The Chiefs Should Invest in Robert Rochell's Future as a Boundary Cornerback

Robert Rochell attempts to be the next FCS-to-NFL success story. Should the Kansas City Chiefs make him a member of their secondary?
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Robert Rochell - CB, Central Arkansas

By the numbers:

6'0", 193 pounds. 4.45 40-yard dash per pro day measurements.

2020: 27 tackles (1.0 for loss), three passes broken up and one forced fumble in seven games played.

2019: 44 tackles (2.5 for loss), 18 passes broken up and five interceptions in 13 games played. First-team All-Southland Conference selection. 

Positives:

Central Arkansas' Robert Rochell is a very impressive athlete who accelerates quickly and has the top-end speed to carry receivers down the field with ease. He possesses hips that open and close with fluidity. He doesn't require safety help over the top and can hold his own in man coverage. Rochell posted a 43-inch vertical jump at his pro day.

Length and physicality are two additional selling points for Rochell. He has long arms that allow him to fight throughout the rep and play the ball. He has room to improve at the catch point but had 38 career passes broken up despite that. Rochell thrives when jamming his assignment at the line of scrimmage and projects best as a man cover corner at the next level, ideally getting the chance to press often.

Negatives:

While Rochell is mostly proficient in man coverage, he's a totally different player in zone looks. He's unaware of spacing — playing far off of his assignment — and operates with eyes that need to be much more disciplined. He gets preoccupied with the quarterback and fails to read the footwork and hips of the receiver. Rochell is still developing the mentality to play effective zone coverage. 

As an overall prospect, Rochell likely needs a year to be stashed near the bottom of the depth chart while he rounds out his game. Not only is he making a huge jump from the FCS, but he has multiple minor issues to fix. He gets grabby when losing leverage and displays inconsistent effort in run support. Rochell's process at the catch point was disruptive in college but needs refinement in order to parlay that success to the next level. 

How Rochell fits with the Chiefs:

The Chiefs lost cornerback Bashaud Breeland to free agency but tendered Charvarius Ward ahead of the 2021 campaign. DeAndre Baker, Rashad Fenton and BoPete Keyes figure to be supporting pieces while L'Jarius Sneed is the fixture of the position group. Rochell's length and press ability make him a great fit with the Chiefs long-term. He would have ample time to adjust to the NFL in Kansas City. Steve Spagnuolo values athletic boundary cornerbacks that can play in man-heavy schemes, and Rochell fits that description. 

Final Thoughts:

Rochell is the perfect developmental cornerback for teams in search of a late Day 2 or early Day 3 prospect. He has a terrific athletic profile and prototypical size, as well as the willingness to compete on an island in man. With that said, he's still learning how to translate that to zone coverage and has some things to iron out elsewhere. Rochell grades out as a fourth-round pick that will need some seasoning but for the right team, their patience could pay off in a major way. 

Read More: Arrowhead Report's 100 Players in 100 Days: A Kansas City Chiefs Draft Guide.