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Thread: Draft Spotlight: CB Christopher Owens, San Jose State

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    ckparrothead's Avatar
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    Draft Spotlight: CB Christopher Owens, San Jose State

    Player: Christopher Owens

    Year: Senior
    School: San Jose State
    Position: CB
    Height: 5'9"
    Weight: 180 lbs.
    Age: 22
    Arm Length: Unknown
    Hand Size: Unknown

    Career Stats: 228 Tackles, 7.0 TFLs, 20 Passes Defensed, 3 Forced Fumbles, 13 INTs Ret. 132 Yd, 0 TD
    2008 Stats: 68 Tackles, 3.0 TFLs, 8 Passes Defensed, 2 Forced Fumbles, 1 INTs Ret. 25 Yd, 0 TD
    2007 Stats: 75 Tackles, 2.5 TFLs, 3 Passes Defensed, 0 Forced Fumbles, 6 INTs Ret. 26 Yd, 0 TD
    *Stats provided by NFL Draft Scout (http://www.nfldraftscout.com/)

    Most Unique Attribute: Aggressiveness
    Areas For Improvement: Strength, Size, Footwork

    Projected Round: 4th

    My Take: I know, I already wrote up a guy from San Jose State. Why stick with this school? There is a reason. First off, not a whole lot of people get to follow SJSU and so not a whole lot of folks may realize that the SJSU team, defense especially, is a small cache of NFL talent, some of whom will play on Sundays, and some of whom will make it to an NFL training camp to try their fortunes. When I watch SJSU play football, I see three GOOD Draft prospects for the 2009 NFL Draft. I also see two or three more guys that might get invited to a training camp as UDFAs this summer. And then I see some other guys that I will be keeping an eye on for future drafts, including one guy I feel has a chance to wind up Top 3 or 4 at a particularly loaded position for his class.

    The key is that the defense in particular on this team, and especially the defensive backs, appear to be very well coached players. Jeff Ireland once said about Alabama that despite Miami fans' misgivings with him, Nick Saban runs a really top notch program over there and as a General Manager, you feel a lot safer taking a player from a program like that because he's going to have a lot of fundamentals down and be very prepared. Keith Burns, the Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Backs Coach of San Jose State, appears to me to be a very solid football coach. He may get a chance to improve upon the dismal record he accumulated as Head Coach of Tulsa from 2000 to 2002 (7-28).

    This is a guy whose resume includes having coached CB Dwight Lowery, CB Brian Kelly, SS Kenoy Kennedy, CB David Barrett, FS Ken Hamlin, SS Caleb Miller, CB Jason Sehorn, SS Sammie Knight and CB Daylon McCutcheon at the college level. So, when Keith Burns fields a pair of All-WAC cornerbacks that are both headed to the draft on the heels of helping a defense that allowed only 170 passing yards per game, a stellar 5.7 yards per attempt, with quarterbacks only completing 52% of their passes, throwing 9 TDs to 16 INTs...you are absolutely forced to pay attention.

    Now, Coye Francies is the guy that is grabbing the scouts' attention right now, and for excellent reason. Burns calls him the toughest player on the team, and says that he's not sure he has ever had a guy with his physical gifts. That is why it would be terribly unsurprising if Francies ended up the best cornerback to come out of this draft class.

    But as aggressive and physical as Coye Francies is, Christopher Owens is more so. And, let's keep in mind, that when Coaches voted the All-WAC performers, they made Owens a First Team player and Francies a Second Team player. Additionally, Owens was invited to the Texas vs. Nation practices, and scouts were pretty clear that Owens was among the top one or two talents during the week.

    Owens reminds me of an Antoine Winfield, and I don't like just throwing that term around. He might not have Winfield's physical strength but he has his mental aggression. And, between the two things, you can work on physical strength in the weight room. You don't often have success getting an unaggressive player to be aggressive. Or, as the term that Parcells and Sparano like so much goes, "if they don't bite as puppies, they don't bite."

    Owens might be quicker than Coye Francies, we'll have to see at the Combine. He seems like the quicker change of direction type, that could work at slot CB in the NFL. He shows good closing speed and extension on the ball. His footwork is a little choppier than Francies', but effective. He'll open up and waste some movement in guesswork before recognizing the route a little better, but his hips are quick enough that he is able to do that while staying tight to the receiver's body.

    He also shows the natural awareness to make plays by peeling off his man, whether that be intercepting the ball or leveling a would-be receiver (something that he's shown proficiency in doing, hence the forced fumbles). He has 13 career interceptions at San Jose State, one shy of tying the school record. He will get a little handsy at times, leading to some ticky tack officiating, but that is more a byproduct of his aggressive demeanor than something he needs to do to stay with receivers.

    He fills against the run more than adequately, and seems even better at getting off WR blocks than Francies. A genuine tackle machine as a cornerback, he appears around the ball all the time and has averaged 6.0 tackles per game over his final two seasons, which projects to 95 tackles in a 16 game pro season. Hence the Antoine Winfield comparisons.

