Hamp Cheevers arrived at Boston College as an unheralded, two star recruit out of Trenton, Florida. He didn’t see much of the field in his freshman year, beyond a few special teams appearances, but showed flashes of his playmaking abilities as a sophomore. The BC defense featured exceptional talent at cornerback in 2017--starters Isaac Yiadom and Kamrin Moore both went on to the NFL--so Cheevers didn’t see a ton of action, but he managed to come up with two interceptions and a forced fumble in five games played.
2018 was a breakout season for Cheevers. He tied for the national lead in interceptions with seven, one of which he returned 81 yards for a touchdown, on his way to All-ACC First Team honors. Cheevers also registered 40 tackles, 29 of them solo, to go along with 6 passes defended and a forced fumble. According to Pro Football Focus, when opposing QBs threw his way, Cheevers held them to the third lowest passer rating of all eligible corners—a stingy 38.7.
Cheevers has a nose for the ball, as evidenced by his 9 interceptions in 17 career games. He demonstrated sharp instincts and quick hands, hauling in a number of his picks off of deflections, and does well to read the quarterback’s eyes downfield.
The biggest knock on Hamp is his size. At the combine, he measured in at a slight 5’9” 169 lbs. CBS Sports ranks Cheevers as the 20th best cornerback in the draft, and he’s at least 2 inches shorter and 16 pounds lighter than everyone ranked ahead of him. His lack of size and strength will cause issues when pressing at the line, shedding blockers, tackling, and contending with larger receivers downfield.
It’s hard to imagine Cheevers going toe-to-toe with elite NFL receivers, but given his ball skills and quickness, he could well be a valuable asset covering in the slot.
BC has been churning out NFL ready defensive backs in the Steve Addazio era, with four active NFL players (Yiadom, Moore, John Johnson III, and Justin Simmons), and potentially three more on the way in this draft class (Cheevers, Will Harris, and Lukas Denis). Cheevers could get scooped up towards the end of the draft, but more than likely he’ll be a priority free agent signing. Hamp ascended from a two star recruit to All-ACC First Team as a junior, so I wouldn’t count out the undersized ball hawk’s ability to overachieve, and continue to impress at the next level.