DB Julian Blackmon, Utah

6’0” – 187 lbs.

Was a wide receiver and cornerback in high school, sustaining a season-ending hand injury three games into his senior season. Appeared in nine games as a freshman, then took over a full-time starting role the following year and finished with 48 tackles, six breakups, and four interceptions Followed that up with another 48 tackles, ten breakups, and one interception as a junior, then made 60 tackles, four breakups, and four interceptions as a senior. Played cornerback until his senior year, then switched to free safety.

Tape at cornerback looked more impressive. Tended to play a lot of off-man, shuffle technique, and press man, and has pretty good footwork to match releases at the line, with the ability to feel routes with his hands and recognize patterns/anticipate breaks. Lined up well off the line of scrimmage as a high safety this past year, playing a lot of halves and single-high, but shading over bunches on occasion as well. When the team went with a single-high safety, that was typically his responsibility. Has a casual, relaxed backpedal to get depth in high coverage. Overall speed looks average; wasn’t always in-phase when providing help down the sidelines during the games reviewed, but is capable of getting over there to help out.

Instincts at safety are still a work in progress, and at times can cause him to arrive slightly late to the catch point when defending against throws down the sidelines. Also lacks elite burst to recover when out of phase. When he does make his way over, on-ball production is impressive. Also flashes some pop into contact to dislodge the ball from opposing receivers, which can also show up when he’s able to sniff out a screen; looks good planting and driving on a spot. Not overwhelmingly physical as a tackler, although he generally uses wrap technique and isn’t afraid to stick his nose in; looked pretty reliable at bringing down ballcarriers when in position.

A lanky high safety who has solid ball skills and tackles with technique, but whose average athleticism can cause him to arrive too late when providing help down the sidelines, and who can’t fall back on a box safety role, either. Wasn’t able to work out at the Combine after sustaining a season-ending injury late last season, so looks like a mid-round pick who offers some versatility in the back end but is still a little bit raw as a safety.

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