Josh Norman is a 6-0, 197 lb cornerback out of Coastal Carolina University. I must admit that I didn't catch too many Chanticleer games this season. I even required a google search to find out what a Chanticleer is (supposedly it's a rooster that appears in some fairy tales. Who knew?). In any case, Josh Norman came onto my radar during the Senior Bowl practice week and I was instantly intrigued.
His length, quickness, and fluid hips were readily apparent after watching him in just a few drills. But his ball skills are what really set him apart. He had eight interceptions in 2009 and QBs tended to look the other way after that. You can see a few of those picks in a highlight reel after the jump. Norman can track the ball and elevate to catch it the way you'd think a very talented receiver might. He's also known for being physical and is very experienced in press coverage.
Long arms, surprising burst, loose hips, toughness, ball skills. Sound familiar?
It should. Richard Sherman displays all of those traits and had an exceptional 2011 rookie campaign. Sherman now seems like a long term starter and shows the potential of a true shutdown corner.
The parallels are not quite conclusive though. Sherman had concerns about his long speed entering the draft. Those concerns have mostly proven false and should have been dispelled when he ran 4.49 40 time. Norman has similar concerns but only ran a 4.66 40 time (4.56 unofficially). Norman's 40 time might turn out irrelevant, as it has for many others, but the undeniable fact is that 40 times measure speed and CBs should be fast in the NFL.
Still, Norman's presence as a big and quick ball-hawking press-corner could make him a very attractive option for our front office. His disappointing 40 time could actually help us by dropping him down the boards. Norman's impressive ball skills will keep him from falling too far but snagging him near the top of the fourth seems possible.