It has been 22 years since an Eagle defensive back earned as high as a fourth round selection in the NFL. Rico Labbe was the Washington Redskins' fourth round pick (109 overall) of the 1990 draft. Since, DeJuan Tribble (San Diego, sixth round, 2008), Daryl Porter (Pittsburgh, sixth round, 1997) and Michael Reed (Carolina, seventh round, 1995) are the only Boston College defensive backs to have been drafted.
Fletcher appears capable of changing this enigma, however. Given a mid-round grade by scouts entering the 2011 season, the lanky field corner is coming off his first full season as a starter, registering 58 tackles and eight passes broken up, including five interceptions to lead the team. He's seen plenty of time on the field, appearing in all 40 games of his career and starting half of them.
Scouts will have to determine if Fletcher has the straight-line speed to remain at cornerback in the pros. He does appear to have the size, instincts, ball skills and toughness needed to potentially make the transition to safety, if needed.
Man Coverage: Wasn't asked to play in press corner on the games viewed (Notre Dame, Clemson, Nevada) though his length and physicality make him a potential fit in this role. Experienced in off-man coverage, demonstrating a low, quick back pedal with a relatively smooth hip turn. Appears to have only average straight-line speed overall, however.
Zone Coverage: Quality zone defender due to his recognition skills and an above average burst downhill to the ball. Understands where the holes in the zone are and reads the quarterback's eyes, breaking on passes as they're thrown to be in good position to defend the throw or at minimum make the tackle shortly after the completion. Will drop off his assignment and step in front of another receiver due to his understanding of zone coverage (INT vs. ND). Trusts his eyes too much, at times, and can be victimized when he tries to break on an underneath route and is beaten by a double move or scrambling quarterback (Nevada).
Ball Skills: Good ball skills for the position. Can extend outside of his frame to make the interception and catches passes that hit him in the hands. More instinctive than he is explosive in breaking on the ball, however. Times his leaps well to compete for jump balls. Good size, leaping ability.
Run Support: Quickly reacts to the run, slipping past most receiver blocks and attacking the line of scrimmage. Aggressively fights through receiver blocks when he is challenged, showing upper body strength and a swim move to escape. Willing to take on the bigger ball-carrier. Good effort in downfield pursuit.
Tackling: Generally a reliable open field tackler. Brings his shoulder and typically wraps his arms securely, so that even when the ball-carrier is able to remain upright following the hit, Fletcher is able to trip him up by hanging on to his feet. Closes quickly on underneath routes, often timing his hit shortly after the ball arrives.
Intangibles: Started four games as a true freshman, contributing three interceptions to Boston College's nation-leading 26 picks in 2008. Enrolled early at Boston College (January 2008). Enrolled in the Lynch School of Education."
Does a better job keeping his back base under him in his drop, but has a tendency to allow his pad level to rise the more depth he's asked to get off the line. Will get leggy when trying to dive on throws under him.
Possesses quick feet and is well balanced in his drop, but his transition when asked to close underneath possesses a lot of wasted motion as he will rock backwards in order to regain balance. He will get really overextended with his plant foot. Does possess an initial explosive element to his game when driving on throws.
Takes good angles toward the football and uses his length well to get his hands on the play, but too often gives up too many easy completions under him. Will tackle on the football with a vengeance after the catch.
Possesses natural power, uses his length well to wrap and can disengage ball from man. Isn't the same type of force vs. the run game, but is a willing tackler.
Displays good re-direction skills and quickness out of his breaks. Sinks his hips well for a bigger corner. Again does get a bit leggy, but can sit low and is fluid enough to cleanly re-direct.
Possesses only average straight-line speed for his size, plays like a 4.5 guy and has a tendency to prematurely open up his hips when asked to run down the field. Doesn't have a great initial first step, but tracks the ball well, is physical and knows how to look and lean.
Locates the deep ball well, possesses good balance and can go up and high point the play. Looks comfortable in zone concepts as well. Reads the action well in front of him, will jump off receivers in his zone and correctly find the football.
Possesses good play speed in zone because of his plus instincts and routinely is getting early jumps on the football. Isn't real quick laterally off the line when asked to press. Has a tendency to lose balance and will give up initial separation. Recovers well in tight areas, but isn't a guy who can make up for a false step vs. NFL caliber receivers.
Impression: Possesses good size, ball skills and has a natural feel in coverage. Gets a bit leggy, but can sink his hips and get out of his breaks. Looks like an ideal cover two type corner at the next level with some man-to-man upside."
Quick-footed, agile and loose-hipped to transition smoothly.
Has short arms, was not asked to press at B.C. and has a finesse mentality — underpowered, wrap-and-drag tackler whose good-not-great top-end speed, twitch and closing burst keep him outside the elite prospects.
Should be effective in a cover-2 scheme."
Has fluid hips and can turn and run, but lacks elite recovery speed; solid in zone where he reads field well and breaks nicely on the ball, although tends to give up too much cushion at times; has good hands and picked off 4 passes and broke up four others last fall."
Fletcher led the team with five interceptions in 2010. His numbers have dropped off in 2011 as part of a woeful Golden Eagle squad whose defense is dominated by star linebacker Luke Kuechly.
Fletcher has 33 tackles, one interception, and four pass breakups through 10 games in his senior campaign.
The Cleveland, OH native has good size at 6'1'' and 195 pounds. He can contend with the biggest wide receivers in the business and he is not afraid to be physical at the line of scrimmage.
Fletcher generally runs around a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash and has been clocked as fast as 4.42 from that distance.
His speed is adequate but not elite. He probably won't be a shutdown corner at the next level and he needs to become more consistent if wants to be a full-time starter, but Fletcher's size (and relatively impressive speed) will earn him plenty of interest from NFL squads."