Last year at this time, Stanley Jean-Baptiste was gearing up for his first full season as a starting cornerback for Nebraska. This week, he's a potential first-round draft pick.
NFL Media draft analysts Charles Davis and Daniel Jeremiah have Jean-Baptiste as a first-rounder in their final mock drafts, and fellow analyst Mike Mayock said Tuesday on NFL Network's "NFL AM" that if Jean-Baptiste "snuck into the first round, it wouldn't surprise me at all."
So who is this guy?
The biggest thing about Jean-Baptiste is that he is a big corner: He measured in at 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds at February's NFL Scouting Combine, and that size makes NFL teams drool.
That same week, Mayock said the NFL's move to more big-bodied wide receivers means that defenses are looking for "longer body frames" in their corners. He said some teams are willing to use corners who are "a little less quick-footed and explosive" as long as they are big.
Jean-Baptiste's speed does appear to be an issue. He had a slower-than-expected 4.61 clocking in the 40 at the combine (though he did have an eye-popping 41.5-inch vertical jump). He improved his 40 at Nebraska's pro day, turning in times of 4.45 and 4.48 seconds.
In addition, despite his size, he's not all that physical and he remains relatively raw as a corner. Jean-Baptiste, a Miami native who turned 24 earlier this month, was a wide receiver in high school and in prep school; he went to North Carolina Tech, the same prep school as Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (also a Miami native). Jean-Baptiste signed with Nebraska out of Fort Scott (Kan.) CC -- he did not play football there -- as a receiver and has played just a bit more than two years of cornerback.
The flipside: While he began the 2011 season as a wide receiver and moved to cornerback midway through the season, he adapted relatively quickly to his new position. He started one game at corner in 2011, five games in '12, then was a fulltime starter in '13, when he had four interceptions, 12 pass breakups and 41 tackles. He finished his career with seven interceptions and 22 breakups.
And don't forget his height. That may just trump all.
"He's a long corner that fits today's game with an exciting skill set," Mayock said last week during a pre-draft teleconference. "I could bet on that kind of guy."
It only takes one NFL team to have the same thought and make him a first-rounder.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.