2022 Devy Preview Scouting Series (for 2023+): SAF Jalen Catalon, Arkansas
*Devy (for 2023 prospects) Preview scouting = scouting 1-2+ key game tapes, looking at output trends/basic analytics, and some minor background research. Not a full blown, deep dive scouting report. We’ll continue to scout these players ahead of the college all-star games, the Combine and post-Combine for a full reporting ahead of their NFL Draft.
I (RC) conducted my scouting as Ross Jacobs did his, we then exchanged our reports without knowing what the other was thinking/seeing. Then we briefly discussed our scouting of this player in an informal text chat (posted below the two scouting takes). *Please forgive typos on the chat transcript.
SAF Jalen Catalon, Arkansas (Scouting Grade: C+) = by R.C. Fischer
5'10”/200, 2021: 46 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 0.0 sacks, 2 INT, 4 PD, 0 FF (6g), Projected: 4.5 40-time, 7.0+ 3-cone
A really good football player who will defy his measurables, I’m sure. Good tackler. Solid in coverage. A smart kid, who is a leader/captain. A very good college safety…and possibly just a solid one for the NFL. He’s a player for the league for sure, but at how high of a level…I’d need to see another year of development.
COMP? = Xavier Woods?
S Jalen Catalon, Arkansas (Scouting Preview Grade: B) --Ross Jacobs
5'10”/200, 2021: 46 tackles, 1.5 tfl, 2 INT, 4 pd (6g), Projected: 4.5 40-time, 6.8 3-cone
Tenacious, hard-hitting safety at his best attacking downhill. Catalon just never stops coming and will take the ball carrier's head off if he isn't careful. Very versatile player with the ability to play deep, in the box, in the slot, even blitz occasionally. He brings a lot to the table and has the speed to cover a lot of ground. Can be overly aggressive at times which causes him to run his way out of the play and his tackling technique can be inconsistent as he tries to demolish people. He's also a little on the small side for an NFL safety. His negatives are relatively minor though. He's got the athleticism, smarts, and instincts to be an instant starter in the NFL.
NFL Comp? = Reggie Nelson/Budda Baker mix
RC: OK, Arkansas homer...take it away
RC: Budda Baker...strong comp, but I can’t rule it out
Ross: He's good. Think his size might keep him from being top of the line but that's really my only concern. He averaged nearly 10 tackles a game in 2020 and injuries slowed him a little last year
RC: The size is the only big things, which may not be anything...but you like a SAF to be 6'0"+ preferably but he should be 200+
Ross: Yeah, if he was 2" taller and 10 lbs heavier that would be perfect. But he's not. Hasn't stopped Baker. Earl Thomas is only about 5'10" but quite a bit thicker
RC: He could get a bump on personality and leadership
RC: For the Patriots, etc.
Ross: His intangibles might get him drafted in the 1st
RC: Whoa...do people think that much of him already?
RC: Safeties should not be 1st-round picks, especially 5'10"/200 ones
RC: And if he drops to 190+ to run faster at the Combine, it may work against him
Ross: How big was McCourty?
Ross: I think Catalon will be fine. How high he should go is another question but as the Oakland A's used to say: who cares where you take them?
RC: I cannot take a SAF 1st round in the NFL economics
RC: The money a 1st-rounder commands, the 5th year option fight...not worth it at RB or SAF
RC: With what kicks around in free agency available on top of everything else
Ross: What if you knew you were getting Ed Reed or Polamalu?
RC: I would miss them today because I would economically downgrade their value to me as a pick
RC: Ed Reed woulda stung. Polamalu I could live without
Ross: Strong words
RC: That's what I think of SAF, in the big picture...not much
RC: Good options sitting middle of draft and cheap off free agency