Jason Verrett grew a lot during his three seasons as a starter at TCU. It just doesn’t show on the height-measuring scale.
The star cornerback, listed at 5-10 by TCU, measured 5-9 1/2 and weighed 189 pounds Sunday at the NFL Scouting Combine.
“I’ve been challenged with receivers that have been over 6-foot my whole college career,” Verrett said Sunday. “I played against Odell Beckham; I played against Mike Davis, Eric Ward, Antwan Goodley. I played against a lot of good receivers in college who were over 6 foot. I feel like I’m this height for a reason — I was just born this way — but I can compete with the best.”
Goodley, Baylor’s leading receiver with 71 catches for 1,339 yards, had only one catch for 12 yards against Verrett. Ward, who had 72 catches for Texas Tech, had no catches against Verrett. Beckham, with 59 catches for 1,152 yards for LSU, had only one reception when lined up against Verrett.
Despite his size, Verrett’s skills – and his résumé – say he is a top NFL draft prospect. Verrett was one of 39 cornerbacks invited to the combine, but only Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard and Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert are more highly regarded.
“Verrett is scrappy and loves to play sticky and physical, which will cause some penalties,” CBS draft analyst Dane Brugler said, “but it’s easy to love his confident mentality. His lack of size likely limits his NFL ceiling, but he has the easy change-of-direction skills, light feet and physical and mental toughness to shine in the NFL. He is ideally suited as an inside cornerback. A borderline first-rounder.”
Verrett, the only Horned Frog at the combine, plays bigger than he stands. In 37 games at TCU, Verrett recorded 160 tackles, including 10 for loss, with nine interceptions and 34 pass breakups.
He was the Big 12 coaches’ choice for co-defensive player of the year in 2013.
“I believe that I’m the best corner in this draft,” Verrett said. “I can draw the line right there. I’m confident in what my capabilities are on the field.”
Verrett’s senior season stands even more impressive, considering he played most of it with a torn shoulder labrum. The injury will require surgery after TCU’s Pro Day on March 21.
Verrett tore the labrum during the third game of the season against Texas Tech. Verrett missed only one game, wore a harness only for practice and never took a pain-killing injection, he said.
“It wasn’t too painful,” Verrett said. “It’s a physical game. You’re going to have to play injured sometimes just to get through the season. That’s what I had to do.
“…I feel like I showed toughness throughout my whole career. Being the size that I am, I’m going to have to be a lot more physical than the bigger guys. I feel like I showed that.”
Verrett grinned when asked if the 5-9 measurement was what he expected. He smiled wider when asked if he’s tired of questions about his size.
“If I’m 5-9, I’m 5-9,” he said, “but I can compete with anybody.”
Come draft day, Verrett won’t be overlooked.