Why the Slide?: Jalen Myrick

By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell

Three years ago, we started a series of articles on why certain prospects went undrafted. In that series, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. We got a lot of positive reader feedback about the series, so we decided to expand in the genre to investigate why some prospects slid in the draft. A year later, we started the Why Slide? series, and this year, it is back. Feel free to email me requests for “Why the Slide?” and “Why Undrafted?” at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely respond.

Myrick was one of the shocking performers at the NFL Scouting Combine as he blazed the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.28 seconds. That was very surprising and helped Myrick to stand out among a very talented and deep class of cornerbacks. Many thought that combine performance would help Myrick to be a mid-round pick. However in the 2017 NFL Draft, Myrick slid all the way to Round 7 before being taken.

In speaking with scouts, they said the reason that Myrick fell that far was because he was being graded as an undrafted free agent off his tape. They said tape of Myrick didn’t merit a draft-able grade, but he happened to run fast enough to help himself to get selected among the final picks of the 2017 NFL Draft. Based off what teams saw of Myrick’s play at Minnesota, they felt he was a better fit as a free agent acquisition.

The Jacksonville Jaguars ended Myrick’s fall by taking him in the seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The Jaguars have their starting cornerbacks for many years to come in Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. Jacksonville also has other corner competitors like Aaron Colvin ahead of Myrick on the depth chart. In order to make the 53-man roster, Myrick will have to star on special teams. In the long term, Myrick could hope to become the nickel corner to defend slot receivers with Ramsey and Bouye on the outside, but that will be a tough fight with Colvin, among others. Myrick could end up spending a season on the practice squad as the Jaguars see if he can develop the cover skills to take advantage of his world-class speed. That could be a good plan to develop Myrick at the NFL level.

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