NFL DRAFT PROSPECTS - SAFETY
Click on the names of the prospects below to see their draft profiles:
Height: 6’1”. Weight: 200lbs
PRO’S: Do-it-all safety who has lined up in various roles in Tuscaloosa and excelled in each of them. Elite athleticism - has the foot speed to play single high and cover sideline to sideline. Top level agility to click and close to break onto the football and has the loose hips to alter his course at speed and make it to his destination on time. Demonstrates a high level of football intelligence and anticipation on the field, enabling him to amend his and his teammates’ responsibilities and throw himself into passing lanes as they open. Ferocious demeanour and hits hard in the tackle - played a lot of strong safety in the box and more than held his own. Able to fire into the backfield on blitz duties. Good locator of the football when it’s in the air.
CON’S: Prefers to play single high rather than two-deep safeties - some moments of confusion on the back end when he shares duties with a teammate. Can get carried away with showcasing his physicality when he drops down into the box and has missed tackles when trying to lay the big hit. His anticipation is so good he’s sometimes a bit rash and tips his hand before the ball has left the quarterback. Has let his eyes linger on the quarterback and lost track of his opponent’s route on occasion.
SIMON CARROLL: “Versatility is a coveted asset in today’s NFL, and Xavier McKinney can do the lot. Some lucky team will move him around the backfield to create favourable matchups and can even take advantage of his competitive demeanour and play him as a slot corner if they like. He’s ultra-smart and well coached, and he’ll likely be the only safety that comes off the board in the first round”.
NFL COMPARISON: MINKAH FITZPATRICK
PREDICTION: 1ST ROUND PICK
Height: 6’3”. Weight: 201lbs
PRO’S: Uber-athletic safety who can play in the box or deep and take advantage of his astonishing closing speed. Range when playing single-high is elite - a true sideline to sideline safety with the natural burst to close on the football and shut down passing lanes. A ball hawk, showcased primarily in his phenomenal sophomore year (2018) where he had five picks. Short area speed near the line of scrimmage just as impressive; he marauds behind the defensive line waiting for the ball carrier to slip through or a receiver to come into his zone. Focused and smart footballer with good anticipation and knowledge of what’s about to come at him. Needs no encouragement to bomb into the backfield when shooting gaps or blitzing.
CON’S: What happened in 2019? Performance and play effort both dropped off in his final season in Baton Rouge. Suffered a broken clavicle towards the end of 2018 - could that be a reason for a noted lethargy to his game? Boom or bust as a tackler - used to throw his weight around and look for the knockout blow, which was risky in of itself. Missed a hell of a lot of tackles with his reluctance to wrap up. As a junior there was a reticence to hit people that will scare coaches.
SIMON CARROLL: “As frustrating a prospect to scout as any in this draft. On his best day, there simply is no better safety in this class - Delpit is a wild animal let loose on defense, seeking and destorying anything that dares to come in his direction. But far too often in 2019 he was a passenger on an elite unit that masked a poor work ethic and vulnerability to his game. Team meetings will be huge for this kid as he needs to convince coaches & scouts it’s the 2018 version of Grant Delpit they’re getting”.
NFL COMPARISON: MALIK HOOKER
PREDICTION: 2ND ROUND PICK
Height: 5’10”. Weight: 195lbs
PRO’S: Tough guy linebacker with incredible play strength for his short frame. Has impressive muscle mass on a short body, allowing him to stand up to Tight Ends at the line of scrimmage. Elite instincts - obvious he comes from a footballing background. Just has a sixth sense for where the football is going and is able to put himself in a position to negate the play. Reads an offense pre-snap as well as any safety in this class. Leader of the secondary - shares his wisdom with his teammates and adjusts accordingly. Phenomenal with the ball in the air - natural tracking of the football, takes smart, efficient angles when coming downhill and closing, and good timing to attack the catch point. A playmaker - seven interceptions his final year at Minnesota.
