SS CRAIG LOSTON, LOUISIANA ST.

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6’2” – 209 – 4.60e

STATISTICAL PROFILE:

2009: Redshirt
2010: 22 – 1.0 – 0.0, 2 PD, 1 INT
2011: 14 – 0.0 – 0.0, 1 FF, 1 PD
2012: 55 – 3.0 – 0.0, 1 FR, 1 PD, 3 INT (1 TD)

OVERVIEW:

Played in two games as a true freshman, but ended up redshirting after sustaining a wrist injury. Played in all thirteen games the following year, starting two. Appeared in ten different games in a reserve capacity as a redshirt sophomore. Started twelve games in 2012, missing the game against Idaho.

POSITIVES:

•    Will be graduating with roughly two seasons of starting experience for a major program.
•    Possesses an excellent combination of height and bulk for a professional strong safety.
•    Physical player, earned a reputation for his devastating hits on opposing ballcarriers.
•    Effective as an in-the-box defender vs. the run, can work through traffic, closes well.
•    Uses his hands effectively to shed block attempts, doesn’t get controlled very often.
•    An enforcer whose hits function as a deterrent for throws across the middle of the field.
•    Capable of jarring the ball loose from receivers before they can secure possession.
•    Plays strong safety, but has also done plenty of work in deep coverage and in the slot.
•    Has better range than top-end speed would indicate, usually ends up around the ball.
•    Spent his first two years almost exclusively on special teams, continued role afterward.

NEGATIVES:

•    Relies more on his recognition rather than his speed in coverage; not particularly fast.
•    Overall physicality may be ill-suited to the modern, litigation-conscious pro game.
•    Doesn’t get his hands on many passes, as evidenced by low amount of deflections.
•    Benefited from spending his collegiate career on a team with an effective pass rush.
•    Injury as a senior prevented him from cementing his status as a top safety prospect.
•    Has some injury concerns which will require further medical inspection at the Combine.

SUMMARY:

Loston was hyped as perhaps the top strong safety prospect heading into the season, but missed some time due to injuries and was unable to cement that status. However, he may still be the first selected, as his size, instincts, physicality, versatility, and SEC pedigree should help him overcome concerns about his lack of elite top-end speed and minor durability concerns. He may not run the most impressive forty-yard dash, but that he manages to appear around the ball on almost every play should help teams look past his anticipated workout results.

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