RSP contributor David Igono showcases the patience and awareness of 2019 NFL Draft prospect CB Trayvon Mullen of Clemson in press coverage.
Press coverage at the line of scrimmage can be a calculated gamble that savvy cornerbacks can win with patience and awareness.
Trayvon Mullen of Clemson has solid footwork mainly because he understands coverage and he patiently waits for receivers to declare their intentions first. One of the toughest lessons to learn in press man coverage is getting comfortable waiting for the receiver to give you a clue as to what route he’s attempting to run.
In the first clip, Mullen is at the top of the screen with an inside shade on the wideout. He’s effectively daring his opposite number to cross his face and run an inside breaking route. Because Mullen is patient he can run his receiver right into triple coverage. Between Mullen’s coverage, the safety playing over the top and the sideline, it’s going to take an inch-perfect throw to complete a pass to this receiver.
Playing press coverage is a lot like a dad pushing his child on a swingset. He can’t push too hard. He has to time when he pushes with how fast the kid is already going. And he has to be on time. The second clip illustrates Mullen’s ability to measure time and then pin his receiver on the sideline (top of the screen).
Being on time in press coverage is an advanced yet subtle skill. It allows defensive backs to keep their balance while maintaining proper route leverage on their assignment. Baseline speed and measurables are prerequisites to a certain degree. It’s the nuances of time and space that separate good coverage from sheer athleticism.
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