A very Merry Draftmas to you! It’s 25 Days of Draftmas on Arrowhead Pride, where we’ll be giving you a Kansas City Chiefs draft prospect every day in April leading up to the NFL Draft. You’ll get a daily prospect profile like this one right up until Draft Day.
Justin Layne, cornerback
6’2” | 190 lbs | Michigan State
Projected draft range: Early second round
I would take him in the: Early second round
One-sentence bio: Converted from wide receiver his freshman year and started at cornerback for 2.5 years, earning second-team All-Big Ten in 2018.
One-sentence scouting report: Long, explosive cornerback with plus ball skills and route recognition from his time as a receiver.
Throwing jump balls against Justin Layne is simply ineffective. WR convert who excels at the catch point. Love how patient and under control he is on this rep. Natural. pic.twitter.com/U6FGUhVKGD— Jonah Tuls (@JonahTulsNFL) March 26, 2019
How he fits in KC:
Brett Veach and Steve Spagnuolo have stressed length and ball skills at the cornerback position this offseason. Layne fills that criteria as well as any other cornerback in this year’s draft class.
His high football IQ and route-recognition ability make for a perfect fit in Spagnuolo’s pattern-matching zone schemes, and his ball skills would add another potential playmaker to the Chiefs secondary.
Layne is still growing as a prospect. He’s young — he will be 21 throughout his entire rookie year — and still learning the position. This shows up in some messy footwork and inconsistent reps, particularly in press man coverage. However, he already fits the unteachable aspects that Spagnuolo is looking for in a cornerback, and his ceiling is as high as anyone’s at his draft range.
Should the Chiefs get to the bottom of the first round without good options in the front seven, trading back a few spots and picking up Layne — or even just taking him at pick 29 — would make for a nice pick at a position of need.
Want to read more player profiles from Arrowhead Pride’s 25 Days of Draftmas? Click here for the complete list. And to stay informed on the players in which the Chiefs have shown interest, be sure to check out AP’s Chiefs draft prospect visit and workout tracker.
KC Draft Guide
We have a more detailed write-up on Layne — and more — in the first-ever edition of the KC Draft Guide, which releases on April 8. Until release day, use the promo code ‘countdown’ and you can get the guide for only $7.99!
We’ll have over 225 prospect write-ups, with specifics about how prospects fit the Chiefs. There will be big boards, more than 300 grades on players, mock drafts, positional rankings and features — all specific to the Chiefs. You can pre-order the guide for only $7.99 by clicking here or entering ‘countdown’ in the promotional code field below!