04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Bengals picks: Round 5/156 - Shaun Prater, CB, 5-10, 190, Iowa...The group has a lot of veterans along with Kirkpatrick but Prater's biggest impact this year could come on special teams, where he was a gunner in punt coverage. - The Sports Xchange
As the only Nebraska native on the Hawkeyes' roster, Prater will appreciate the teams' new neighboring-state, season-ending rivalry with the Cornhuskers--the newest members of the Big Ten Conference. The all-state high school football player and 400 meter relay state champion returned for his senior season, in part, due to playing that game only an hour from his hometown.
He earned playing time on special teams and as a reserve corner his true freshman year, making 11 tackles and breaking up two passes. After missing the first two games of the 2009 season, he made his presence felt by starting 10 of the remaining 11 games (missing one due to injury), intercepting two passes and breaking up eight others. His improvement continued in 2010, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors from league coaches (68 tackles, four interceptions, six pass break-ups).
Prater stated he received a mid-to-late round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee when submitted his paperwork for early entry. If he improves his strength while maintaining his quickness during his senior campaign, however, it would be tough to see him lasting outside the top 100.
Positives: Aware zone cornerback who is also adept in man coverage, flashing physical hand punch at the line and straight-line speed to stay with receivers downfield. Good strength to tackle. Plays with high energy and is a tough-minded overachiever with experience as a special teams gunner. Very aggressive attacking receiver blocks and tackles like a safety.
Negatives: Receivers can arm-bar downfield to create separation. He's too often caught peeking in the backfield and gives ground on double moves. Fails to maintain inside technique in man coverage. Not a press corner. Doesn't high-point the ball and his reputation as a battler can work against him on the field.