    His primary weakness is that he is a 5'9" and 180 pound player, who needs to work on being stronger at the line of scrimmage on the jam, and stronger with the football in the air. Receivers find some success against him shielding the football with their bodies, to where he can't get through them. This, as well as the wasted movement and missed guesses, will be the biggest challenges he will face at the next level. But his hustle, speed, attitude, energy and effort will earn him a spot on an NFL roster and probably see him making plays.

    And, when you look at the big picture, you have a physically aggressive tackling machine that makes all kinds of plays on the ball, doesn't allow many big receptions, was very well-coached for all four years, has the quickness to stay in the hip pocket, and 48 games worth of experience (38 as starter, I believe). All of those things will make me forget about his 5'9" and 180 pound size.

    The downside is that for Miami, you probably only take him if you can get Andre Goodman and Will Allen locked up for the time being, and you can therefore bring a Chris Owens into the fold as a slot CB in nickel packages. His presence also does not solve our inability to make a heavy impact on receivers that have size going in their favor. I favor the strategy of taking two corners anyway, and you might want to pair an Owens up with a larger guy like Keenan Lewis, Dominique Johnson, or maybe even Sean Smith if he were to fall to #44 (highly doubtful). To be perfectly honest, I would relish the opportunity to import the pair of Francies and Owens directly to Miami as a pair.
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    JT-forpresident's Avatar
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    nice article CK, you really are down on the SJSU players huh ? :P

    I have one question though... how is his special teams play ? if we are to draft a nickel back, he better contribute on special teams... and at 5'8 180 pounds, it might be a problem. On the other hand, you mentionned how he's aggressive and a tackling machine, so there might be a place for him in a punt and kickoff unit...

    I also wanted to know, since i wasn't able to watch the darn texas vs the nation game (ooooh caaaanadaaa... lol) , how well did he play ? if you can also tell me about jamall lee, the canadian RB, it would be nice. In canada he's the best RB in the country, i wanted to see what he could do against US players EDIT: he's not a jesse lumsden, who cracked the redskins roster for a year, but he's almost as good...
    Last edited by JT-forpresident; 02-02-2009 at 04:49 PM.


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    TedSlimmJr's Avatar
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    So what in your opinion contributed to his dropoff in interceptions from 6 in his junior season, to 1 his senior season?
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    Quote Originally Posted by TedSlimmJr View Post
    So what in your opinion contributed to his dropoff in interceptions from 6 in his junior season, to 1 his senior season?
    He had a couple of opportunities, he didn't pull them down as well in 2008 as he did in 2006 & 2007. Also, keep in mind that even though Coye Francies came into the year as the guy people thought was more physically talented, he was a JUCO transfer (a standout, but still relatively unknown) and Chris Owens was the guy that had already basically been starting and picking off passes all through 2006 and 2007 opposite Dwight Lowery in the WAC (he had 12 heading into 2008).

    He was voted First Team All-WAC for a reason. There's a good chance he just wasn't challenged that often.

    Duke Ihenacho, the Safety I was talking about, he pulled down 5 interceptions. I think teams were trying to go away from Owens and Francies, hit up the middle of the field where Ihenacho as a Safety/Linebacker was anything but proven headed into this season. Duke only started playing football four years ago as a junior in high school. The middle of the field had to look especially attractive given all of the pressure that Jarron Gilbert, Carl Ihenacho and Jeff Schweiger were generating on the DL.

    Together Owens and Francies combined for 4 INTs. The Safeties combined for 11 INTs (counting Newsome as a S, that's where he lined up). I think this suggests QBs were trying to hit up the middle of the field and avoid Francies/Owens.
    Last edited by ckparrothead; 02-02-2009 at 05:04 PM.
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    ckparrothead's Avatar
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    BTW yes with Owens' mentality I wouldn't be surprised to see him play well on Special Teams.
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    ckparrothead's Avatar
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    Great video profile of Owens here...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BWYZ...e=channel_page

    Hmm, no wonder I featured him 6 weeks ago.
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    JT-forpresident's Avatar
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    reminds me of will allen, well, in that video...
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    thejetssuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckparrothead View Post
    Great video profile of Owens here...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BWYZ...e=channel_page

    Hmm, no wonder I featured him 6 weeks ago.
    Your always ahead of the curve CK. I'm hoping Parcells and the gang have a close eye on this kid.
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    fishypete's Avatar
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    Too small...too light.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishypete View Post
    Too small...too light.
    5'10 is average corner height. Mid 180's is a bit on the light side but some players work better being lighter than others. From what I saw he is a stout 180.

    You would assume NFL weight lifting programs would give him an additional 5-10 pounds, putting him at around 190.

    Will Allen is 5'10, 195 and has shown that he can work well at that height and weight. I would definitely love getting this guy in the later rounds, and CK i believe you found a steal in the later rounds.
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