2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Paulson Adebo

  • Paulson Adebo, 6-1/190

  • Cornerback

  • Stanford

  • Paulson Adebo Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Excellent height
  • Good length
  • Tremendous ball skills
  • Soft hands to intercept passes
  • Threat to take the ball away
  • Superb job playing the ball in the air
  • Adept at avoiding penalties
  • Drives hard on routes
  • Recoverability
  • Defends jump balls well
  • Good tackler at times
  • Straight-line speed
  • Size to match up against big receivers

  • Weaknesses:
  • Poor eye discipline
  • Beaten on double moves far too often
  • Gives up big plays downfield
  • Sat out 2020; no signs of improvement
  • Lost season of reps, experience
  • Outside corner only
  • Lacks twitch
  • Has change-of-directions problems
  • Straight line athlete
  • Deep speed could be a problem
  • Not a good fit for off-man coverage

  • Summary: 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, notching 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, four interceptions and 10 passes broken up while missing three games with an undisclosed injury. Adebo then decided to sit out the 2020 season.

    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 who have Adebo’s height, length, coverage ability, and ball skills are hard to find.

    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 is phenomenal at 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. Adebo’s good hands and ball skills make him 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 make him an excellent matchup option on big receivers. Jump balls are no problem for him, and wideouts 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 weapons who are often No. 1 wide receivers in the NFL. For the most part, Adebo is a willing tackler in the ground game, although there were some plays as a junior on which he seemed to be 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 he should seek to fix is playing with more discipline. His natural inclination is to be aggressive and jump the route to make a play on the ball, but that aggressiveness can work against him on double moves – see the Central Florida game in 2019. That eye discipline and not biting on double moves are big things Adebo has to improve as a pro. A cornerback who gives up long touchdowns is very concerning for NFL coaches, so Adebo will have to fix this issue in practice to become a starter. Thanks to skipping the 2020 season, there is no evidence that Adebo improved on that scary weakness for NFL teams, so that really hurts how high he can go in the 2021 NFL Draft.

    For the NFL, Adebo looks like a potential starting outside corner who does not fit as a nickel slot cornerback. He would fit best in a Seahawks-style press-man or zone system, but Adebo has the ability to play a variety of techniques. In the 2021 NFL Draft, Adebo could go as high as Day 2 or be a mid-round pick.

    Player Comparison: David Amerson. Adebo reminds me of Amerson coming out of college. Amerson was a ball hawk in college who had some speed limitations and struggled with eye discipline and double moves. Amerson (6-1, 212) and Adebo are similar size with the same height. Amerson was a second-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, and Adebo could go on Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft.


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