Player Capsule: Kareem Orr
Position: Cornerback/field safety
Weight: 198 pounds
2015 season quick review: As a true freshman, Orr had a Pac-12 best six interceptions -- one of which was returned for a touchdown against Arizona -- and 38 total tackles including 10 against Cal. Orr received consensus Freshman All-American honors.
SunDevilSource.com analysis: It appeared likely would arrive on campus at ASU a year ago as a talented player given how seriously Orr was pursued by Ohio State in the recruiting process, even visiting the school multiple times before choosing to play in Tempe. To finish the season with more interceptions than anyone else in the Pac-12 is something that couldn't have been predicted.
Orr was initially set to play cornerback but ASU transitioned him to safety following the injury to Armand Perry in the second game of the season. Truth be told, Orr was out of place and fortunate to have the ball inaccurately thrown on at least several of his interceptions. His overall play was mediocre and a contributing factor in ASU's nation-worst passing defense. But Orr learned a lot by being thrown into the fire and that experience is going to benefit him tremendously through the rest of his career.
Key read awareness in zone coverage was a challenge for Orr as a rookie. Opposing offenses deceived Orr, manipulating him out of position with play action, pre-snap motions and challenging route combinations. He was more prepared to handle man coverage situations as long as he kept his eye discipline sound. At times he'd get his eyes away from what he was supposed to be focused on and that caused most of the issues.
There's no doubt Orr has very good man coverage ability and terrific ball skills. In the spring and through camp he was the defensive back that generated the most turnovers. He showed improved ability to manage space and use his eyes properly in zone coverages. His assignment soundness should improve significantly as a percentage of his overall reps as a sophomore. He has the athletic mobility to play the position at a high level.
The Sun Devils are using Orr at the boundary cornerback position, where there's a need for increased physicality. That position has to hold up well against the run into the boundary, and not be washed out of plays attacking the boundary on the ground or in the quick screen game. Orr is stout and well put together for a cornerback, at 5-foot-11 and 198 pounds, with a frame that reminds of former ASU defensive back Omar Bolden. ASU also uses the boundary corner as a blitzer at times so a physical attack of blocks is necessary in such a role.
Overall this is one of the team's best and most versatile defensive back prospects and he should elevate his play in 2016 to be among its best players in the defensive backfield as well.
Projected depth chart status: Orr will start out the season as the first-team boundary cornerback. He'll remain in the starting lineup as long as he's healthy, though we wouldn't rule out a move back to safety, particularly if ASU has injury problems in the secondary.