In my second installment of my Prospect Spotlights, here we will be focusing on CB Pierre Desir out of Lindenwood.
Desir is one of the more underrated prospects since he plays in a Div-II school in the AAC, but when you look at him on tape, he looks like a NFL CB. Plus his 25 career Interceptions over 4 years stand out pretty well.
Ball Skills: While four interceptions this past season may not stand out in a big way, just looking at that one stat is misleading. But when you consider in the entire 2013 season, opposing quarterbacks threw Desir’s way just 14 times. So on 14 attempts his way, Desir picked off four passes and deflected eight more. Quarterbacks stopped throwing in Desir’s direction in large part because of his 25 career interceptions in four seasons. On the few occasions the ball is thrown his way, Desir does an excellent job using his long arms and quick reaction have made him such a great ball hawk. Desir’s athleticism is just another plus in this area in making his ball skills exceptional.
Size: As wide receivers entering the NFL become bigger and faster, more teams are starting to look towards the Seattle Seahawks method of scouting. With Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner and Byron Maxwell all 6’0" or taller. Now more teams are starting to take taller cornerbacks and that’s a plus for Desir who is 6’1". Desir can use his size and length to match up against the bigger wide receivers at the next level and has the frame to add even more weight to improve and become an even more physical corner. Desir never missed a game in college and should also offer a clean bill of health heading into the NFL Scouting Combine.
Run Defense: This is in part something that we didn’t get to see a lot of this year because he primarily was shutting down wide receivers, but Desir needs to show more aggressiveness against the run. At times you will see him stay engaged with the block and never disengage until the running back is away and the play is over. NFL teams are looking for all-around corners who are stout in coverage and good versus the run, but Desir still has plenty to prove in terms of his ability to consistently come up and make plays on the running back.
Level of Competition: There are always some people who question prospects who play in the American Athletic Conference (ACC) or even just any conference not named the Southeastern Conference (SEC). So Desir will face some serious skepticism by some coming from a Division II college where few players succeed at the NFL and the competition he faced was less than stellar. The jump from a major college program to the NFL is a big one but it’s an enormous leap from Division II to the NFL. He will have a great chance to prove he can cover some of the best wide receiver prospects in drills and at the combine but there will still be some who question if he can make the jump to the NFL.
While Taylor’s play has fallen off over the past two years and he is no longer the top corner he used to be, you can’t ignore Taylor’s legacy when he was in his prime. A model of consistency, Taylor excellent job blanketing the wide receiver opposite of him.
Both Taylor and Desir offer similar size, but what they really have in common is their style of play. While Desir has great physical talent what really makes him shine is his knowledge of the game and all of the little things that make great cornerbacks. It is those same mental skills that Taylor has used for so many years. While Taylor may be better against the run, Desir makes a lot more plays and should have more than 14 career interceptions like Taylor.
Right now Desir is at the East-West Shrine Game, which should be a nice test against some higher competition. Desir played for Division II Lindenwood University and rarely matched up against great talent, which is a big question for scouts.
But when you watch Desir on tape, you see all of the skills that scouts look for in a starting cornerback. He has the size, length, playmaking ability and instincts that are perfect for what teams are looking for from a physical, coverage corner. While Desir needs some work with his tackling and coming up and stopping the run, he will only continue to show in drills that he is a top talent. I have a second-round grade on Desir and think he has a great chance of being a top-40 pick.
Pierre Desir Video Highlights
Pierre Desir defensive footage (Lindenwood vs Lincoln 2013) (via Greg Linton)