CON’S: Undersized with a lack of length, although neither have precluded him from being competitive physically or making plays on the football. Doesn’t have elite quickness and struggles to cover every blade of grass as a high safety. Has some issues matching the transitions of quicker receivers in man coverage - hips a little stiff. Short arms mean some tackles can escape him, but for the most part he wins with good technique to wrap up. Significant injury history which medical teams will want to check out.
SIMON CARROLL: “One of my favourite players in this draft, Antoine Winfield was a key reason for Minnesota’s Cinderella story last season. He’s small, lacks elite speed and has short arms. So what? He’s an absolute baller who has nailed down every aspect of the position by maxing out the things he can control. His sharp instincts and ball skills make him a prime candidate as a two-deep safety who can drop near the line when matching up with bigger threats across the middle. He’ll be on the field all three downs and is a high-value pick somewhere in the second round”.
NFL COMPARISON: ERIC WEDDLE
PREDICTION: 2ND ROUND PICK
Height: 6’3”. Weight: 221lbs
Pros: Chinn features a rare combination of measurables with elite size and athleticism. His long and physical frame is complimented by his exceptional Combine testing numbers. The Salukis safety ran 4.40 (1.53 10-yard split) in the dash, jumping 41” vertically and 11-6 in the broad. He added 20 reps on the bench. Chinn has an imposing presence on the field as a dominant tackler. In addition to hitting with force, he uses his length to wrap up fairly and reliably. What consistently stood out in Chinn’s film was his ability to break down in space and make tackles in the open field. Chinn works well off contact when navigating through bodies and blocks, with good hand use when creating his path to the ball carrier. There are issues in the early phases of coverage, but at the catch point Chinn is combative in fighting for position. Regularly making plays on the ball, his ability to high point shows up often. The Southern Illinois standout has 13 career interceptions, including at least 3 each season. Chinn is often critiqued for his recognition and reads, however, there’s arguably plenty of positive examples in those areas on film. Trusting his reads, many of his quick decisions have positioned himself for a number of his highlight interceptions. There’s flashes of keen eyes, patience and disciplined positioning.
Cons: Chinn has some exceptional highlights but on a snap-to-snap basis, he can be quite inconsistent. Between some of the thumping hits in run support are examples of flowing downhill with inefficient angles and taking himself out of the play, over-running the action. Getting caught up in traffic can result in being late to the ball carrier. As athletic as Chinn is, some lethargic looking plays at times are present. In coverage, Chinn impresses as the ball arrives but has his moments of losing his positioning and losing track of the football. Some disappointing footwork and late reactions in coverage situations can affect his impact on some pass plays. There are no significant holes in any area of Chinn’s play, he’s proven he can be a factor in all roles of playing the position. Doing so more consistently though will allow him to hit his unquestionably high ceiling.
Rebecca Rennie: “It’s been a gradual process getting to this point with Chinn, at least in terms of the personal evaluation here. The physical and athletic profile is the equal of any defensive back in this class, if not any class. He’s far from a clean prospect. Despite the athletic testing, he doesn’t always appear as dynamic on film as he can be, with some modest footwork and short area quickness at times. The coverage skills are very inconsistent. His downhill work can include some poor angles and over-running the action. While the film could be more consistent, there’s a relatively safe and high floor to Chinn’s projection. Chinn is worthy of being valued as one of the better small school prospects in 2020. While this is an individual evaluation, it’s noted that he has a more comfortable projection to the NFL than his small school safety classmate Kyle Dugger.”
NFL Comparison: Clayton Geathers
Prediction: 2nd Round
Height: 6’1”. Weight: 195lbs
PRO’S: Athleticism doesn’t begin to describe Ashtyn Davis. A walk-on at football but a scholar athlete on the track, Davis knows how to move. Searing straight-line speed when coming down into the box or jumping routes in front of him. When he sees it, he’s going to make a play on it. Good recognition skills for such a short football career - understands route concepts and seems to have an intuitive understanding of the way a play is going to unfold. Hits like a freight train at full speed with good technique. Keeps low on impact and drives upwards into the ball carrier. Versatile - started his career at corner and has played numerous snaps as a nickel or in the slot where his speed helps him be sticky in man coverage.
