DB Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota**

5’10” – 205 lbs.

Father played fourteen years in the NFL. Started nine of twelve games played as a freshman, finishing with 52 tackles, three breakups, and a pick-six. Ended up getting medical waivers for the 2017 and 2018 seasons after sustaining season-ending injuries in the fourth game of each year, then came back to start all thirteen games this past year, finishing with 88-3.5-3.0, one breakup, and seven interceptions. A little bit small for a pro safety, although his size is in line with minimum requirements; appears to have relatively long arms as well. Physical defender who usually played well off the line of scrimmage as a free safety in Minnesota’s defense, often lining up in single-high, but also shading over against bunches as well. Has an easy, balanced backpedal and does a good job of keeping the play in front of him; generally patient when diagnosing plays, although at times he’ll creep closer to the line of scrimmage and get too aggressive. Transitions from his backpedal pretty smoothly when planting and driving on a spot; generally speaking, can either make a play on the ball or make a quick tackle to limit yards after the catch. Defends against deep throws very well. Tracks throws very well and has excellent ball skills and soft hands to make plays when in position. Dangerous with the ball in his hands; ran back two interceptions for touchdowns over his career. Speed is just adequate; can sometimes struggle to get to the sidelines and provide help over the top in time. Takes pretty sound angles to the ball in pursuit when defending against the run and racked up a ton of tackles this past year; able to get low and weave through congestion to get to the ball. A pretty physical tackler who generally uses appropriate wrap technique; does a good job of breaking down against opposing running backs, although his technique can occasionally suffer in the open field. This past year, was used as a blitzer and enjoyed some success in that capacity as well; does a pretty good job of disguising and timing his rushes. Usage as a box safety or in man coverage against opposing receivers was somewhat limited, aside from some conservative off-man from time to time. Doesn’t cover tight ends too often but does a good job of using his hands to feel routes and provide tight coverage. Season-ending injuries in 2017 and 2018 will require further examination and may be a concern given his physical style of play and lack of ideal size. A ball hawk who plays the game with sound technique, good instincts, and plenty of physicality, he should be one of the first safeties off the board if everything checks out medically.

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