2016 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Mississippi State CB Taveze Calhoun

Taveze Calhoun

With the offseason now in full swing, we have turned our attention to the 2016 NFL Draft as it relates to the college prospects. From now until the draft takes place, we hope to profile as many draft prospects as we possibly can for you. Most of these player profiles will be centered around prospects the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have interest in but we will also include several top-rated players as well who might not necessarily be fits for them specifically.

Today, we will have a look at Mississippi State cornerback Taveze Calhoun.

#23, Taveze Calhoun — Mississippi State, 6’1”, 180, Redshirt Senior

The Good:

-Physical corner unafraid of contact
-Quick reaction time and closes quickly to the ball
-Good feel and instincts in zone coverage
-Intelligent CB that diagnoses plays and routes quickly
-Effective open-field tackler
-Supports the run very well when attacking the line of scrimmage
-Rarely beaten over the top, respects speed across from him
-Rips and slaps at the ball when in the air, very combative on throws
-Holds valuable experience against NFL wide receivers from playing in the SEC

The Bad:

-Occasionally takes bad angles to the ball carrier, forgets to wrap up
-Struggles to get off blocks on the boundary due to peaking in the backfield
-Tends to duck his head on tackles, prone to whiffs
-Over-aggressiveness can take him out of plays
-Footwork in man-coverage is spotty, needs cleaned up
-Struggles with balance at times
-Appears tall and uneven in backpedal
-Tends to lose track of his man when play breaks down and QB leaves the pocket
-Stares into the backfield far too often
-Not an exceptionally fast corner


-2015 William V. Campbell Trophy Finalist
-2015 NFF National-Scholar Athlete
-Starter at CB for three years
-Played in 50 games (36 starts)
-Recorded 161 career tackles, 12 tackles for loss and six interceptions to go along with three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery
-Named First-Team All-State by the Clarion-Ledger across all divisions in high school
-Listed among the Top 40 Most Wanted in the state by the Clarion-Ledger
-A consensus all-state prospect in the 3A division following senior season
-Selected by The Mississippi Association of Coaches to the 40-man roster for the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game

Tape Breakdown:

If you’re looking for an ideal cornerback to slide right into the fold as a man-off and zone-coverage corner who is physical, smart and has great closing speed, then Mississippi State’s Taveze Calhoun is your guy.

I was so impressed watching tape of this guy. It’s scary how good this guy could be at the next level thanks to his work ethic, film study, speed and willingness to throw his body around to make some plays against the run and the pass.

Right from the jump I knew I’d love this guy based off of how physical he was on the boundary.

Watch this play from 2014 against Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl.

Everything he possesses is on display here. He knows that the swing route out of the backfield is coming, so he’s able to turn on the jets to close in on the running back. Once he’s in position, Calhoun is able to lay the wood to separate the receiver from the football.

His physicality and strength is on display just a few plays later against Ole Miss. Donte Moncrief, who currently catches passes for the Indianapolis Colts, runs into the buzz-saw that is Calhoun.

Look at the sheer power and the impressive closing speed on this Calhoun body slam.

He’s fiery. I like it.

Still don’t buy the closing speed?

Here’s another example.

Not sure what more you need to see from Calhoun in terms of his ability to diagnose a play and close quickly to make the play.

Finally, one last clip of Calhoun that really impresses me.

As a man-off corner, Calhoun is expected to keep everything in front on him and then make the tackle for minimal gain here against Alabama.

Sound familiar? A certain defense in black-and-gold deploys a similar system with their CBs. Calhoun rarely misses tackles and rarely gets beaten deep.

He’s a solid cornerback that will continue to climb boards as more and more eyes fall on his game.

If I had to do a CB ranking of the top five prospects at that position right now, Calhoun would be in the discussion for No. 4 behind Vernon Hargraves, Harlan Miller, Mackensie Alexander and William Jackson III; that’s how much I like and believe in Calhoun.

Projection: Mid-2nd

Games watched: vs. Ole Miss (’14), vs. Alabama (’15), vs. Texas A&M (’15), at LSU (’15)

Previous Player Profiles
Hunter HenryEli AppleLaquon TreadwellDadi NicolasKendall Fuller
Deion JonesJihad WardKevin PetersonVonn BellMichael Caputo
Andrew BillingsMackensie AlexanderTyler ErvinAustin BlytheChris Jones
Sheldon RankinsNoah SpenceJordan JenkinsYannick NgakoueDarian Thompson
Bryce WilliamsCre’von LeblancHenry Krieger-CobleLeonard FloydJosh Garnett
Kevin HoganCorey ColemanShaq LawsonAustin JohnsonDeAndre Houston-Carson
William Jackson IIIVernon ButlerSean DavisTyler BoydJalen Ramsey

  • Bill Sechrengost

    Thanks Josh. I heard good reports about this guy from the East West Shrine practice and game. I thought they were projecting him as a 7th-round pick, though. I haven’t seen him projected up into the second round. i’ll have to change my mock draft (right after the combine, of course), Sounds like a good fit for the Steelers!

