Victor Hampton is one of the more intriguing prospects on the cornerback board. Hampton has frequently shown elite talent, but character concerns, lack of focus on the field at times, and overall poor tackling fundamentals hurt his stock. Do you stay away due to bust potential, or do you pick Hampton in hopes that he'll keep his off-field act together and will improve the areas of his game that he can work on?
To give the question further thought, let's take a look at what NFL.com's Nolan Nowrocki has to say about Victor Hampton, South Carolina's cornerback who entered the NFL Draft after his junior season.
1. "Good transitional quickness for his size. Drives hard on the ball. Good anticipation and ball skills."
This is indeed a strength for Hampton and what makes him a good prospect. Hampton lacks the straight-line speed of some of the receivers he matches up against, but his footwork and hip fluidity are unparalleled and give him the ability to man up against top receivers. He's frequently acquitted himself well against players such as Sammy Watkins.
2. "Supports the run aggressively and is a physical tackler."
Hampton is built well for a corner and is a hard hitter, but his consistency in tackling leaves a little bit to be desired. Hampton may be one of those defensive backs who wows you with a big hit in Joel Stave in the Capital One Bowl), but who is often less impressive when he needs to get his nose dirty in traffic. This scouting report provides excellent footage that demonstrates this flaw in Hampton's game. The good news here is that this is something he could get better on with experience and coaching.field when he knows he has a chance to get on Sportscenter (see his knockout hit of
3. "Character will require careful evaluation. Has been troubled by a number of off-field issues dating back to high school, when he attended four schools. Has had issues with anger management, emotional outbursts and team suspensions."
Only a few weeks ago, it looked like Hampton had kissed character concerns goodbye, but while he was exonerated of the Greenhouse incident, he still has this altercation with his sister to answer for. There's continued reason to hope that Hampton has himself on the right track mentally and emotionally, but there remain causes for concern, too. The verdict is still out on this issue.
4. "Lacks ideal height. Below-average timed speed and leaping ability for a corner."
This is a fair criticism. Hampton ran a 4.69 and jumped a 33.5 at the combine. By contrast, Oklahoma St.'s Justin Gilbert, Nowrocki's top-rated corner, ran a 4.37 and jumped a 35.5. The good news for Hampton is that his hip fluidity/ability to turn on a dime and ball skills contribute to making up for his deficiencies in speed.