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May 9, 2014

Jean-Baptiste draws high praise from draft experts

Nebraska cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste was the first Husker player taken in the 2014 NFL Draft.

The Florida native was drafted No. 58 in the second round to the New Orleans Saints. This is the fifth straight year an NU defensive back has been drafted, and a total of 11 have been picked since 2005, including seven since the 2010 season.

Both on ESPN and the NFL Network's Draft coverage, the 6-foot-3, 220 pound Jean-Baptiste was compared to current All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.

"It's almost strange when you go back and look," ESPN's Todd McShay said when comparing Jean-Baptiste to Sherman. "Both former wide receivers, almost identical in terms of the measurables across the board. Stanley Jean-Baptiste is about 20 pounds bigger, but ran almost an identical 40 time. They had the identical 20-yard shuttle. Jean-Baptiste has longer arms and had a better broad jump and vertical jump.

"This guy has the natural tools. He's got to be more physical, the difference I see between the two is Jean-Baptiste is not as instinctive, but Richard Sherman took a little bit of time to prove what he is now."

Jean-Baptiste has only been playing the cornerback position since the middle of the 2011 season. Before that he played wide receiver at both Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College and Nebraska.

As a junior he received second-team All-Big Ten honors from both the coaches and media and tied for the team lead with four interceptions and led the Huskers with 12 pass break-ups. He also made 41 tackles and four tackles for loss.

"6-2 , 218 pounds - he is today's NFL corner," the NFL Network's Mike Mayock said of Jean-Baptiste. "A lot like Richard Sherman, in that he's a converted wide receiver. He's only the played the position for two and half years, but he's got the size of Brandon Browner."

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. added though there's a reason why Jean-Baptiste went so late in the second round. There will still be some things he needs to prove at the next level.

"In the NFL with bubble screens, everything is short and underneath," Kiper Jr. said. "You have to be aggressive and you have to tackle. It's not just about run support any longer. Will Stanley Jean-Baptiste, for as big as he is, will he be physical at the cornerback spot?"

Jean-Baptiste is the highest drafted selection Nebraska has had since linebacker Lavonte David was taken also at No. 58 by Tampa Bay in the 2012 draft.

Of all the draft experts, Mayock was one of the highest on Jean-Baptiste. At one time this week he thought the former NU defensive back could go as high as the first round.

"Remember he's only played the position two years," Mayock said. "He's going to get with Rob Ryan and I believe Rob Ryan is going to turn him into a future All-Pro."


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