Defensive Back Notes

DB Tyree Gillespie, Missouri (6’0”, 207, 4.42)

Has been starting for three years, although he did not record an interception over the course of his 27 starts. Versatile big safety who can play in high coverages or drop down to man up on opposing tight ends. Has the range to get to the sidelines in high coverage. Able to keep the play in front of him, plant and drive on a spot, and deliver big hits on routes over the middle of the field. Explosive hitter on contact but doesn’t always use proper form. Uses hands to feel routes in man. Good recovery speed when sitting on the stop and go. Takes pretty conservative angles to the football, limiting big plays. Experience, versatility, consistency, and tools could make him a starter, although his lack of turnovers may work against his stock.

DB Richie Grant, Central Florida (6’0”, 197, 4.54)

Was a received recruit but converted to safety and stepped into a starting role by his redshirt sophomore year, which was also his most productive. Had ten interceptions and twenty-seven breakups over the last three seasons. Good leader and communicator on the back end. Able to do everything from high zone to the box, but didn’t see a lot of man during the games reviewed. Nice backpedal and transitions; fluid mover with good play speed, giving him range in high coverage. Squeezes routes effectively in lower zones. Has proven himself as far as ball skills are concerned, with good anticipation, flexibility, and length to put himself in position; receiver background. Often comes down to play closer to the line and shows explosiveness into contact in run support, closing well and using pretty consistent wrap technique. Also played on special teams. A little bit older, but will probably go in the first two rounds.

DB Jamar Johnson, Indiana* (6’0”, 205, 4.58)

Rotated into the defense in 2019 but didn’t start until this past year. However, still managed to finish his career with seven interceptions over nine starts in 31 total games. Big, physical, aggressive safety who typically plays closer to the line of scrimmage but does some cover-2 as well; pretty versatile skillset. Has a ball-hawking style, driving on spots in coverage and showing good ball skills. Shows some ability to stick with tight ends. An enthusiastic run supporter who can help set the tone defensively, although he will resort to torpedoing more often than you’d like. A little bit too willing to sit on the underneath stuff when working in coverage over receiver pairs. Not always the most coordinated in transition. Didn’t run well at the pro day, but looks to have solid athleticism on tape.

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