There are few players who get the label of steal of the draft each and every cycle.
Every team site thinks they get one and believe that their day three pick is going to be the steal of the draft.
Well, let me play into that theory with Tay Gowan as the sixth round pick of the Arizona Cardinals.
When I watched UCF it was to look at Aaron Robinson and Richie Grant, the two defensive backs with day two draft grades coming out.
2020 was a nice season for UCF, but 2019 was even better so I went back to watch some games in 2019 and someone kept flashing.
I couldn’t figure out who it was, who was this other cornerback from UCF?
This was the play that caught my eye:
Great job by Tay Gowan undercutting the route and then getting not 1 but 2 feet down. NFL ready. Lol Great play. pic.twitter.com/6lqKnVWpw0— Crocky (@eric_crocker) April 3, 2021
As Crocker says, it was his patience and his footwork that caught my eye, so I watched some more of him.
I love Tay Gowan out of UCF. You don't hear his name very often since he opted out but he's got exceptional hip fluidity to stick with the receiver running the corner route (one of the toughest routes for a DB to defend). pic.twitter.com/2odqSBOjtm— Dawg Pound Dish (@DawgPoundDish) April 23, 2021
Look at Gowan at the bottom of the screen. He is step-for-step with a double move, he stays in contact, he knows where he is at and where the receiver is. The easiest way to describe Gowan is he is smooth. He is smooth in coverage.
UCF’s Tay Gowan goes to the Arizona Cardinals with the 223rd pick in the 6th round.— Spectrum Sports 360 (@SpecSports360) May 1, 2021
Per @PFF, Gowan allowed just a 26.2 passer rating in single coverage since 2019, the second lowest in college football. pic.twitter.com/2uthRa8hAz
The smoothness is matched by his ability to consistently make plays on the ball. That is what makes Tay so special and why he could be the steal of the 2021 NFL Draft.
For those that have some questions about why he fell, including why he opted out in 2020, take a listen:
UCF CB Tay Gowan on his battle with COVID and his decision to opt out last season ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/JvSNpWQBtX— PFF College (@PFF_College) March 22, 2021