g-dawg Posted April 1, 2019 Share Posted April 1, 2019 G-Dawg Comments: SAFETY NEED - OK, this week I am throwing stuff up against the wall that seems counter to conventional wisdom - maybe an appropriate day to throw this out given today is April 1st. Nevertheless, this is not a joke. How is this for a sneaky need? - SAFETY. We have two above-average safeties now in SS-Keanu Neal(coming off ACL) and FS-Ricardo Allen(Torn Achilles). The latter is definitely the more concerning. While I would expect both to recover, you just never know - especially Achilles injuries - both players are young and that is in their favor. On top of both these guys, we have Damonte Kazee who filled in very well last year for Rico and could be a starter himself. Right now I believe Kazee's job is expected to be the nickel corner - taking over for Brian Poole. As you all know, Nick Polk(cap guru) and 'Troffed will have their work cut out for them in 2020 with both Grady Jarrett(franchise tag) and Deion Jones up for contracts. While Falcons will LIKELY exercise the 5th year option on Keanu Neal (95%), if he has a poor season in 2019 or gets injured again, who knows? Falcons are severely tied contractually to Rico for at least this season but could save a little money in 2020 when Rico's dead cap will be $2.75mm but his salary at $5.25mm. If Rico doesn't come back well and have a good 2019, this could be his last year. I say all of the above to say this - Safety is a possible sneakier need than you think - even for this year as no one hear really believes our other back-ups not named Kazee are really viable NFL starters AND Falcons could have to make decisions on Rico and maybe even Keanu(not likely) in 2020. There are some really nice safety prospects that likely won't but COULD fall all the way to #45. I wouldn't be 100% shocked if Falcons pulled the tags off the board for these two safeties should they fall to #45 (which I doubt happens!) as follows: Nassir Adderly, FS - Delaware (6'0", 206lbs, 31" arms, 9" hand) Range - Calling his range elite might be a tad generous, but can absolutely get to the boundary from the sideline in a timely fashion. Has for real speed (I'll be shocked if he doesn't run at least 4.5s) and the closing burst to arrive in time to contested throwing windows. Good length to help close down space. Good read-and-reaction timing from single-high position. Ball Skills - Was not targeted a ton in 2018, but over the course of his career has consistently shown the ability to make plays at the catch point. Ability to elevate and pluck the ball is outstanding. One-handed interception he made in 2017 is among the toughest catches I've seen. Consistently competes at the catch point and contends for the football in the air every time. Doesn't settle for the big hit, always has his eyes on the prize. Man Coverage - Cornerback experience has absolutely paid off. Terrific patience at the line of scrimmage and ability to mirror receivers out of their breaks with smooth footwork. Last two years has not spent as much time in man coverage in games I've seen, so tough to say how skills have developed. From off-coverage, impressive burst to close and make plays on the ball. As an outside corner playing vertical routes, typically played the pocket more than he did get his head around to contest the ball. Fluidity/Agility - Outstanding athlete with terrific short-area movement skills and quick-twitch change of direction. Seemed very loose in the hips and ability to open up and run on a moment's notice is top-notch. Consistently altered angles on the move and still arrived in time to help make a play. Tackling - Excellent form tackler who will wrap up and drive through contact. Delivers big hits as frequently as possible, but won't abandon form for a knockout blow every time. Occasionally allows a runner to slip his grasp on a low tackle, but generally gets his man on the ground. Come over the middle on him, keep your head on a swivel. Run Defense - Outrageously physical taking on blocks. Feels cracks coming and will take receivers apart if they challenge him physically. Stood up an offensive lineman and rocked the world of two tight ends when Delaware playing North Dakota State, despite his team getting blown out. Will fly up to the edge and turn runs back inside by blowing up the perimeter blocker. Uses his hands to shed, but also knows when to lower a shoulder and leverage a gap with some knock-back. Terrific timing to trigger downhill in run support, never hesitates to get in on a gang tackle. Takes mostly good angles to the ball, occasionally slightly aggressive in his pursuit to the perimeter. Route Recognition - The more I watched, the more impressed I was. Consistently recognizes key offensive concepts and drives on them right away. Plays instinctive and trusts his reads. Can tell he recognizes certain things from film study, especially receiver screen concepts. As a middle of the field zone defender, made life miserable at catch point for receivers with his ability to recognize patterns developing and drive on the ball. Versatility - Plays single-high, in the box and occasionally in the slot for Delaware, showing the ability to do all three at a high level. Man coverage reps were somewhat limited in the tape I saw, and he rarely blitzed, but see no reason why those couldn't be strengths of his as well. Competitive Toughness - Extremely physical