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Who The Hell Will They Draft? Wake Forest CB Brandon Ghee

With the loss of Marlin Jackson to the Eagles, and Tim Jennings to the Bears, Cornerback becomes an important need in the 2010 draft.  Enter Wake Forest CB Brandon Ghee.  Ghee really made a name for himself at the Combine this year, running the fastest time in the 40 for a CB, at 4.45 seconds.  It sent him flying up draft boards. Some other Combine stats for him:

Height Weight 40 Yd Dash Vertical
5'11 1/2 192 4.45 37

It's pretty clear why some see him as more of a workout warrior, rather than a producer on the field.  Ghee had little buzz about him during the season, and didn't have the greatest Senior Bowl week.  Here's what NFLDraftScout had to say about it:

CB Brandon Ghee, Wake Forest: A physical defender with rare straight-line speed, Ghee certainly looks the part. But he was too often satisfied with allowing receivers to make the uncontested grab in front of him.

This sounds vaguely familiar... So the knock about him is he didn't produce on the field.  What was his production on the field?  CBs are tough to judge with numbers, but I'm going to use stats for decent WR against Wake Forest this season, assuming Ghee was covering him most of the time:

Name School Rec Yards TDs
Ryan Whalen Stanford 9 123 2
Rich Gunnell BC 5 51 0
Jarvis Williams NC State 5 50 0
Torrey Smith Maryland 10 70 1
Leonard Hankerson Miami 5 97 0
Demaryius Thomas Ga Tech 3 38 0

Some good, some not so good.  Thomas from GT is the best receiver of the group, who Ghee had the best game against. He tends to play better against taller receivers, which might be a good thing for the Colts.  The other big downside to Ghee is he only had 1 interception in his career.  Yikes.

Mocking the Draft:

Ghee's hips are incredibly fluid and he can turn in an instant. He'll lose a step, though, because he's so high cut. His feet aren't as quick as his hips and he loses a step...Hands are poor. Only registered one interception during his career. Ghee did manage to break up 25 passes during his career and is more of a knock away defender...Shows much better recognition skills in zone coverage than in man coverage. In zone he does a really nice job of reading the quarterback. In man, though, he gets beaten too often by double moves and fakes...Against bigger receivers, Ghee shows a lot of toughness. He actually matches up much better against bigger receiver that are slow than smaller quick receivers...Shows average tackling ability for a cornerback. Willing and able to help in run coverage....Ghee can get too tall in his backpedal which hurts his turning ability. Likes to give up a big cushion so he can break on the ball. This will often get him in trouble when a receiver works underneath. But Ghee can read a quarterback nicely and against less-athletic receivers he's very good in zone.

NFL Draft Scout:

Marginal read-and-react skills. Aggressive making plays on the ball, but too often doesn't make the play when it appears he should. Better hitter than pass defender to this point...Looks the part and has good straight-line speed. Good agility and balance in coverage. Can flip his hips and run with receivers, though his long legs are not conducive to his breaking quickly and truly mirroring receivers. Has the speed to recover, but can be beaten by sharp routes...Has the IQ, speed and reliable tackling ability to be a fine zone coverage defender. Too late reacting to the play...Good lateral agility and has an explosive burst to close when needed. Competes as the ball arrives and has the long arms and quick hands to knock passes away before a receiver can secure it. Times his leaps well to compete against bigger receivers... Aggressive in run support. Quickly gets through receiver blocks and is willing to stick his head into the action with the big boys on his way to the runner. Good open-field hitter who flashes heavy-hitting ability....Struggled amid high expectations as a senior. Missed the 2007 season serving an academic suspension.

Ghee has a terrific blend of size and athleticism with good height and overall speed. He’s a tough defensive back who isn’t afraid to stick his nose in on run support. Ghee’s a competitive cover-man capable of pressing receivers at the line. He’s been a productive performer during his time with the Demon Deacons.

Ghee needs to watch his pad level, which gets a little high. He takes extra step to transition, must get more out of each stride. Needs to improve his open field tackling and can be caught out of position at times. Must do a better job using his good height and long arms when separating from blockers.

There were far too many times where I had flashbacks to Tim Jennings.  It seems like Ghee is a little quicker, and a little harder hitter, but the same symptoms that we all harped on Jennings for show up quite often with Ghee.  I do not like him as a 2nd round pick, but if falls to the 3rd, he might not be a bad investment.