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2020 NFL Combine Preview Scouting – SAF

Air Date:
February 27, 2020

My Combine previews of each prospect attending the event is me taking 20-40 minutes and reviewing some game tape and going over career numbers/output and some background info – just trying to get a quick feel for the player and reporting out a few sentences on what I see. So we can watch/look at the Combine results aided with more info going in.

Some of the players I’ve previewed in 2019 and/or at the 2020 East-West Shrine or 2020 Senior Bowl weeks as well. The QBs have been scouted deeper and run through our scouting models already. Overall, it’s my best ‘flash’ opinion without going deeper with the tape or having the true measurables for the prospects.

Once we have the measurables, we’re off to the races with deeper studies and bigger reports up to and through the NFL Draft – but for now, here’s my quicker take…subject to change/being wrong once I get deeper into the studies with them:

SAF L'Jarius Sneed, DB, Louisiana Tech, 6’1”/193 (Grade: F-)

I cannot believe he was extended a Combine invitation. Too slender, not physical enough, weak safety prospect.


SAF Kamren Curl, Arkansas, 6’1”/198 (Grade: F)

Solid tackler and size but no great speed to go with it…not NFL speed. He might run a 4.8+ at the Combine. He is going to time himself out of the NFL Draft at the Combine, I have a feeling.


SAF Tanner Muse, Clemson, 6’2”/230 (Grade: F+)

From my East-West previews…

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.


SAF Jordan Fuller, Ohio State, 6’2”/205 (Grade: D)

From my East-West previews…

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 Essang Bassey, Wake Forest, 5’10”/190 (Grade: D+)

From my Senior Bowl previews…

Not a great cover corner. Better sitting back in a soft zone and reacting. Better CB prospect for a zone cover team. Might be a better free safety than CB prospect. Aggressive, energetic, but highly questionable cover skills.


SAF Jaylinn Hawkins, California, 6’2”/210 (Grade: D+)

Played safety mostly in college. Has some projection as a corner, but his heart seems to be as a safety. He’s got some NFL hope as a safety and special teams if his Combine numbers are decent.


SAF Brandon Jones, Texas, 6’0”/205 (Grade: D+)

I didn’t see anything too exciting here. Probably a 4.6+ runner. Not that fast, not that great a tackler. I didn’t see a top safety prospect here. Scouts like him, but I didn’t see it. I may need more time with him…or I hit it on the head right away.


SAF Geno Stone, DB, Iowa, 5’10”/210 (Grade: D+)

Smart, hardworking safety. Short and thick/solid. He’s a little too short for the NFL’s liking at safety but he might play a DB role and be a special teamer, etc. If he runs in the 4.5s, his stock moves up nicely because he’s a solid football player.


SAF J.R. Reed, Georgia, 6’1”/194 (Grade: D+/C-)

Has NFL size. Worked like an opportunist free safety in college, which is nice but not terribly valuable in the NFL Draft (plenty of them). So-so tackler. Could be a CB convert, thus I have some ‘C’ grade consideration for that move.


SAF Shyheim Carter, Alabama, 5’11”/191 (Grade: D+/C-)

From my East-West previews…

Scrappy nickel or dime 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 Grayland Arnold, Baylor, 5’9”/185 (Grade: D+/C-)

Tough to scout… On one hand, he looks too small to be a serious NFL prospect…too small for the ideal corner and too small to be a tackling/NFL-level of physicality safety. On the other hand, he’s a heck of a football player – the kind of guy the scouts don’t like, that the draft overlooks, and then he gets an undrafted invite to camp and the next thing you know he’s in the league for 5+ years because he is multifaceted and smart. He’ll make the league I bet, but he’ll have to fight his way there without a lot of draft fanfare (unless he runs a 4.4+ 40-time at the Combine).


SAF Terrell Burgess, Utah, 6’0”/198 (Grade: C-)

From my Senior Bowl previews…

Good, clean hitter. Played LB and SAF snap-to-snap. Has a linebacker mentality with a free safety body. Might be a solid NFL body for nickel/dime packages and special teams. His NFL future seems to be in the secondary and I didn’t see any conversion to CB potential.


