Cory Undlin knew immediately – as much as possible, anyway.
Undlin, now entering his third season as the Jaguars' secondary coach, said when he met Chris Prosinski during a pre-draft visit it was obvious the safety from the University of Wyoming had a skill set that would make him draft-worthy.
But Undlin said there was something more than that, too.
"I was very impressed," Undlin said of Prosinski, who the Jaguars recently made a fourth-round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, the 121stselection overall.
"It was what I expected. I had talked to him on the phone a couple of times before the visit. He has a great mind for the game, a great understanding of the game. He has played a couple of different defenses, so he understands how offenses work."
Prosinski (6-feet-1, 201 pounds), who played at Buffalo (Wyoming) High School, started 37 of 49 games for the Cowboys, finishing his career as the school's fourth all-time leading tackler. He finished with 373 tackles, five interceptions and 21 pass breakups, and Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith said following the draft Prosinski has legitimate safety range and can play either safety position.
Undlin said something else was evident quickly when studying Prosinski and talking to him.
"He's a football player," Undlin said.
Undlin said that was evident when discussing plays and having Prosinksi break down plays. Coaches call it "putting a player on the board," and when the Jaguars put Prosinski there, Undlin said an intelligent, football-savvy player emerged.
"You bring some guys in and put a formation on the board, they have a tough time coming up with the formation – much less how they line up to it and what happens if guys go in motion," Undlin said. "What if the guy is lined up here as opposed to five yards wider? Not him. He's a sharp kid. He's a football player."
Prosinksi was on a list of college players Undlin scouted leading to the draft, and Undlin said he watched five of Prosinski's games from last season. During such a process, Undlin said a picture eventually emerges of a player.
Undlin said with Prosinski that picture quickly became clear, and positive.
"The biggest thing with DBs is the technique they play with," Undlin said. "You can see the way the guy moves."
Undlin said there also is something in a defensive back's eyes. Prosinski, he said, showed that something.
"You could tell his eyes were going in the right spot," Undlin said. "His eye progression, and the way he saw things unfold, was good.
Undlin, who called Prosinski a "violent finisher," also said Prosinksi just moved like a quality safety.
"There was very little wasted movement," Undlin said. "Once he got his key, and it was time to trigger and go, he was go. He's efficient in his movement, and when he plays downhill – in the alley or in the box – he plays downhill. There's no tippytoeing.
"If he gets a run read, and the guy's on the perimeter, he's going to make a tackle. When he pulls the trigger, and he's downhill, he's moving. Toughness is not a question. He sticks his face in there."
Undlin, who said there were more examples of Prosinski making quality, correct plays than making mistakes, also spoke of Prosinski's instinctive ability to avoid blockers.
"Some guys are good at putting their hands on somebody and making sure the ball goes back inside, avoid contact and make a play," Undlin said. "He does a good job of that.
"You talk about all the instinctive stuff. The guy has good instincts. He understands the game. He understands leverage."
Undlin said as much as Prosinski's understanding of defenses was impressive, his understanding of offenses was perhaps more so.
"When an offense comes out and lines up in the formation, what's the formation?" Undlin said. "Who's lined up? What's the personnel? He has a solid football IQ. He's a sharp guy."
Prosinski, like all Jaguars rookies and veterans, cannot work with the team until the current lockout ends. Undlin said regardless of when that is, Prosinski – like any drafted player – will have to earn time. But he said the rookie is capable of playing and contributing quickly.
"There's obviously a curve in learning our defense and our terminology," Undlin said. "You can't play in any defense or offense if you can't get lined up first. The faster you can get guys to know and understand what they're doing, the faster they get an opportunity to go out and play."
Prosinksi played two seasons under Joe Glenn at Wyoming and the final two under Dave Christensen, playing two different schemes for a team that struggled at times. Undlin said Prosinskis's ability to play at a high level – and do so consistently – could be a positive sign.
"It gives you a different routine," Undlin said. "Instead of knowing one way to do something, you get more exposure in another system. If a guy has only played in one system and is playing in a different system, obviously that's a bigger learning curve. The more experience you have as a player, the faster you're going to adapt and get on the same page.
"He didn't drop off. The guy's a football player. I don't think there would have been that much of a difference had he had a new coach all four years. He's mature enough and he knew he loved playing the game. He's definitely got all of that stuff."