrated prospects in the draft. With no measurables available he may fall out of it entirely, but his 2015 tape shows a corner that can play and excel, especially in zone coverage. He may not always look pretty doing it, but he has the ability to read the play and break on the ball like few other corners in this draft, and that is a valuable skill at the NFL level. Whether he gets the opportunity to show it or not, VanHoose earned his spot on our big board.

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