Posts Tagged ‘defensive back’

Cornerback Desmond Trufant (6) of Washington is projected to be the 13th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, according to On the Clock's Jeff Vinton and Bill Slane

Cornerback Desmond Trufant (6) of Washington is projected to be the 13th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, according to On the Clock’s Jeff Vinton and Bill Slane.                  (Source: sportspressnw.com)

Cornerback Desmond Trufant (6′ 0″, 190 lbs.) out of Washington has risen up draft boards lately thanks to a great showing at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last weekend and is now considered one of the top two corners in the 2013 NFL Draft. Trufant, the younger brother of Seattle Seahawks corner Marcus Trufant and New York Jets corner Isaiah Trufant, played 45 straight games for the Huskies before getting injured and missing Washington’s game against Colorado this past season. He was named captain of the Husky football team this past fall and was named to the All-Pac 12 first team. Now he has healed and is gearing up to join his brothers on Sundays as a prospect in the NFL Draft April 25.

Here are Desmond Trufant’s statistics from Washington and his combine performance:

Stats:

Career- 50 games, 195 total tackles, 151 unassisted, 44 assisted, 2 sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles, 5 fumbles recovered, 33 passes defended, 6 interceptions

2012- 12 games, 36 total tackles, 27 unassisted, 9 assisted, 1 sack, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovered, 9 passes defended, 1 interception

Combine Performance: 4.38 second 40-yard dash, 16 bench press reps at 225 lbs., 37.5 inch vertical jump, 125 inch broad jump, 3.85 second 20-yard shuttle

I will now evaluate Trufant based on these criteria: Agility, Run Defense, Awareness, Range, Coverage, Tackle, Ball Skills, Speed, Burn Rate, and Health.

AGILITY:

Trufant doesn’t get juked easily and that has a lot to do with the quickness of his feet and the looseness of his hips. He can change direction extremely quickly and keep up with any move that a wideout tries to throw to shake his coverage. He’s balanced on his feet and in general, just has some damn good agility.  8.75/10.00

RUN DEFENSE:

This is the area of Trufant’s game that needs the most work. It just seemed like Trufant was very slow at diagnosing the run, even in obvious formations (no wide receiver on his side) and situations. Then once he did diagnose the run, the back would already be at or past the line of scrimmage and he would basically have no impact on the play from there. Now, Trufant is a cover corner, so I am not totally surprised that he is lacking in this area, but I would still expect him to be a little better at this, and with his speed, to have more of an impact on the play. This is something that he will no doubt work on as he advances. 8.0/10.0

AWARENESS:

Trufant possesses great awareness. He can diagnose any pass play and pretty much whatever route the receiver he is covering is running before the snap. He adjusts his coverage to what he reads and does it fairly quickly. He can diagnose play-action and route changes with the best of them and this helps make his coverage that much better. 8.5/10.0

 

RANGE:

Thanks to his 4.38 40 time, Trufant’s range is amazing. He can close in on receivers that get past him and knock balls that seem way out of his reach out the air. On runs, after he takes the time to diagnose the play and see where it is going, he takes good angles, but since it takes him so long to diagnose the play, he usually shows up after the tackle has begun, so sometimes he gets a final hit in there to force the ball carrier to the ground, but sometimes just shows up after the ball carrier has been tackled and the play is over. He gets there, but is not usually there in time to make the initial hit on the run. If a receiver gets behind him, then he can close in on the receiver quickly and then make a play on the ball. I was very impressed with Trufant’s range. 9.0/10.0

 

COVERAGE:

I said this above, I see Trufant as a coverage corner more than anything else. He blankets receivers and makes it insanely hard for receivers to get open and quarterbacks to complete throws. He is better in man, which is the coverage that Washington ran most often, and great against deep throws. QBs will still try to make deep throws, but that attempt is often misguided due to Trufant’s coverage. 8.5/10.0

TACKLE:

Not many people can get away from Trufant’s tackles, but a lot that has to do with where he makes his tackles on the field and how he hits and wraps up. When one is as fast as Trufant, a lot of momentum can be built up when sprinting at or with a man downfield and then hitting them. Since a lot of those hits happen along the sideline, the force that come with Trufant’s hits force receivers the extra foot or two that they need laterally to get out of bounds. When he does actually tackle, his technique is pretty good. He hits low, wraps up and takes down to the ground. Long story short, Trufant is a pretty good tackler.  8.5/10.0

BALL SKILLS:

