We are back with another film review and this week we all took a look at a player who occupies one of our favorite positions to scout, cornerback, in Jaycee Horn. We all left relatively unimpressed with the film of Horn and thought that there were many things he had to work on before any of us called him a first round corner like many in the media have been saying. In this article, we give our thoughts on what we believe Horn did well and not so well in the form of a film review, hope you enjoy.
2021 NFL Draft Film Review #3: Jaycee Horn
@Texans_Draft and @Texans_Thoughts
My favorite aspect of Horn's game is his ability to play the ball. His ability to get back into a play and breakup the ball reminds me a bit of Gareon Conley. On this slant vs Florida WR Van Jefferson (the best route runner last year imo), he stays in the hip pocket and is aggressive at the catch point.
Staying attached is one thing, but being able to actually break up the ball is the game changer. So many young CBs recently aren't able to do that, but Horn, as a sophomore, has that part of his game down.
He does it again and unfortunately he's not on the screen here (pls give me college All-22) but as he comes back into the picture you can see Horn play the ball really aggressively. He high points the ball and swats it away. He plays like he's angry at the ball, and wants to slap it to the next dimension.
This next play has some good and bad, let's start with the bad. Horn is a bit too aggressive biting on Van's first move inside, so when he cuts it upfield, he has to hold onto Van's face mask to keep up. He gets flagged for it, so this INT doesn't count, but let's get to the good. He fights back into this play and when he's running backwards like this, it's hard for him to get a lot of vertical on his jump. But because of his length, he's able to get hands on the ball and pick it off nicely. His length is a real weapon, and throughout the season he started to learn how to use it better.
South Carolina played Horn in the nickel in 2018, and he played there in spurts in 2019 as well. I actually really liked his snaps here, and this one against DeVonta Smith was as good as it can get. He keeps hands on Smith and mirrors his movements well, while running upfield. He stays attached throughout the route and contributes to the coverage sack.
Another thing we noticed Horn was great at was squeezing the WR to the sideline, and minimizing the space he had to work with. As a CB, the sideline is your friend, and can act as an extra defender. So even though the QB gives the WR a really good ball, that Horn physically can't get to, because Horn did the work to squeeze the WR to the sideline, he can't get his feet in bounds.
I also really liked Horn's willingness to tackle in the run game. He was fairly quick to come downhill and help out. Run defense for CBs is not high on my priority list, but it's more of a mentality thing for me. If you are at least willing to get physical and get your hands dirty, I love that. Just doing anything needed to help your team win the game. Horn doesn't NEED to come down and help on this tackle. But he willingly does it pretty consistently.
One area I really didn't like Horn in was Cover 3. He played too high in his stance and wasn't ready to break on a route. Like this one against Alabama, he already has a big cushion on the WR, and keeps backing up for some reason. He's got to trust his speed because he's a great athlete, and be in better position to break on this ball. Because he's so far off, once Smith cuts in, he's just too far to do anything. He also isn't explosive in his cut because of how high he is in his stance. I liked Horn a lot better when he's pressed against a WR and can be physical with him.
In this play we see Horn get a fantastic pass break up in off man coverage, something that was rare for him. He's back pedaling quite fast off the snap, assuming that Devonta Smith is going deep, bu recovers nicely when he sees that Smith makes a cut inside. His closing speed on the football is excellent in this play and does just enough so Smith can't make a tough catch. This was a really solid rep for Horn in a game that he largely struggled in.
Sticking with the theme of great pass breakups, this next play is another one of those, this time Horn shows a great understanding of zone coverage and uses his physical gifts to make a play on the football. You can tell right off the snap that Horn knows exactly who to cover and stays with his man admirably. Once he sees the ball is not going to his man, he leaves him, showing a great understanding of the coverage and makes a play on the ball with his length knocking it away and preventing a touchdown.
This next play shows that Jaycee Horn is a willing tackler and is an asset in run support. Throughout the whole film review, he showed a great understanding of filling holes when needed to, almost looking like a box safety at times, the tackling instincts were impressive. He also showed great technique and power when he was called upon to make a play, it was really nice to see a corner so gifted at tackling.
He's in off man coverage again here, something that was very common for Horn in the three games we watched, and shows some great cross field speed to keep up with Jerry Jeudy and still be there when the ball arrived. He gets kind of a soft flag call called on him, but it was still impressive to see him fight through traffic and recover so Jeudy didn't have an easy catch and an open field to run into.
This is one of Horn's worst reps of the film that we watched on him. Off the snap, he's not physical and very flat footed, simply just waiting to see what the wide receiver does which allows Devonta Smith to get inside of him and beat him quite easily. Then at the top of the route, Smith is the one that initiates contact and gets physical with Horn and he looks overwhelmed by that. This all results in a touchdown for Smith and Horn looking like he doesn't belong on the same field as him.
This next play is not much better for Jaycee Horn. Jerry Jeudy gets a great burst off the snap and absolutely works Horn with a simple cut inside, making him stumble and leaving him in the dust. A common mistake Horn made was being flat footed and having a wide base, making it hard for him to move and stay with the receiver, and Jeudy really exploits that here. Horn's feet simply weren't in a position to be quick enough to keep up with Jeudy, and if the the throw is better, he would have given up yet another touchdown.
These last couple plays highlight some of Horn's weaknesses that we cited in the Florida and Alabama game, being fixed in the Texas A&M game, which was by far the best game we watched of him. In this first play, we finally see him get physical with the receiver at the line of scrimmage. Good things tend to happen when the corner is super physical with the receiver right off the snap, dictating where he goes. When Horn finally gets physical, he overwhelms the receiver and they have absolutely no chance to catch the ball, even if it was thrown their way. It is something we need to see way more of from Horn.
In this last play, we see Horn correct another weakness that I cited which was his slow feet off the snap. You see here that he keeps his feet moving with the receiver and he is able to stay with him far better than before, especially in the Alabama game. He looks way more fluid on this play, leaving almost no room for the quarterback to squeeze a pass in there, even making a play on the ball and ensuring and incompletion.