NAME: Damon Arnette
SCHOOL: Ohio State
WEIGHT: 195 pounds
Today’s draft prospect profile will look into a physical cornerback. Impressively, this player worked hard to grow and became a more trusted defender at Ohio State. He can win in a variety of ways. To boot, he is versatile entering the NFL game. Now, let’s get things started with our breakdown of Damon Arnette.
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Arnette is a physical cornerback, who thrives in press man coverage. He can jam routes at the line of scrimmage. Or, Arnette will trick quarterbacks in soft press coverage. Opponents must be aware how quickly he can swoop and jump in front of short passes. His Ohio State teammate Jeff Okudah has some of the most oily hips in this draft class. But, do not be surprised to see Arnette have a great deal of hip mobility as well when turning in transition.
In zone coverage, Arnette is sneaky and disguises his coverages well. His angles are usually well taken here. Although, there can be times where the timing is just a hair off. Quarterbacks can fool him every once in a while with their ball placement. Overall, Arnette is extremely sticky in coverage. Receivers can often get rattled by his presence, and have to work hard to beat him downfield.
Quickly, you will see how fluid of player Arnette is out in space. The lateral movement is not among the top of the cornerback draft class. However, he recovers so fast because of how quickly he opens his hips. Arnette’s footwork is clean and subtle. Additionally, he is not the quickest guy when clicking and closing on routes. That patience can help just as much as it can hurt. He is seemingly always under control, though. Arnette can recover well against routes downfield. But, there are some reps where his feet are slow off of the snap. This causes difficult situations that for Arnette in contested ball situations. He will figure this out quickly at the NFL level.
Besides the aforementioned physical playing style, Arnette creates disruption with eyes. He does a fine job of anticipating the quarterback’s timing. This guy grew so much in this area throughout his Ohio State tenure. By 2019, Arnette fully understood route combinations. He has the bunnies to get above the rim so to speak, against larger receivers. His nose for the football, combined with the timing, is want you want to see from a press man cover cornerback.
Arnette certainly has the competitive fire to go toe to toe with any receiver. Yet, he can beat himself so much on the field when giving up a big play. Taking those frustrations so hard to heart, has led to a more polished player however. If there is a play where Arnette gets lost, the quarterback will quickly take advantage. Nonetheless, this defender comes back with a vengeance to make it right on the very next play.
Definitely, there is some parts of his tackling to like. Arnette wrangles opposing players to the ground with a strong, twisting style. The clean footwork allows him to time up tackles when closing down on routes. Certainly, Arnette will let you know about it after the fact, if he can put a lick on you. He takes pride in this area, even if it is not always the smoothest looking play. His burst and length go a long way making consistent tackles.
Kansas City enjoys their press coverage cornerbacks. Arnette will bring an aggressive mindset to those kind of coverage calls. Meanwhile, his timing and sneakiness in zone coverage will allow him to see some snaps early on in the NFL. He had to overcome a lengthy development period at Columbus. Never mind that, he puts his head down and works hard. The gifts Arnette has at his disposal is already an encouraging start. Though, the work ethic is what will excite NFL teams.
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– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.