Every year, I get the list of East-West Shrine prospects and go through each one for a 15-30 minute tape and initial data scouting session. I then slap an initial (school) grade reaction on each prospect and write a few lines about my first reaction to my preview study on them – to publish during East-West Shrine week to get ready for the E-W practice week and game.
I’ll get a better feel for these players after we get their Combine and/or Pro Day numbers and run our scouting analytics and do deeper research on some of them, but for now he’s a first reaction preview of the players going into their East-West week (ranked by lowest-to-highest initial reaction grades)…
SAF Damar Hamlin, Pitt (6’1”/195) *Early Preview Grade: F+
Plays free safety with the heart of a cornerback, from what I saw. Loves to drift back into coverage. Doesn’t aggressively pursue plays if not right at/near him. Kinda drifts around the field. I didn’t see any reason for NFL excitement.
SAF Tanner Muse, Clemson (6’1”/230) *Early Preview Grade: F+
What I saw was a wildly unathletic SAF/LB. A try hard, good effort, big bodied nice college defender but not much to offer the next level that I saw.
DB Myles Dorn, UNC (6’2”/205) *Early Preview Grade: D-
Free safety with size but poor tackler…all arms/grabbing and not strong, aggressive form tackling. I don’t see much here on tape or in his college career numbers.
SAF Marc-Antoine Dequoy, Montreal (6’3”/195) *Early Preview Grade: D-
Big free safety who makes a bunch of plays in the passing game…in the Canadian college ranks. He looks like he’s ‘Canadian college good’ and not enough of an athlete for the NFL. The CFL guys will be all over him this week.
SAF David Dowell, Michigan State (6’1”/209) *Early Preview Grade: D-
Nondescript, solid college safety. I see no real NFL attributes or reason to get excited on my preview tape. He did have 5 picks in 2017, but more of a deep safety, ball thrown to him more than him ‘making’ plays.
CB Parnell Motley, Oklahoma (6’0”/180) *Early Preview Grade: D-
Often lost in coverage from what I saw. QBs had no fear going after him. He was CFB athletic enough to recover/defend some passes, but I didn’t see any signs of an NFL cover guy here.
CB Keith Washington, West Virginia (6’1”/180) *Early Preview Grade: D-
Solid enough college CB but doesn’t appear to have the movement skills needed for the NFL. My first glance left me thinking he wasn’t NFL material.
SAF Austin Lee, BYU (6’0”/200) *Early Preview Grade: D-
Hard-working, smart safety who may not have the juice to grind to a role in the NFL. Likely not going to be an NFL rosteree in his career.
DB Jeremiah Dinson, Auburn (6’0”/191) *Early Preview Grade: D
Solid college DB who tore his knee up his freshman season and missed half his freshman year and redshirted his following season to rehab. Just doesn’t look he has the pop/the movement skills of a serious NFL prospect right now.
SAF Jordan Fuller, Ohio State (6’2”/205) *Early Preview Grade: D
Solid enough player for college but doesn’t display any real talents/attributes to get you excited about the next level. He might could make an NFL roster and hang onto a spot…maybe. A low probability to become a starter or impact player.
CB Lavert Hill, Michigan (5’11”/181) *Early Preview Grade: D+
A little-smaller-than-you’d-like CB prospect. He’s aggressive and has decent movement skills, but I saw him getting beat by bigger receivers like it was nothing. He may be 1-2 inches smaller than they list him, we’ll see. Just not enough here to get excited about for the NFL, but he’s tenacious…he might make it to a pro roster on sheer effort/heart.
SAF Khaleke Hudson, Michigan (6’0”/220) *Early Preview Grade: D+
Was given the license to be a SAF/OLB who got to line up all over and rush the backfield and make plays…which worked some in college, but he doesn’t appear to have serious skills for the next level. He’s not bad. He might have some versatility usefulness in the NFL, but I didn’t see a solid NFL prospect here…more of a nice, gambling college defender.
CB John Reid, Penn State (5’11”/184) *Early Preview Grade: D+
Scrappy, undersized corner…but solid talent. Nice movement/feet in coverage and is aggressive/tough. He’s a legit NFL prospect, just not a high-end one.
