Tuesday, July 9, 2013

2014 NFL Draft Senior Safety Prospects

Ty Zimmerman -- Kansas State
(vs Oklahoma 12, vs WVU 12)

- Generally takes good angles to the ball carrier
- Nose for the football (with an interception & fumble recovery vs Oklahoma and interception vs WVU)

Needs to work on in 2013:
- Wrap up on tackles better
- Trust his eyes more in coverage
- Prove he has the range to play sideline to sideline

While watching Zimmerman I first though he was more of a downhill thumper and a liability in coverage down field. Quickly changed my mind there and now after watching both games I think he, if he can prove he can go sideline to sideline consistently, would best fit as a FS/coverage safety in the league (though many teams are blurring the distinction a bit) and move around covering receivers in man and zone coverage. That playmaking ability, the nose for the football, is something I covet in defenders, especially safeties and corners, so I could see Zimmerman becoming a solid starter and being a high (top 100 at least) draft pick in 2014 if he can build upon this season and shore up his tackling.


Ed Reynolds -- Stanford
(vs UCLA 12, vs Oregon State 12)

- Good in coverage (INT vs UCLA and had two dropped vs Oregon State)

Needs to work on in 2013:
- Take much better angles
- Wrap up the ball carrier every time
- Focus his aggression

Reynolds too often overruns the ball carrier and then makes a halfhearted tackle attempt. If he can curb his aggression and actually utilize proper technique every time instead of just sometimes he could greatly improve that aspect of his game. Average speed and burst are cause for concern about his ability to defend sideline-to-sideline as well as playing the deep ball. Reynolds also seemed to struggle with play fakes, motions, etc. by the opposing offense. I am not sure if this is him not trusting his eyes or somehow lacking the football IQ to see through the ruses. Least impressive of the Senior safeties I watched as he was the worst against the run and in open space.

Alden Darby -- Arizona State
(vs Oregon 12, vs Arizona 12)

- Strong tackler
- Good short area burst
- Better in the box against run vs open field

Needs to work on in 2013:
- Take better angles in the open field
- Work on getting of blocks faster/better
- Learn to find the ball faster

Struggled more often than not on actually taking a good angle to the ball carrier, particularly in the open field. Were often times in both games where the play action or option game got him looking the wrong way. The agility and speed of Oregon also got to him as his hips seem a little tight and his straight-line speed seems average. His short area burst (coupled with his generally strong tackling) makes him a strong candidate for an in the box safety in the pros. Range, mainly a speed issue in his case, will limit his ability to play the deep ball and cover from sideline to sideline at the next level. Lacks the playmaking gene at the level that is evident in Zimmerman's game but is also never far from the football. His game reminded me a lot of Roman Harper's -- strong downhill thumper who is a pretty sure tackler.

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