Summary: The children of excellent NFL players often face high expectations when it comes to football, and that was the case for Jaycee Horn too. The son of former Saints wide receiver Joe Horn brought a lot of anticipation to the Gamecocks, and he delivered with three years of really good football. Jaycee Horn worked his way onto the field as a freshman to total 45 tackles and eight passes broken up. In 2019, he recorded 40 tackles, one sack and two forced fumbles. Teammate Israel Mukuamu received more attention that season, but NFL evaluators felt Horn was the better cover corner.
In 2020, Horn totaled 16 tackles, two interceptions and six passes defended. He was phenomenal against Auburn leading South Carolina to an upset while shutting down Seth Williams. Horn ended his season early after head coach Will Muschamp was fired.
There is a lot to like about Horn for the next level. He is a big cornerback who is strong and physical. Horn packs a punch on receivers and uses his size and power to reroute them. While Horn has size and strength, he also is very natural in coverage, smoothly running the route and preventing separation. Horn's height and length make him capable of matching up against big receivers and defending 50-50 passes. He stays in phase and keeps receivers from getting over the top on him. Horn is a natural football player who has good feel and is very instinctive. His route recognition is advanced, as is his anticipation to break on the ball.
It can be difficult for quarterbacks to get passes around Horn because of his size and instincts, and he is adept at slapping balls away. Hopefully, Horn can turn more breakups into interceptions at the NFL level.
In the ground game, Horn is an asset because he is a willing tackler that will come downhill and pack a punch. Horn is comfortable playing near the tackle box and shows the instinciveness to make some plays in the backfield. As a pro, he is going to be appreciated by his coaches for his ability and willingness to defend the run.
Team sources say the big knock on Horn is deep speed. Some scouts told WalterFootball.com that Horn could be a 4.55-second guy in the 40-yard dash, which is a slow time for a cornerback. If Horn can run well, including some impressive 40 times, leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft, that could really help his draft stock. If the speed concerns translate to the NFL, his team will want to protect from going against fast wideouts and deep-threat receivers. Horn is a good corner for either a press man or a zone scheme. He flashed off-man ability, but doesn't seem natural in that kind of coverage.
Some team sources have graded Horn in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. They really like him as a football player, but the speed concerns hurt his grade. There are media projections of Horn going in Round 1, so he could be on the bubble of being a mid- to late first-rounder or early second-round pick.
Player Comparison: Kyle Fuller. Horn reminds me of a bigger version of Fuller. Coming out of Virginia Tech, Fuller was a well-rounded cover corner with good instincts and versatility. Horn is similar, and if Horn runs well prior to the 2021 NFL Draft, he could be a top-20 pick, like Fuller. If Horn's times are slower, he could be a late first- or second-round pick.