Scouting reports for 2021 NFL Draft prospects from the Mid-American Conference (MAC) from Tony Pauline, Pro Football Network’s Chief NFL Draft Analyst and Insider. To view overall and positional rankings, visit and bookmark Pauline’s Draft Board. Please note that the links below will open in a new tab.
Teams covered in this 2021 MAC Scouting Report:
2021 NFL Draft | MAC Scouting Reports: Ball State Cardinals
Antonio Phillips NFL Draft Scouting Report | Cornerback
Positives: Full-time starter the past two seasons who showed flashes of brilliance. Effective facing the action, locates the ball in the air, and has a nice move to the throw. Fluid flipping his hips, gets vertical, and contorts to defend passes. Physical, mixes it up with receivers throughout the route and gives effort defending the run.
Negatives: Undisciplined, peaks in the backfield and blows assignments on occasion. Late reacting to receivers’ moves off the line and is usually a half-step behind opponents in press coverage. Tends to lose a sense of where his opponent is and does not always take correct angles in coverage.
Analysis: Phillips possesses next-level size and has shown enough skill to get consideration in the late rounds. After an inconsistent 2020 campaign, he was outstanding during Ball State’s bowl game, which will help his cause this April.
Bryce Cosby NFL Draft Scouting Report | Safety
Positives: Underrated safety who was a four-year starter at Ball State. Instinctive, quick to read and diagnose, and plays tough football. Immediately picks up coverage assignments, quickly gets out laterally, and works with cornerbacks in pass defense. Fires up the field defending the run, wraps up ball handlers, and makes the tackle in space.
Keeps the action in front of him and displays outstanding anticipation as well as a nice move to the throw. Effectively, quarterbacks the secondary.
Negatives: Possesses average size and gets easily blocked from the action. Lacks next-level play speed and struggles to recover.
Analysis: Not graded by scouts coming into the season, Cosby was a productive college safety and a good football player who lacks size and play speed for the next level. He’s a potential dime safety and comes with a special teams mentality.
Caleb Huntley NFL Draft Scouting Report | Running Back
Positives: Big-bodied, downhill ball carrier who was very productive the past two seasons and does the little things well. Helps the quarterback sell ball fakes, picks up blocking assignments, and rarely gets brought down by the first defender. Patient, waits for blocks to develop and picks up a lot of yardage off initial contact. Displays solid running vision, plays to his size, and hits the hole with authority. Falls forward when tackled for extra yardage.
Negatives: Almost solely a straight-line, downhill ball carrier who lacks the quickness and agility to turn the corner or bounce around defenders. Rarely asked to catch the ball out of the backfield.
Analysis: Huntley is a strong short-yardage back who’s been dismissed in the scouting community, but he could make a team that keeps five running backs.
Christian Albright NFL Draft Scouting Report | Outside Linebacker
Positives: Three-year starting linebacker who began his career at defensive end. Breaks down well, moves fluidly in every direction, and chases the action hard. Displays speed up the field as well as out to the flanks, easily changes direction, and works his hands throughout the play.
Holds his ground against blocks, flows to the action, and does a terrific job reading as well as diagnosing. Shows the ability to play off blocks, competes, and stays with assignments. Gets depth on pass drops and displays a burst to the ball.
Negatives: Displays limited force blitzing up the field. Woefully out of position last season at outside linebacker in Ball State’s 3-4 alignment.
Analysis: Albright barely gets mentioned in scouting circles, yet is a legitimate 4-3 outside linebacker who could be used on the weak side. He’s athletic, covers a lot of area, and can make plays in space against the run or covering the pass.
Curtis Blackwell NFL Draft Scouting Report | Guard
Positives: Four-year starter who has seen action at both right tackle and guard. Starts with good knee bend, plays with proper pad level, and blocks with a nasty attitude. Works hard to finish off opponents and always looks for someone to hit.
Negatives: Stiff, overextends into blocks, and is easily exploited off the edge by speed rushers. Struggles finishing off opponents.
Analysis: Blackwell possesses solid size as well as excellent length and comes with growth potential. He’s a limited athlete with short arms who can only play in a small area.
Drew Plitt NFL Draft Scouting Report | Quarterback
Positives: Two-year starter with an efficient game. Patient in the pocket, spreads the ball around to all his receivers, and does not force throws or make bad passes. Consistently locates the open wideout, goes to check-down targets if nothing else is available, and does not make poor choices under the rush. Puts touch on throws and delivers a catchable ball. Relatively accurate and does not make receivers work hard for the reception.
Negatives: Possesses an average arm and cannot power the ball into targets. Not a nimble or elusive quarterback who can scramble. Lacks size and cannot withstand the rush in the pocket.
Analysis: Plitt lacks next-level size and comes with an average arm, but his understanding of the game will get him consideration for a practice squad.
Jaylin Thomas NFL Draft Scouting Report | Inside Linebacker
Positives: Underrated inside linebacker who was a productive three-year starter. Instinctive, displays a good head for the ball in run defense, and flows well laterally to the action. Remains disciplined with assignments, fires upfield defending the run, and gets depth on pass drops. Sifts through the trash to the ball handler and wraps up tackling.
Negatives: Lacks size and struggles to take on blocks. Primarily a one-dimensional run defender throughout his college career.
Analysis: Thomas is an undersized run-and-chase linebacker who plays much faster than his 40-time, displaying speed in a straight line as well as laterally. He offers potential backing up on the inside of a 3-4 defense, but he must earn his wage on special teams.
Justin Hall NFL Draft Scouting Report | Wide Receiver
Positives: Undersized receiver with a consistent game. Displays outstanding focus and concentration as well as eye/hand coordination. Adjusts to the errant throw, plucks the ball out of the air, and possesses strong hands. Shows the ability to create yardage running after the catch and effectively follows his blockers.
Negatives: Plays to one speed and lacks a second gear. Size limitations put him at a disadvantage despite his competitive nature.
Analysis: Hall was a productive receiver and a consistent pass catcher when the ball was thrown in his direction. He projects as a slot wideout at the next level and also shows return potential.