NY Jets 2021 NFL Draft Profile: South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn

NY Jets, Jaycee Horn (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
NY Jets, Jaycee Horn (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets are likely to address the cornerback position early in the 2021 NFL Draft. And one player they could have their eye on, if he’s still on the board, is South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn.

Horn is widely considered to be one of the best cornerback prospects in this year’s class, with some even having him as their CB1 after a particularly strong showing at his pro day.

The son of former NFL great Joe Horn, Jaycee Horn excelled as a two-sport athlete in high school playing both basketball and football. He didn’t start playing cornerback until his junior year of high school, but it didn’t take long for him to make a name for himself.

Horn was a four-star recruit who chose South Carolina over the likes of Alabama, Ohio State, and Georgia. He took the field as a freshman in 2018 starting all three years for the Gamecocks establishing himself as one of the best cornerbacks in the country.

Now set to follow in his father’s footsteps by joining the NFL, Horn should hear his name called early on Day 1.

Jaycee Horn’s strengths

There is perhaps no cornerback more physically talented in this class than Jaycee Horn. Standing at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, Horn has great size for the position and he uses his long limbs to play through the football.

He combines his impressive size with outstanding athleticism as he has the ability to flip his hips and run with any wideout. It’s his blend of size and agility that immediately stand out, but he’s far from just a physical specimen.

Horn flashes superb instincts with the ability to dissect various route combinations with ease. He’s aggressive at the catch point and isn’t afraid to get physical with opposing wide receivers.

Essentially, he’s everything teams look for in a potential lockdown cornerback prospect. He’s got size, athleticism, and instincts that project him as a future All-Pro cornerback if he reaches his potential.

Jaycee Horn’s weaknesses

While Horn flashes elite abilities, it’s oftentimes his greatest strengths that prove to be his downfall. Horn’s aggression and physicality help him win numerous one-on-one battles, but they also tend to get him in trouble.

The 21-year-old was flagged five times in seven games last season. He tends to get grabby at the top of his routes and has been known to be a favorite of officials throughout his college career.

That’s something that can be worked on, but it’s evidence that he does need more refinement if he is to reach his potential.

While Horn has also shown improvement as a tackler, he’s far from consistent in that area either. Too often Horn is seen overpursuing the ball carrier, perhaps letting his athleticism get the best of them.

Ultimately, Horn just needs to become a bit more patient, both as a tackler and in coverage.

NY Jets prediction

Needless to say, if the Jets want to grab Horn in this year’s draft, they’ll be hoping he falls to the No. 23 overall pick. About a month or two ago, that seemed to be in the realm of possibility.

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But after his pro day performance, it’s far from a guarantee he even makes it past pick 15.

The Jets might need to package a pick or two to trade up if they want to land Horn. And depending on the deal, you could certainly make the argument that it would be worth it.

Horn projects as a future No. 1 cornerback with elite potential. His combination of physical traits and football instincts makes him a surefire Day 1 pick, and someone who could develop into an All-Pro by year three if he irons out the kinks in his game.

While he projects best in a man-heavy defense, his instincts give him high upside in any scheme. He’s scheme-versatile and could be an excellent fit in Robert Saleh’s primarily zone defense.

Next. NY Jets 2021 NFL Draft Profile: BYU QB Zach Wilson

Wherever Horn lands, look for him to quickly become one of the most exciting young cornerbacks in the league.