DB Brian Cole II, Mississippi St.

6’2” – 213 lbs. – 4.52

Originally attended Michigan, appearing in three games as a wide receiver in 2015, then ended up transferring to Kentucky but never playing there. Spent the 2016 season at East Mississippi Community College, then redshirted in 2017 at Mississippi State. Started for of five games in 2018 before sustaining a season-ending injury, then started twelve games as a rover this past season, finishing with a line of 67-7.5-2.0 with two breakups and one interception. Well-built for a pro defensive back, with good size and a pretty thick build.

Did a little bit of everything with the Bulldogs. Listed as a rover (hybrid linebacker/safety), but didn’t take too many snaps as a high safety or traditional linebacker during the games reviewed; instead, was more likely to shade over and cover slot receivers, or blitz off the edge in the run game. Athletic tools are impressive, particularly for a bigger safety; has the speed to pursue from in the backside, with pretty good burst and some flexibility.  Able to flow sideline to sideline, although he doesn’t always look like he’s going full speed; would like to see a little bit more aggression and urgency. Uses his hands and quickness to make his way through congestion, doing a good job of positioning himself to funnel runners back inside; can overpower and shed smaller receivers. Looks fast and explosive on run blitzes off the edge, although he struggles to anticipate snap counts and gives away his intentions too often.

Coverage duties were mostly limited to playing off coverage over slot receivers; didn’t really see any single-high or halves, or man coverage on opposing tight ends, although he has the type of physical and athletic profile to potentially do some of those things at the next level. What’s on tape is promising if limited. Fast enough to carry opposing receivers down the seams or across the field, but looks best when he’s keeping things in front of him and using his burst to drive on spots and deliver hits. Does a good job of sniffing out screens. Didn’t have too much on-ball production this past season, although he was a highly-regarded receiver recruit out of high school, so he should have relatively good hands when in-phase.

Took a circuitous path to the pros, but offers an intriguing combination of size, speed, and explosiveness which should earn him consideration in the mid-rounds, especially considering he already looks fairly comfortable working in coverage against opposing slot receivers. Does require some projection in that he wasn’t doing much work in deep coverage or as a traditional linebacker, and because the coverage techniques he was playing were a little bit limited.

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