  • Tom Jackson

    Hm interesting guy. His playing style is absolutely awesome for a CB. Definitly a guy I’ll look out for. Although probably not a guy for the steelers at 6’1”. Lol

    A question I gotta ask though… why did you show so much of his tackling/closing in the breakdown and nothing else, Josh? Hate to be critical like that because I love that you guys take your time to write these up and do very good work imo. This breakdown as well, it just feels like missing 3-4 more shown plays. Would have loved to see a gif where he has a high pedal and gets in trouble or gets lost because of eye disciplin. Other then that I like the article, very detailed good&bad at the top as well.

  • falconsaftey43

    Not a guy I’ve watched yet. Really like that physicality, I’ll have to watch some of his games for sure.

  • Gluebucket

    Yeah I agree. I loved his tackling abilities but what about his coverage abilities?

  • The Notorious TOM

    Love a guy that stays through his senior season. I understand when guys leave but man, your university shouldn’t be a stepping stone for you. I feel like you’re letting your guys down.

  • steelburg

    Josh I have a profile I would like you to do not sure if you all were already considering do it. Deiondre Hall from Northern Iowa is the player. He reminds me so much of Jalen Ramsey he has that position flexibility and he can play both S and CB.

  • Jared Gallagher

    Top 40 most wanted? Please tell me that’s top 40 most wanted player on a team

  • GoSteelerz

    I’ve watched some film of him. Overall, a guy I wouldn’t mind us getting. Good in coverage and not afraid to be physical and tough, I like him. To be successful in the pros, I think he needs to add about 10lbs or so, not duck and dive at feet (i.e. he needs to see what he’s hitting and wrap up), and get off/defeat blocks MUCH better. Usually he is a good tackler, but every now and then he loses his fundamentals. If he can do these things, he could be really good, ability-wise it’s all there. Definitely a guy to watch for. So far he’s been projected as a late round pick. We’ll see how much his stock rises or falls as we approach the draft…

  • Spencer Krick

    With that physicality and click-and-close, do you think he would make a good safety?

  • Josh Carney

    The Clarion Ledger does something every year where it’s the Top 40 Most Wanted, ranking the 40 most sought-after prospects in the state.

  • SnoopDogg123

    These draft projections are all over the place. 2nd round? 7th round? I’ll split the difference and say he’s a mid 4th round guy.

  • Ask Questions Later

    This guy was quite good I thought when watching him. Quite scrappy too. Has the look of a Steelers corner to me.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Nice find, I like this guy, seems to be a perfect fit for the Steeler’s coverage schemes, and looks like he would be a special teams terror. Draft this man.

  • PittsburghSports

    Well, I like the fact you have Harlan Miller #2, considering Ramsey is a Safety, but not sure about this Calhoun guy as a 2nd rd pick. Definitely like the closing speed, tackling and physicality, but how is he in coverage? LSU game was all running plays. Check out 0:56 in the Bama game. Looks like clunky footwork. Miss St CBs seem to be bail immediately in off coverage, even having their hips turned before the snap. Bama 3:32 a simple out and the WR gets 5 yards of separation because of clunky foot work. Texas A&M game he looked much better. I liked his foot work and hip flexibility, tight coverage and instincts in zone coverage, but top 5 CB? Hmmm, thought you’d highlight more of his coverage ability if you have him that high. I figured he’d be an early day-3 pick, but I’ll keep an eye out for him. I also love the other CB from Miss St, Will Redmond if that ACL has healed.

  • Steve

    Seems the Steelers have drafted so many CB’s that didn’t make the cut. If a corner is drafted in the 1st 2 rounds they need to be an excellent player that can start from day 1. Tired of these run of the mill CB’s that we draft and don’t even make it out of camp.

  • Josh Carney

    That’s probably where he’ll land, but I do my own rankings. Really high on this guy. People will agree/disagree with me and that’s fine. That’s the fun in doing this stuff.

  • Darth Blount 47

    So yeah, I too have been vocal of my support for this kid. In mock after mock, I am stunned when this kid goes in the 6th, 7th, or in many, not drafted. I have never seen him mocked higher than the 5th. I am a big fan of this one. Would looove to snag him in the 6th!