Wednesday, April 19, 2017

2017 NFL Draft Prospectus: Defensive Backs


Round 1
Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
Marlon Humphery, Alabama
Gareon Conley, Ohio State

Round 2
Teez Tabor, Florida
Adoree' Jackson, USC
Kevin King, Washington
Tre'Davious White, LSU
Quincy Wilson, Florida

Round 3
Fabian Moreau, UCLA
Ahkello Witherspoon, Colorado
Cordea Tankersley, Clemson
Jourdan Lewis, Michigan
Howard Wilson, Houston
Cameron Sutton, Tennessee
Sidney Jones, Washington
Damontae Kazee, San Diego State

Round 4
Brendan Langley, Lamar
Rasul Douglas, West Virginia

Round 5-7
Shaq Griffin, UCF
Ezra Robinson, Tennessee State
Corn Elder, Miami
Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado
Jalen Myrick, Minnesota
Nate Hairston, Temple
Marquez White, Florida State
Sojourn Shelton, Wisconsin
Des Lawrence, North Carolina
Tony Bridges, Ole Miss


Round 1
Malik Hooker, Ohio State
Jamal Adams, LSU
Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
Obi Melifonwu, U Conn

Round 2
Marcus Williams, Utah
Justin Evans, Texas A&M
Marcus Maye, Florida
Budda Baker, Washington

Round 3
Josh Jones, NC State

Round 4
Lorenzo Jerome, St. Francis (PA)
Rudy Ford, Auburn
Eddie Jackson, Alabama
Fish Smithson, Kansas

Round 5-7
Orion Stewart, Baylor
Nate Gerry, Nebraska
Tedric Thomson, Colorado
Jordan Sterns, Oklahoma State
Josh Harvey-Clemons, Louisville
Rayshawn Jenkins, Miami
John Johnson, Boston College
Jadar Johnson, Clemson
Randall Goforth, UCLA


Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
6-0, 193
Lattimore was plagued by hamstring injuries during his first two seasons at Ohio State, and missed his freshman season as a result. He then was limited to just seven games as a sophomore because of the hamstring injury once again. He left for the draft after his redshirt sophomore season with the Buckeyes.
As a rs freshman, he finished with five tackles and three PBUs. as a sophomore, he finished with 41 tackles, one TFL, nine PBUs, four INTs, and one score.
The Good
Very athletic with the ability to turn his hips on a dime and match the receiver off of the snap.
Plays well in press, and times his turn perfectly.
Extremely instinctual.
Blazing speed in the open field and in pursuit.
Can play in man or zone coverage.
High end technique tackler.
Well coached, and is a quick learner.
Gets to the football and makes plays.
The Bad
Severely limited sample size, as he only really played for one season.
Receivers can fool him and he struggles to maintain himself on cut in plays underneath him.
Still lacks some technique in pass coverage, and fails to get his head turned quickly on balls in the air.
Although he has speed to burn, he does not play overly well against speed receivers.
Will have to make major adjustments in the pro game, as his college experience was limited.
Could have used another season in school.
Just four picks in two full seasons.
Final Overview
Long term, Lattimore could be a very good pro bowl caliber corner. He certainly has that kind of raw talent, but in my book, he is still very raw, and I would not see him as being an impact guy to the level I would like in an early first round pick. He simply has too much to learn right now. There is no better talent in the corner pool in this draft as it pertains to long term potential, but he hs some work to do.

Marlon Humphery, Alabama
6-0, 197
The son of former Alabama RB Bobby Humphrey, Marlon was an All-American High School player out of famed Hoover High School. He was also a state champion sprinter and hurdler on the track team. He ended up redshirting in 2014 as a freshman, and left after his redshirt sophomore season.
As a freshman, he finished with 45 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, eight PBUs, two forced fumbles, and three INTs.
As a sophomore, he totaled 36 tackles, three TFLs, five PBUs, a forced fumble, and two INTs.
The Good
Very fast, and quick in coverage.
Has been coached up in both multiple zone and man coverage.
Intelligent, and understands his various roles in coverage.
Gets into the passing lane and is able to disrupt flow.
Very athletic.
Extremely effective when jamming receivers off of the snap.
Squeezes the receiver out of the play against the sideline.
Sheds blockers with ease and aggression.
Rakes for the ball during the initial tackle, makes turnovers happen.
The Bad
Footwork is still not first rate, and he gets turned around often.
Technique in coverage breaks down from impatience to make plays.
Plays too out of control at times, and can be undisciplined.
Skills are more raw potential right now rather than refined gifts.
Can get taken on play fakes, and is prone to giving up big plays.
Is not a prototypical ball hawk.
Final Overview
Humphrey is a very raw, young player with enormous potential, but he lacks a refined quality about his play that belies his youth and general inexperience a this point. He only spent two functional seasons playing college football, so he still has a long way to go in terms of development and getting good coaching. He certainly had a decent start at Alabama on a major power program, but he needs some serious refinement before he can be expected to take on a major impact role. His coverage skills are his biggest concern right now, as he gives up too many big plays by not being able to recognize play fake and misdirection issues. If he can get the coaching and refinement he needs, he could be a major pro bowl corner down the line, but that is probably a year or two away, at least.