When defending the ball in the air, one can’t get much better than Desmond Trufant in this year’s draft class. Trufant attacks the ball in the air, is not afraid to dive at any ball that is thrown to his receiver and basically just do whatever it takes to make the throw incomplete. When a receiver does catch a ball and Trufant is trying to take him down, he looks like he is trying to strip the ball pretty much every time. Since he is not afraid to attack the ball in the air, Trufant is fairly good at grabbing interceptions (6 in his career, 1 in 2012). He doesn’t grab as many as he could, but if he works on his hands a bit in practice, I’m sure that number will go up at the next level. 8.75/10.00

SPEED:

Trufant ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at the Combine in Indianapolis last weekend, so yeah. He’s fast. He’s fast enough where there is no doubt that he can keep up with any receiver currently in the NFL, coming into the league this year or any year after this. I am hugely impressed with his speed and it is something that I know NFL teams loved seeing last weekend and the team that drafts him will love seeing every Sunday during the fall.  9.0/10.0

BURN RATE:

I pretty much covered his burn rate in the ball skills section, but I’ll sum it up again here. Desmond Trufant doesn’t get burned often. When the ball is thrown to his man, he jumps up in the air, dives, and knocks balls down. Obviously, a corner can’t knock every ball down, but Trufant is a great defender when the ball is thrown to the receiver he’s covering.  9.0/10.0

HEALTH:

He started 45 straight games before getting hurt and missing the Colorado game this past season, so that injury will be something that teams will keep in their minds when thinking about drafting him on April 25. I don’t believe that this will be much of an issue in his career, however. One injury in four years is definitely not a worrisome thing to me, and I think that NFL teams will look past that injury on draft day. 9.5/10.0

 

OVERALL:

From me, Desmond Trufant gets a score of 8.75/10.00. I believe that the youngest brother in the Trufant family will become the greatest corner of the three. I think that he can make a great addition for a team in need of a corner and that he will become a Pro Bowl-level corner. Trufant really needs to work on his run defense, but that can come with time. He has excellent coverage skills and I love his speed. Trufant is a great corner that is going to make whatever team that drafts him very happy. There might be some growing pains right away, but give him time and he will be really good. Now as to where I think Trufant will get drafted? Well, I believe (and this can be seen in our Round 1 mock draft below [also in the “Mock Draft” category]) that Trufant will be drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 13th overall pick. The Bucs are dealing with the best corner in franchise history, Ronde Barber, nearing retirement, and they will need to find someone to take his role on the defense. Trufant could come in and get game experience right away while learning the ins and outs of the NFL from an all time great. It is an awesome situation for Trufant to go into, and the Bucs would be extremely happy to grab a corner with the skills of Desmond Trufant.

HIGHLIGHTS:

 

Let me know what you think in the comments below and follow me on Twitter! @J_Vinton52 @OnTheClockNFL

Next, I’ll be previewing Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas!

Florida strong safety Matt Elam takes Louisville running back Jeremy Wright in the Sugar Bowl Jan. 2, 2013. The #21 Cardinals upset the #3 Gators, 33-23.

Florida strong safety Matt Elam knocks Louisville running back Jeremy Wright’s helmet off of his head during the Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans Jan. 2, 2013. The #21 Cardinals upset the #3 Gators, 33-23.

Matt Elam (5′ 10″, 202 lbs.) is one of the top safeties going into April’s draft. Elam was know for his highlight-reel hits during his time at Florida. He was a spark plug on their defense who kept the team excited and helped make Will Muschamp’s defense one of the best in the country this past fall. Elam was someone that even from just watching his tape, was easily found on the field from his excited and passionate play. He truly cares about his team and wants to do whatever it takes to help them succeed.

Here are his stats from Florida:

Career: 176 total tackles, 124 unassisted, 52 assisted, 23.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 13 passes defended, 6 interceptions.

2012: 76 total tackles, 58 unassisted, 18 assisted, 11 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 5 passes defended, 4 interceptions

Now that Elam (who will participate in drills at the Combine this morning) has declared for the NFL Draft, I will evaluate him. My evaluation will be based on these categories: Agility, Run Defense, Blitz, Range, Coverage, Tackle, Ball Skills, Speed, Completion Percentage and Health.