and hard-nosed with an elite competitive motor. Played his heart out in a blowout loss to North Dakota State, chasing down every play from all over the field. Relentless competitor who does not back down from anyone and plays with excellent conditioning. Has made some of the best hustle plays in college football over the past couple seasons, including this: https://twitter.com/CDonScouting/status/1065475457368408064 Athleticism/Size - Hitting 200 pounds will be key for him at the Senior Bowl/Combine, but plays like a linebacker at whatever his current weight is. Play strength is a huge positive in his eval, arms appear to be decently long as well. Looks like an outstanding athlete amongst FCS level competition, but Combine testing will reveal all. BEST TRAIT - Physicality/Closing Burst WORST TRAIT - Man Coverage (due to heavy deep safety usage last two years) RED FLAGS - None One of the most exciting things about being a draft evaluator is finding players like Adderley that you never expected to be anything special, yet they blow you away on tape. The toughest thing about Adderley's evaluation was finding a weakness, as he appears to be a top-notch athlete with exceptional short-area quickness and fluidity, while also possessing the ability to open up and cover ground with speed and range as a single-high safety. He's incredibly physical, bringing the fight to everyone on the field without sacrificing technique or responsibility. I think he'll check in around 205 pounds with an ideal build for a deep safety, yet also perfectly sized to slide into the slot against all types of receivers when a team needs that role filled as well. The only real question mark with Adderley is the level of competition he faces, as he wasn't targeted a ton and will need to adjust some to the speed of the NFL game. His traits and intangibles seem to be perfectly in line with the top safeties in the league today, and as long as he checks boxes at the Senior Bowl and Combine, Adderley will likely be a top 15-30 player on my board. Deionte Thompson, FS-Alabama (6'1", 195lbs, 32 1/8" arm, 9 7/8" hand ) Coverage Spacing -Can cover and slash to cross over teammate's zones effectively. His aggression in many instances is a blessing and a curse. Can get caught too shallow and get popped over his head by passers with good field vision. Acceleration -Burst and first step quickness is negated by some sloppy footwork as he's hopping down into a shallow area. Has the needed burst in the open field to close ground quickly but isn't the elite athlete who can get away with poor footwork in transition. Tackling -Can deliver some surprising pop, especially when ball carriers are pinned to the sideline or with back to him. Like his aggressiveness but he can take some initial poor angles from single high in run support. Not a head up tackler...needs momentum to confidently challenge. Zone Coverage Skills -His aggression in man free can produce some splash plays. Has ability to hunt the ball and bait passers with his spacing. Would like to see a little more selective approach to free ranging and eagerness to drive on routes breaking to the MOF. Ball Skills -Does well when he's arriving in unison with the football to play the hands of receivers and ensure targets aren't uncontested. His angles to break on throws are effective, even when his lack of quickness sells him out. Not a lot of ball production in time as a starter. Competitive Toughness -His effort level is pretty even. There are a few instances of pile inspecting but he's generally a willing hitter and does look to drive on the run to ensure he's getting active in the play. Like his intent along the sideline to deliver heavy blows. Flexibility -He's a very free mover in space. Effortless ability to extend his feet and catch his momentum. Has little issue with hinging to open his hips up the field and get depth while still keying in the backfield as needed to mirror the ball. Feet/Change of Direction -Footwork is a bit of a mess in instances which he's dropping down to the LOS. Guilty of hips and a super wide spread in his feet, removing suddenness. Like his angular back-pedals and bail techniques much better to play with control and stay balanced. Man Coverage Skills -Was not featured in a press or off man role with any consistency. At this juncture, he'd be better served continuing to play as an overhang defender and single high pass defender to help enhance abilities there and add polish. Versatility -Willing effort as a tackler and in run support, has been buzzed down to the LOS in run help on occasion and can be successful there in the pros. Wouldn't prescribe any man coverage reps or anything where he doesn't have help behind him. BEST TRAIT - Ball Skills WORST TRAIT - Discipline BEST FILM - LSU (2018) WORST FILM - Clemson (2018) RED FLAGS - None Deionte Thompson is a bit of a roller coaster ride as a single high FS. Thompson has adequate range and long speed, but he's always looking to jump action in front of his face. That yields big plays...for both the defense and the opposition. Thompson would be an effective single high defender with more focus on trusting his keys and being more willing to clean up the mess instead of trying to jump the football at such a high rate. Ceiling is a Pro Bowl player. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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