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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Virginia State CB Willie Drew

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From now until the 2024 NFL Draft takes place, we will scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top-10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, a scouting report on Virginia State CB Willie Drew.

#23 Willie Drew/CB Virginia State – 5115, 191 pounds (Grad Student)

Senior Bowl/NFL Combine

MEASUREMENTS

Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
Willie Drew 5115/191 9 1/2″ 32″ 75 5/8″
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
4.46 1.49 4.42* 6.90*
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press
9’7″* 36″* 13

*Pro Day Measurement

The Good

– Eager press man corner but experience playing off and reading routes
– Long and loose player
– Strong athlete with good testing that carries over onto the field
– Fluid hips and change of direction
– Erases vertical routes and matches with ease
– Uses length well to contest downfield, difficult to throw around him
– Impressive ball skills, finds the football in the air, able to get his head around while in-phase downfield
– Times his jumps well, high-points the football, and can outleap receivers
– Willing tackler and can mix it up downhill, looks to get involved, and doesn’t shy away from contact
– Competent wrap-up tackler
– Quick close downhill
– Excellent production, colorful box scores, and an absurd number of pass deflections
– Experience on special teams, played on kick coverage and field goal block team, even as starting corner
– Experience playing both outside cornerback spots

The Bad

– Good length but lankier frame
– Lacks experience in zone coverage
– Minimal hit power and force as a tackler
– Could stand to get stronger overall and add some muscle
– Obvious competition concerns
– Dropped a few interceptions, missed opportunities
– Doesn’t have much slot experience
– Can lose the perimeter against the run
– Likely an older prospect after six years in school

Bio

– Three-year player for Virginia State, at least two years as a starter
– VSU career: 99 tackles (5.5 TFL), 39 PDs, 11 INTs, 1 FF
– 2023: 34 tackles (2.5 TFL), 22 PDs, 6 INTs, 1 FF
– Named D2 first-team All-American in 2023, CIAA DPOY
– Spent two years at James Madison (2018-2019), recorded eight tackles and two PDs in 2019
– Two-star recruit from Smithfield, Virginia, chose JMU over Virginia, Temple, and Marshall, among other schools
– Played QB and CB in high school, also participated in track & field (100/200 meter and long jump)
– Tore ACL/MCL/meniscus in knee late in 2019
– Grades suffered after the injury, and he lost scholarship to James Madison
– Remains friends with former JMU teammate Jimmy Moreland

Tape Breakdown

Willie Drew was a top high school athlete and turned down bigger schools to attend James Madison. He was working his way up the depth chart before suffering a serious knee injury in 2019. He admitted he let his grades slip, and he lost his scholarship, turning to D-II Virginia State as his next stop.

For small schoolers like him, production is key. If you can’t produce at a lower level, the odds of doing it at football’s highest one are slim. That’s not a concern for Drew, whose numbers were off the charts. Over his last two years, he broke up 34 passes and picked off another 11. In 2023, he set a career-high with six interceptions and was named the CIAA Defensive Player of the Year. The NFL’s taken notice, receiving invites to the Shrine Bowl, Senior Bowl, and NFL Combine.

Drew has excellent ball skills and routinely blanketed receivers vertically. He just didn’t give up anything over his head. His timing to leap and high-point the ball is impressive, and he uses his plus-length well. A cut-up over him erasing nine routes.

Another interception, out-jumping, and out-muscling the Bluefield State wide receiver.

Drew is not an overly physical player but doesn’t gear down against the run. He’ll wrap up and get receivers to the ground and sticks his nose in the run game, even if it isn’t overwhelming stuff.

Negatives were hard to find on tape, though the footage we worked with wasn’t the cleanest. Obviously, he’ll make a big jump in competition. He’ll have to show he can play more zone coverage after primarily working as a man cover corner in college because of his ability to lock down his half of the field. His size and strength could also provide some limitations to his game, especially if he wants to press against the NFL’s top-flight players. He can work a little harder to shed blocks in the run game and secure the perimeter to keep the back from turning the corner. He’s the RCB here, allowing the back to bounce.

Conclusion

Overall, Drew is athletic, with great production and skills to translate to the next level. Making a projection from someone at his level is tricky but he tested well at the Combine and competed against top competition at the Senior Bowl, which helps. The NFL is looking for corners who can make plays on the football, and that’s in Drew’s DNA. A sleeper on Day Three. My NFL comparison goes a little old-school with Tracy Porter, drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 2008.

Projection: Mid-Day Three
Depot Draft Grade: 7.2 – Rotational Player (Fourth Round)
Games Watched: at Norfolk State (2023), vs Elizabeth City State (2023), at Virginia Union (2023), INT Cut-Up



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