Every year, I get the list of the Senior Bowl 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 Senior Bowl week to get ready for the 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 Senior Bowl week (ranked by lowest-to-highest initial reaction grades)…
*Updated grades/ranks noted after scouting the entire week.
SAF Jared Mayden, Alabama (6’0”/205) *Early Preview Grade: D+
Didn’t play much for three seasons and then had a solid senior year. He has an NFL size and looks like he can hang in the league, but I saw a lot of tentative play and drifting around the field without much purpose. He plays more slow and pragmatic than aggressive and energized.
SAF Khaleke Hudson, Michigan (6’0”/220) *Early Preview Grade: D+
Was brought over from the East-West Shrine group, that’s worth a small bump in grade. I still am not sure I see an NFL starter, but he definitely has the size/thickness for it.
My E-W preview commentary: 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.
SAF Jalen Elliott, Notre Dame (6’0”/210) *Early Preview Grade: D+/C-
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 Brian Cole, Miss State (6’2”/210) *Early Preview Grade: D+ (Update D+/C-)
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 Terrell Burgess, Utah (6’0”/198) *Early Preview Grade: C-
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 Josh Metellus, Michigan (5’11”/218) *Early Preview Grade: C
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 K’Von Wallace, Clemson (5’11”/205) *Early Preview Grade: C
Energetic, aggressive free safety. Quality tackler. Enjoyed watching him play. He really gets after the ball nicely – 72 tackles, 10 PDs in 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.
SAF Alohi Gilman, Notre Dame (5’11”/202) *Early Preview Grade: C+
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 Antoine Brooks, Maryland *Early Preview Grade: C+ (Update: C+/B-)
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.
SAF Ashtyn Davis, Cal (6’1”/200) *Early Preview Grade: B-
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 Jeremy Chinn, So. Illinois (6’3”/219) *Early Preview Grade: B+
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, Lenoir Rhyne (6’1”/220) *Early Preview Grade: C?/B?/A? (Update: B+)
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 way 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.