Cornerback is an in flux as any position on the Patriots roster right now. There’s been on-and-off trade rumors surrounding Stephon Gilmore for about a year now, and J.C. Jackson’s future with the team beyond this year is cloudy at best. Even if both stay for 2021, they’ll each be unrestricted free agents next year.
That uncertainty has led some to speculate the Patriots could use a premium pick on an outside corner in the upcoming draft. It’s an option the Patriots seem to be considering – the team had their positional coaches in attendance to work out South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn at his pro day on Wednesday, per Jim Nagy.
Horn is considered a top three cornerback in this draft class, and his stock will only continue to rise after a strong showing at his pro day. Both Horn’s vertical jump (41.5 inches) and broad jump (133 inches) were in the 96th percentile. He also ran a 4.39 40-yard-dash.
Entering Wednesday, Horn was projected to be a mid-first round pick, but after his workout it’s not unrealistic to think he could end up pushing the top 10. In addition to his impressive performance, Monday’s news that Caleb Farley (another one of the top three corners) will have to undergo a back procedure before the draft could see Horn rise up some draft boards.
Physically, Horn is an ideal fit for the Patriots at the position. At 6-foo-1, 205 pounds, he has the size to compete with bigger outside receivers. Horn isn’t just big, he plays to his size and athleticism, and isn’t afraid to fight a receiver at the line of scrimmage, or at the catch point. His game still needs some rounding out technically, but he fits the mold of a No. 1 outside NFL corner.
If the Patriots want a shot at Horn, they’d likely need to use the 15th pick to get him – if not trade up. Either way, that would take them out of the running for any of the top five quarterbacks. Given the way they’ve been aggressively adding on defense over the last week and a half though, it can’t be completely ruled out.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.