Gareon Conley, Ohio State
6-0, 195
Conley was a four year player in the Ohio State program, and that included one year as a redshirt. He left after his RS junior season. He was honorable mention All-Big Ten as a sophomore, and was named as a second team All-Big Ten selection as a junior.
As a reserve during his freshman year, he finished with 16 tackles and two PBUs. He played big minutes against Michigan State that season and got torched leading to his being benched.
As a sophomore, he finished with 49 tackles, one TFL, five PBUs, and two INTs.
As a junior, he totaled 26 tackles, eight PBUs, and four INTs.
The Good
Plays at his best when trapping a receiver between himself and the sideline.
Rarely allows a clear path of the ball from the QB to the WR.
Gave up just 37% completions in balls thrown against him.
Solid man press corner.
Can play zone coverage.
Has a fiery demeanor in the field.
Fights his way off of crossing route picks.
Technique in coverage is solid. Does not get lost in traffic,
Rocket fast in straight line speed, has quickness to adjust.
Solid hands.
A real sense first ball hawk. Feels the ball coming and turns head at the right moment.
The Bad
When things start going wrong, he tends to break down in his technique, and starts making adjustment mistakes. Can get wound up.
Does not always play to the ball skill that he possesses.
Does not always read the play right coming off of the snap.
Is not a great tackler.
Overall college numbers are simply average.
Does not fight off blocks well, and can get eaten alive on run plays.
Final Overview
Conley certainly has physical skills to succeed, and has some mental traits that you like to see as well, but it seems as if he does not always believe in his own ability on the field. He gets panicked in games where things are going wrong, and all of his abilities seem to fade away and he gets lost in the action. He needs to keep his mental track right, because he can play this game. The other concerns are his overall numbers in college. He did not possess top flight coverage numbers, and his tackle numbers were purely pedestrian. He gets a first round averaged out grade by the services based solely on what he can do, not what he has done. I see him more as a second or early third round pick, and I feel that a first round grab on him would be a reach.

Teez Tabor, Florida
6-0, 199
Tabor came to the Gators as a Mr. Washington DC player of the Year. He was named Freshman All-American, and was named as first team All-SEC as a sophomore. He was once again named as first team All-SEC and third team All-American as a junior. He was a three year player in the Gator program.
As a freshman, he finished with 31 tackles, four TFLs, two sacks, eight PBUs, one forced fumble, and one INT.
As a sophomore, he finished with 40 tackles, four TFLs, one sack, 14 PBUs, and four INTs.
As a junior, he finished with 33 tackles, two TFLs, one sack, six PBUs, and four INTs.
The Good
Athletic player with spring loaded legs.
Matches receivers stride for stride in route coverage.
Disciplined enough in zone coverage.
Has broken up 28 passes in three seasons.
Very good hands, and solid eyes as well.
Will deliver a knock out blow when fighting for the ball.
The Bad
Character, character, character, and it is all bad. Has several marijuana related arrests, and has been in a fight with a teammate. Has served suspensions, and seems to have learned very little in the way of humility.
Believes in himself to the point of arrogance.
His best coverage skills are in short to mid range patterns. Does not do the speed thing, and has to play speed receivers in deep off coverage, leaving him vulnerable.
Does not always get his feet under him right in traffic.
Gets caught holding too often.
Looks small on film.
Undisciplined, and often loses track of what an offense is doing.
Has absolutely zero physicality in his game.
Terrible tackling skills, and looks afraid to make the initial hit on a tackle.
Played better as a sophomore than he did as a junior.
May not have been as committed as a junior.
Head is all screwed up, and lacks focus off of the field.
Final Overview
While Tabor has some serious ball hawk abilities, his character concerns and his overall arrogant demeanor make me want to run as far away from this player as I can. He is his own best cheerleader, and seems to have learned nothing of humility from his transgressions, and that scares the hell out of me if I am a GM or owner getting ready to dump some serious cash on him. He could have been a star in the league, but his stock is falling hard, and he may eventually lack the necessary physicality to be an impact corner in the NFL. If he does not improve upon his tackling ability and his overall persona, he will be at best a nickle/dime package defender. He is one of my bust picks in this draft.

