Martin Emerson Scouting Report: 2022 NFL Draft Prospect Profile
Cornerback, Mississippi State, # 1
6’2” / 200 lbs
40 Time: Check back after combine
Martin Emerson NFL Draft Profile
Emerson didn’t begin his career as a true corner. Growing up he played wide receiver until his sophomore season at Pine Forrest High in Pensacola, Florida. It was then that his high school coach Jason McDonald moved him to defense to cover opposing wide receivers. Playing corner during his junior and senior seasons, he emerged as a collegiate level talent.
During those two years he produced on the field to the tune of 149 tackles, 8 PBU’s, 1 FF, and 1 Int. He garnered attention as a 3 star recruit by 247Sports, ESPN, and Rivals. This led to 25 D-1 offers from schools such as Pittsburgh, Miami, and Ole Miss. In the end, he chose to join the Mississippi State Bulldogs as they showed interest in him first.
In his three seasons at Starkville, Emerson has shown his ability to contribute against some of the top talent in NCAA football as a member of the vaunted SEC. He saw time from the very start and played in 36 games over those 3 seasons. Martin contributed 94 tackles, 1 INT, and 16 PBU’s to the Bulldogs defense. He was even ranked the 7th best corner in the country during the 2020 season according to PFF. Now, with the NFL Combine ahead, it is time for the 2022 NFL Draft hopeful to step up his game.
Martin Emerson Strengths
Listed at 6’2” 200 lbs, Martin Emerson is a long rangy corner who uses his size to make things difficult for opposing defenses. He is able to use his height and long arms to counter high passes and swat down passes other corners may not be able to get a hand on. As a zone defender, a coach should covet his length as he can use it to take away throwing lanes. He is able to utilize his long stride to cover ground quickly and help take away the top half of the field. However, his game speed isn’t going to compare to Tyreek Hill anytime soon.
In my opinion, Emerson is best suited to play in a zone scheme. He does a good job of staying on his assignment when in zone and not getting antsy. I watched multiple plays where other corners would have moved off of their spot when the play had broken down for the offense. However, Emerson stayed home and took away what would have been an open receiver.
He does a good knowing which level of the defense to utilize when dropping into zone as well. Emerson is rarely seen playing too deep or shallow in his zone assignment. The same can’t be said for his man coverage snaps though. Emerson reads and reacts on inside routes well when he is in zone. This is one reason why he had so many pass break ups in 2020. Martin is capable in man coverage, but I wouldn’t call it a strength.
As I noted earlier, Emerson has only been a corner back since midway through his sophomore year. Meaning he only has 5 full seasons as a DB. Coaches may see a player who has yet to come close to reaching his ceiling, and I personally agree. Emerson has potential to expand his game and overcome his weaknesses more so then some of the other corners in the draft class.
Martin Emerson Areas for Improvement
Some teams, coaches, scouts and fans could care less if a corner is a good tackler, but if you are playing in a zone scheme you need to be able to help in this regard. Emerson isn’t turning any heads in this department. He tends to lunge at ball carriers and throw his arms at them with one too many misses for my liking. He needs to add some strength and work on his tackling form to succeed at the NFL level.
Emerson tends to struggle with deep comebacks, out routes, and crossing patterns. Against Alabama he is beaten badly on one of each. He allows a 75 yard TD to Alabama receiver Jameson Williams with virtually no resistance. Benjamin Raven of MLive said ”PFF had him surrendering 29 catches on 50 targets for 358 yards and three scores this past season.” Nothing to write home about.
Martin Emerson Draft Stock
Many scouts and analysts have a second round grade on Martin Emerson. He routinely shows up in rankings as a top 10 player at the position heading into the combine. Cole Topham of ChargersWire has a 3rd round grade on him. I tend to agree and have him just outside my top 10 at the position.
Final Thoughts on Martin Emerson Scouting Report
Martin Emerson is a talented young man who has both good, and bad when watching his film. The good news is I don’t see any ugly. Emerson has good size and athleticism to go along with a high ceiling. I love what he might become with good coaching and a couple years of learning at the NFL level. I wouldn’t draft him to step in and play major downs from the start. However, he should contribute and add depth to the secondary. After a year or two he could be a very good corner in a cover 3 system especially. At worst I see him being a future CB 2 in that system.
I really liked a lot of what Emerson did on the film. He immediately reminded me in many ways of former Mississippi State CB Cameron Dantzler, a player I was a fan of coming out of college. Dantzler is now a member of the Minnesota Vikings. Here is what Bleacher Report said about Dantzler prior to being drafted. I even think he could have a very similar career trajectory.
Martin Emerson Scouting Report and Draft Profile Analyst-Kenneth Noble.