Considered a prize in the 2014 recruiting class, Lattimore was expected to make an immediate impact once he arrived in Columbus, but hamstring injuries kept him on the sideline for most of his first two seasons. He was healthy for the 2016 season as a sophomore and earned a starting job (13 starts), leading the Buckeyes in passes defended (13) and finishing second in interceptions (four) to earn First Team All-Big Ten honors. Lattimore elected to skip his final two seasons of eligibility and enter the NFL Draft.
Play speed is critical for the cornerback position and he checks this box with a sharpie, displaying the sudden movements and transitional quickness to match up with any type of receiver. Lattimore is still developing from an anticipation standpoint, which is a result of his limited experience in college, but his athleticism allows him to stay attached to receivers and restrict passing windows. He has a very high NFL ceiling and worthy of a draft pick in the top half of round one.
STRENGTHS: Twitchy athlete with the lower body explosiveness to spring in any direction. Attaches himself hip-to-hip in coverage and runs better routes than the receiver. Above average top-end speed. Secondary burst to close cushions or recover after a false step. Sinks in his stance and stays on the balls of his feet to remain under control and in phase. Workable body type with adequate height to match up with receivers. Competes at the catch point to take away passing windows. Reliable hands to finish interceptions. Averaged 15.3 yards per interception return in 2016, including a 40-yard touchdown. Stings in run support and reacts without much hesitation. Mentally alert and plays with a self-assured confidence.
WEAKNESSES: Lacks ideal bulk and length on his frame. Plays near the line of scrimmage, but rarely jams, allowing receivers to make first contact and knock him off the route. Needs to better play the ball with his back turned to the play. Bad habit of grabbing when panicked. Can be fooled by body/head fakes and needs to better anticipate routes and concepts. Occasionally plays small as a run defender and needs to clean up his finishing technique as a tackler. History of chronic hamstring issues that date back to high school and long-term durability is a question mark -- required surgery on his left hamstring (Aug. 2014), forcing him to redshirt, and missed time the following season due to a right hamstring (Oct. 2015) issue.
NFL COMPARISON: Janoris Jenkins, New York Giants -- With their fluid athleticism and cover skills, Lattimore has similar ability and upside as Jenkins, who is currently a top-10 cornerback in the NFL.
Career Defensive Stats