CON’S: Raw, and lacks some fundamentals. Tackling is an exercise in knocking someone out as far as he’s concerned, and pays little attention to wrapping up the ball carrier. Angles of pursuit are sometimes questionable. Nowhere near as proficient near the line of scrimmage and playing with his back to the ball - finds it difficult to locate the football and anticipate the catch point. Lack if fluidity - he’s quick but his hips are stiff and needs to gear down when changing direction. Eyes linger in the backfield on the quarterback rather than anticipating traffic in his zone, and needs every ounce of speed to make up ground as he only goes when the ball goes.
SIMON CARROLL: “No safety in this class has as much upside as Ashtyn Davis. I’d argue that he’s already capable of being a starter as a free safety in the NFL - some hip tightness would suggest maybe a half-field FS but his sheer speed could allow teams to consider him single high. As he learns the game, improves his tackling and fundamentals, his explosion will afford him more reps in the box. His floor is high and his ceiling is high - he could develop into a pro-bowl level safety in a couple of years time”.
NFL COMPARISON: JUSTIN SIMMONS
PREDICTION: 2ND ROUND PICK
Height: 6’1”. Weight: 217lbs
Pros: The physical traits and resulting ceiling/upside are the primary reason behind the meteoric rise in draft stock for Dugger. The full compliment of measurables reflect that intrigue. Dugger came in at a stout build with long arms, wingspan and huge hands. His Combine included a 4.49 dash (1.51 10-yard split), 42” vertical and 11-2 broad jump. There were the occasional flashes at the Senior Bowl that demonstrated what he could potentially do on a more consistent basis with his range and physicality. It was far from a stellar week at the Senior Bowl overall, but showing hints of the upside against better competition than on his Division 2 film was necessary. With debates as to his best fit on defense, Dugger could have a fluid hybrid role that incorporates elements of playing both safety and linebacker. He has the potential to show up regularly in space and in the box. While his film is hit-and-miss, the straight-line speed is obvious, closing in a flash, with excellent recovery speed as required. When the opportunity is there to make an impactful hit, he takes it emphatically.
Cons: While a lot of players reveal more of their positives with more viewing of film over time, Dugger has been the opposite. Frankly, the more film watched of Dugger, the more concerning in becomes, with increasing doubt over his projection. The film is very rough. While he’s physically a step above everyone he’s on the field with, much of the play is underwhelming even at that level. His athleticism often bails him out in a way it won’t at the next level. The anticipation and reads are highly inconsistent, as is his positioning, angles and regular late reactions. There’s no doubt that he has the chance to improve in all aspects with a higher level of coaching he’ll receive in the pros. However, there’s just as big a chance that he fails to make the step up to the pro level. Dugger struggles in much of the nuances in coverage and could prove a liability in this area with questionable instincts. As fantastic as the overall athleticism unquestionably is, he does appear a little tight hipped working backward and in some of his redirecting. Turning 24 years old prior to the draft, the 6th-year senior is a little older than ideal. Added to his potential to require time to transition to the higher level of competition, it may put some teams off a little.
Rebecca Rennie: “Initially quite excited regarding Dugger, his evaluation has cooled a little bit here with further analysis and film viewing, including returning to the Senior Bowl practices and game. He is a significant project and highly raw. The film is very rough with frequent absences of positioning, situational awareness and late reactions. The athleticism, range, impact tackling and overall upside are certainly tempting. Making that investment in the first couple of rounds comes with a significant amount of risk, however.
