Nebraska cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt is a prospect for the 2022 NFL Draft that has played a lot for the Cornhuskers. However this was a bad start to the season for Taylor-Britt.
In the first quarter on a third-and-long, Taylor-Britt was in man coverage on Illini wide receiver Casey Washington. Taylor-Britt seemed to panic on a routine route and restored to contact and holding. Washington still shook free from Taylor-Britt to make a catch for first down yardage. It was an ugly play for Taylor-Britt, and things got worse shortly later. Taylor-Britt fielded a punt near the goal line and retreated into the end zone. To avoid a safety he threw the ball out of the end zone, and that illegal forward pass penalty in the end zone gifted Illinois a safety. His knee was also down on the goal line for a safety from that regard as well.
It was a series of bad decisions as Taylor-Britt should have not caught the ball to begin with. He should not catch the ball running backwards at the two-yard line. Coaches tell returns not to catch punts that close to the end zone as the odds are that the bounce will lead to it rolling into the end zone for a touchback. That play was undisciplined and foolish by Taylor-Britt.
In the second quarter Taylor-Britt was sitting in zone coverage and had an overthrow float right to him for an easy interception, but a roughing the passer penalty took away Taylor-Britt’s first pick of 2021.
In coverage, Taylor-Britt has some limitations for the NFL. He looks stiff and grabs too much. As a pro he will have to work on using his feet rather than grabbing as that habit will lead to a lot of penalties. Taylor-Britt has the look of a backup zone corner who might have mid- to late-round potential for the 2022 NFL Draft.
Illinois linebacker Jake Hansen is the top preseason graded player on the Illini roster. In the first quarter Hansen spied on Martinez on a third down and Hansen delayed a blitz to pressure Martinez into a throw away. On the next possession Hansen flushed Martinez out of the pocket to set up a tackle short of first down yardage to produce another Nebraska punt. After that Hansen did a solid job of defending the run including two good stops inside the five-yard line in the fourth quarter. However, Hansen showed some issues with eye discipline and over pursuing. Hansen has the potential to be a mid-round backup.