6’1” – 202 lbs. – 4.50e
Started three games at cornerback, then shifted to safety as a true freshman, starting the final eleven games of the season there. Started all fourteen games the following year at the “star” position, which calls for work in the slot, then worked on the outside this season. Very tall, long-limbed cornerback who really looks the part. Has some pretty diverse assignments as far as where he lines up on the field, but does a lot of shuffle coverage, often from the short side of the field, allowing him to use the sideline to his advantage. Rarely asked to backpedal, but with turn-and-run responsibilities, is capable of aligning in press-man and using his wingspan to blanket opposing receivers. Fast enough to carry bigger receivers down the field. However, isn’t really a quick-twitch player who stays glued to opponents out of their breaks; looked susceptible to comeback routes during the games reviewed. Has some technique issues; will turn around away from the receiver instead of turning into them, wasting motion. Needs to get his head around more quickly to locate the ball. Wasn’t asked to line up against many smaller, quicker receivers in the games reviewed, but might struggle in that capacity. Also does some pattern-matching work in zone coverages, where he might be more comfortable as a pro. Ball hawk who can disguise his coverages and jump routes, although would-be interceptions often clang off of his hands. Works well against bunch formations. Has done considerable bit of work as a blitzer off the edge; disguised his rushes pretty well. Excellent leaper who uses his length to bat down passes when rushing from the play-side. Willing as a run defender, generating some force on contact. Capable of taking on blocks; gets arm extension and positions himself well to force runners back inside. Works as a gunner on coverage units, a blocker on the punt team, and serves as the Seminoles’ primary kick returner. Not really a shutdown corner like most top picks, but has rare size, length, and leaping ability which could convince teams he’s capable of matching up against size in the pro game. However, is more likely to end up back at safety, where his man-coverage limitations would be masked and he would be allowed to take advantage of his quality instincts and timing as a zone defender. Diverse responsibilities and unique physical skills will keep him within the top ten picks in next year’s draft; may remind some teams of former first-round pick Malcolm Jenkins, who converted to safety as a pro.
Games watched: Oregon (’14), Boston College (’15), Miami (’15)