Scouting Report | Justin Layne, CB, Michigan State


Personal Background 

  • Attended Benedictine High School in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Listed as a four-star recruit from 24/7 Sports
  • Considered offers from Michigan, Alabama, Florida, and others before choosing Michigan State
  • Converted wide receiver to cornerback after five games in his freshman season
  • Played some wide receiver for Michigan State in 2018 due to injuries
  • Competed in the 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash, long jump, and high jump in track and field
  • Was state finalist for the 400-meter dash. PR for 200-meter dash was 22.67 seconds
  • His high jump season record in 2016 was 6’2″

Career By the Numbers and Awards

  • Played in 34 career games with 26 starts at cornerback
  • In his first career start at cornerback against Northwestern, posted 43-yard interception for a touchdown.
  • 2018 Stats: 72 tackles, one interception, 15 pass deflections
  • 15 pass deflections in 2018 was tied for the lead in the Big Ten
  • 2018 First-Team All-Big Ten by Pro Football Focus (PFF)
  • 2018 Second-Team All-Big Ten by Media, Coaches and Associated Press (AP)
  • 2017 Honorable Mention All-Big Ten by Media and Coaches

Film Watched 

  • Indiana (2017)
  • Penn State (2017)
  • Washington State (2017)
  • Ohio State (2018)
  • Nebraska (2018)
  • Michigan (2018)

Measurables and Other Information 

  • Year: Junior
  • Height: 6’3″
  • Weight: 185 pounds
  • Date of Birth (DOB): 1/12/1998


  • Physical press corner who wins with aggressiveness
  • Long arms instantly stand out when watching him on film
  • Great ability to come up and help in run support. Has no issues sticking his nose into contact
  • Has ideal ball skills and wins with length
  • Jumps routes early and often with fluid footwork
  • Can pattern match and get in the hip pocket of receivers that aren’t true speedsters
  • Shows ideal flexibility when changing direction but still stiff in the hips


  • Hip fluidity will be his biggest question mark when turning upfield
  • Long speed has been an issue; struggled against true speedsters
  • Tends to get too grabby downfield, especially in the red zone


Entering the season, Justin Layne was one of the many Michigan State players I kept an eye on. There was plenty to watch with Khari Willis at safety and Joe Bachie at linebacker. However, the most promising player of the bunch right now is Justin Layne.

When we move on beyond the consensus top three cornerbacks in the 2019 NFL Draft, Justin Layne should fall into that second tier. If he tests well at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, he could turn into a first-round pick, likely at the back end of it. Right now, he looks like a second-round pick and a player that can become a starting cornerback for a defense from day one. It’ll be interesting to see if he can be a team’s number one cornerback, but for now, he has the skill-set desired to test number two receivers across the league.

One area he’ll have to get better in is his hip flexibility and his ability to show his long speed to match the faster receivers in the league. There were times during his junior season that he struggled against the real speedsters that the Big Ten had to offer, and fortunately, the quarterback overthrew his intended target. When a receiver breaks inside on his route, there are times that he’ll get crossed up with his lower body and look stiff as he trails behind the receiver. Overall, his footwork looks fluid, which helps get him in position to make plays on the football.

Lastly, his physical prowess really stands out with his ability to dominate in press coverage situation and use his length to make plays on the football. There will be plenty of teams across the league that fall in love with his tape if they haven’t already. Layne has plenty of tools to work with and should excel as one of the successful cornerbacks out of this group.

Film Work 


National Scout for Cover 1. Host of Cover 1 | The NFL Draft Podcast. NFL Draft Enthusiast. X's and O's. Heard on ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio and CBS Sports Radio.