Adoree' Jackson, USC
5-10, 186
Jackson was drawn out west from Illinois out of high school to help resurrect a Trojan team coming out of the dark days of the post-Pete Carroll era. He certainly gave the Trojans all they asked for, as he played both offense and defense, and on special teams during his three years in the Cardinal and Gold. He was named as a freshman All-American in his first season, as well as rookie of the year in the PAC-12 for defense. He was named first team All-PAC 12 as a sophomore, and was also a finalist for the Hornung award. He won the Thorpe award as a junior, and was named first team All-American and first team All-PAC 12 as a junior.
As a freshman, he finished with 49 tackles, four TFLs, nine PBUs, and a forced fumble on defense. As a receiver, he finished with a line of 10-138-3, and returned 23 kicks for 684 yards and two scores. He averaged 29.74 yards per return.
As a sophomore, he finished with 35 tackles, eight PBUs, a forced fumble, and an INT. As a receiver, he finished with a line of 27-414-2, and rushed for 36 yards on seven carries. As a punt return man, he finished with a line of 24-251-2, and averaged 10.46 yards per return. On kick returns, he posted a line of 30-690-0, and averaged 23 yards per return.
As a junior, he finished with 55 tackles, two TFLs, 11 PBUs, one recovered fumble, and five INTs. He caught just two passes as a receiver for 76 yards, and finished with a line of 7-51-0 as a rusher. He finished with a line of 20-315-2 as a punt returner, averaging 15.75 yards per return, and put up a line of 26-767-2 as a kick returner, averaging 29.5 yards per return there.
He also earned All-American honors on the track team.
The Good
Learned more than perhaps any other defender in the nation over the last three seasons. Hard worker and team guy.
Maintains coverage, and has emerged as a solid reader of offenses.
Can play and fit in any coverage package.
Will stay on the field as long as yo need him to.
Incredibly fast, and is one of the best overall athletes you will find in this draft.
Serious ball hawk, with 28 PBUs in three seasons.
Shows good feel for when to make a play on the ball, or when to defend the receiver. Does not get caught in PI very often.
Solid tackler, and emerged as one of the better tackling corners around as a junior.
Finishes his plays, and lets very few to get away from him.
Eight career return scores. He will be a superstar in the return game.
The Bad
Probably would have liked to have seen him turn more of those PBUs into picks, but he was emerging in that area as a junior.
Does not have great size for an outside corner.
Bigger receivers can go over him to get the ball.
He may get aimed at in the run game because of his lack of size.
Final Overview
IN a particularly weak draft class overall, the corner class is fairly deep, and in my opinion, Jackson may be the best of the bunch overall for all of the things that he can do. He currently averages out to an early second round draft grade, but if I have a pick in the bottom half of the first round, I am going after him. His abilities in the return game alone are game changing, and he is emerging as a rock solid defender who may just be coming into his own. You can use him on offense as well as an extra wrinkle. If a team that gets him knows how to take of the leash and let him fly in every aspect of the game, you could be looking at one of the ten best football players in this draft. For me, he is a lock.

Kevin King, Washington
6-3, 200
Kevin King was a four year player for the Huskies out of famed Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, California, where he played for NFL and Cal Golden Bear legend Hardy Nickerson.
King came to the Huskies as a Safety before converting to Corner the last two seasons. He missed six total games in his career to injury or illness.
He played in ten games as a freshman, and finished with 17 tackles and one PBU.
As a sophomore, he played in 13 games, and finished with 65 tackles, three PBUs, one forced fumble, and one INT.
As a junior, he played in 11 games, and finished with 39 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, five PBUs, one forced fumble, and three INTs.
As a senior, he finished with 44 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, 13 PBUs, and two INTs.
The Good
A big corner, which is what NFL coaches love to have.
Closes off real estate between the hash marks and the sidelines.
Solid checker off of the snap, and gets his jams in to take receivers out of plays early.
He will battle at the high point for the football.
Knows when to look for the football.
Gave up just one TD in 101 target attempts against him.
Nice hands, with 22 PBUs over his career.
Solidly aggressive against the run, and sheds blockers well down field.
Has played every spot in the secondary, and plays in multiple coverage packages.
The Bad
At times, has had a hard time reacting when a receiver gets by him off of the snap. He has to get the first pop in or else he fights to maintain pace.
Does not have great upper body strength, and can look a little lanky in film.
Does not change direction as well as you would hope, and lacks overall elite athleticism.
Combine 40 time was a huge surprise, as he does not play to that speed (4.43).
Tackling technique is sloppy.
Overall footwork needs some help.
Final Overview
King is a prototypical big corner who excels in man press coverage, but he needs to get the first pop in the chops in because he lacks the elite athleticism to keep up with speedy, shifty receivers in open space. He timed in the 40 at the combine very well, but that was not a norm for him, so it is a confusing number. The bets in the field are that he may have to move to free safety to cover up some instinctual issues, but his tackling technique is not quite where it should be for that position either. He is a bit of an enigma, because he looks the part, but doesn't always play to his skills. If he could put it all together, he is a great value player, but if he cannot, he could be a bust.

Tre'Davious White, LSU
5-11, 192
A four year player at LSU, White was a freshman All-SEC pick, and was also a first team All-American and SEC pick as a senior.
As a freshman, White finished with 55 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, seven PBUs, a forced fumble, and two INTs.
As a sophomore, he finished with 33 tackles, three TFLs, one sack, six PBUs, one QB hurry, and two INTs. He added a punt return line of 25-273-1, and averaged 10.92 yards per return.
As a junior, he finished with 44 tackles, 1.5 TFLs, and seven PBUs. He also added a punt return line of 20-229-1, with an average of 11.45 yards per return.
As a senior, he finished with 35 tackles, four TFLs, 14 PBUs, two INTs, and one fumble recovery.
The Good
Excellent coverage ability as a slot guy.
Footwork is a major plus.
Excellent press work, stays with the receiver off of the snap.
Very good recovery speed.
Understands the receiver route tree, and does his homework. Knows when to jump the route.
Works well in traffic, doesn't get lost often.
Always on the top receiver from the opposition.
Will gut up against the run.
Solid character guy, was a team captain.
Will work on special teams, and is a plus punt return man, and works on coverage as a gunner as well.
The Bad
Plays with more finesse than power.
Lacks quality size, and gets muscled out by bigger receivers.
Will get to the tackle if it comes to him, but does not seek it out.
Not a terrific ball hawk, and really did not get great at pass breakups until his final season.
Plays best when he can play over the receiver, but not great on verticals.
Can be seen as being soft by some scouts.
Final Overview
When in man coverage, he is at his best, but he doesn't do a ton in zone coverage because of his lack of aggression when it comes to making tackles. he is not a ton of use for a team that implements zone packages. Where he earns his money is on man cover packages and on special teams, where he has more than proven his worth as a premier punt return man. All in all, he was considered a first round pick by some, but he falls more into the range of late second round for me based on his lack of overall aggression in the field.

