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2016 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Leshaun Sims could be the next Ladarius Gunter

The prospect out of FCS Southern Utah has the makings of a valuable cornerback. A four year starter in the Big Sky Conference, Sims has the tools to play in the NFL and could be a late round steal.

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Everyone loves the first round of the draft. There is so much hope and excitement.  All those players in attendance walk up and gett their photograph with the Commissioner and that cool #1 jersey for their new team.  Day Two gets some love, but the casual fan is catching up on their DVR when Day Three rolls around.  After the seventh round concludes, the Green Bay Packers have had some recent success with undrafted free agent cornerbacks in Sam Shields and Ladarius Gunter.  Shields became a starter very quickly and Gunter looks to be a very solid back-up with good upside potential.  This year, the Packers might do well to grab that next unheralded player on Day Three and not wait to see if he goes undrafted.

Leshaun Sims comes from a rather non-traditional route.  Sims played eight-man football in high school in Las Vegas.  He then went on to Southern Utah University and redshirted his first year with the Thunderbirds.  Sims then had 46 career starts over the next four years.  He had over 60 tackles in both his sophomore and junior seasons and ended the junior year as a Third-Team All-Big Sky player.  Sims came back for his senior year and made the First-Team All-Big Sky.

Sims is a 6'0" 203 pound cornerback.  He received an invitation to the NFL Combine and ran a 4.53-second 40-yard dash.  Still, during spring practice in Cedar City, Sims ran a verified 4.41-second 40.  Sims also managed a 37-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot broad jump.  He also completed the three-cone drill in 7.08 and the 20-yard shuttle in 4.19.  Sims' numbers are better than Gunter's in all these categories and compares favorably with first-round pick Damarious Randall from last year.

Sims spent much of his time overshadowed by his teammate, defensive end James Cowser, but he deserves some praise in his own right.  Sims has size and length.  He is a good tackler and some have even suggested he could be a safety instead.  He is a physical player and has the skill set to line up in man and play press coverage at the line.  He made several favorable impressions at the East-West Shrine Game practices as well.

Sims should be available in the sixth or seventh rounds.  CBS projects him as a 7th-round pick currently.  They rank Sims as the 30th best cornerback and the 248th best overall player.  Scouts Inc. is not far off with a ranking of 27th among cornerbacks and 248th overall.  Drafttek, similarly, ranks him as the 26th cornerback and 249th overall.

All-in-all, Sims is exactly the sort of player you want to see in the sixth or seventh round.  He did not get the competition that someone like Jalen Ramsey or Vernon Hargreaves III, but he started for four years and has the body of an NFL cornerback.  Getting all the extra starting repetitions in game speed is still valuable.  Sims will need some polish, and he can get that playing behind the solid cornerbacks Green Bay already has.  With the loss of Casey Hayward to free agency, there might be value in adding another name in the later rounds to keep pressuring those on the roster.  With the value a strong defensive backfield has in the modern NFL, you can never imagine you have enough good cornerbacks.