AGILITY: 

Matt Elam has pretty dang good agility. He is insanely quick as a runner, tackler and coverage man. He is balanced, he can keep up with any move that a receiver or running back tries to put on him, and he can change direction on a dime. Long story short, Elam possesses top of the line agility. 9.0/10.0

RUN DEFENSE:

Elam can attack the line and the ball carrier with the best of them. He takes on blocks head on and throws them with quick jukes and strong throws, but he sucks (and I am not using that word lightly) at bringing down the ball carrier. I’ll get to this more in the tackle section, but all he does is go for the big hit. This is NOT going to work in the NFL. I don’t know what it is going to take, but someone needs to teach Elam how to bring down a ball carrier correctly. I maybe saw him wrap up a ball carrier correctly five times in his tape. It infuriated me, and I would second guess drafting him in the first or second round because of it. 8.0/10.0

BLITZ: 

When asked to blitz and bring down the quarterback, Elam does fairly well. He is usually asked to blitz on the outside and beat the tackle around the edge, and when he does, he tries to put a huge hit on the QB. But this is where that whole tackle thing comes into play. Sometimes he puts a huge hit on the QB and other times the QB squats, lowers his shoulder, and bounces away from Elam. There are other times (and all of this happens in his run defense too) where the QB will break Elam’s tackle. Most of these times he strings the QB to the edge and Florida’s defense would swarm the ball carrier, which helped him out, but he still needs to get better at bringing down the ball carrier. 8.0/10.0

RANGE:

Since Elam is pretty dang fast (pre-Combine 40 time: 4.53) he moves pretty damn well in space. He can read where the QB is throwing the ball and closes in on it very fast, and when he sees a fumble he is usually one of the first defenders to get there because he takes great angles. Elam has very impressive range. 9.0/10.0

COVERAGE: 

Elam is a much better zone coverage man that a man to man coverage man. In coverage he can read the throw and the QB’s eyes and see where it is going and react much quicker. In man, he doesn’t have that opportunity and has to keep up with a receiver, who is usually at full sprint when Elam meets him down the field. He is pretty good at both, but he is much better when he combines with a corner in man coverage. QB’s like to take shots at receivers that Elam is covering, but few of them get completed. I wish I knew the actual statistic, but I’ll keep it at this. Elam is a pretty damn good coverage guy. 8.5/10.0

TACKLE: 

Here’s the section I’ve already mentioned twice and have been waiting to get to. And I’m going to put this bluntly. Matt Elam cannot tackle. I don’t know what it is. I’m wondering if he ever even learned how to tackle when he was younger. I was taught how to tackle almost every single year I played football, so I have no idea how Elam is so bad. All I saw in Elam’s tape is him trying to make big hits on guys and receivers, running backs and quarterbacks all just bouncing off of him and getting first downs or huge gains. I said this earlier, but I’m going to say it again. This absolutely infuriated me. These plays can work in high school where he was probably one of the best defensive players in his league, but it sure as hell didn’t work in college and it’s not going to work in the pros. Elam

needs to be taken aside and taught how to wrap up on a ball carrier. Going for big hits may work once a game, but a defensive player has to be able to WRAP UP! Honestly, if I were a GM in the NFL, I would pass on Elam because of this in the first few rounds. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t take him until rounds four or five. That’s how big of an issue this is. There’s plenty of teams that could use a good safety, but I’m not sure that Elam can do that unless he learns how to tackle. 5.0/10.0

BALL SKILLS: 

matt elam 2When Elam has the opportunity to create a turnover, whether that be an interception or fumble, he relishes the opportunity. He, like any defender, loves to create turnovers and give the ball and some momentum to his offense. He is also a pretty good defender on balls in the air. He’s not afraid to jump to hit a ball out of the air or dive to knock a ball that’s in front of him down. I like Elam’s ball skills. 8.25/10.00

SPEED: 

With a pre-combine time of 4.53, Elam is up with the some of the best safeties in the draft when it comes to speed. He has a great burst when he is blitzing and his acceleration is top of the line. Elam can catch up to just about anyone on the field and NFL teams will love that. 8.75/10.00

COMPLETION PERCENTAGE:

QB’s like to take shots at receivers that Elam is covering, but few of them get completed. I wish I knew the actual statistic, but I’ll keep it at this. When it comes to completion percentage, Elam’s is pretty low for a safety. 8.5/10.0

HEALTH:

No injury problems here. 10.0/10.0

OVERALL: 

Overall, Elam gets an 8.3/10.0 from me, but I just cannot get past his tackling ability. It’s just missing. I understand that as as player, one would want to make big hits because it gets them on SportsCenter and it gets them noticed by scouts, but when scouts dive into the players tape and see like I have that he can’t tackle, I can’t see scouts recommending that their team draft Elam in the first few rounds in April. I went into this thinking that Elam, from what I had seen this past season, was one of the top safeties in college football. He’s fast, he has good ball skills and he can read and react with the best of them. But he just can’t tackle. If it were me, I wouldn’t draft Elam until the 5th round, but I know that he’ll be gone by the end of the 2nd. Good Luck to whichever team drafts him. You have a project on your hands and I wish you luck. Maybe you’ll come out on top and make a great pick. Maybe he’ll be a bust. Just don’t pay him too much.