SAF Brian Cole II, Mississippi State, 6’2”/210 (Grade: C-)

From my Senior Bowl previews…

UPDATE: Made some plays and moves during the week/game where I was like ‘wow…what an athlete!’. Then he’d not do anything of note for the rest of the day. He’s more athlete than savvy player, still, for me. Physically, he belongs.

Org. Comments: Plays like, looks like a strong safety. Was used as an OLB for Miss State in the tape I watched. Wasn’t a real impact player. Was easily blocked out of plays or was chasing the wrong way after plays. He has NFL size, but I don’t think he has the NFL instincts. Will have to grind his way to the NFL.


SAF Jalen Elliott, DB, Notre Dame, 6’0”/210 (Grade: C-)

From my Senior Bowl previews…

He’s a top free safety prospect on some scouting sites I see…I don’t get it. Maybe with more tape I will, but what I saw is a pure free safety mindset…loves to drift back into coverage and drift towards running plays around him. Tackles with more arms then force. Not impressed at first look.


SAF Josh Metellus, Michigan, 5’11”/218 (Grade: C)

From my Senior Bowl previews…

Very solid, muscular strong safety. Decent tackler. Has NFL movement skills but not off-the-charts. He’s a very good/solid NFL prospect at safety.


SAF Julian Blackmon, Utah, 6’1/204 (Grade: C)

Talented safety who will have his draft fate determined by the Combine…he could rise up to a B-level with a good showing/good measurables or drop into D-territory if things don’t go well. He’s a good player with size waiting to see if his Combine athleticism is worthy of a top 150 status or not.


SAF K'Von Wallace, Clemson, 5’11”/205 (Grade: C)

From my Senior Bowl previews…

Energetic, aggressive free safety. Quality tackler. Enjoyed watching him play. He really gets after the ball nicely – 72 tackles, 10 PDs in the 2019 season. He’s just a great piece to have on the defensive chess board. His NFL Combine measurables will tell the tale of whether he is a B or C grade prospect.


CB Trajan Bandy, Miami, 5’9”/186 (Grade: C+)

Mixed bag of things to consider… Plays much bigger/tougher than his listed size. Has one of the best bursts/closing speeds at this Combine. There are things to love. On the other side of things – not the ideal size for an NFL corner and plays a little erratic…wanders around the field watching plays a little too much (when he could be running to the scene to help just in case) and some jawing and woofing that’s not needed, but fine…but would be better served just making plays instead of getting in opponent’s faces every time he makes a normal/good play. He’s got skills for sure, might be a B grade with more info.


SAF Alohi Gilman, Notre Dame, 5’11”/202 (Grade: C+)

From my Senior Bowl previews…

Very quick safety. Works in coverage and closing in on the running game. Willing, solid hitter. This is a very legit NFL safety prospect. Began his college career with the Navy, transferred to Notre Dame after his freshman year.


SAF Rodney Clemons, SMU, 6’0”/205 (Grade: C+)

He’s a really nice college safety and NFL prospect – very quick to the ball and a willing hitter, has the NFL size, but can also work well in coverage. He has an all-around game and plays full speed. Enjoyed his tape.


SAF Antoine Brooks Jr., Maryland, 5’11”/215 (Grade: C+/B-)

From my Senior Bowl previews…

UPDATE: There were a number of times this week, I’d see a play/a player around differently than the others…and I’d think/say ‘Who was that?’ And more than a few times -- it was Brooks. He just has a nose for the action and is tough. Really appreciated his play more after watching him this week. A legit NFL safety prospect.

Org. Comments: Coming over from the East-West Shrine. His stock on the rise. He might be a B or better prospect in the end.

From my E-W preview: 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.


CB Damon Arnette, Ohio State, 6’0”/195 (Grade: B-)

Very solid CB prospect. Not much more to say. He checks a lot of ‘good’ (maybe no great) boxes – good size, a bit on the skinny side (and may be 5’11” not 6’0”), nice feet, mirrors WRs well. May be a better slot CB than outside CB but should be fine either way.


