6’2” – 210 lbs. – 4.60e
Originally attended Ohio St., appearing in five games before transferring to Duke. After sitting out 2012, led the team in snaps (1,120) as a redshirt sophomore, starting all fourteen games, along with all thirteen as a junior after being named a team captain. Underwent wrist surgery which caused him to miss the team’s bowl game and will require medical evaluation at the Combine. Tall, long-limbed defensive back with solid bulk. Despite being listed as a strong safety, usually lines up in the slot for the Blue Devils, typically with press-coverage responsibilities; in the absence of a slot receiver, also takes snaps aligned tight to the offensive line. Almost never asked to play as a typical deep safety. Taught to shuffle rather than to backpedal; looks leggy and unbalanced when working backward. Consequently, rarely turns and runs with an opposing wideout; got beat downfield for multiple long touchdowns during review. Has average speed and is a face-guarder who is often out of phase in man coverage downfield; doesn’t get his eyes back around to locate the ball. The type of player who’s best when he can keep the play in front of him and he’s able to plant and drive against screens or slants. In press coverage, uses his length well to get a hand on opponents and disrupt their timing. Didn’t work against tight ends in the games viewed, but has the size to potentially do so at the next level. Has been very productive in the backfield, recording a ton of tackles for loss and a handful of sacks. Often blitzes off the edge or from the slot; times his rushes well, bends back to the quarterback well, shows good vision to find open lanes, and exhibits the burst to finish. Has good instincts as a run defender. In pursuit, extends his arms and can play off blocks, but typically tries to duck under an opponent’s initial punch if possible. Willing in run support, but is a weak tackler despite his outstanding production; goes low and lets too many ballcarriers through his grasp, failing to generate much force. Doesn’t break down particularly well in the open field. Unorthodox player who won’t be a fit in every scheme and requires considerable projection for teams which use traditional deep safeties, but should interest teams which frequently blitz defensive backs and are willing to allow him to line up close to the line of scrimmage in order to take advantage of his value as a rusher. Lack of extensive deep coverage experience and struggles defending downfield from the slot may relegate him to a specialized sub-package role at the next level.
Games watched: Miami (’14), Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech (’15)