At some point, Micah Pellerin would like to put his finance degree to work in an NFL front office.
That will have to wait until the end of what presumably will be a long and productive football career.
The Hampton cornerback is one of the most under-the-radar prospects in this draft, and he appears to be a player very much on the Green Bay Packers’ radars. General manager Ted Thompson – “Mr. Thompson,” as Pellerin called him – met with him at the East-West Shrine Game. A source told Packer Report that Pellerin also interviewed with the Packers at the Scouting Combine. Moreover, Packers scout Alonzo Highsmith was at Tulane’s pro day, where Pellerin returned home and was the only draft-worthy prospect on display.
At 6-foot-0 1/2, he has the size the Packers desire. As the FCS leader in passes defensed as a senior, he has the ball skills that cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt craves. His intelligence and leadership ability would fit in Green Bay’s locker room, as well.
“If somebody’s smaller than me, I’m bigger; if they’re bigger, I’m probably quicker; if they’re both, I’m probably smarter. I don’t know that anybody else brings that to the table,” said Pellerin, who officially ran a 4.52 at the Scouting Combine before straining his hamstring.
Pellerin, who was uprooted from his native New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, was a two-star recruit by Southern Mississippi as a 150-pound wide receiver out of Saint Joseph High School in Madison, Miss. Pellerin redshirted as a freshman, was moved to cornerback and played mostly on special teams as a freshman. After three position changes and four position coaches in two years, Pellerin transferred to Hampton.
The decision to change schools and move down a rung on the competitive ladder did nothing to douse his NFL dreams.
“To be honest, Hampton probably has more players in the NFL than some of the (FBS) schools,” he said. “So, that was never a factor. The blueprint was laid out by Ladarius Webb. He went to Southern Miss and then went to Nichols State and got drafted by the Ravens. He’s actually the reason I switched to corner (at Southern Mississippi). I’m a firm believer that if one man can do it, another man can do it. I felt like if this guy can do it, I know I can do it. And Hampton had a tradition of putting people in the NFL so I said, ‘I know I can come in here and play.’”
And play he did. After starting seven games at cornerback in 2009, Pellerin’s career took off. As a junior, he tied for fourth in FCS with 16 passes defensed, including two interceptions. Quarterbacks completed 16.6 percent of passes thrown in Pellerin’s area. Despite a growing reputation meaning fewer passes being thrown his direction, Pellerin was even more productive as a senior. While matching up against the opponent’s No. 1 receiver most of the time, he tied for the FCS lead with 19 passes defensed, including four interceptions.
“If you play well, they’ll find you, and I felt like I performed well my last two years so I felt like I had a good chance,” Pellerin said. “I consider myself to have good ball skills. This past year, I was No. 1 in FCS in total passes defended, and the year before, I was No. 4. That definitely shows I can get the ball away.”
Pellerin’s skills go beyond the football field.
As a freshman at Southern Miss, Pellerin was the school’s representative on the NCAA’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, which provides input to the NCAA on rules and regulations that affect student-athletes. He graduated with a 2.8 grade-point average.
“Once you put in the gimme classes like basket weaving, I had a 3.0,” he said with a laugh.
With outstanding size and length, Pellerin is a natural press-man corner. His skill-set has been compared to Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie. Pellerin is a midround prospect, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he goes in the third round.
“I’m long and I know how to use my length,” said Pellerin, whose 77 1/8-inch wing span was the fifth-longest among the corners at the Combine. “Also, I feel like I’m pretty intelligent. I feel like I’ve got the physical tools. Watching film, I feel I can pick up quickly what receivers like to do and their tendencies. Some receivers, when they’re about to run a ‘go,’ their feet are moving up and down and they’re looking over at the band.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.