Tarvarus McFadden 2017 Preview By Charlie Campbell
Career Recap: In the weeks after the 2017 NFL Draft, NFL team sources that had already done advance work on putting together their 2018 watchlists told me that Florida State has first-round defensive talent at every level of its defense. One of those players with that distinction is cornerback Tarvarus McFadden.
McFadden was a backup as a freshman before breaking out in 2016 and earning a starting spot. On the year, the sophomore totaled 20 tackles with six passes broken up and was one of the nation's leaders with eight interceptions.
2017 Season Outlook: McFadden is going to see a challenging schedule in 2017. It starts in Week 1 as the Seminoles open the season with Alabama. Crimson Tide wideout Calvin Ridley is one of the top receivers in college football, so whoever gets the better of this matchup could see a jolt sent into his draft stock.
McFadden will have another test in Week 3 with Miami sophomore Ahmmon Richards. Richards was very impressive as freshman and looks like an early round prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft.
In late October, Florida State will get a chance at revenge after Louisville blew out the Seminoles in epic fashion last year. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and one of the top signal-caller prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft. Jackson, his receivers, and the matchup choices of head coach Bobby Petrino will make for a tough test for McFadden.
In November, McFadden will see two good receiving prospects for the NFL with Clemson's Deon Cain and Florida's Antonio Callaway. Callaway's speed has exposed some other corner prospects, so that contest will be worth watching to see how McFadden handles a speed receiver.
Skill-Set Summary: The passing-driven nature of the NFL makes getting a true No. 1 cornerback a necessity for any good defense. For the next level, McFadden has starting corner potential with a unique skill set of size, quickness, and ball skills.
There is a lot to like about McFadden for the NFL. He has excellent height, length and strength to match up against big receivers. McFadden had the quickness to run with them downfield and is able to battle them for the ball. McFadden is a physical corner who doesn't back down and is a real competitor. Florida State played him in press-man coverage a ton in 2016, and he showed enough smoothness to turn his hips and run with receivers.
McFadden has good ball skills and is a real threat to pick off passes. While he was one of the top corners in the nation at creating interceptions in 2016, he could have had an even more prolific season as he dropped a few easy interceptions. There were plays where McFadden showed great hands to make the catch and others where he dropped balls that were much easier than other throws he was able to control. Still, McFadden's ball skills are a definite plus based off his first-year as a starter.
McFadden has some room for improvement as one can expect with a 1-year starter. Early last season, he had some painful coverage busts that really hurt his defense and team. McFadden also has an issue finishing some plays as, despite being in great position, he didn't always complete the breakup or prevent the reception. McFadden is a quality tackler, but he could stand to be more aggressive in run defense. McFadden plays a ton of press-man coverage, and it would help him to show more off-man and zone coverage for the NFL.
Sources say that McFadden's route recognition is a work in progress. Part of that problem stems from him playing so much press-man coverage. One of the reasons that McFadden had a lot of interceptions and opportunities to pick the ball off was because teams were targeting him last year because of his miscues. Thus, some team scouts feel the interception total can be misleading. They say that McFadden has some David Amerson to him as another elite-sized corner with quickness and athletic ability but also dependability issues.
2018 NFL Draft Expectations: Entering the 2017 season, McFadden looks like he has early round potential. Showing more consistency, versatility in coverage, and finishing plays could make him one of the top cornerback prospects for his draft class.