Advance scouting: Jordan Poyer

There's a lot to like about hard-hitting DB Jordan Poyer, but that doesn't include man-to-man coverage skills. Tom Hauck/Getty Images

In advance of attending the NFL combine in Indianapolis later this month, ESPNBoston.com has identified 10 prospects it wants to learn more about. Along those lines, Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. is helping provide background and insight from his time studying tape and attending all-star games such as the Senior Bowl.

Player: Jordan Poyer

Position: Cornerback

Height/weight: 5-foot-11 3/4, 182 pounds

School: Oregon State

Why he's on the radar: If the Patriots don't re-sign Aqib Talib, and Devin McCourty remains at safety, the need for a cornerback becomes that much greater.

Projection: Early rounds

Muench's take: "Poyer is a playmaker who excels at dropping into zone, reading routes/quarterbacks, and breaking on the ball. His three interceptions in the Washington State game are excellent examples of this. There’s also a lot to like about what the 2012 team captain brings to the table in terms of special teams. Poyer is a dangerous punt return man who took one to the house in 2011. He also has experience returning kickoffs and he’s an effective gunner on punt coverage. While he was involved in an altercation in Corvallis in 2012, when talking about character and how it relates to his NFL prospects, it’s important to point out that he gave up baseball to focus on football. The greater concern is his limitations in man-to-man coverage. A former safety, Poyer isn’t smooth enough transitioning out of breaks to prevent receivers from separating and he doesn’t show the second gear necessary to recover when he gets caught out of position. As impressive as picking off three passes against the Cougars is he also got beat underneath and over the top in that game."