Michigan State cornerback Justin Layne also fits the body type the 49ers are looking for on the outside.
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At 6-foot-2 and 192 pounds, with 33-inch arms, Layne also has an ideal combination of height and size to make him a scheme fit. Layne also had a longer tenure at the collegiate level than Saivion Smith, starting two seasons and emerging as a key member of the Spartans secondary in 2018.
While Layne wasn’t quite the ballhawk Smith was (three interceptions over three years), his 15 pass breakups his junior year should be of note.
It would have been nice to see Layne translate some of those passes defended into picks. But at least Layne wins with his route recognition and smarts — aspects Smith struggled with at Alabama.
This helps make up for Layne’s relative lack of speed, although it will be interesting to see if the cornerback can put to rest some of his straight-line concerns during combine workouts.
One might expect Layne to be a Round 3 pick during the NFL Draft, unless his stock rises considerably after the combine and his pro day.