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2019 NFL Combine Scouting Preview/Ranking: SAF

Air Date:
March 2, 2019

2019 NFL Combine Scouting Preview/Ranking: PSAF

SAF Sheldrick Redwine, Miami (5’11”/195) *Preview Scouting Grade = F

Very thin frame. Aggressive, attempts to be a hitter but has such a lack of mass in his body he hits and then has to grab and hold on for the tackle too many times. Maybe he moves to CB and is a better prospect, but as a SAF – no, thanks.

SAF John Battle, LSU (6’2”/206) *Preview Scouting Grade = F+/D-

All talk, no action safety. Has the size of a power/strong safety but plays like he’s afraid to get hurt. 13 solo tackles in 9 games in 2018. He likes dropping into coverage and showing up late to plays to not take the full impact on tackle attempts.

SAF Khari Willis, Michigan St. (6’0”/215) *Preview Scouting Grade = D-

Just didn’t show me much on tape. Has size but moves a little too slow to be taken seriously as a top safety prospect for the NFL.

SAF Jonathan Crawford, Indiana (6’0”/195) *Preview Scouting Grade = D-

Good college safety, but not a great NFL prospect. Very average movement skills and tackling. Just doesn’t look like a legit NFL rosterable player.

SAF Evan Worthington, Colorado (6’2”/210) *Preview Scouting Grade = D-

Feels like a free safety prospect, and not a great one. Has good listed size but he didn’t look that big on tape. Not a lot of muscle definition or thickness in his body…a little wiry for a safety and not that great a hitter from what I saw.

SAF Malik Gant, Marshall (6’2”/200) *Preview Scouting Grade = D

Good college safety, aggressive-ish…but not a great pro prospect. Wiry body…gets too easily blocked away from plays and doesn’t make true tackles all the time. Plays with effort, energy…might grind his way to the NFL but I don’t see an impact safety for the NFL here.

SAF Zedrick Woods, Ole Miss (5’11”/204) *Preview Scouting Grade = D

Hard to scout. The tape I watched he was barely in the screen to watch. Definitely not an impact or standout player on the games I cherry picked to watch. Seems like an OK athlete, but I need to see more. Was easily blocked and not near plays in my viewing.

SAF Mark McLaurin, Miss State (6’2”/215) *Preview Scouting Grade = D+

Watched him against Alabama/2017 and was completely turned off. He has the size of a nice NFL strong safety, but he plays more of a finesse free safety style and is OK speed-wise but not amazing. He could make it as a free safety, maybe. Not much of a tackler, though…that’s what turned me off quickly. Looked terrible in what I saw against Alabama…late to tackles, missed tackles, slowing up into tackles. Not my kind of safety prospect.

SAF Marquise Blair, Utah (6’1”/195) *Preview Scouting Grade = D+ (DNP)

Blair has a reputation for ‘hard hitting’, and he is that guy – but he’s more so a cheap shot artist. He’s looking for the knockout blow all the time. Hitting defenseless receivers up high to dislodge the ball, cutting their legs if they leap, helmet-to-helmet is fine by him – he’s going to get himself or another player hurt. He’s nothing special besides trying to make headlines with a hit…and, thus, overruns plays, etc., because he’s always looking for it. More trouble than he is worth, but some NFL coaches will LOVE him and want that kind of ‘attitude’.

SAF Saquan Hampton, Rutgers (6’1”/205) *Preview Scouting Grade = D+

Late edition the E-W game. Has the size. Seems to have solid instincts and tackling form. Nothing jumped out, but he might deserve a better grade than this.

SAF D’Cota Dixon, Wisconsin (5’10”/195) *Preview Scouting Grade = C-

NFL quickness. Plays hard, aggressive tackles on ballcarriers. Not as big as you’d like but makes up for it with effort. Likely a backup and good special teamer (if he makes a roster).

SAF Juan Thornhill, Virginia (6’0”/210) *Preview Scouting Grade = C-

Is almost a corner playing free safety. Very good cover instincts and technique – 6 INTs in 2018/13 INTs in his college career. So-so tackler and an OK athlete. His heart is in coverage and that’s not a top safety skill that will get your drafted highly in the NFL unless you’re a freak in coverage, of which I don’t think he is.

SAF Darius West, Kentucky (6’0”/210) *Preview Scouting Grade = C-

Solid strong safety who played some OLB. Is a candidate to be a SAF/LB hybrid player in the NFL. Has size. Moves well. Smart, heady player. He isn’t off the charts but is NFL-worthy and versatile.

SAF Will Harris, Boston College (6’1”/210) *Preview Scouting Grade = C

Nice size, a hard-hitter, and moves around the field well but looks like he might be a touch too slow to be a top NFL prospect at safety. NFL-worthy but not an obvious top guy.

SAF Mike Edwards, Kentucky (6’0”/200) *Preview Scouting Grade = C-

A solid football player. Covers the pass very well. Good tackler. Nothing stands out as ‘great’ but no ‘bad’ notes either. Not much more to say.

SAF Amani Hooker, Iowa (6’1”/210) *Preview Scouting Grade = C

One of the thickest SAF prospects in the 2019 class. He’s built like a small linebacker. He was the Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year, but also played some 4-3 OLB and looked comfortable there. He’s solid. I wasn’t grabbed by his tape. I worried more that he’s a 4.6 40-time runner and that may hurt his draft prospects. His 40-time and agility times will get him into the top 125-150 or drop him outside the top 200.

