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.
Man Coverage: Adept in man coverage, flashes physicality to get his hands on receivers on the line but usually bails off the snap per the team's scheme. Possesses the straight-line speed to stay with his man downfield. Quick feet to pedal and wait for receiver to make his move before turning his hips, though he fails to keep inside technique to prevent slants. Larger receivers create separation downfield by extending their arm, can go over the top of him as well. Gets caught looking into the backfield, stops his feet and gives ground on double-moves; possesses recovery speed to catch up in most cases, uses length and tenacity to knock away passes even if a step behind. Needs to prove himself in press coverage. Benefits from strong front seven play.
Zone Coverage: Aware zone defender. Comes off initial route to watch underneath receiver while still watching for throws over his head. Reads the quarterback well, gets to the ball in a hurry. Closes well on throws in front of him, solid tackler to prevent yards after the catch. Sometimes drifts inside while dropping in zone (or staying down the sideline in man), opening a hole for better quarterbacks to thread the needle.
Ball Skills: Solid knocking away passes in front of receivers and removing the ball from them as they attempt to secure it. Capable of secure the easy pick, finds himself in position to do so by going to the ball. Fails to adjust to low and wide throws, though, and must prove he can high-point passes downfield.
Run Support: More aggressive in attacking receiver blocks and ballcarriers than his slight build would indicate. Mixes it up with receivers, tight ends, and whoever else comes at him. Lacks size, though, to win those battles often enough to make a lot plays against the run. Comes off the edge quickly vs. the run and will chase across the field.
Tackling: Flashes the strength to wrap and throw down average-to-large receivers, especially when attacking underneath passes. Resorts to duck-and-swipe tackling at times, though typically effective due to his quickness and athleticism. Used as special teams gunner, has speed to get downfield and can break down to slow down or stop returners.
Intangibles: Energetic, hard-working, tough-minded player. Does not back down from any challenge on the field, takes on all comers. One of 13 players to come down with Rhabdomyolysis, spending a week in the hospital, after a tough winter workout."
Looks very comfortable in off coverage, stays low, maintains balance with his footwork and is clean/fluid when asked to re-direct and close on the football. Can also be physical up near the line as well. Gets a bit fidgety with his footwork when trying to mirror in pressman, will hop laterally getting caught with his feet parallel. But extends his long arms well, can get a nice bump, maintains his balance/footing and cleanly will turn and run.
Is developing his feel for the pass game, showcases the ability to feel routes at times, undercut throws and take good angles toward the football in zone. However, needs to be a bit more patient, can get overaggressive, prematurely jump routes and take himself out of position to make plays.
Gets a bit nonchalant on the outside and trust his range a bit too much vertically. Can turn and run, displays good fluidity in the hips in the hips, has an initial burst to his game. But doesn’t have the kind of elite second gear to make up for an overaggressive false step as receivers can get behind him on any type of double move.
Looks like a low 4.5 guy on tape to me who plays fast because of footwork and just needs to do a better job being patient in space.
Impression: Is still developing his feel in zone and needs to add more weight. However, he’s smooth, fluid and coordinated in his drop and out of his breaks. Has a chance to start in the NFL, more of a zone corner though."
Is a sudden athlete with outstanding leaping ability who played outside at Iowa but is better suited as an inside nickel defender in the pros given his quick feet, balance and agility.
Main drawback is size deficiency - lacks ideal height and has short arms and small hands.
Needs to get stronger and struggles to contend with big receivers.
Vocal leader with a professional work ethic and experience as a "gunner.""
Reads the field well and breaks nicely on the ball, but is more quick than fast and will probably be better suited to a Cover-2 scheme; has good ball skills and picked off 4 passes and broke up 6 others last season;
One of 13 Iowa players afflicted with rhabdomyolysis this winter caused by excessive workouts but appeared to be fine in spring practice."