NFL Comparison: Calvin Pryor
Prediction: 2nd-3rd Round
Height: 5’11”. Weight: 192lbs
PRO’S: Highly intelligent safety with elite awareness and vision. Forever instructing his teammates on pre-snap alignments and responsibilities at Utah. Sharp instincts - can see when he’s being set up by offensive route combinations or by the quarterback’s eyes, and is able to avoid being tied up in blocks in run support. More than sufficient athleticism - shows good coverage as a single high safety, and enough stickiness to compete stride for stride in man coverage. Excellent fundamentals - footwork crisp with no wasted steps, takes accurate angles of pursuit, great balance at the point of contact and wraps up when tackling.
CON’S: Play strength a concern. Needs every bit of his smarts to avoid blocks because he can’t get off them cleanly. Short arms also a problem here, and will inhibit him more when competing for jump balls in the NFL than it has done in college. Slightly undersized to warrant consistent use in the box, and whilst his tackling is clean he doesn’t lay the wood with a big hit. Fairly adept at off-man coverage but shows some stiffness in transition and will leave passing windows in and out of breaks, although has quick closing speed to shut them again.
SIMON CARROLL: “He was the leader of a secondary crowded with talent (Jaylon Johnson, Javelin Guidry, Julian Blackmon), which speaks for itself. Burgess is as tidy a safety as you can imagine coming out of college, which is remarkable considering he only has one year of starting experience at Utah. He’s got some physical limitations which will be more exposed in the NFL, but his football smarts give him versatility. He’ll be better utilised deeper with the ability to come down for key matchups”.
NFL COMPARISON: DARNELL SAVAGE
PREDICTION: 3RD ROUND PICK
Height: 5’11”. Weight: 202lbs
PRO’S: Hair-trigger, read and react safety who loves coming down into the box and helping in run support. Brutal hitter - lives to hurt the ball carrier. Like his instincts when attacking gaps from the second level. Shows impressive play strength when engaging with blocks - able to shed from tight ends and get to the football consistently. High-character prospect who originally went to Navy before transferring to Notre Dame after the famous upset of the Fighting Irish in 2016 put him on their radar. Racks up the stats, with 168 tackles, 3 picks and 4 forced fumbles in his two years in South Bend. Ridiculous motor and doesn’t know the meaning of the phrase “taking a play off”. Shows the grit and hustle to compete in man coverage in slot or nickel duties.
CON’S: His lack of length is a real concern. Mental makeup and nose for the football suggest a box safety role, but his tacklling form is scattershot and he fails to wrap up as consistently as you’d like. Overactive at times and leaves himself exposed in coverage or the backside against the run. Significant lack of patience and wants to hit something as quickly as possible. Unsure of himself in space and quick burst in lateral movement aren’t as sharp as they are coming downfield - unlikely to carve a role out as a deep safety.
SIMON CARROLL: “Gilman’s story is a good one, and his high-character and work ethic will endear him to scouts and coaches alike. That being said, he’s limited and there’s a lot about his game that teams will want to tidy up before he’s on the field consistently. He’s a strong safety who excels against the run but also offers enough instincts to play shallow coverage near the line of scrimmage, and he should develop nicely into a starter at the next level”.
NFL COMPARISON: PATRICK CHUNG
PREDICTION: 3RD ROUND PICK
Height: 6’1”. Weight:194lbs
PRO’S: Clever, manipulative safety who baits quarterbacks and receivers into making mistakes and punishes them for it. You can tell he’s from a football background - very intelligent on the field. Pre-snap you’ll find him diagnosing what’s in front of him and barking orders to his teammates. Has the anticipation to adapt mid-play if he sees something late. Big-time playmaker with five picks, three sacks, fourteen passes defended and nearly two hundred tackles in three years at Georgia. Good composure to his game and a sure tackler. Very capable of doing the dirty work; comes down to take on the big boys over the middle with relish.