SAF Darnell Savage, Maryland (5’10”/200) *Preview Scouting Grade = C

Not a bad player, but it’s just he’s a coverage safety and they’re not that in demand/needed to draft. Savage has more value because he might could play some corner along with free safety. He definitely looks like a corner body playing safety. Willing hitter, better in coverage…8 INTs in his college career.

SAF Lukas Denis, Boston College (5’11”/190) *Preview Scouting Grade = C+

Smart, aggressive, solid in pursuit of the play…but I’m not sure the speed/agility is enough to be a coveted NFL prospect. 7 interceptions in 2017. I watched tape of him vs. Notre Dame/Josh Adams, and Adams was killing BC up the middle and Denis was not stopping it.

SAF Marvel Tell, USC (6’1”/195) *Preview Scouting Grade = C+

Shows signs of being a very good NFL safety, but also shows signs of ‘watching’ too much; not being involved in as many plays as you’d expect/want. Just 56 tackles, 1.0 TFL, no sacks, 5 PDs in 2018 (10 games).

SAF Nasir Adderly, Delaware (6’0”/200) *Preview Scouting Grade = C+

Was a dominant, physical safety pushing around FCS WRs, but he could be the one getting knocked around against top D1 prospects/NFL players. Adderley has the attitude for the NFL, but not sure he’s ready for the show.

SAF Donovan Wilson, Texas A&M (6’1”/207) *Preview Scouting Grade = C+/B-

Aggressive safety who may semi-shock with his agility times. Fearless hitter, but a little thin-framed/wiry, so the impact is not high-level, but he’s a pretty capable tackler. Can move around the field quickly. He’s got NFL skills, a bit raw…but has something to offer.

SAF Johnathan Abram, Miss State (6’0”/215) *Preview Scouting Grade = C+/B- (DNP)

Big hitter. Very tough, high effort player. Played safety and OLB on tape that I watched. Thought he held his own in coverage and was often looking for the strong tackle in the run game. Solid player and coaches will love his effort and physicality. His 40-time will be important…an outside risk he’s a 4.6+ runner.

SAF Chauncey Johnson-Gardner, Florida   *Preview Scouting Grade = B-

Solid free safety prospect. Good speed. Nice in coverage. A weak tackler…he grabs low and hangs on or dives for stuff with his head down too often. He’s susceptible to missing key tackles in the open field. A lot of his ‘highlights’ are him sneak blitzing and grabbing people from behind…something he likely won’t do as much in the NFL. There is talent here, and his tackle skills can be fixed. He’s a legit prospect but not a ready-made great one.

SAF Taylor Rapp, Washington (6’0”/200) *Preview Scouting Grade = B/B+

Above average athlete. Very willing hitter…gives as much effort as any safety in this class. Always on the move to the ball, always trying to make a tackle…and he has excellent tacking form/skills. He’s in the argument for best safety in the class, but he’s not an all-world talent that grabs your attention always…just a quality player who won’t let you down.

SAF Ugo Amadi, Oregon (5’10”/201) *Preview Scouting Grade = B+

Great in coverage…may be a move to CB at some point. He has ‘long speed’/’make-up speed’…he can get beat by a step or two off the jump on a deep ball but make up ground when the ball is in the air. He gets faster the more he goes. Three picks in 2018, returned two of them for TDs…plus, returned one punt for a TD.

SAF Mike Bell, Fresno State (6’2”/203) *Preview Scouting Grade = B+

NFL size, NFL speed and a very good tackler. Really good hitter with nice instincts to track the ballcarriers. Bell was such a smart tackler he would occasionally move into an interior linebacker spot for plays for Fresno. Just a sound, solid player.

SAF Andrew Wingard, Wyoming (6’0”/209) *Preview Scouting Grade = B+

Love him. A really fun player to watch – plays SAF and SAF/LB hybrid like an old school middle linebacker. One of the best hitters here, if not the best. He’s got an old school toughness but is really pretty athletic…great burst and anticipation, and fearless. Easy to find on the field with a long blond tail of hair coming out of the back of his helmet. 100+ tackles in a season his first three seasons at Wyoming.

23 career games with 10 or more tackles in a game. He’s the kind of defensive prospect that kinda jumps off the screen at you.

SAF Jaquan Johnson, Miami (5’11”/195) *Preview Scouting Grade = B+

The only safety prospect at the Senior Bowl that just jumped out at me every day during practices and also in the game itself. There’s just something about Johnson’s knack for getting to the ball and ballcarriers.

Very smart, very quick to the ball defender…just a really nice football player to have. Reliable to be in the right spot and a willing hitter. Good hands too – 8 career INTs, 6 forced fumbles. Very thin frame is his downside. Worries to be injury-prone at the next level.

SAF Deionte Thompson, Alabama (6’2”/196) *Preview Scouting Grade = B+/A-

He has it all – quick, can cover the pass, and is a violent hitter in the run game. Very aggressive, tough player. Plus, he went to ‘Alabama’…so, that gets him more opportunity in the pros. Just a little thin but looks like he can add 5+ pounds of muscle and be a monster.

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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. 

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