SAF Ashtyn Davis, DB, California, 6’1”/200 (Grade: B-)

From my Senior Bowl previews…

A very good free safety prospect. Solid in coverage and quick enough, and aggressive enough to come up and make the 1-on-1 hits as the last line of defense. The extra scouting grade bump comes from the fact that he has conversion to CB potential (he should pursue that ASAP). Looked a touch like Justin Simmons watching him play.


SAF Xavier McKinney, Alabama, 6’1”/200 (Grade: B-)

If he’s 6’1”/200 at the Combine, I’ll be shocked. He’s more 5’10”/190…and then that drags his prospect stock down. McKinney is not great, he’s solid/good. He had the luxury at Alabama of sitting back and roving around looking to make plays. He wasn’t a monster in coverage or stopping the run like a fiend – he got to sit back and pick his spots like a smaller Minkah Fitzpatrick. He gets all the ‘good’ plays…chasing INTs and chasing ballcarriers that are being slowed by others, so he could come up and hit them full speed and look good. He’s ‘Alabama’, so he’s instantly a top prospect for the football community. He’s not worthy of shining Grant Delpit’s shoes a safety prospect, in my book…but he’s good.


SAF Daniel Thomas, Auburn, 5’10”/209 (Grade: B-)

I’m a fan. Thomas is muscular and rock solid with a real nice burst/acceleration, and he will pop you. He’s also a very smart, intuitive player…smart in coverage and measured coming in to play the run. Can also play some linebacker if needed. If he were a bit taller, he’d be a top safety prospect nationally…which is a shame/takes away from how good a player he is. You want him taller to cover the big WRs and TEs, so it is a knock…but he really looks good in all the other phases. He’s a draft discount version of Antoine Winfield.


SAF Chris Miller, Baylor, 6’0”/191 (Grade: B-)

He’s full speed all the time, which is said about a lot of players, but none may display the definition more than Miller. The guy is turned up to ‘11’ all game. He’s got good instincts and is always moving to the ball at full speed. He drops into coverage well, but he can really come after running plays with nice tackling skills and a fearless abandon to make hits. Xavier McKinney with a 1st-round pick or Miller Day 3? No brainer for the value – take Miller, same/bigger size, as fast/faster, and a better hitter.


SAF Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota, 5’10”/205 (Grade: B/B+)

Just a solid football player. Always around the action. Speed/agility to cover and build/toughness to play the run. He’s a bit smaller than you like in your safety but what he lacks in height is forgotten with his skill. He’s a bit like Tyrann Mathieu without the psychological issues.


SAF Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois, 6’3”/219 (Grade: B+)

From my Senior Bowl previews…

A legit NFL strong safety at the FCS level. He has some ‘wow’. Might be an ‘A’ grade prospect. Great footwork/speed/agility. Is a hitter. Had 13 INTs and 6 forced fumbles over his 4-year career. All-academic conference player as well.


SAF Kyle Dugger, DB, Lenoir-Rhyne, 6’1”/220 (Grade: B+)

From my Senior Bowl previews…

UPDATE: Well, he definitely wasn’t overmatched here this week…and he not only fit in, he stood out. Very possible ‘A’ grade prospect at safety, could be the cheap alternative to paying too much for Grant Delpit at the top.

Org. Comments: Cliff Harris Award winner (top DB in D2) in 2019. Six career punt return TDs in 67 career attempts. Hard to tell how good he is because he looked like a grown man playing backyard football with neighborhood grade schoolers. He has the size for sure, but hard to tell how fast he is (for the NFL) because of the competition he was working against. I’m intrigued but we’ll see how he fares with D1 players this week…could be an ‘A’ for all I know, he shows some signs of ‘A’. Like a faster/better Jaquiski Tartt.


SAF Grant Delpit, DB, LSU, 6’3”/203, (Grade: A/A+)

As good a safety prospect as you’ll ever see. A very smart, instinctual player who has ‘plus’ speed/burst to get into the action in a blink of an eye. Great size for a safety too. Really, no flaws here. Great tackler, and great in coverage. I don’t like to value safeties highly for the draft for football economic reasons, but Delpit is a potential consideration to ignore that…depending upon his Combine numbers confirming what I think they will.  



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 >>