CON’S: A bit skinny, and a frame that doesn’t look like it could add much more muscle mass to it. Play demeanour much more physical than his stature allows, leading to potential durability concerns at the next level. If he’s going to continue to come down into the box, he’ll need to add more functional strength to his game. Lack of length causes issues competing at the catch point. Impressive instincts and positioning mask a deficiency of range which will be more exposed in the NFL. Likely to get exposed in man coverage.
SIMON CARROLL: “JR Reed had a tough entry into college football, first signing with Tulsa after an injury as a high school senior all but wiped out his scholarship offers. He overcame the odds to get a transfer to Georgia, and he’s overcome some physical and athletic shortcomings to be an absolute stud on the back end for the Bulldogs. He’s so mentally in tune with the game he gets away with being a little lightweight and a tick slow. If I’m a scout on a team that utilises heavy zone coverage I’d bang the table for this guy late on day two”.
PREDICTION: 4TH ROUND PICK
Height: 5’11”. Weight: 199lbs
PRO’S: Built tough. Likes to play amongst the chaos in the box and throw his weight around. Vicious hitter - loves nothing more than exploding into the ball carrier. Lower body power allows him to coil and drive upwards through the tackle - receivers and running backs know they’re in for a long day. Enough functional athleticism to operate near the line of scrimmage, almost as a pseudo linebacker - comfortable in shallow zone coverage, and when he sees the ball has the burst to break onto it. Bonus value is his prowess on blitz packages.
CON’S: Short arms and a lack of range cause him issues playing deep safety. Struggles to compete vertically for the football, particularly with the bigger bodied receivers. Instincts a tick off - he needs to wait for the release before making his move, and a shortage of top end speed makes it difficult to cover every blade of grass laterally. Want to see more consistency with his tackling form - less explosion, more wrapping up. Tracking in man coverage adequate at best, and opens up passing lanes with lack of fluidity when changing direction.
SIMON CARROLL: “Wallace projects best as a nickel safety/corner/linebacker hybrid who can come into games and be given a clear mandate to attack the ball downhill. Put him down at the line of scrimmage and make him play over his shoulder and you’re asking for trouble. He’s a touch reckless but he offers playmaking ability which is difficult to find. Improve his tackling reliability and you might be able to find some upside in him”.
PREDICTION: 4TH ROUND PICK
Height: 6’1”. Weight: 204lbs
PRO’S: Big. Ideal height and weight as a multi-role safety at the next level. Got a mean streak and a nasty hit about him. Not afraid to take on bigger receivers and even tight ends and is able to battle with them throughout the route in man coverage. Remarkably quick for his size - you can tell he used to be a cornerback. Ultra-smart and recognises route patterns thrown at him and misdirection from the quarterback. Has rare playmaking skills with nine picks and twenty passes defended in three years at Utah. Like his click and close speed to attack the passing lanes. Has a hair trigger when coming down in run support.
CON’S: Only being playing the position for a year and it shows - has to keep learning the game from a new vantage point. Angles of attack causing him problems following the position switch - yet to be totally comfortable working in the extra space a safety is allowed. Sometimes over-eager to drop into the box when he’s best served holding deep and then closing in on the ball. Doesn’t have elite speed and a role as a single high safety might be a big ask. Significant knee injury at the end of his college career will need to be thoroughly vetted by NFL teams.
SIMON CARROLL: “This is the kind of day three pick that teams covet. Blackmon has the measurables that you cannot teach, and most of his issues stem from lack of playing time at safety. You can see why Utah switched him to corner - he’s better served in the middle of the field where he can employ his burst and physical prowess more effectively. It’s a real shame his injury will be difficult to fully check out right now, but someone is getting some big-time upside later in the draft here”.
PREDICTION: 4TH ROUND PICK
Height: 6’0”. Weight: 205lbs
PRO’S: Versatile safety with experience lining up all over the back end of a defense. Is a tough guy at heart - loves to make his presence felt. Impressed with his ability to lay a booming hit but make sure he brings the ball carrier down securely - rarely whiffs on a play and his long arms allow him to tackle anything in his postcode. Showcases modest athleticism near tot the line of scrimmage - good click and close speed to zero in on the ball and enough straight line speed to keep up with shallow route runners on crossers or drag routes. High workrate with a non-stop motor.