Quincy Wilson, Florida
6-1, 211
Wilson was a three year player at Florida, and started just 11 games as a freshman and sophomore combined before being named a full time starter as a junior. He did not receive any major awards while at Florida.
As a freshman, he finished with 22 tackles, one TFL, three PBUs, a forced fumble, and one INT.
As a sophomore, he finished with 29 tackles, five PBUs, and two INTs.
As a senior, he finished with 33 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, a sack, six PBUs, a QB hurry, and three INTs.
The Good
Has the size you are looking for in the secondary.
Has generally been assigned to the best the opposition has to offer at receiver.
Plays with solid strength.
Gets into a receivers face off of the snap, and jams like a pro. Very physical.
Good understanding of a route tree, and takes plays away.
Doesn't bite much on play action.
Sheds blocks well on run plays.
Will get after a back as a run defender.
The Bad
40 time is average, and is not the most athletic guy on the field.
Is more physical than most, but has to be.
Footwork is not the best.
Gets to being grabby one a receiver starts to get by him.
Doesn't have good technique off of the snap, and plays tall.
May have to be moved to safety to cover has lack of general athleticism in coverage.
Is not a traditional ball hawk. Just six picks in three years, which is not nearly an elite cover man number.
Final Overview
Wilson could have used another year in school in my opinion, but nobody believes in him like he does, so here we are. He is an arrogant individual who lets his mouth get the best of him at times, and he really believes that he is better than he is, which some have bought into. I am not one of those people. In general, I find Wilson to be a fairly average corner when it comes to ball hawk ability, and nothing he does really jumps off of the film for me. He never won an All-SEC or All-American selection, so others know where I am coming from. In short, he will end up at safety, where he will be a dime a dozen player, but gets a low second round grade average based on hype that he himself has perpetuated.

3rd and 4th Round Prospects

Fabian Moreau, UCLA
6-0, 206
Final Overview
A former running back out of high school, Moreau's transition to defense has been broken up somewhat due to a major lisfranc injury suffered in 2015. He is an explosive athlete who has the requisite size you could ask for in any DB. He is still learning how to play the position, so there are some concerns over breakdowns when he gets lost in the play, as he has been penalized a ton with PI and holding calls. That is a show of inexperience. He has the ability to be a solid tackler, and will get after the play, but he needs some time to develop further. He has long game potential for a team that has time to develop him and let him come into his own.  He may be damaged a bit in this draft, as he suffered a torn pectoral muscle during his pro day that may take some time to heal. Injury history could be a red flag for some.

Ahkello Witherspoon, Colorado
6-3, 198
Final Overview
He was a transfer from Sacramento City College, and was a pre med major. He exploded as a junior with 21 PBUs, and decided to move on to the NFL after a major breakthrough season for Colorado. He played just one season of high school football, so he is still learning technique and generally how to play the game, and likely could have used one more season of college ball before making the jump. He is tall and a bit gangly, and may have to play some safety before being moved to corner once he has things down. If you need instant impact, he may not be able to give that just yet, but he is a diamond in thr rough in the long term, and may just be coming into himself as a football player.

Cordea Tankersley, Clemson
6-1, 199
Final Overview
Tankersley is a lock down ball hawking corner who makes plays off the snap, but may struggle to cover fluidly in man packages down the line. He has 20 PBUs and nine picks in the last two seasons, but he has also been plagued by penalties, which makes one wonder if he has the athleticism to keep up, especially on vertical and comeback routes. He needs more discipline, and needs to upgrade his ability to read film and break down live plays at the next level.

Jourdan Lewis, Michigan
5-10, 188
Final Overview
Lewis has 37 PBUs in four seasons, and averaged over 25 yards per kick return for his career at Michigan. He is sliding upward on several lists due to his ball hawk abilities and extra value on kick returns. The downside on him is his size, which limits him in certain coverage packages, and he is virtually limited against the run as bigger, more physical receivers can take him out up field. Look for him to be a first rate slot cover guy who will get after the ball. Could slide up from third round to early second round, but I think that some outlets that have him in the late first are looking at reach potential there.

Howard Wilson, Houston
6-1, 184
Final Overview
Wilson is another late riser who is getting some extended looks from a few teams. He has been a major play maker at Houston, but what draws him back is a knee injury that forced him to miss most of 2015, and most personnel people felt that he should have returned to Houston in 2017 to make up for the lost developmental time. He is a work in progress with a solid upside, but he will need some developmental time before anything serious is asked of him. Another knock on him is that he needs to add some muscle to his frame. On a bright note, he will tackle a ton for a corner, and is always looking to make plays on the ball. He will likely stick to a 3rd round draft grade, but had he come out for the 2018 draft, he may have been a first rounder then.

Cameron Sutton, Tennessee
5-11, 188
Final Overview
Sutton is another smallish corner who may get muscled around my larger, more physical receivers off of the snap. He will only work for teams that run man coverage, as he is fairly weak in zone coverage packages. His numbers have plummeted the last two seasons, and that is an issue that should concern an interested team. He does have some skills in the punt return game, but other than that, I am not impressed with what he brings to the table. Overall, this is a fairly average to below average value for risk in the early to middle rounds. I am not a buyer here.

