2021 NFL Draft Player Preview: Paulson Adebo

  • Paulson Adebo, 6-1/190

  • Cornerback

  • Stanford

  • Paulson Adebo 2020 Preview
    By Charlie Campbell

    Career Recap: Adebo worked his way onto the field as a sophomore in 2018 and had an excellent debut for the Cardinal. Immediately, he showed some serious ball-skill production with 20 passes broken up and four interceptions to along with 64 tackles. As a junior, Adebo had an up-and-down season with some highlights and lowlights. He totaled 33 tackles with four interceptions and 10 passes broken up in 2019 while missing three games with an undisclosed injury.

    Adebo had a chance to be a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but he decided to return to Stanford for his senior year to improve before going to the NFL.

    2020 Season Outlook: As a senior, Adebo will see a schedule with some quality competition, but he may not be tested by an elite receiver or quarterback. Stanford's game against Notre Dame could pose his biggest challenge, as Fighting Irish quarterback Ian Book and wide receiver Javon McKinley are on NFL teams' pre-draft watch list. The other quarterback who Adebo will face from the preseason watch list is BYU's Zach Wilson.

    The other top games to watch Adebo will be when he takes on other receivers who NFL teams have identified as having pro potential. Those wideouts are: USC's Tyler Vaughns, UCLA's Demetrick Felton and Washington State's Davontavean Martin.

    Skill-Set Summary: There is a lot to like about Adebo for the NFL, as he could have the skill set of a starting outside corner with the ability to defend big receivers. Cornerbacks with Adebo's height, length, coverage ability, and ball skills are hard to find so he should have plenty of teams giving him consideration in the early rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.

    The first attribute that stands out about Adebo is his tremendous ball skills. He does a superb job of playing the ball in air, using his long arms and hands to knock passes away or snatch them for interceptions. Adebo does a phenomenal job of avoiding contact and not hitting receivers, as he goes for the ball rather than relying on getting physical to break up passes. That leads to Adebo avoiding pass interference penalties while making big plays for his defense. He has good hands and ball skills to be a dangerous interception threat.

    Adebo is an aggressive corner who drives hard on routes. While he isn't a burner, Adebo has a burst to eat up ground and close on receivers. Adebo's height and length makes him an excellent matchup option on big receivers. Jump balls are no problem for him, and receivers are hard pressed to make a catch over Adebo. He is a valuable red-zone corner and will be an asset to take on the big wideouts who are often No. 1 receivers for their team. For the most part, Adebo is a willing tackler in the ground game, although there were some plays as a junior during which he seemed to avoid some contact. He did have an injury, so that could have been a factor.

    Physically, Adebo has some tightness and is not super twitchy or explosive. That is common for big cornerbacks, so that could limit Adebo's scheme fit in the NFL. He does project well to being a press-man corner. He can play zone well, and doesn't look horrible in off-man coverage.

    Adebo has some areas to improve for the NFL, and the big issue that he should seek to fix as a senior is playing with more discipline. His natural inclination is to be aggressive and jump the route to make a play on the ball, hence his aggressiveness can be used against him on double moves - see the 2019 Central Florida game. That eye discipline and not biting on double moves is the big issue that Adebo has to improve as a senior.

    For the NFL, Adebo looks like a starting outside corner who does not fit as a nickel slot cornerback. He would fit best in a Seattle Seahawks press-man or zone system, but Adebo has the ability to play a variety of techniques.

    2021 NFL Draft Expectations: If Adebo has a good senior year, he has the potential to be a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.



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