DB Geno Stone, Iowa*

5’10” – 207 lbs. – 4.62

Was a reserve and special teams player as a freshman, then started eight of thirteen games as a sophomore, all at strong safety; during that season he totaled 39 tackles, three breakups, and four interceptions. Reprised that role as a junior, starting thirteen games there in 2019 before declaring for the draft; final line was 70 tackles, four breakups, and an interception. Has a pretty squatty build for a pro safety, with below-average height and length but with adequate bulk.

Played strong safety, but in Iowa’s defense last season that meant a lot of two-deep looks, with some snaps taken shaded over slot receivers, sometimes a little bit closer to the line of scrimmage, other times well off. Demonstrates good balance and clean, quick footwork, whether when backpedaling or shuffling; looks fast working backward and can execute spot drops into higher zones. Shows a good feel for patterns and route combinations; doesn’t get caught out of position often, taking the high receiver on high-low concepts and sticking with receivers when pattern-matching. Wasn’t always in position to break up passes and doesn’t have excellent length to make plays when targeted, but can close quickly to deliver hits in order to dislodge the ball or limit yards after the catch. May struggle with bigger receivers and tight ends because of his lack of size, and may not be able to cover quicker slot receivers or work in single-high zones because of his relatively average athleticism. Shows good ball skills when in position but lacks the length/leaping ability to climb the ladder. Would like to see him be more consistent about keeping the play in front of him.

Physical player who likes to come up and defend the run. Diagnoses quickly and takes solid angles to the ball. Able to get low and use his quickness to slip past blockers, but is also willing to take them on if necessary; attacks blockers with some aggression, although because of his below-average length, he can sometimes get engulfed. Closes quickly when he finds a path to the ballcarrier and is a thudding hitter who can help set the tone defensively, although he can sometimes lapse into hitting instead of wrapping. Didn’t see him come down and work in the box often during the games reviewed but that’s a role which would suit his skillset and temperament.

Looks like he made a good decision to declare for the draft, as his instincts/recognition skills and technique are already pretty polished. Won’t blow anyone away with his physical profile and athletic ability, which may limit his responsibilities in coverage, but coming back to school wasn’t going to address those questions. Looks to be in the mid-round mix.

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