Sydney Jones, Washington
6-0, 186
Final Overview
Jones is a gambler in pass defense, and has made several plays during his three year stay at Washington. He falls sharply i this draft, as he tore his Achilles at his pro day, and that may severely cost him, as he will likely not be available for the 2017 NFL season. Expect to see him as a "rookie" no sooner than 2018. With such a rich position group, especially in the middle rounds, it's hard to see a relevant team take the risk with him until the late rounds on day three after the injury.

Damontae Kazee, San Diego State
5-10, 184
Final Overview
Kazee is one of my most underrated players in this draft. He was a super ball hawk with the Aztecs, but got little national notice playing in the Mountain West, so he has not had a ton of exposure. He has been one of the leaders in INTs nationally for two seasons now. The only knock on him is his lack of size, and he does not possess top flight speed. You cannot, however, look past his production levels, with his ability to take the ball away, and his willingness to tackle. Someone will get a steal in this player.

Brendan Langley, Lamar
6-0, 201
Final Overview
Langley signed with Georgia out of high school as a top 25 national CB recruit. He was asked to switch to receiver at Georgia, but eventually moved back to corner, and saw limited starting duties there in his first two seasons. He eventually left for more playing time at FCS level Lamar. Due to his lost time at receiver, he still has much to learn at CB, but he has long potential and upside. He also has serious ability in punt returns and could get his big break there. He needs some developmental time, but he has all of the smarts, size, and athleticism you want in a corner, and after some coaching up, he could wind up being a big time steal.

Rasul Douglas, West Virginia
6-2, 209
Final Overview
Douglas came to West Virginia from Nassau Community College in New York, and really had to work his way into a rotation there after redshirting his first season. He ble wup as a sophomore at Nassau and got several big time offers before settling on finishing his collegiate career at West Virginia. He finished with 70 tackles an eight picks as a senior at WVU, and that got him noticed in a hurry. He has a solid size package for what you want in the corner position, but he is lacking in speed in a big way. If you can settle on him either as a deep safety, or a zone only corner, you get exactly what you need from him. He's not for everyone, and could prove to be an enigma as to where exactly to play him.

5th to 7th Round Prospects

Shaq Griffin, UCF: Has track speed, but may be limited to man coverage options in dime and nickle packages, as he tends to get smoked by more talented receivers. Has some upside, but technique needs work.

Ezra Robinson, Tennessee State: Started his career at Michigan State before transferring to FCS Tigers. Useless against the run, and may be limited to zone coverage on the next level. Does not bring aggressiveness to the field as one would like.

Corn Elder, Miami: Lacks requisite size for the NFL. Will not be able to play straight up outside, so he is leveraged to just playing in dime packages as an extra DB. Will get beat up in run support.

Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado: Can play outside or against the slot, and has solid size/speed combo solidity. Lacking technique as a tackler is what hurts him on draft day. Has value on special teams as a gunner, and that is where he punches his ticket early on.

Jalen Myrick, Minnesota: Lacks overall first rate ball skills, and ball hawk numbers are pedestrian. May provide value as a slot cover guy, but overall, I am seeing a fairly average prospect here.

Nate Hairston, Temple: Spent three seasons at receiver before moving to defense for lack of playing time. Very raw, but flashed just enough to show that he can play. A developmental guy with some upside.

Marquez White, Florida State: Ball hawk numbers are minimal, and is otherwise a marginal talent that didn't get on the field for two seasons with any regularity. He has the size you want, but I don't see where he does enough else to make him interesting in this class. Got some attention from scouting services to average out as a last day pick, but I would not waste the pick, personally.

Sojourn Shelton, Wisconsin: Penalty ridden, undersized back who works out only in passing down packages as a dime back. Ellis Hobbs sized player with half the ability and potential for next level success.

Des Lawrence, North Carolina: Inconsistent cover guy who really lacks functional athleticism to play in anything but zone coverage. Maybe you take a look in the 7th round, or maybe you don't. Either way, his play has been far too inconsistent for me to take even a flyer on him late.

Tony Bridges, Ole Miss: A transfer from Mississippi Gulf Coast College, he was an Auburn commit before flipping to Ole Miss. Not a great tackler, and will be limited to being a zone only corner. His issues are far too deep for me to want to spend the time ironing out, even on a late round pick.


Malik Hooker, Ohio State
6-1, 206
Hooker was a four year player for the Buckeyes, including a redshirt year, but did not play as a starter until his final season in the program in 2016.
In 2015, he finished with just ten tackles. In 2016, he was named as a starter, and finished with 74 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, four PBUs, and seven INTs. He returned three of those INTs for scores.
He was named first team All-Big Ten, and first team All-American in his lone season as a starter.
The Good
Super athlete, who was an all-state basketball player with a state title in high school.
Very fast, and functionally so.
Plays with enormous burst and control.
Had a huge ball hawk season in 2016.
Able to jump like a rabbit. Gets to the high point and will battle for balls up top.
Long arms, large hands.
Reads offenses very well.
Excellent timing and precision when breaking on the football.
Can break the score going the other way.
Very stout tackler.
Cleans up messes.
Can work as a gunner on special teams.
The Bad
Limited sample size, as he really only played one full season in college.
Inexperienced, and is still learning.
Does not take a direct pursuit angle to the tackle.
Still needs to learn how to wrap up on tackles.
Can get faked out on play action.
Gets caught guessing at times.
Has missed most of this off season after surgeries for torn labrum, hernia.
Final Overview
What he did as a starter for one season at Ohio State was impressive, but I think we all would have liked to have seen more. Hooker definitely could have used one more season at Ohio State, but he followed the cash. He will get paid, but he is not game ready for the NFL just yet, and will need some serious development and coaching on the next level to make up for his lack of overall experience. Athletically, he is there, mentally, he needs some work. That said, he is still one of the best Safeties in this class, but maybe not better than Adams of LSU, in my opinion.

