NFL Draft 2015

SLEEPER SUNDAY: CB Josh Shaw

The cornerback class is quietly one of the deeper and more talented groups in this year’s NFL draft. At the top of the pack is Trae Waynes from Michigan State and Marcus Peters from Washington. From purely a talent standpoint, many people believe Peters is the better CB prospect yet red flag issues have hurt his draft stock. Waynes is a lanky press cover specialist who is consistently being projected and mocked in the neighborhood of the Vikings’ 11th over all pick.

Cornerback is widely believed to be an area of need for the Vikings, and I certainly suspect Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer might look to draft more than one versatile defensive back again this year. Even if the Vikings select a corner in the first round, they could look to target a “sleeper” cornerback in the later rounds, who can also play safety.

My Sleeper Sunday pick this week goes to USC’s Josh Shaw. Shaw is a talented cornerback on the football field, but unfortunately he’s been overshadowed by his tall tale lie off the field which has turned his life upside down.

Heading into his senior season things fell apart when the Trojans’ defensive co-captain fabricated a story about saving his drowning nephew from a pool. The lie was an attempt to cover up the truth about hurting his ankles while jumping from a balcony after an argument with his long-time girlfriend.

His tale of heroism quickly turned into one of shame.

After internal investigations, and also serving a 10 game suspension, Shaw returned to play in the final three games and embark on the uphill battle of restoring his name and credibility.

Shaw has rebounded well by taking advantage of solid showings at all-star games and pre-draft workouts. At the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Shaw was impressive in practice throughout the week and also intercepted a pass during the game. His outstanding effort earned him an invitation and an opportunity to play in the Senior Bowl. In Mobile, Alabama, Shaw stood out as one of the more physical corners in practices and proved he can play man-to-man with some of best receivers in the country.

At the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Shaw measured in at 6’0” 201 pounds. He bench-pressed 225 pounds a position best 26 times. His 40-yard dash time of 4.44 tied for third among 29 defensive backs who ran.

Shaw has a muscled up frame with the experience and physicality to play safety. He shows excellent awareness, good flexibility with smooth hips to turn and run. With the NFL’s recent love affair with bigger corners, Shaw has the speed, footwork and change of direction ability to stay on the perimeter as a corner in the NFL.

Shaw is at his best when playing press man coverage. He excels at using his size, strength and length to jam a receiver at the line. Shaw typically shows natural ability to turn quickly and run with any receiver with little trouble. He can recognize run or pass quickly and is a willing tackler in run support who displays great closing speed.

Josh Shaw is a mid round gem that could be a star in the NFL at corner or safety under Mike Zimmer’s tutelage. If Shaw is still on the board when the Vikings are on the clock in the fourth round, I wouldn’t hesitate to flash my Rich Eisen like 40-speed to the podium and turn this pick in.

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Carl Knowles

Carl Knowles (Contributor) is a former member of the Professional Bowler Association and an avid lifelong Vikings fan. When he is not bowling you can find him on websites and forum pages sharing his creative insight and enthusiasm for the Minnesota Vikings any chance he gets. Carl was a Phoenix Institute of Technology and Purdue University standout who currently enjoys the challenge of being a graphic director in the printing business. You can follow him on twitter @carlknowles_vt.

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8 Comments

  1. This is a fine series of blogs to occupy the “dead” time before the draft. Well done. A lot better than some made up AP related post that major reporting sites put up.

    Josh another good CB prospect for the Vikes to consider. With Newman added, I think the team can afford to pick a later round CB and develop him, rather than going early for a bigger name guy.

    I like Waynes for his speed, but I’m becoming less enamored with him at #11. Unrelatedly, I’m also less keen on Parker at #11 too, I like the fit, and I like pass catching ability and depth, but I’m thinking he’s not a top -15 talent or even 1st round talent.

  2. Thanks for the comment SamuraiViking.
    I have always liked DeVante Parker at 11… but the wide receiver class is also deep, so lately I have been beginning to think OL or edge rusher/LB/DE could be the right direction.

    1. Reportedly the Vikes have been looking at loads of LBs during the pro days,although at this time of year it’s hard to believe anything you hear/read.

  3. Watching that highlight package,the kid seems like a Zimmer type of guy.Good open field tackles,fights the receiver for the ball,and has the versatility to play more than one position.Hope we pick him!

  4. I like Jones Rowe mager and Shaw in that order think any would be a good pickup. Skoll Vikings drink from the skull cap of Rogers

  5. Josh Shaw is an extrememly interesting pick to me. This guy looks like he could be really good, especially for a 3rd round selection. This was a borderline 1st rounder, and what he did was lie. My main concern is that teams may be willing to reach for his talent. I am not convinced his “off the field” issues will keep him down for too long. Unless he is failing his interviews.

    1. I think he falls partly because of the lie and missing game action, but mainly because this cornerback draft class goes 10-11 deep with future starting potential.

      Last year 5 corners went in the first round, and only 3 more came off the board in the next 2 rounds.

      This year I expect a stronger run on corners in the second round. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Vikings drafted a corner in round 2 or 3.

      1. What I was saying is that I don’t think he falls further than his current ranking would suggest. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go in the second round.

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