CON’S: Durability concerns stem from the lack of self-care he shows in his style of play and his slightly undersized frame. Sometimes you get the impression he thinks he’s 20lbs heavier than he is. You wonder if he’s able to physically compete with tight ends at the next level, where everything is bigger, and athletically compete with speedy slot receivers at the next level, where everything is faster. Limited range discounts him as a deep safety despite his experience playing there.
SIMON CARROLL: “Kind of an all-rounder, Jones’ game does little in the way of standing out aside from his ability to deliver punishing hits in the box. He’s not as big as he thinks he is and lacks the instincts and lateral agility of a stereotypical NFL free safety. He may be deemed a backup, but some teams might consider him a versatile, reliable piece they can use in a variety of scenarios. A nice addition to a secondary if he’s still on the board on day three”.
PREDICTION: 4TH ROUND PICK
Height: 5’11”. Weight: 213lbs
PRO’S: Physically imposing with a bully attitude on the field. Absolutely ripped with a low center of gravity that gives him significant play strength. Hits HARD, exploding up into the ball carrier. Routinely gets rid of blocks in the run game and heads to the football. Impeccable tackling form - takes good angles to the runner, employs balance upon impact and wraps up nicely each time. Roams around the line of scrimmage, daring someone to come into his zone. Comfortable working shallow, short to intermediate zones where he can utilise his instincts and reaction speed to head to the catch point. Vocal team leader.
CON’S: Not enough speed and lateral mobility to realistically be a full-time deep safety, either single high or two deep. Similar scenario when asked to press in man coverage - if he’s isolated and expected to play with his back to the ball on deep passes then his lack of long speed will leave separation. Short arms and lack of height will be an obstacle for him when challenging for jump balls. Not a lot of ball production at Maryland.
SIMON CARROLL: “Brooks has a clear and defined role at the next level as a strong safety who operates within the box on both rushing and passing downs. He’s a tone setter for the defense and a locker room leader who will be an asset on and off the field and provide bonus upside as a blitzer and special teams stalwart. His lack of functional athleticism restricts his ability to be used deep and as such he doesn’t have the versatility of a true starting safety, but his skillset is still needed in the NFL”.
PREDICTION: 5TH ROUND PICK
Height: 6’2”. Weight: 210lbs
Tough as nails prospect who projects best as a box safety in the NFL. Just wants to hit all day. Bruiser when he zeroes in on a ball carrier with the satisfying pop noise upon contact. Like his twitch - quick read and react guy who flies down towards the line of scrimmage. If he sees it, he’s hitting it. Transfers this attitude to special teams where he excels as a gunner. Proficient playing with the ball in the air too, particularly close to the action. Shows good understanding to cover shallow zones and can pounce on hook to curl routes and make a play for the football.
CON’S: Too violent sometimes. Puts his team in bad situations with ill-timed penalties, and has been ejected twice for targeting. More interested in leaving a mark than executing a play. Lacks the desired athleticism for the position - poor range precludes him from playing any form of free safety or deep. Has some technique issues to iron out, namely angles of pursuit and balance when tackling - if it’s even remotely an arm tackle he’s going to struggle to bring the guy down. Clumsy style of play.
SIMON CARROLL: “The Jaylinn Hawkins breed of linebacker is slowly petering out of the NFL as athleticism at all positions becomes a premium. That being said, if you’re looking for a box safety who can hit but also be comfortable in coverage near to the line of scrimmage then he brings that to the table. He’s not the hybrid LB/S but he does show linebacker tendencies and his aggression should let him flourish as a special teamer. But he’s a long way to go before he’s a reliable part of an NFL defense”.