Jamal Adams, LSU
6-0, 214
Adams was a three year player in the LSU program. He earned second team ALL-SEC as a sophomore, and was named second team All-SEC as a junior. He was named first  team All-American as a junior as well.
As a freshman, he recorded 66 tackles, five TFLs, one sack, and five PBUs. He started twice that season.
As a sophomore, he finished with 67 tackles, five TFLs, six PBUs, one QB hurry, one forced fumble, and four INTs.
As a junior, he totaled 76 tackles, 7.5 TFLs, one sack, four PBUs, one QB hurry, one forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and one INT.
The Good
High character player who leads on and off the field.
Compact build, looks like a tank on film.
Massive hitter, makes contact with extreme violence.
Awesome in run support.
Bounces off attempts to block him.
Very good tackle radius.
He is the leader of the defense, and understands offenses like a pro.
Cannot be fooled on play fakes.
Screen buster with solid work behind the line of scrimmage.
Can get after the ball and create turnovers.
Has an NFL pedigree from his father George.
Special teams gunner who thrives and hungers for action.
The Bad
Speed is marginal, and sometimes uses his hands as a way to make up for it downfield.
Change of direction is a bit slow.
Hands are not always what they should be, and will drop some sure picks.
Is not as rangy from sideline to sideline as one would like.
Can be over aggressive at times.
Final Overview
Adams is a first rate starting caliber safety who basically checks all of the boxes one would want, with the exception of speed. Minus speed, he is a massive hitter that creates turnovers and problems in coverage for offenses, and that is saying something. Adams may be one of my favorite players in this draft, and if having to choose between drafting him or drafting Adoree' Jackson in the mid to late first round, I'd be lost trying to make that call. Adams has all-pro and Hall of Fame written all over his playing style.

Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
5-11, 213
Peppers was a three year player for the Wolverines who saw time on offense, defense, and on special teams. He has played in the secondary and at LB, and has also seen time as a RB and as a WR.
He was first team All-Big 10 in 2015 and in 2016, and was named the Big Ten LB of the Year last fall as well.
As a freshman, he recorded eight tackles, and returned one punt for six yards, but his season was cut short due to a leg injury.
As a sophomore, he finished with 45 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, 10 PBUs, rushed for 72 yards on 18 carries, posted a line of 8-79-0 as a receiver, returned 17 punts for 194 yards (11.41 per return), and returned eight kicks for 223 yards (27.88 per return).
As a junior in 2016, he finished with 71 tackles, 15 TFLs, 3.5 sacks, seven QB hurries, one forced fumble, and on offense, he rushed for 167 yards on 27 carries with three TDs, he caught two passes for three yards, returned 21 punts for 310 yards and a score (14.76 per return), and returned 10 kicks for 260 yards (26 per return).
The Good
Super athletic type who has played just about everywhere.
Rock solid against the run, and will sell out to make the play.
Can fit into multiple uses in multiple coverage packages. You can use him wherever.
Hits with a good deal of violence.
Gets from sideline to sideline very nicely.
Very disruptive defender in the opposing backfield.
Can cover TEs or receivers, or hang back to take on backs on passing routes.
Gets a good pop on receivers to disrupt routes out of the snap.
Game changer as a return man.
Can line up anywhere on offense, and could be a huge red zone multi-use weapon.
The Bad
Ball hawk numbers are negligible as a defender in the secondary.
Does not have a solid understanding of what offenses are doing, and is slow to react.
Does not play center field well in coverage, and reacts poorly to the ball.
Played his best at LB in college, and will never be a LB in the league.
Gets screwed up on play action.
Does not seem to be an intelligent defender at all, and is all physical and minimal mental about the game.
Terrible technique on tackles, and will miss many with the way he hits rather than wraps.
Seems too raw wherever you can line him up, and does not fit where he is best qualified to play.
Seems to be a special teams guy rather than an every down anything.
Final Overview
Peppers is sliding in this draft because of the fear that many teams have with him, which is simply in regards as to where he fits. He is a square peg in a round hole kind of player, and he may be one of these guys who was a very decent college player who just does not translate to the pros. I don't think that the Michigan staff did him any favors by bouncing him all over the field rather than just honing in his talents where it mattered. He is a developmental prospect right now wherever he ends up, and I just would not spend an early round draft pick on him, and that is starting to be a sentiment echoed around scouting circles.

