5’11” – 205 lbs. – 4.60e
Appeared in a reserve capacity as a freshman, eventually starting as a nickel defender in the team’s bowl game. Became a first-team defender as a sophomore, starting fourteen of fifteen games played that year. Reprised his role as one of the team’s starters as a sophomore. Has average height and solid bulk for a pro defensive back, with good length. Defensive responsibilities were a little bit limited in variety, leaving his ability to perform in some different roles to the imagination. Almost always serves as a deep safety playing well off the line of scrimmage; will shade over to cover a slot receiver in formations with two or more targets on that side of the line, but didn’t work against tight ends in the games reviewed. Typically plays somewhat flat-footed with a shuffle technique; didn’t backpedal frequently, but looked fairly deliberate and technically-sound on the snaps in which he did so. Plays a very conservative style of pass coverage; gives big cushions which often put him out of position to make a catch. Pretty good at breaking up passes when he’s in-phase, which didn’t occur too frequently. However, despite good ball production, lacks soft hands to make the interception when he’s given an opportunity; most opportunities he had were a result of poor throws or deflected balls rather than exceptional anticipation or positioning. Not asked to turn and run in man coverage; pretty average speed and agility will probably prevent him from being an ideal player to use in that capacity. Willing to come up and support the run; rarely gets fooled by misdirection and takes good angles to the ball, although his deep starting position often prevents him from being the first man to arrive at the play. Very effective open-field tackler for the position; breaks down well, uses form technique when he has the opportunity, and is strong enough to bring down backs with arm tackles, which are used as a last resort. Plays off of blocks pretty well. More of a tackler than an enforcer; understands his responsibility as the team’s last line of defense and doesn’t blow attempts by trying to blow up opponents. Not overwhelmingly big or athletic, but showed he can handle deep coverage, keeps the play in front of himself, and is a reliable tackler in the open field. Lack of snaps in man coverage on slot receivers or tight ends, or as a box defender or blitzer may force teams to guess at a few too many things to make him a first-day pick, but plays a premium position and could go in the second round.
Games watched: Michigan (’14), Michigan St. (’14), Hawaii (’15)