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NFL Supplemental Draft 2018 Scouting Report: CB Sam Beal, W. Michigan

July 5, 2018

NFL Supplemental Draft 2018 Scouting Report: CB Sam Beal, W. Michigan

*CB grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, Wonderlic test results leaked, etc. We will update info as it becomes available. 


By far, the main supplemental draft prospect of interest for everybody is Western Michigan CB prospect Sam Neal. There are several reports and summaries proposing Beal as a 2nd- or 3rd-round draft talent with whispers of a possible 1st-round talent.

Why is Beal heading to the supplemental draft? He wasn’t going to be eligible to play this year due to insufficient class credits.

How good is Sam Beal, and is he worth all this praise?

I think most of his buzz and scouting is pretty on target. I typically find we’re radically different on player scouting than the consensus, so it scares me to say that our data is somewhat in-line with what other analysts are saying.

Beal’s appeal boils down to ‘potential’. He has a lot of tools and proven tape that he’s a potential starting NFL cornerback. There are also some red flags, but mostly I see positives.

Beal has the size/length/reach you want – nearly 6′1″, 73″ wingspan and runs in the 4.4s. He’s a former failed wide receiver converted to cornerback…just two years of CB play. Considering his conversion and watching him on tape – he’s a natural at corner.

Some CB prospects have good+ athleticism and size, but they can’t cover WRs very well at a high level. Beal doesn’t have that issue it appears. I was very impressed with his ability to mirror his receiver. On almost every throw to his receiver, Beal is glued to the man. It was rare to see Beal’s receiver even open.

Beal looks like a skinny WR playing CB, but he’s surprisingly tough/physical. He was borderline fantastic getting up in press coverage. He fights receivers off the snap, controls them with his long arms, and has the footwork to stay with them as they cut like he’s almost a step ahead of them.

Beal’s instincts and movements for playing cover corner for just two seasons is impressive. I watched games where the other team obviously knew/respected Beal and wouldn’t think of throwing in his direction – the ultimate ‘plus’ on a scouting study…the amount of time he’s doing nothing because QBs are afraid of him.

There are some negatives. First, you have to question a superior talent who can’t get his educational life in order to at least stay eligible. If you’re a star football player, you almost have to ‘try’ to flunk out or not go to classes. It’s a red mark on his maturity and character.

Second, you like his height but weighing in at 178 pounds at 6′1″ is a tell that he’s not preparing his body for NFL excellence. I’m speculating he dropped 10 pounds to run faster at his Pro Day. If so, and if he’s really 185+, then maybe he’s more a 4.5+ runner and his shaky 7.11 three-cone is more 7.20–7.25+ and in the danger zone?

I can say this – Beal tackles like a wide receiver. He’s not interested most of the time and takes bad angles a bunch. He reaches and grabs or dives blindly at feet. He doesn’t have any tackle instinct, but that could be developed, and it’s not as critical for a CB prospect anyway.

I can see Beal drawing a top 50 type draft grade, but then falling to a #40–75 grading because of the red flag issues. Some NFL teams are desperate for cornerback help. The supplemental draft is an event that allows coaches to overstudy, isolate on a prospect like Beal, and fall in love with him. I’m guessing he will go in the 2nd round, which makes some sense.

Beal is a good prospect with baggage. If he can fly straight he’s a potential NFL starter. If he goes down the path of immaturity and irresponsibleness – he’ll be forgotten quickly.



Sam Beal, Through the Lens of Our CB Scouting Algorithm:


Had a 19-game stretch from 2016 to 2017 with 18 PDs, which is pretty nice statistical production.

Played in one bowl game (2016 vs. Wisconsin), and had a career high 8 tackles, 6 solo tackles.

Picked off Sam Darnold in a near upset of USC, and a lot is made of that – but it was a typical crap throw from Darnold and Beal grabbed it.


Pro Day Measurables…

6′0.7″/178 9" hands

4.40 40-time, 4.09 shuttle, 7.11 three-cone

37″ vertical, 10′6″ broad jump



The Historical CB Prospects to Whom Sam Beal Most Compares Within Our System:


Ken Crawley and Sidney Jones are nice comps for Beal…both entering the league athletic but thinner-framed, both really talented cover corners.




*The ratings are based on a 1–10 rating scale, but a prospect can score over 10.0+ and less than 0.0

OVERALL RATING -- We merge the data from physical measurables, skill times/counts from the NFL Combine/Pro Days, with college performance data available on pass coverage/tackles, etc. and grade it compared to our database history of all college CBs, with a focus on which CBs went on to be good-great-elite in the NFL. We found characteristics/data points that the successful NFL CBs had in common in college, and that most other CB prospects could not match/achieve.

Scoring with a rating over a 7.00+ in our system is where we start to take a CB prospect more seriously. Most of the future NFL successful college CBs scored 8.00+, and most of the NFL superior CBs pushed scores more in the 9.00+ levels...and future NFL busts will sneak in there from time to time. 10.00+ is where most of the elite NFL CBs tend to score in our system analysis.

COVERAGE -- A combination of on-field data/performance and physical profile data

SPEED -- Measurables from a perspective of straight-line speed, burst, etc.

AGILITY -- Measurables for lateral movements, quick cuts, body type, speed, etc. 

POWER -- A look at physical size, tackling productivity in college, other physical measurables. One of the side benefits/intentions here is to see which CBs may be more of a model for a conversion to playing safety successfully in the NFL. Also denotes CBs who are more physical/will have higher tackle totals...over pure speed/coverage CBs.



2018 NFL Draft Outlook:

I’d bet he’s a 2nd-round supplemental pick and likely within the first 10–15 teams picking.

If I were an NFL GM, I’d consider Beal in the 2nd round, but only if my roster was pretty solid and we needed a CB due to an emergency/injury or needed depth for a title run in 2018. If not that scenario, I’d put a 3rd-round claim in, or late 2nd.


NFL Outlook:   

Has the tools to become an NFL starter, but has some background that says he might not be a professional at his position…talented but detailed, reliable. He’s a true ‘prospect’…talented, but could go either way – good or disappointing. 


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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is an NFL Draft analyst for College Football Metrics, and a football projections analyst and writer for Fantasy Football Metrics. 

Learn more about RC and the College Football Metrics system >>