Obi Melifonwu, U Conn
6-4, 224
Melifonwu was a rare five year player at U Conn, which included him redshirting his freshman year as he came on campus out of the MA high school ranks. He was named first team All-AAC in 2016, and was a four year starter for the Huskies.
As a freshman, he totaled 70 tackles, three TFLs, five PBUs, one QB hurry, and two forced fumbles. He also added two INTs.
As a sophomore, he finished with 75 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, and three PBUs.
As a junior, he finished with 88 tackles, two TFLs, five PBUs, and two INTs.
As a senior, he finished with 118 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, three PBUs, a fumble recovery, and four INTs.
The Good
Super athletic/speed combo with this guy.
Dedicated player who stayed for five years including a redshirt.
Focused and determined.
Excellent eye skills when ball is in the air, and adjusts well to the play.
Has played some corner, and can cover TEs and slot receivers.
Takes away the seam routes, forces receivers to go outside.
Tackling machine...loves the contact and has a massive tackle radius for a safety.
Seems to have gotten more and more disciplined with every passing year.
A model in consistency.
The Bad
Slow to recognize what offenses are doing at times, and is forced into reacting.
Can get busted up by play action.
Does not always take the most direct route to the ball.
May have had inflated tackle numbers based on how bad the offense at U Conn has been.
Has seen a massive amount of minutes on the field over four years.
Has never played for a real winner of a team.
Final Overview
Melifonwu is a guy who is rocketing up the big boards right now, and that is unlikely to change at any point. He is as productive as they get, and is consistent and coachable. He has freakish size and athleticism for the position, and that sells. He will likely only get better on the next level, and could be a starter down the line for years to come. He is streaking into the first round, and in my opinion, is one of the two best safeties in this draft with Adams from LSU.

Marcus Williams, Utah
6-1, 202
Williams was a three year starter for the Utes, and was a member of the California to Salt Lake City pipeline.. He was an Academic All-PAC 12 pick as a sophomore, and was named first team All-PAC 12 that season. He was named second team All-PAC 12 as a junior.
He finished high school with a 4.0 GPA.
As a freshman, he started six games on the season, and finished with 59 tackles, one TFL, two forced fumbles, and an INT.
As a sophomore, he finished with 66 tackles, two TFLs, five PBUs, and five INTs.
He missed two games as a junior, and finished with 64 tackles, one TFL, three PBUs, one QB hurry, two forced fumbles, and five INTs.
The Good
Dependable center fielder type, who plays best on the free side.
Very athletic.
Incredibly smart.
Understands what a QB is thinking, and knows where an offense is flowing to.
Very good leaping ability, will get to the high point and take balls away.
10 INTs in last two seasons.
Consistent tackler with solid technique.
Eliminates cut backs, and herds carriers to the sidelines.
Solid tackle radius.
The Bad
A finesse player. He lacks the violence in his hits to make a first rate free safety at this point.
Man to an tackling is not his thing. Needs to be a finisher, not a hit starter.
Does not bring his guy down right away.
Can be duped by play action at times.
Does not possess elite speed.
Final Overview
Williams is an enigma in that he does not possess that hunter/killer mindset as a safety. The mental part is all there, and his ball skills are solid, but he just lacks that hammer to make him a first round pick. Had he possessed that violence in his game, he would have been considered a first round prospect, but he fits more towards the middle part of the second round now. Still, all things considered, a guy who makes plays on the ball as he does has value on the next level, so get what you get, and be happy with it. He should start for someone.

Justin Evans, Texas A&M
6-0, 199
Evans was just a two year player with the Aggies, and barely participated at the NFL combine. He was a pitcher, basketball playr, and DB out of high school in Mississippi.
In 2015, he finished with 78 tackles, one TFL, three PBUs, an INT, and he returned two kicks for 46 yards.
As a senior in 2016, he finished with 87 tackles, five TFLs, eight PBUs, and four INTs, and also returned 15 kicks for 428 yards (28.53 per return).
The Good
Explosively athletic multi-sport athlete.
Excellent foot and hip work.
Loves to play the game.
Solid jumper who gets to the high point and will make plays on the football.
Long arms, and has excellent hand skills.
Takes away the inside part of the field.
Ball skills are decent.
Hard hitter, brings the hammer.
A tackling machine. 165 over two seasons.
Solid wrap tackler with sound technique.
Real hunter/killer mentality in the secondary.
The Bad
Does not possess great focus on the ball on all plays. Can get lost in coverage on occasion.
Takes a late track on RBs on the second level.
Can be overly aggressive, and get duped on play action.
Better playing up close to the line than deep in the field.
Does not always break down plays pre snap with authority.
Can get blocked out of plays easily.
Rides the wave when blockers make contact.
Tackling technique needs some work. As many as he has made, he has missed a ton.
Final Overview
Evans is a hard hitting mercenary kind of player, but he gets overly aggressive and gets lost in his violence on the field. He needs more mental discipline, and if he can bring the mental and the physical together at the same time, he could be dangerous down the road. The right secondary coach will get to this guy and make him a star in a few years. It could be fun watching him develop, as he has loads of long term potential if he can shore up his deficiencies. Could be a diamond in the class.

