Draft Prospect Profile | DB Damon Arnette, Ohio State
Weight: 195 pounds
School: Ohio State
While all eyes will likely be on Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah and where he ends up, his college teammate at Ohio State, Damon Arnette, is going to make some NFL team very happy as well.
Arnette was recruited in 2015 as a four-star prospect coming out of St. Thomas Aquinas high school in Florida. He spent his final year of eligibility playing with the Buckeyes last fall after graduating from school in the Summer with a Communications degree.
After redshirting as a freshman, the defensive back appeared in 47 games and received second-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and media in 2019.
He also built up a reputation and brought swagger to the Ohio State defense as a tough guy playing with a cast on his hand all year due to a painful injury.
Arnette also recorded five career interceptions at Ohio State, including a 96-yard pick-six against Indiana in 2019. This interception marked the fourth-longest return in school history.
To go along with his five interceptions, Arnette broke up 22 passes and produced 140 tackles during his time with the Buckeyes.
Like Giants cornerback Deandre Baker, Arnette excels in press coverage due to his physicality, which also helps him in run support, where he has proven to be a strong tackler.
Arnette is also versatile in that he can play inside or outside plus contribute on special teams. Blessed with good recovery speed, Arnette also plays a disciplined game in that he does not, as some young defenders do, panic when the ball is in the air, thus avoiding pass interference penalties.
Arnette is physical and a natural cover corner who is more than capable in man coverage. Per Pro Football Focus, he improved his completion percentage allowed, going from 67.4% and 434 yards in 2018 to 45.1% and 279 through 13 games in 2019.
Arnette hasn't been a big turnover guy, mainly because, as a press corner, he usually has his back toward the quarterback. His ability to keep up with vertical threats has also been questioned by some scouts, with some believing his best position might be in the slot.
Arnette is a fiery competitor who will bring a certain toughness and swagger to an NFL defense. The 23-year-old, who is projected to go anywhere between the late first to the early third round, doesn't come without some warts--per WalterFootball.com, among Arnette's negative traits are character concerns, mental makeup and undisciplined play in 2017 and 2018.
Other scouting reports, though, have praised Arnette for maturing. Ultimately, his interviews with teams will allow them to form their own firsthand opinions.
Whoever does end up selecting Arnette stands to get an outstanding cornerback prospect.
Why He's a Fit
As new Giants head coach Joe judge noted, they aren’t going to “jam square pegs into round holes.”
If the Giants are looking to get more physical and punch teams int he mouth for 60 minutes, they're going to need physical corners and Arnette would certainly fit that bill.