Joey The Tooth's Early Prospect Analysis: Safeties (Part 1)
Who are the safeties to know in this year's NFL Draft? Joey highlights four of them.
Still licking his wounds after his beloved 49ers blew a 10-point lead in the 4th quarter of the NFC Championship Game, Joey The Tooth is back to offer prospect analysis in the run-up to the NFL Draft. In the first installment, he looked at four of the top edge rushers. The second installment focused on linebackers. This time around, he’s offering up some initial takeaways after studying four standout safeties.
Be sure to buy a copy of the IDP Guys Rookie Draft Magazine (which covers offense and IDP), in which Joey will be doing a deeper dive on the players you see in these articles.
Also, be sure to follow Joey on Twitter to keep up with all his analysis.
Lewis Cine, Georgia
Hard-hitting safety, makes WRs shaky over the middle
Very good closing speed
Makes good breaks on the football when he diagnoses the play correctly.
Violent coming downhill in run support
Can make his way through the trash in front
Sound and vicious tackler with good technique
Not particularly great in coverage
Stiff hips and transition when changing to pursuit
Can play zone though shouldn't be used in man coverage
Overzealous in pursuit at times causes poor tackling angles
Lewis Cine is more of a one-trick pony safety. He will primarily be a box safety in the Von Bell mold. His ability in run defense, closing ability, and breaks on the football in zone could help him stay on the field more. He’s very vocal on defense and shows solid pre-snap processing. His coverage skills will be his biggest issue. If he can't loosen up his hips and lower body, he will be exploited in the NFL.
Draft Grade: Early 4th Round
Daxton Hill, Michigan
Speed, speed, speed
Has excellent range, covers a lot of ground with speed and good angles
Good cover guy, seems comfortable in press coverage
Can move all around the secondary
Good, strong tackler
Tremendous closing speed downhill
Good ball skills
Not sure of NFL position, could be drafted as either corner or safety
Needs to add a little muscle, though he has the frame for it
Not a dominant college player but the tools are apparent
Daxton Hill has speed for days, whether it’s covering ground as a safety, running with a wide receiver as a corner, or coming downhill in run support. He has excellent athleticism and solid size if he’s drafted as a CB. If he ends up at safety, he would be wise to pack on some muscle. I personally like him better as a CB with his length, speed, and ball skills, though it depends who drafts him. His lack of dominance in college is slightly alarming based on his profile, but I'm not worried.
Draft Grade: Late 2nd/Early 3rd
Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
Elite size: 6'4" and 220 lbs with great length
Has a natural feel for the game
Terrific pre-snap processing
Can play on any level of the defense
Great pass rusher for a safety
Great play diagnosis
Terrific in run support
Rarely misses tackles, good technique
Has some Derwin James to his game
Doesn't have elite speed (still adequate)
Has shown a slight propensity to bite on play action
Kyle Hamilton is damn close to a perfect safety prospect. He tackles like a linebacker, covers like a corner, can rush the passer, and literally line up anywhere on the field. His IQ and processing are phenomenal and he always seems to be in the right place. Some may fault him for not putting up gaudy stat lines and forcing enough turnovers, but his skill set is obvious. Drafting a safety of this caliber is not a reach in the top 10.
Draft Grade: 1st Round/Top 10
Jaquan Brisker, Penn State
Plays both safety positions, nickel, and in the box
Has great size/speed combination
Though his “read” needs work, his “react” is amazing.
Terrific ball skills
Attacks the ball at the high point
Hard hitter to any WR over middle
Has sound tackling technique
As mentioned above, slow to read and diagnose at times
Uses athleticism to make up for it
Bites on play action, likely due to aggressive nature
Aggression also gets him into trouble: over pursuit and poor tackling angles
Jaquan Brisker is a complete player with a beautiful blend of size and speed who can move all around the formation. He plays any safety position: cover 2, single high, box, you name it. Brisker has fantastic ball skills and balance when attacking the ball in the air. He is an absolute playmaker on defense that has zero problems stepping up in run support and laying a heavy hit on RBs. His deficiencies aren't even actual faults, but more or less lapses, as he rarely makes the same mistake twice in a game.
Draft Grade: Late 1st/Early 2nd
Be sure to buy a copy of the IDP Guys Rookie Draft Magazine.
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