SAF Jordan Glasgow, Michigan (6’1”/226) *Early Preview Grade: D+
Had a breakout year in 2019…89 tackles, 7 TFLs, 5.0 sacks. He’s a big, bulky strong safety…but probably more SAF/LB or OLB prospect. He’s got some size and instincts and plays with nice effort. The question mark is whether he has the speed-agility/movement skills for the NFL. He’s shaky there. He might grind his way to the NFL, but it won’t be an easy/smooth path that I can see.
SAF Luther Kirk, Illinois State (6’0”/192) *Early Preview Grade: D+
Solid cover safety. OK tackler but seems to want to play more coverage than get into the fray. Could transition to a CB prospect depending upon true measurables.
CB DeMarkus Acy, Missouri (6’2”/195) *Early Preview Grade: C-
Nice length for a CB prospect, long arms/nice reach. Speed/burst/agility to keep up with high-level WRs is the question. I saw some mild concerns with it on tape, but not easy to say as QBs tended to stay away from him on the tape I watched.
SAF Patrick Nelson, SMU (6’0”/216) *Early Preview Grade: C-
Hard hitting safety, for sure. Seems to play for the tackle/big hit more than he is reading the play. Has some NFL movement skills. He could be coaches into a productive NFL defender, possibly…as a SAF or SAF/LB hybrid.
CB Elijah Riley, Army (6’0”/205) *Early Preview Grade: C/C-
Team captain…that’s saying something for the Army football team. Nose for the ball and making plays. 79 tackles, 8 TFLs, 3 picks, 3 forced fumbles in 13 games in 2019. Hard-nosed, aggressive…what he lacks in athleticism is made up for by everything else.
DB Antoine Brooks, Maryland (5’11”/215) *Early Preview Grade: C
Plays SAF like an OLB. Tough/quick/hard-hitting. He’s a solid football player…his grade will move up or down depending upon his Combine measurables. Led the Big Ten in solo tackles with 69 (12 games)…he is a really nice form tackler.
DB Shyheim Carter, Alabama (5’11”/191) *Early Preview Grade: C
Scrappy nickel DB. Short, squat/thick, but pretty quick reacting to the ball in the air or a ballcarrier on the loose. Not a bad little prospect at all. Not a future star, but a future useful to an NFL team and maybe a solid starter.
CB Jace Whittaker, Arizona (5’11”/185) *Early Preview Grade: C-
Hard to get a read on because the games I previewed, the QBs were staying away from him as best they could…a good sign, but hard to see how really good he is. He reminded me if a smaller Marcus Peters…plays way off receivers and is very patient in his movements, and will give up underneath stuff a lot…but then lulls people to sleep and makes plays – 7 career INTs, 1 return TD, 34 career PDs. Not the size the NFL is looking for but skills to make up for it.
DB Nevelle Clarke, C. Florida (6’1”/187) *Early Preview Grade: C+/B-
Long armed, muscular…looks like DeAndre Hopkins playing CB. A great hand fighter with WR off the snap. Terrific ability to get his long arms in-between the WR and the incoming pass to breakup throws. A lot of tools here. His Combine/Pro Day speed-agility times will determine if he’s more B than C grade for the pros. I like what I saw here.
CB Lamar Jackson, Nebraska (6’3”/215) *Early Preview Grade: C+/B-
Raw CB prospect. Was a safety for a few seasons, then moved to CB full time. Has nice size. Has some athleticism but not very fluid in coverage. Is getting better. His versatility and size might get him into the NFL to work special teams while they groom him at CB or SAF or both.
DB Javaris Davis, Auburn (5’10”/180) *Early Preview Grade: B+/A-
Wow. Stunning speed-agility in coverage here. He might be a future Pro Bowl slot corner, at my first glance. He made a long INT return TD against Arkansas that may be the most stunning return of a pick I’ve ever seen…it was like Tyreek Hill was returning the pick. Great stop-start ability. Willing tackler…he might be more A/A+ with more info. Blown away here.
CB/SAF Chris Williamson, Minnesota (6’0”/205) *Early Preview Grade: B-
Radical closing speed…I mean he’s like a vampire – one moment he’s in coverage as an OLB/SAF then next moment he is up in the backfield creating havoc, and you wondered how he got there so fast. Really impressive feet/burst. He’s listed as a CB prospect and I could see that with his fast reacting feet in coverage, but I saw him playing a lot of SAF/OLB type of hybrid, joker floating around and just involved in the action. One pick in 2019…returned it for a TD. I really liked the raw speed/burst here. That’s NFL type of movement for sure.