HIGHLIGHTS:

Let me know what you think in the comments below and follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook! @J_Vinton52 @OnTheClockNFL 

Next, I will be previewing Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU!

Xavier Rhodes (27) chases after Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch during the Orange Bowl in Miami, FL on Jan. 1, 2013. Florida State beat the Huskies, 31-10

Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes (27) chases after Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch during the Orange Bowl in Miami, FL on Jan. 1, 2013. The Seminoles beat the Huskies, 31-10.

Redshirt junior cornerback Xavier (pronounced: Zay-vee-er) Rhodes out of Florida State (6′ 2″, 217 lbs.) is a big, physical corner who punched his ticket to the NFL after FSU’s Orange Bowl victory over Northern Illinois. He believes that he has done all he can in college and now he is ready to take his talents to whichever team decides to take him in April’s draft. In a draft that does not feature a bevy of cornerback talent, maybe that was a good choice. Maybe he could have risen his stock a little if he would have stayed the extra year in Tallahassee. But, those questions cannot be answered, and I, along with many NFL teams, am A-OK with that.

I will now evaluate Rhodes based on these criteria: Agility, Run Defense, Awareness, Range, Coverage, Tackle, Ball Skills, Speed, Burn Rate, and Health.

AGILITY:

Rhodes is not the most agile corner in the world, but he is agile enough to be a good corner in the NFL. He does get juked sometimes. An example of a time where that has happened is at the 5:33 mark of the USF/Miami video. It is in the Miami portion and Rhodes is in man coverage, covering Miami WR Rashaun Scott throws a juke on a slant and go route that throws Rhodes and allows Scott to get behind the coverage and open for Stephen Morris to hit him with a deep pass. Scott drops the ball on the play, but it still makes my point. Rhodes sometimes lets his hips lock up, but that can easily be improved by some yoga or hip flexibility drills. 8.5/10.0

RUN DEFENSE:

I feel as if Rhodes reads the play for too long. There were plays throughout his tape when he would get locked up with the receiver and then try to read the play. He would then not be able to react to the run in time, and sometimes it would get past him for a big gain. When any receiver tries to lock up with him and block him, he should immediately throw a move to get the guy off of him, because it’s a run. That made it look like he could have had more tackles. He is a solid run defender when he does shed his blocks. He is a power hitter and usually a fundamental tackler. 8.0/10.0

AWARENESS:

Rhodes has pretty good awareness. He can see what play is coming typically, and adjusts himself accordingly. FSU played a lot of soft coverage (meaning he starts with the receiver having a 5-10 yard cushion), which allows him to see more of the play and adjust more and faster. Rhodes recognizes play action very well and he rarely bites, if ever. FSU also runs a lot of man (some of which started out in the soft coverage), which helps out with his awareness, since he just has to react to what his man is doing. He was not often used as a blitzer, but when he was, he was committed to the QB, usually, and didn’t try to read the play. As one can see in the Miami play, he can fall victim to route changes (that pass was on a slant and go route, as I stated above). But overall good awareness. 8.5/10.0

RANGE:

Rhodes possesses very good range. He has the ability to see the ball and his reactions are great, but sometimes he has to pull off of his man to try to make plays. An example of that is in the Wake Forest/Clemson tape at the 4:49 mark, Rhodes has to pull off of his man and try to knock the ball away from Clemson TE Brandon Ford. He misses and Ford scores, but the fact that he almost knocked the ball down impressed me. His angles on those plays aren’t the greatest but it’s not his fault that he has to make up slack for his teammates. He takes great angles on run plays and is usually in on or near the play unless he’s in deep coverage. He keeps up with receivers when the ball is in the air and he closes very quickly on those. 8.75/10.0

COVERAGE:

Rhodes is a very skilled cover corner. Coverage is definitely one of his best assets, and the team that drafts him. When he’s in coverage, QB’s shouldn’t usually throw to receivers that he is covering, since they are not usually open and Rhodes is a decent ball hawk, but they do anyway. Rhodes is very physical and always on his man. He is better in man coverage than in zone, but he is still very good in both. 9.0/10.0

TACKLE:

Rhodes is a solid tackler. He is a power hitter, as I mentioned earlier, and his only flaw is that there are times when he just goes for the huge blow and doesn’t wrap up, but that’s a problem a lot of DBs have, even at the pro level. He delivers fierce hits, doesn’t let receivers or running backs break many tackles, and is usually a good form tackler. Finished with 112 tackles in 2012, 39 of which were in 2012. 8.5/10.0

