3.06 Cleveland Browns Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego State (5-9⅝, 193)
With the sixth selection (68th overall) in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select cornerback Leon McFadden from San Diego State. McFadden does not have the prototypical size and speed to be a corner in the NFL, but makes up for this with his quick burst ability. He uses this skill to close down gaps that develop with his lack of pure speed and this is the main reason he excels at coming towards the line of scrimmage as opposed to retreating deep into the secondary. I also like his ability to smoothly transition out of breaks. This skill will help him at disguising his lack of speed and, in turn, overall range. McFadden has solid instincts and ball skills. He can read the eyes of the quarterback well enough to maintain the proper positioning in both zone and man coverage. He has good anticipation skills to jump underneath routes and understand how the quarterback/receiver combo is setting up a defense. McFadden takes solid angles to track the ball and break up plays. This guy has great leaping ability for his height and possesses good hands to pluck the ball out of the air. The question is if the leaping ability will hold up against taller receivers. He is lacking skills in run support and needs to improve his strength to become a more consistent tackler in the open field.
McFadden proves to be a very interesting selection for the Browns. They already have shutdown corner Joe Haden lining up on the left side of the field. They are also big fans of Buster Skrine and recent signing Chris Owens, who has been playing with the first team defense throughout OTAs. So, where does McFadden fit in the whole scheme of things? He is 5’9” like Owens and Skrine, so there is no height advantage to keep him on the outside as opposed to being a slot defensive back. I feel the Browns will use him in dime and nickel coverage as he develops over his first few seasons in the league. Overall, McFadden will develop into a serviceable defensive back in the NFL.