2019 NFL Draft/Dynasty Rookie Draft Preview -- THEIR Top Four Safety Prospects
Looking ahead to the 2019 NFL Draft/Dynasty Rookie Draft, etc., prospects. We’re going position by position (except OL) and looking at the top 3-5 expert consensus prospects (not my top 5). I’m doing an abbreviated study of a couple game tapes and review the performance numbers through 2017 and giving my initial impressions on these prospects.
Scouting with just eyes is dangerous. I’d like to have my computer scouting models helping me, but we cannot use that tool until the pre-draft measurables, etc., are recorded. I’m a pretty decent talent evaluator of just tape after all the years, but not without flaw.
So, with that – here’s my first impressions of spending a little time with each prospect. I’m going to rank them from worst-to-best of the group and assign a school letter scouting grade as well.
Chauncey Gardner, Florida (Early Prospect Grade: C+)
Very quick free safety but plays more like a cornerback. From my observation, he spent most of his time in coverage and on most plays I watched, his first step was going backwards/dropping back. It’s his natural instinct. He might be better suited for cornerback with his quickness at 5’10”/195. He’s not bad; just didn’t jump out at me first intro.
Lukas Denis, Boston College (Early Prospect Grade: B)
Really solid all the way around, but there was no ‘wow’ watching him play. A very good, sound/quality tackler. He has very good instincts for picking through traffic and getting to the ballcarrier. Decent cover skills too. I have no negatives noted, but no glowing remarks either.
Jaquan Johnson, Miami, Fla. (Early Prospect Grade: B-B+)
Very good hitter. Great closing speed on ballcarriers and defending passes. 96 tackles, 4 picks, 3 forced fumbles last season. A team captain. A very sound player, a guy you want on your NFL defense. I liked his whole game, but again…no ‘wow’ here. He’ll be an IDP of interest if he lands in the right spot in 2019.
Marvell Tell, USC (Early Prospect Grade: B+)
The closest to ‘wow’ among the safeties I previewed. Very quick to the ball/play. Wiry-strong body with great reach/arm length. Very sticky hands to pick passes, knock passes away. Showed the best ability to read run or pass but tends to cheat coming up close to try to make plays – he can get caught coming in with receivers blazing past his area. Quick feet and very gifted coming up as a quasi-linebacker and blitzing the backfield. He’s a menace all over the field – the most active safety of the group. He just seems like, carries himself like ‘best in class’.