PREDICTION: 5TH ROUND PICK
Height: 5’10”. Weight: 210lbs
PRO’S: Thick, stout safety prospect with impressive play strength. Plays tough with a warrior mindset - the game is a battle and he isn’t ever in the mood for losing. Fights for everything on every play. Impressive instincts and reaction speed - play diagnosis is extremely quick and his anticipation of routes developing and passing lanes opening is something to behold. A true team player - will do anything to help his team win. Offers added upside as a special teams ace, particularly as a gunner on kickoff duties.
CON’S: Too small. Is going to struggle mightily competing with all receivers in the NFL, never mind just the big ones. Lack of length a major concern, and no amount of competitiveness is going to help him compete for the football when it’s out of his reach. Struggles to impact the run game as much as his tough guy persona would like - gets bottled up too easily by blockers and simply cannot shed them. Shortage of speed -in short areas and deep - is a major obstacle. Not a candidate for single-high duties.
SIMON CARROLL: “Geno Stone’s work rate and competitiveness is endearing. He shows elite football intelligence on the field and has used them to become a valued member of the Iowa defense. Sadly, he has too many deficiencies in size, speed and length to be considered anything other than a special teamer with bonus backup safety value in a pinch. Head over heart here - he’s a late day three pickup that coaches will appreciate, but find difficult to justify giving him reps on defense”.
PREDICTION: 6TH ROUND PICK
Height: 6’0”. Weight: 191lbs
PRO’S: Classic Alabama late-round prospect; well-coached, reliable team player who shows good instincts and football smarts on the field. Something of a hybrid defensive back at Tuscaloosa, playing as a nickel DB in various formats, be as a high safety or extra corner dependant upon opponent, situation and individual matchup. Plays what he sees in front of him and is rarely set up by route combinations or quarterback misdirection. Shows the nous to make educated gambles on where the ball is going and subtly shades towards it. Love his feel for where his opponent is as his eyes flirt in the backfield.
CON’S: Underwhelming athleticism for the position. Struggles to mirror receivers on their routes and stay close to the action. Lack of urgency when breaking on the ball - just doesn’t possess the quick-twitch of the elite prospects at the position instead relying on his high IQ to put him in the right spot at the right time. Boom or bust as a playmaker - seen some fantastic pick six’s in his college career but also interceptions left on the field. Lack of length a distinct disadvantage when fighting for jump balls.
SIMON CARROLL: A versatile defensive back who has all the smarts but lacks transferrable traits, Carter may not hear his name called until the very end of the NFL Draft. Coaches will love his aptitude, fundamentals and work ethic, but ultimately they have to fit him into a defense. He’s a guy without a definitive position for a reason - he can’t lock down a starting job. Another prospect who will provide special teams value but struggle to remain relevant in a DB group”.
PREDICTION: 6TH ROUND PICK
Height: 6’2”. Weight: 230lbs
PRO’S: Heavyweight safety who shines close to the line of scrimmage where he can cause the most destruction. Great length, able to navigate the chaos behind the defensive line and work his way to the football. Plays within a linebacker’s frame and is a candidate to move to LB full-time at the next level. As a safety it provides him with overpowering play strength. He swats away blocks from receivers and does a good job stacking bigger guys like tight ends before breaking off and to the ball carrier. Excellent production at Clemson. Shows impressive opponent knowledge and instincts on the field. Quick to read and react.
CON’S: Fluidity a concern - it’s difficult for a 230lb man to move the way free safeties need to at the next level, and he’s definitely limited to a role in the box. Just doesn’t possess the sideline to sideline speed for the back end. Unclean and clunky movements off the snap, and man coverage needs a lot of work. Despite the interceptions in his college career he’s awkward in space and hates chasing or playing with his back to the line. Much prefers coming downhill to the football.
