The Chicago Bears have made a concerted effort this off-season to improve the secondary.
To that end, GM Ryan Pace signed three potential starters in free agency: CB Marcus Cooper, CB Prince Amukamara and S Quintin Demps.
Those three veterans represent a solid start but Pace's effort to boost the secondary will certainly carry over to the 2017 NFL Draft.
With that in mind, here is my full scouting report on the top cornerback in this year's class.
CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State (6-0, 193)
Hamstring injuries limited Lattimore to just seven games his first two seasons with the Buckeyes but he stayed healthy in 2016 and started 13 games. He led the team with 13 pass breakups last season, and added four interceptions. For his effort, Lattimore was named first-team All-Big Ten.
At the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, Lattimore posted a 4.36 40-yard dash, a 38.5-inch vertical jump and a 11-0 broad jump, all of which were Top 5 marks at his position.
-Plays with the same speed he showed at the combine. Lightning fast from Point A to Point B.
-Willing tackler. Will give full effort attempting to shed blocks from receivers, although he must be more consistent in this area.
-Very fluid hips. Gets out of his backpedal in a hurry.
-Elite acceleration and recovery speed. Tough to beat deep.
-Plays physical in the box. Not a powerful defender but not afraid of contact.
-Footwork, quickness and athleticism are off the charts.
-Experienced in press man but most of it was press-and-bail. Does not consistently use hands to reroute receivers at the line of scrimmage, although effective when he does.
-Too often throws a shoulder instead of wrapping up. Tackling form is inconsistent.
-Tends to grab receivers too much down the field, particularly when he’s about to be beat.
-Injury history, lack of experience are concerns.
On film, Lattimore has the look of a clear-cut No. 1 NFL cornerback. He has elite speed, burst and acceleration, which makes him very tough to beat.
Even if a receiver gains separation initially, Lattimore can recover in a heartbeat and make quarterbacks pay for passes that are off-target or late. He has long, fluid strides, with top-tier balance and footwork.
Lattimore doesn't have great height or arm length but he plays longer than his size suggests.
Against the run, Lattimore gives good effort and has the elusiveness to fight off blocks on the edge. Yet he too often gets caught up with a blocker and is late to separate. Still, his effort as a tackler should allow him to improve his shed technique.
Lattimore has a ton of potential at the next level. He's so fluid and fast, with quick-twitch ability on any pass thrown in his area, he'll be an immediate starter in the NFL.
Yet there are concerns, particularly in regard to his hamstring problems. He was forced to redshirt his freshman year due to hamstring issues that required surgery. He then played just seven games in 2015 due the recurrence of the hamstring problems. He eventually healed up last season but any team that drafts Lattimore must weigh the potential risk of those soft tissue issues hampering him throughout his career.
Lattimore might be worth a Top 10 pick but it won't matter if he can't stay on the field.
His lack of experience would not scare me off. The film shows a lock-down corner with All-Pro potential.
If the Bears feel comfortable with Lattimore's medical evaluations, there's a strong chance they'll consider him with the third overall pick in the draft.
Amukamara is on a one-year deal and Cooper's guaranteed money all but runs out after this season. The Bears aren't invested heavily in either veteran and there are no other surefire long-term starters on the roster.
With Lattimore, Pace would add the top cornerback in this year's draft, one who could step in and be a Day 1 starter in Chicago. He has the uber athleticism to match up with the top receivers in the NFC North, which would help immensely to defeat the Green Bay Packers high-powered passing attack.
If Pace is concerned with Jonathan Allen's arthritic shoulders, and feels Solomon Thomas is too much of a tweener, then Lattimore becomes a real possibility in the first round.
Pace may have his eye on a quarterback with the No. 3 pick but if he's not sold on any of the top passers in this year's draft, Lattimore instantly becomes one of the Bears' top targets.