Anthony Averett Scouting Report By Charlie Campbell
Plays within the scheme
Can play man coverage
Used to playing on an island
Has vertical speed
Can run the route to prevent separation
Looks back for the ball
Willing to get physical
Doesn't play the ball well
Allows catches over him
Does not have impressive ball skills
Thin build for the NFL
Not a finisher
Summary: During the 2017 football season and for a lot of the leadup to the 2018 NFL Draft, there were draft media projecting Averett to be a first-round pick and one of the top cornerback prospects for the draft. Analysts at ESPN and Bleacher Report made that mistake, as Averett was never held in that high of regard by NFL teams. During the season, five different teams said they had graded Averett as a second-day-caliber player. Averett was a solid, but flawed cornerback at Alabama who was a quality starter and helped the Crimson Tide to claim another National Championship last year. However, he was not a first-round caliber player or athlete.
Averett became a starter as a junior and formed a quality tandem with Marlon Humphrey. In 2016, Averett totaled 48 tackles with eight passes broken up and zero interceptions. The senior recorded 48 tackles, eight passes broken up and an interception in 2017.
For the NFL, Averett is a disciplined corner who has starting potential. He plays within the scheme and is an intelligent defender. Averett has the speed and athleticism to run with receivers. He was fast at the combine with a 4.36-second time in the 40-yard dash. He is used to playing in man coverage and has the speed to carry vertical routes downfield. As a pro, Averett should be helpful with covering smaller speed receivers who try to take the top off of a defense. His intelligent and disciplined play also makes him a good fit for zone coverage.
A lot of team sources see problems with Averett. They think that he is not a play-maker on the ball and is not a finisher. That can be seen with his total of only one interception over the past two seasons and him allowing too many catches to be made over him. Averett gets in good position, but doesn't play the ball that well or take it away. That was an issue for Marlon Humphrey as well. Another problem for Averett is his weight. He's a thin-framed defender, and at the Senior Bowl, he checked in at 5-foot-11, 175 pounds. Averett has been in the 180s, but could struggle with big receivers outfighting him for position, along with having durability issues from constantly having to tackle bigger ball-carriers.
In the 2018 NFL Draft, Averett is likely to be a second- or third-round pick. One general manager told me the highest they could see Averett going was the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, and thought the third round was a definite possibility.
Player Comparison: Jamar Taylor. Averett has some similarities to Taylor. Taylor (5-11, 192) has some quickness and athleticism, but he is prone to giving up plays. He also lacks ball skills as Taylor has only three interceptions in 64 career games with the Dolphins and Browns. Taylor was a second-day pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, and Averett should go in the same range.
NFL Matches: Oakland, San Francisco, Green Bay, Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Atlanta, New Orleans, Minnesota, New England, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Indianapolis and Houston
There are a lot of teams that could be a fit for Averett in the 2018 NFL Draft. Buffalo could consider Averett as it has to find a replacement for Ronald Darby. The Vikings have to consider a replacement for Terrance Newman, while the Bengals could use a replacement for Adam Jones. Averett could interest both Minnesota and Cincinnati.
In the NFC South, the Saints have bigger needs, but they also might consider a corner if he's the best player available, which would give them a partner to go with Marshon Lattimore. Averett could be in play for the Saints if he gets to their third-round pick. Atlanta, meanwhile, could use a cornerback to replace Jalen Collins.
The Patriots could consider taking Averett with one of their second-round picks. Malcolm Butler left in free agency, while Stephon Gilmore was disappointing in his first year in Foxborough. Philadelphia may not sign Darby to a long-term extension, and Averett could be selected as a future replacement for him.
The Browns have to upgrade their cornerback talent, and Averett could make sense for their third-round pick. The Colts need a young corner to go with Quincy Wilson and replace Vontae Davis. Averett would be a nice fit for Indianapolis with one of its three second-round picks or its third-round pick.
In the Bay area, both the Raiders and 49ers both could use more cornerback help. Green Bay has used a lot of picks on cornerbacks, but it remains a position to potentially address for the Packers. Averett could get consideration as a second- or third-rounder from Green Bay. In Los Angeles, the Chargers could use a cornerback to go with Casey Hayward. Jason Verrett is nearing the end of his contract and has had durability issues. Averett would be a nice scheme fit across from Casey Hayward. Dallas could use a third cornerback to go with Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. Averett could make sense for the Cowboys on the second day.
The Texans signed Aaron Colvin, but Jonathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson are nearing the end of their careers while Kevin Johnson is nearing the end of his contract. Thus, Houston could consider Averett with one of its third-round picks.