Let’s analyze the career of Gamecock Jayce Horn, and draw up a reasonable NFL comparison.
One of the most polarizing careers of any Gamecock football player in recent memory has to be the son of Saints receiving legend Joe Horn, Jaycee. Horn came into the program from Alpharetta High School in Georgia as a four-star prospect and came to USC after decommitting from the University of Tennessee. He started most of his freshman season, as well as all games that he was available his sophomore and junior years, eventually opting out of the 2020 season once Coach Muschamp had been fired.
Now, this is one of the hardest draft profiles I’ve ever had to make, the hardest for a Gamecock player simply because Jaycee Horn being as good as he is, really makes not a whole lot of sense given the current state of football. Most primary man cover corners are fast, athletic, and can catch up to the elite speed receivers found both in the NFL and in college. Zone cover corners however use physicality and high IQ to contain physical receivers or outsmart QBs. Jaycee Horn is neither of those. He is a VERY physical corner, who excels in man to man coverage, while not ever being one of the top athletes on the field. Let us now take a look at some specifics about Jaycee Horn’s game, to get an understanding of 1. His player comparisons and 2. His projected draft slot.
Stats: 30 Games Played, 101 Total Tackles, 7 TFL, 3 Sacks, 2 INTs, 23 PD, 2 FF
Strengths: Press Man coverage, Horn is elite at being physical at the line of scrimmage and has the ability to take players out of a game by not even allowing them to run a route. Also, Horn is great in the air when the ball is finally thrown his way, as for how many times he was actually targeted, 23 PD is solid.
Weaknesses: In 30 games, Jaycee Horn recorded 2 INTs… 2…and they were in the same game. Now sure, that may be because nobody ever throws the ball his way, but sometimes, a corner with a grade as high as his needs to have the big play factor, which in every game besides Auburn 2020, I think Horn lacked. His athleticism is also a concern as he just naturally isn’t as physically gifted as some other prospects such as Patrick Surtain II and Caleb Farley.
Summary: While his stats may not have been as impressive as a lot of other corners, nobody can deny that Jaycee Horn doesn’t know how to cover. I fully expect an NFC team to take him, due to a large number of big receivers in the conference, (Davante Adams, DK Metcalf, Julio Jones, etc.) as opposed to the speed in the AFC. If given the opportunity and good coaching, Horn can be an immediate impact player as he improves his athleticism and gains that big-play ability while progressing in zone cover schemes. As listed below, I have him being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals who have one of the oldest secondaries in the league and are expecting to let go of former All-Pro Patrick Peterson. Horn fits the immediate need for them and has the chance to slip this far due to the urgent need for QBs, WRs, and O-Lineman that the teams in front of Arizona have. Whether you agreed with him or not on opting-out, Jaycee Horn had an excellent career as a Gamecock and hopefully will continue to succeed in the league.
Player Comparison: James Bradberry, CB, NY Giants
Draft Projection: Round 1, 16th overall to the Arizona Cardinals