5’11” – 197 lbs. – 4.60e
Started all thirteen games at free safety as a true freshman, then all twelve the following season and all thirteen as a junior, his first year as a Mountaineers captain. Sustained a season-ending knee injury this past October which will require further evaluation at the Combine. Defensive back who typically lines up in the slot but will also work from the box, almost like an extra linebacker. Rarely aligned deep, except for the occasional snap in which he has single-high responsibilities. Tall with long limbs and average bulk; physically fits the profile of a pro safety. Very active player who overcomes his average speed and agility and is actually a pretty rangy defender; won’t chase down running backs from behind, but can generally keep the play in front of him. For better or worse, reacts quickly and is often around the play, but at times commits too early to playing downhill. Angles in pursuit are generally pretty conservative, reflecting his responsibilities as a last line of defense; however, could do a better job of avoiding blockers rather than taking them on as much as he does, despite being above-average for his position in terms of block-shedding. Very willing to come up in run support, but can become something of a projectile, forgetting his tackling fundamentals and leading to missed attempts; regardless, isn’t a particularly forceful hitter. Typically asked to defend short zones from the slot on passing downs; carried some backs and slot receivers down the field on wheel routes. Showed the ability to time his jumps and make plays on the ball when in-phase, but rarely turned his back to the ball; snaps taken in man coverage may not represent an adequate sample size which would allow for a confident projection to the pro game. Also didn’t do much work against opposing tight ends, something which pro teams may ask him to do. As a deep defender, often uses a shuffle technique, although his backpedal looks fundamentally sound; sometimes appears to be more focused on his technique than on reacting to what’s happening on the field. Also rushes off the edge, with the ability to create pressure; made some tackles in the backfield during film review, pursuing runners from the backside. Didn’t do all of the things you’d like to see a safety prospect do; would make for an easier projection if he worked in deep zones more often, or took more snaps in man coverage, especially against opposing tight ends. Probably more of a third-day pick, especially having sustained a serious knee injury as a senior, but may benefit from a relatively weak safety class.
Games watched: Alabama (’14), Texas (’14), Maryland (’15)