BALL SKILLS:

Rhodes is very good at attacking the ball at the highest point and knocking the ball down or picking the ball off. He had 3 picks in 2012 (8 total in his career) and 7 other passes defended (23 in his career), also forced one fumble. He attacks the ball when it gets to his receiver. That’s the best way I can put it. 9.0/10.0

SPEED:

Rhodes is fast. His 40-yard dash time currently is 4.55, fast enough to keep up with just about anybody in pads. Definitely something that NFL teams will like about him. Surprising with speed like that, that he is considered a second round prospect. 9.0/10.0

BURN RATE:

Where coverage is how well the receiver does preventing the QB from throwing the ball to the WR Rhodes is covering, Burn Rate is how well Rhodes (or any other corner for that matter) does when the ball is thrown to the WR he is covering. And thanks to his speed, ball skills, and tackling ability, among many other factors, Rhodes has a great burn rate. Basically, he doesn’t get burned often. There are times (The Miami play) where he does, but usually he’s right there with his man making a play. He’s there breaking up passes, picking off passes, and not allowing his receiver to catch the ball. This is a great skill for him to have going forward. 9.0/10.0

HEALTH:

Rhodes missed the Savannah State and Maryland games in 2012 (I cannot find the actual injuries) and this may be something to watch. Maybe it won’t be, but until I know the actual injuries, one cannot be sure. I’m sure that NFL teams know what the injuries were (and if anyone knows what they were, it would be awesome if they could tell me in the comments below), and that they are not worried about them being an issue. 8.0/10.0

OVERALL:

Rhodes’ overall score from me is an 8.63/10.00. I said this earlier, but I am very surprised that Xavier Rhodes is a second round prospect. He is a solid tackler, fast, and has very good coverage skills. I really like Rhodes and I believe that he will be off of the board by the end of the first round. Now where exactly do I think he will go? I don’t think that many teams in the top half of the first round will be looking to take a cornerback that high, so look for him to be hanging around in the latter half to quarter of the first round. I would take him as a first rounder and not let another team grab him in the second round. I think he’ll make a great corner in the NFL. The team that I think will take him: the New England Patriots at #29. The Patriots need a deep threat wide receiver more than anything, so they’ll be looking for that first, but I don’t think they’ll find it in the draft. I see them taking Rhodes and letting him learn behind Kyle Arrington, Aqib Talib (who I believe they will re-sign), and Alfonzo Dennard. And if Dennard is sentenced to prison time for assualting an officer and resisting arrest (he was found guilty, sentencing is set for April 11), then it will be even more likely that the Patriots will go after a corner in the draft. They could also turn him into a safety like they did with Devin McCourty.

HIGHLIGHTS:

Let me know what you think in the comments below and follow me on Twitter! @J_Vinton52

Next, I’ll be previewing Sheldon Richardson, DE, Missouri!

As captain, Keelan Johnson had the privilege on several occasions to plant the pitchfork in the field after a victory

The Mesa, AZ native was originally recruited by Arizona State to play wide receiver but moved to the defensive side of the ball before his first start for the Sun Devils. In his four years on varsity, Johnson recorded 8 interceptions which is the second most in school history since 2000. Johnson was a captain for the past two seasons so he has experience leading a secondary. In his senior season, Johnson had a career high 5 INTs, some of which came in clutch situations, i.e. vs. Arizona. Johnson also had a forced fumble in that game vs. Arizona that sparked an ASU victory. CBS Sports named Johnson to the first team All-Pac-12 All-Conference team as a senior.

Johnson after picking off Arizona QB Matt Scott in the 2012 Territorial Cup

Johnson is a big safety at over 6 feet and around 210 pounds. He is an extremely physical but heady football player who tends to over pursue at times. With his experience as a defensive captain at ASU, Johnson will probably have the smarts and ability to lead a secondary at the next level, though not right away. Johnson isn’t overly fast, but his size and physical play should translate well in the NFL at the strong safety position. Johnson can play the run as well as the pass which is something teams look for in a SS. Johnson reminds me somewhat of fellow Pac-12 football alum Patrick Chung; although Johnson is bigger than Chung, both of their strengths seem to be in the run game.

Johnson would contribute on any team looking to add some physicality and size to their defensive backfield. I believe Johnson could even come on the field in nickel situations, to cover or even blitz. Johnson recorded one sack and 3.5 tackles for loss while at ASU.

Johnson should probably go somewhere after the middle of the third round but could be a potential sleeper pick as he can only help his stock at the upcoming combine and at his pro day (ASU’s pro day is scheduled for March 8th).

–Follow me on Twitter @bill_slane

Highlights: