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Free agent preview: Cornerback Rashaan Melvin

In part 2 of our free agent cornerback piece we take a look at another young, tall cornerback with an up and down past

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Part 1 we took a look at Pierre Desir, in part 2 we take a look at Raiders cornerback Rashaan Melvin. While last season his PFF grade was less than ideal at only 60.5, his 2017 campaign as a member of the Indianapolis Colts notched a 77.9. Playing in the black hole known as Oakland proved less than ideal in a team effort leading the Raiders to a crowd-pleasing 4-12 finish.

Going undrafted in 2013, he found his first NFL home in Tampa Bay. Since then, he’s bounced around the league with the Raiders being team No. 6. He stands at 6 feet, 2 inches, and weighs 192 pounds. While his 40 clocked between a 4.42-4.46, he plays more on the 4.5-4.6 side as a long strider and those take a second or two to get going. He played left cornerback in Oakland, but has played on both sides throughout his NFL career.

In review of the film, Melvin strikes me as someone with great potential, but has yet to realize the full extent of it. He does well at press man. If he gets his hands on a receiver at the line, they seldom escape. He also does fairly well in zone and shows good awareness and anticipation. He’s also a willing tackler and doesn’t shy away from hitting. Where I think improvement can be made is consistency at the line. If he misses the jam, he struggles to remain locked in coverage. He has also shown to be susceptible to double moves when he tries to read and anticipate routes.His size is causes problems as well; smaller, twitcher receivers give him trouble and he doesn’t have the agility to pivot and match their routes on consecutive plays. Let’s get into the tape.

Vs. Cleveland: Solid back pedal but he tries anticipating a go route so he opens his hips earlier than necessary. When the receiver breaks outside, he’s unable to recover in time to prevent the completion.

Vs. Cleveland:Tight coverage at the goal line here. He misses the jam. This allows the receiver to press him outside, then snap back inside. If not for the bad pass, this would be a touchdown.

Vs. Denver: Does a great job of jamming the receiver at the line, stays on his hip. Once the ball is in the air he high points the pass for an interception.

Vs. Denver: Two great clips of Melvin using solid technique to jam, and mirror the receiver's route. First clip he slows the receiver with one arm as he retreats. On the second clip, he falls into trail technique. As the receiver breaks down he does as well and follows him inside.

Vs. Cleveland: Here he shows better patience in his back pedal. Waiting for the receiver to show his route, he closes on the stop route and prevents the completion.

Vs. Denver:I liked this clip specifically because of how many times last season we saw Ahkello Witherspoon leave his zone and follow a receiver inside in the cover-3 scheme. Here Melvin begins on the outside receiver. Once his man breaks inside, he continues back pedaling into his zone. While there’s still a completion, the technique was solid and it prevented a longer gain.

Vs. Cleveland: With no eligible receiver on his side of the field, Melvin turns into a linebacker. He reads the line, sees the gap, and shoots in for the tackle.

Vs. Denver: Melvin is sent on the corner blitz and causes the quick pass and incompletion.

Overall, Melvin could be a great addition for depth at the cornerback position. It helps that he wouldn’t command the big money someone like Pierre Desir would. Also, after a lackluster season there shouldn’t be too many teams vying for his services. I think he fits the mold for our cornerback room given his height and experience in press man coverage. He does show pretty good awareness in zone as well. Will he be a clear cut starter over who we already have? I can’t say with conviction, but if we learned anything from last season, we need bodies who can play. Moreover, experienced bodies. So many of the struggles after the starting lineup went down stemmed from players who haven’t played at the NFL level on a consistent basis. Melvin comes with experience in lots of different systems, over five seasons of playtime, and could be a solid performer if called upon. What do you think about Melvin? Go Niners!