Each year during the NFL offseason around this time, undrafted rookie free agents are hungry to make a team and each year we find players who are undrafted who are worthy of making a team. Undrafted rookie free agent Corey Felton Jr. might be one of them. Felton, who has recently agreed to sign on with the Baltimore Buccaneers in July (semi-pro football team) also comes from division III football as he played for the Virginia University of Lynchburg Dragons.
Felton is looking to prove himself in the NFL and make the list of quality cornerbacks who went undrafted in recent years such as two-time Pro Bowl selection Chris Harris of the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos and cornerback Malcolm Butler of the New England Patriots who made a game-saving interception from Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in Super Bowl 49.
Coming from a small school as a cornerback like Felton has certainly provided opportunities for NFL players in the secondary including Ravens own Lardarius Webb who was selected in third round of the 2009 NFL Draft from Nichols State. Felton is looking to create his journey and recently spoke with Baltimore Beatdown about his desire to fulfill his dream.
"I've always had dreams of playing professional football in NFL it's what I work hard on and off the field for. Also, I come from Pahokee FL known as "Muck City" its a place where people live in poverty and there are not many opportunities so football is the only way out. My motive is to strive to make to the NFL soon so I can provide for my family to live a comfortable and healthy life and get paid to play the game I love. The skills set that I bring to the game comes all from the confidence that I have in myself even though coming in a small statue at 5'8" 1/2 190lbs to be exact. I have elite speed so It's given me an advantage at times when in coverage. I have good leaping ability and I like to mix it up a lot at the line of scrimmage playing cover 1,2,3 and zone coverage throughout the game."
Felton's Physical Measurables:
- Vertical Jump: 36
- Squat: 365
- Incline: 245
- Bench Press Max: 315 225: 20 reps
- Broad Jump: 10"6'
- Height: 5-foot-8 1/2
- Weight: 190 lbs
- 40-yard dash times sub 4.3's: 4.21, 4.37 and 4.38
With Felton's 40-yard dash time of as fast as a 4.21, he certainly has the natural speed to stay stride for stride with opposing NFL wide receivers down the field.
Felton On Defense
Felton, at 5-foot-8, 190 pounds, plays bigger than his size and brings talent along with a physical edge to his game that runs in the family as he is the cousin of former Baltimore Ravens pass rusher Pernell McPhee who now plays for the Chicago Bears.
Felton isn't afraid to mix it up with any wide receiver as shedding off blocks at the line of scrimmage on run defense is one of his specialties. He shows pretty good hand placement in knowing when to engage and disengage from blocks against the run. His technique in run defense also allows him to set the edge near the sideline to avoid a big gain from opposing ball carriers.
In pass coverage, Felton has pretty good awareness with bubble screens and has the closing speed to chase down ball carriers with good form tackling. Felton explained why he brings so much passion on the field.
"I'm an aggressive cornerback that doesn't give up too many plays. I like to attack my opponent the whole game and I want to make the tackle or be on the play every down I am a playmaker. I have the mindset to hustle every play to be the one in position to make the INT or the pass breakup."
Felton On Special Teams
Felton also doesn't have any quit in him. His ability to chase down ball carriers down the field shows heart and leadership ability. Not quitting on a play is what got the Ravens excited with rookies in the 2016 NFL Draft such as linebacker Kamalei Correa and defensive lineman Bronson Kaufusi who were selected in the second and third rounds respectively. Felton also does a good job of staying in his lane on special teams by not over pursuing returners.
"I like to hustle really hard on special teams because football games is won on field position so I want to pin the team inside the 20 yd line or go down and make the key tackle or key block to give my offense good field position. Growing up being the fastest kid in the neighborhood and hustling to the ball in sports and chasing rabbits in Pahokee during the sugar cane harvest season is how I got the nickname "JetRabbit".
On Learning From His Cousin
During Felton's journey to earn a shot in the NFL, he has received advice from his cousin McPhee. McPhee, who was selected in the fifth-round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Ravens, understands what it takes to make the most of every opportunity.
During McPhee's time with the Ravens, he was used in multiple capacities mainly as an outside linebacker and as an interior pass rusher. Even though there were times where it was hard for McPhee to get playing time constantly playing behind guys like Terrell Suggs, Jarret Johnson, Courtney Upshaw and Elvis Dumervil, McPhee still made his presence felt getting after the quarterback as he registered 17 sacks in four seasons with the Ravens a backup. McPhee's contributions to the Ravens earned him a five-year deal worth 38.7 million with the Bears during the 2015 offseason.
Felton is soaking in every advice from McPhee and is ready to apply it in the NFL.
"He always tell me positive things like go hard at everything you do and keep a chip on your shoulder to remember how hard you have to work to get where you're going. Being a professional isn't easy you have to work extremely hard and have confidence, be humble, and professional at all times. What I've learned from my cousin Pernell Mcphee is that "if you don't grind you don't eat and only the strong survive. Also, whatever you put your mind to put all of your grind to it because you only get out what you put in". He's a positive role model for me and many more just the things that he does on and off the field is professional."
As 2016 NFL training camp approaches, Felton has a chance to receive a phone call from any of the 32 NFL teams and if given the chance, Felton could very well catch on become one of the feel-good stories during the 2016 NFL season.