SIMON CARROLL: “Much like Isaiah Simmons, Muse has been asked to do a variety of things in Clemson’s back seven. Unlike Simmons, Muse doesn’t have the attributes to do it successfully, particularly at the next level. He looks the world to me like a nickel linebacker who a team can trot out in obvious run downs or short yardage situation and he’ll do a job. Unfortunately that’s a rather niche skillset to possess. A franchise that values high character might grab him late on day three”.
PREDICTION: 7TH ROUND PICK
Height: 6’0”. Weight: 194lbs
Pros: In an NFL where coverage skills and versatility in the secondary are highly desired, Kirk has valuable skills to project favourably to the pros. While he didn’t register any interceptions as a senior, he picked off 5 passes as a junior in 2018. Comfortable navigating the field in all directions, forward, backward and laterally, the Redbirds DB gets involved in all areas and levels of the field. There’s a smoothness and efficiency in the way he covers ground. He may not explode from a standing start but has sneaky good range to his coverage. There’s more than enough closing speed and recovery speed to his game. In addition to deploying in the deep middle of the field, Kirk can line up over the slot and handle man coverage duties. Steady and controlled in his backpedal, he demonstrates sound technique for spot corner and nickel assignments. At the catch point, Kirk is aggressive in attacking the ball and positions himself well to make plays. His vertical stands out to high point the ball. The lower body explosion was proven at his pro day with a 39” vertical and 10-6 broad jump. His solid all-round pro day also included a 4.57 dash and 7.14 3-cone. Kirk’s versatility extends to his play in run support and around the box in general. He gets stuck in around the line of scrimmage, popping up with a handful of sacks and racking up stops. His senior stats include 89 tackles, 4 TFLs, 3 sacks and a forced fumble, along with 6 pass breakups.
Cons: Kirk is a little slight for the position and lacks ideal length with shorter arms and wingspan. Though he’s a more-than-willing tackler, there’s modest power and impact behind the hits. There’s not that physical and imposing presence for the position. It’s not overly concerning however, as his coverage skills are what ought to earn him his role at the next level. Though a fluid mover, the Illinois State defensive back isn’t overly dynamic or explosive. Much of his coverage play is positive, however, there are some poorer reps. There are several examples of being beating early in man coverage situations from fairly simple releases. It’s more a consistency concern though, as he’s proven skilled here in plenty other situations.
Rebecca Rennie: “When looking for value late on Day 3, Kirk has clear traits that give him a chance to contribute. His well-rounded game can be applied at multiple spots across the secondary. His competence in coverage gives him a pathway to a roster spot that is often difficult to find in the latter stages of the draft".
Prediction: 7th Round
Height: 6’1”. Weight: 205lbs
PRO’S: Competitive safety who has operated in a number of roles in the Notre Dame defense. Has no quit in him and will battle on a play until the very end - plenty of evidence on tape that shows him being able to claw his way back into a rep and make the play. Loves to unleash a fierce hit and has the size and functional strength to be more consistent in this area. Sufficient linear speed and can match up when tracking in straight lines. Shows desired instincts, allowing coverages to develop before zeroing in on his desired location.
CON’S: He’s tough and can hit, but lower body strength is exposed when he comes down to the line and matches up against tight ends. Doesn’t have the loose hips to operate comfortably in space - change of direction speed is sluggish and too often separation is seen in and out of the receivers breaks. Unprepared for sharp movements when playing man coverage. Has an issue mirroring routes when casting his eyes into the backfield - looks like he gets lost. Ball tracking needs work and playmaking skills underwhelming.
SIMON CARROLL: “Whether it’s zone or man coverage, Jalen Elliott is going to struggle mightily with his responsibilities in the NFL. The step up in class will expose his lack of movement skills and whilst he shows the propensity to lay the wood in his tackling he looks flat footed in space and running backs will make mincemeat of him if given an inch. He checks all the character and work ethic boxes and his size is a plus, but he’s nothing more than a late round pick who has a fight to make a roster”.
PREDICTION: 7TH ROUND PICK
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