Marcus Maye, Florida
6-0, 210
Maye was a four year player for the Gators, and was named as a first team All-American as a junior. He was a four star prospect out of high school in Melbourne.
As a freshman, he finished with 16 tackles, one TFL, and one INT.
As a sophomore, he finished with 62 tackles, three TFLs, five PBUs, two QB hurries, two forced fumbles, and an INT.
As a junior, he finished with 82 tackles, 1.5 TFLs, six PBUs, three QB hurries, five forced fumbles, and two INTs.
As a senior, he finished with 50 tackles, 1.5 TFLs, one sack, six PBUs, and an INT.
The Good
Compact and athletic.
Fires up field to support in run defense.
Difficult to block.
Uses and extra burst when closing in on the ball.
Solid tackle radius.
Hard hitter who brings the hammer.
Creates turnovers with violent hits.
The Bad
Highly pedestrian ball hawk numbers.
Average cover man who is better suited in strict zones.
Guesses more than knows.
Gives up the big play, while making others. All or nothing.
Penalty prone, because he gets his arms out in front of him and into the face of opposing receivers.
Gambles on opportunities with the ball in the air, and can have it goo wrong.
Broke his arm last November. Will need to get it checked.
Final Overview
Maye is a solid force in run stopping, but is not a great pass defender. He will need to be a safety in the box, and will maybe be a two down safety, and could be removed from the field on long passing downs. That's not a great combo. He picked off just four passes in three years, and broke up just 17 passes during his career. If you are looking for a run stuffing safety, he's your guy, but I look for more in a safety for the NFL.

Budda Baker, Washington
5-10, 195
Baker was a three year player with the Huskies, and was a starter from day one. He won the 100 meter state championship in high school, and also won three state titles in football. He was named honorable mention All-PAC 12 as a freshman, and was first team as a sophomore and junior.
As a freshman, he finished with 80 tackles, two TFLs, one sack, six PBUs, one QB hurry, and two forced fumbles. He also finished with one INT.
As a sophomore, he finished with 49 tackles, 1.5 TFLs, seven PBUs, one blocked kick, and two INTs.
As a junior, he finished with 71 tackles, 10 TFLs, three sacks, six PBUs, one QB hurry, one forced fumble, and two INTs.
The Good
Incredibly athletic, with elite speed and range.
Solid ability in man coverage.
Changes direction on a dime.
Crunches down on plays in front of him.
Improved a great deal as a junior when it came to making plays behind the line.
Energetic team leader.
The Bad
Is on the smaller side for safety, and has no room to bulk up.
Can be overly aggressive, and will whiff at times.
Lacks a large tackle radius, and short arms cause him to miss on INT attempts.
Ball numbers are low for an elite prospect in the secondary.
Not a great zone defender.
Final Overview
Baker was the guy that everyone in the PAC-12 wanted coming out of high school, and he certainly did several things to make the Huskies relevant again. In order for him to succeed as an undersized safety on the next level, he will have to play more center field in deep coverage to hide his size deficiencies, and he will have to avoid mismatches against TEs and bigger receivers. I see him as being a passing down defender early, but he may be able to work his way into a starting lineup eventually, depending on the team drafting him.

Round 3 and 4 Safety Prospects

Josh Jones, NC State
6-2, 215
Jones was an underexposed prospect at NC State that has the rare size/speed combo package that teams look for in the position. He is going have great value in the box as a run support safety, but can drop deep on verticals on passing downs as well with his ability to run. He is a violent hitter that teams will love to have, but he has to get under control, because he has been known to be a bit undisciplined at times with his aggression. If teams can hone him in, he has great value in the middle rounds of this draft.

Lorenzo Jerome, St. Francis (PA)
5-10, 202
Jerome was a first rate talent at tiny St. Francis from the Northeast Conference in FCS football. He was one of the most productive players in the nation, and is a first rate ball hawk when it comes to knocking balls down. He is lacking, however, when it comes to having elite, or even average speed for the position, and he lacks the requisite height as well. He could find some value on special teams, where he excelled in college, but if you want to play him at deep safety, and let his ball skills take over in zone coverage, he could work there as well.

Rudy Ford, Auburn
5-11, 200
Ford was a productive tackling machine at Auburn, and will make an excellent in the box safety on the next level, but he is severely limited as a cover man, which could relegate him to bench work or special teams. He will likely slide down deep in the fourth round where a team can afford to take a shot at an athletically limited player with special teams abilities.

Eddie Jackson, Alabama
6-0, 194
Jackson will likely get exposed on the next level as a deep safety cherry picker who cleans up garbage that other in front of him miss. He has some nice ball skills if he can camp out and wait for plays to come for him, but he is not aggressive enough as a tackler, or as a guy who seeks out the action. Looked better on film than he was, and will slide accordingly.

Fish Smithson, Kansas
5-10, 197
A very small safety prospect, but teams will love his football IQ and on field production. He may be available at the bottom of the fourth round, and that would be a great spot to grab him. He may not look the part, but certainly plays it. He will have to develop as a tackler to ever see the field, but he is coachable, and has enough ball skills to get a look.

Round 5-7 Safety Prospects

Orion Stewart, Baylor: May fall out of the draft based on lacking tackling numbers, and lacks speed.
Nate Gerry, Nebraska: Could fit special teams role, and will add value in zone coverage only.
Tedric Thomson, Colorado: Long term developmental fit, has starter quality on man coverage team.
Jordan Sterns, Oklahoma State: Strong character guy who is a tackling machine. Natural leader.
Josh Harvey-Clemons, Louisville: Multiple drug suspensions should scare some teams off.
Rayshawn Jenkins, Miami: Needs to be coached up, but checks size/speed boxes.
John Johnson, Boston College: Solid ball hawk, but lacking as a tackler, but should see a shot.
Jadar Johnson, Clemson: Only started for one season. Solid ball skills, needs work on tackling.
Randall Goforth, UCLA: Small, and inconsistent across the board, but still flashes now and again.

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