2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: CB Elijah Molden, Washington

If the Giants are looking for some additional firepower at slot cornerback, Washington's Elijah Molden might be worth a look this spring.
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SCB Elijah Molden

Height: 5'10"
Weight: 191 lbs.
Class: Senior
School: Washington


Former four-star recruit out of West Linn, Oregon. He was the second overall Oregon recruit in the 2017 class and was the 179th overall recruit. He was named the MVP of the 2019 Las Vegas Bowl. 

Won countless awards for his work ethic and leadership at Washington. He was a finalist for the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, William V. Campbell Trophy, and was on the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award.

Was All-Pac 12 First Team in 2019 & 2020, while finishing All-Pac 12 Second Team in 2018. Was a 2019 and 2020 Pro Football Focus Second Team recipient and was selected as the Pac-12 player of the year in 2020 by Pro Football Focus. 

Earned a First-team All-Pac 12 bid as well. Molden was an incredibly effective player for the Huskies and should join a long list of talented defensive backs that attended Washington.


Notables

His father Alex Molden is a former NFL defensive back who played with the Saints (1996-00), Chargers (2001-02) and Lions (2003).


Traits

An undersized cornerback who has safety and nickel versatility. He lacks ideal length and height but is compact while possessing good overall athletic ability highlighted by explosive closing burst, lateral agility, change of direction skills, and fluid hips to flip to assist with his very good transitions. He has solid deep speed, but that is not his strength.

He possesses NFL quickness, which is essential for slot defenders. He has a low, squatty type of stance and has active hands despite only being marginal in press/jam situations due to shorter arms. He plays with exceptional competitive toughness and was a team leader for the Huskies. A true competitor and a guy you want in your locker room.


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He has elite mental processing ability and does an excellent job seeing the field, reacting to what he sees, and executing his assignments. According to SIS, he allowed 17 receptions on 22 catchable targets in 2019 while playing zone coverage with a quarterback rating of 31.2, 3 interceptions, and three passes defended.

Allowed 14 receptions on 26 catchable targets while surrendering a quarterback rating of 87.6, along with eight passes defended while in man coverage in 2019. With that said, he had the 2nd best coverage grade according to Pro Football Focus in 2019. Was able to hold opposing quarterbacks to a quarterback rating of 28.1 in 2020.

He does an excellent job mirroring receivers in the slot, staying in phase (right in the hip pocket), and using his hands just enough not to get flagged. Good transitions with his footwork and hips, and does a good job coming off of assignments and attacking down low in man and zone when it is warranted.

He has incredible eye discipline in zone coverage. He does a very good job reading the quarterback and route concepts and attacking aggressively through his targets. He is very disruptive at the catch point and is a reactionary player who doesn’t miss much on the field. Click & close ability downhill is good as well. He has very good ball skills and does a good job getting his hands on the football.

He’s very physical with his tackles but can get a bit reckless when he doesn’t square up (when he tries to deliver the boom). He takes solid angles to the ball carriers and did a solid job cutting angles off from single high/C3 middle of the field closed defenses. 

Solid in run support but could stand to clean up some technical issues with his tackling form. Plays with good play strength, despite his lack of size. Overall, Molden is a player that coaches love to have on their teams. He can slide into the NFL and start in the slot while also being a versatile second-level defender who can execute safety roles. 


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