Summary: Cornerbacks who can play man coverage are always in demand with NFL teams. Over the past two seasons at Rutgers, Ryan has proven that he has that ability.
Ryan broke into the starting lineup in 2011 with an impressive sophomore season. He had 67 tackles with 5.5 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles, three interceptions and 14 passes broken up.
Ryan had a very good 2012 campaign. The junior notched 94 tackles, 17 passes broken up and four interceptions. Ryan's coverage was consistently good, and he had a presence all over the field. Rutgers put Ryan on an island, and he held up well in man coverage. Ryan was under a lot of pressure as he was asked to play on an island constantly. One mistake by Ryan would result in a huge play for the opposition. An example of that could be seen at the end of the season when Ryan had some good coverage throughout the games against Louisville and Virginia Tech, but a couple of bad plays ended up costing Rutgers dearly in those losses.
Ryan has the movement skills to play man coverage in the NFL. He has quick feet and flexibility to run with receivers downfield. In general, he is very good about not allowing separation. Ryan also has plus ball skills. He is adept at snatching the ball away and timing his pass breakups to force incompletions and avoid penalties.
It wouldn't be surprising if Ryan measures 5-foot-11 or 5-foot-10 at the Combine. The 6-foot listing looks a little inflated. Still, Ryan should have the size to be a starting corner in the NFL and not be forced into a nickel or slot corner role.
Ryan could function in a defense that plays mostly man coverage. He would be better off if his scheme didn't expose him on every play and mixed in some zone coverage. Ryan was a good man corner, but in the NFL, there are few corners who are capable of playing man coverage on an island on an every-down basis.
Ryan looks likely to be a second- or a third-round pick.
Player Comparison: Devin McCourty. Both McCourty and Ryan are products of the same system, and they have similar styles of play. McCourty has the ability to function as a man corner, zone corner and run defender. Overall, Ryan is similar. McCourty enjoyed a late rise to be a first-round pick (27th overall) for New England in 2010. The same thing could happen to Ryan, but he is more likely to be a second-day selection. If Ryan pans out, he could be a player who is comparable to McCourty.
NFL Matches: Detroit, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Miami, Washington
There are many potential landing spots for Ryan in the second round. The five above are perhaps the most likely teams to select him. The Lions or Eagles could take him at the beginning of Day 2. If either team selects Alabama's DeMarcus Milliner, that would probably negate them grabbing Ryan, but both the Lions and Eagles badly need cornerback help and could be moving on from at least one of their 2012 starters, if not both.
Tampa Bay had one of the worst pass defenses in NFL history last year, and they are in dire need of some talent at corner. Obviously, Ryan is a scheme fit in Greg Schiano's defense. The Bucs taking Ryan in the second or third round wouldn't surprise anyone.
The Dolphins traded away Vontae Davis, and Sean Smith is a free agent. Miami could fill the void by selecting Ryan. The Redskins also need help in the secondary and could target Ryan on the second day of the draft.
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