2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: CB Robert Rochell, Central Arkansas

Robert Rochell is an intriguing small-school prospect. But how far does he have to go before he can potentially push for playing time in sub packages?
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CB ROBERT ROCHELL

Height: 5'11"
Weight: 195 lbs.
Class: Senior (red shirt)
School: Central Arkansas


Attended Fair Park High School near Shreveport, Louisiana. Rochell started 23 games in college for Central Arkansas, and he had 77 career tackles, ten interceptions, and 28 pass break-ups at a smaller level of competition.

He earned a First Team All-American bid in 2019, according to the AFCS Association. He had five interceptions and 13 pass break-ups in that season. Rochell earned a trip to the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl, where he could only practice on Tuesday.

Traits

He played at a very small school and seemed to rely heavily on his much superior athleticism. He was a bit of a disappointment at the Senior Bowl; was listed at 6’2" on Central Arkansas’ website, and came into the event at only 5’11".

He is very sudden with his change of direction ability, and he leverages his fluidity well in man coverage. Also only partook in half a practice--and looked incredibly overwhelmed by the Senior Bowl wide receivers.

He has good length, is high cut in the waist, and possesses long legs-- is a strider--and has excellent overall athletic ability. He has good speed, is quick to close, and he’s light on his feet. Hips are fluid at the line of scrimmage and in space.

I like his long arms and his ability to press at the line of scrimmage, but I’m very skeptical he’ll be able to press with the same technique he used in college (can lunge a bit in press/jam). Lined up in press, left outside CB, for many snaps in college.

He was a bit lackadaisical with his technique in college because he was far superior as an athlete. He has to be more disciplined and controlled at the line of scrimmage with both his feet and hands--he tends to also get grabby up the stem and through breaks. Right now, he’s a bit more of an athlete than a dominant football player, so a quality secondary coach would do Rochell well.

He gets to the catch point with ease, but I feel he could do a better job locating the ball in the air at times. Had excellent production in college, but many interceptions were just poorly thrown balls that Rochell intercepted with ease. He has very good hands due to his background as a receiver.

Rochell’s not afraid to get dirty in the run game. He has a wide tackle radius and provides solid play strength to hit and drop players.

There may also be a transition here from the smaller program to the NFL, but he was a good tackler in college, with good form. Rochell is a bit raw, but he didn’t seem to struggle with switch coverages and never seemed mentally overwhelmed.

The combination of size and speed is very intriguing, and it allowed him to play man coverage at Central Arkansas. He will need a transition period into the NFL, so he could acclimate to the speed and nuance.

When beaten in college (not often), he showed exceptional short-area burst to close width and recover. Has the athleticism and ability to stay in phase.

Overall, Rochell is an incredible athlete who is very raw and had success in college by “out-athleting” opponents. I’ve heard his name floated around on Day 2--that’s a bit too rich for my liking, but he’d be a solid developmental piece on Day 3.

Rochell has to get better with his technique, his instincts, and he’ll have to adjust to the speed difference of the NFL; that could take a year.


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