Photo of Nate Hairston
Grade
5.37 ?
  • 4.52 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 14 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 35.5 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 118.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 6'0" Height
  • 31" Arm Length
  • 196LBS. Weight
  • 9 1/2" Hands

Overview

Hairston didn't have much luck finding playing time at receiver his first three years with the Owls, but a change to cornerback his junior year may help him earn a spot in the NFL. He played in eight games as a redshirt freshman, missing four with an ankle injury, catching seven passes for 62 yards. His production was only slightly better in 2014 (13-88 in seven games) before the team switched him to defense. In 2015, he played in all 13 games at cornerback, starting two (11 tackles, one pass breakup). Hairston took the reins of the position as a senior, intercepting two passes and breaking up three others while making 27 tackles, three for loss.

Analysis

Strengths

Has good size and well-built lower body. Built like a more physical player and lives up to it. Competes hard when the ball heads his way. Will knife in at full-speed when he reads hitch or wide receiver screen. Quick to shuck and attack in run support. Former wide receiver at Temple who plays with fluid movement in space. Loose hips allow for smooth transitions in matching patterns and longer strides in space. Has adequate foot quickness and twitch. Plays with a good feel for coverage responsibilities. Diligent to protect against speed and is rarely beaten over the top.

Weaknesses

Only one season as a full-time starter. Targeted just 36 times in college with only six passes defensed. Man cover skills are work in progress. Footwork can be a little uneven in his backpedal and transitions. Will panic and face guard rather than finding the ball when he gets beat over the top. Protected somewhat by cover-2 and cover-3 looks. Needs more man experience. Scouts question his long speed. Leaves an excessive buffer in his bail technique leading to easy completions underneath.

Bottom Line

Raw but very moldable prospect. Hairston shows good awareness from zone and his physical style and willingness to come tackle make him an immediate fit for primarily zone cover teams. However he may have the tools to eventually become a solid bump-and-run cornerback as he becomes more experienced at the position. Hairston is a projection-based talent who should become a much better player in two years than he is today.
-Lance Zierlein
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.