April 26, 2017

2017 Safety Prospects

#24 Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State



QB / RB / WR / TE / OT / IOL / EDGE / DL / LB / CB / S



As great as this year's group of corners is, this year's crop of safeties is not too far behind. Some of these players have experience playing corner. Whether you are looking for a centerfielder who can be a play maker, or an extra linebacker who can cover man-to-man, this class has you covered. Two top talents in Malik Hooker and Jamal Adams lead the way.

Prospect rankings are based on film breakdown provided by Draft Breakdown with a minimum of 3 games watched per prospect in most cases. Measurables, athletic testing, future roles and projections are also taken into effect.
Injuries, off the field issues, etc. will mot be taken into consideration. These rankings are based on talent and projections on the field. Players are grouped into "tiers" to separate them. Players that I project as early round picks will be placed in the "All-Pro"/"Pro Bowl" tiers for example. Prospects that I saw limited film of or was unable to watch at all will not be ranked, but listed under "Other Notable Prospects". Specifically, prospects well known in the scouting community and draft sites like CBS Sports and Pro Football Focus will be listed here.



Tier One: All-Pro Prospects


1. Malik Hooker**
Experience: Sophomore (RS) | School: Ohio State
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 210 lbs.
Hand Size: 10 3/4" | Arm Length: 32 1/4" | Grade: Top 10


40 Time: N/A | Bench: N/A | Vertical: N/A | Broad: N/A
3 Cone: N/A | 20-Yard Shuttle: N/A | 60-Yard Shuttle: N/A


Analysis: Size. Length. Speed. Athleticism. Instincts. Ball Skills. Malik Hooker has it all. It's why scouts are salivating over him. Against the run, he's a work in progress. He displays good aggression and the ability to change directions suddenly to make plays, but he tends to take some poor angles and ducks his head when going in for the tackle. Yet, he has shown flashes of being an impactful run defender. He also has shown signs of being an effective blitzer. Prototype centerfielder who's drawing comparisons to Ed Reed and Reggie Nelson.




2. Jamal Adams*
Experience: Junior | School: Louisiana State
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 212 lbs.
Hand Size: 9 1/4" | Arm Length: 33 3/8" | Grade: Top 10


40 Time: 4.45 | Bench: 18 | Vertical: 31.5" | Broad: 120"
3 Cone: 6.96 | 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.13 | 60-Yard Shuttle: 11.92


Analysis: Malik Hooker may be a better ball hawk, but Jamal Adams is the more complete safety as of now. He can cover man to man, play in the box, or play single high. He's always around the ball. Usually takes good angles and can tackle in space. Playmaker in his own right. Should be able to make an immediate impact for the team that drafts him. His instincts are impressive as well.




Tier Two: Pro Bowl Prospects


3. Marlon Humphrey**
Experience: Sophomore (RS) | School: Alabama
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 198 lbs.
Hand Size: 8 3/4" | Arm Length: 32 1/4" | Grade: Round 1


40 Time: 4.41 | Bench: 10 | Vertical: N/A | Broad: 125"
3 Cone: 6.75 | 20-Yard Shuttle: N/A | 60-Yard Shuttle: N/A


Analysis: I think Humphrey stacks up well with some of the other top corners in this class. He's got pretty good size and length. He should be able to excel in zone coverage, but has the skill set to be a good man to man corner as well. Blankets receivers. When he gets to high during his backpedal, it can leave him vulnerable, and even though he's got above average closing and recovery speed, he can get beat deep. This may be more so about him needed to improve his technique, but too often he will bite on fakes. Ball skills in man coverage are questionable, but they look elite when he's in zone coverage. He's aggressive in getting off of blocks and making plays in the running game. So he is a bit raw, but he has the tools, the athleticism, and the talent to be a stud cornerback at the next level. But, a potential move to safety could be intriguing.




4. Adoree' Jackson*
Experience: Junior | School: Southern California
Height: 5-10 | Weight: 186 lbs.
Hand Size: 9 1/4" | Arm Length: 31 3/8" | Grade: Round 1


40 Time: 4.42 | Bench: N/A | Vertical: 36" | Broad: 122"
3 Cone: 6.62 | 20-Yard Shuttle: N/A | 60-Yard Shuttle: N/A


Analysis: A dynamic, game changing type of player is what you'll get with Adoree' Jackson. Just figure out a way to put the ball in his hands and watch what he can do in space. He can be a bit overaggressive and has some issues with keeping his balance in coverage. He likes to gamble, and has some really good ball skills and is capable of playing bigger than he is. Overaggressive does lead to a few mistakes though. Kind of risk/reward. Lack of size could force him to move to safety, or he can be a really good slot corner. Willing run defender, and actually one of the better defensive backs when it comes to tackling. Won't be able to press. Likely to be strictly an off coverage corner. Could be a monster in zone coverage. He needs some work, but the talent and upside are there, and he's already shown a lot of progression.




5. Desmond King
Experience: Senior | School: Iowa
Height: 5-10 | Weight: 203 lbs.
Hand Size: 9 5/8" | Arm Length: 31 1/8" | Grade: Round 2


40 Time: 4.55 | Bench: 14 | Vertical: 34" | Broad: 117"
3 Cone: 6.67 | 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.18 | 60-Yard Shuttle: 11.57


Analysis: Lack of size and concerns about his long speed could force the move to safety. In fact, I believe King projects well as a safety due to his outstanding play in zone coverage, his ball skills, and his impact in the running game. He a physical player who will fight in coverage, even if he doesn't project well as a man-to-man corner. His closing speed is really good as well.




Tier Three: Future Starter Prospects


6. Tedric Thompson
Experience: Senior | School: Colorado
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 206 lbs.
Hand Size: 9 5/8" | Arm Length: 31 1/2" | Grade: Round 2


40 Time: 4.60 | Bench: 17 | Vertical: 35.5" | Broad: 117"
3 Cone: 7.11 | 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.36 | 60-Yard Shuttle: 11.65


Analysis: Wow. When watching the two Colorado corners, Thompson continued to flash, and he is the real deal. His range is impressive, but his ball skills are right up there with Malik Hooker's IMO. He shows great body control and ability to track and attack the football in the air. Breaks on the ball really well, and from what I saw in three games, was a player who can tackle in space and deliver a big hit here and there. He isn't the most explosive athlete, but he definitely is not a bad athlete. He also doesn't have much experience playing man to man. Play making ball hawk who should be a centerfielder for a team. As for playing in the box? He hasn't shown a willingness to take on blocks, nor the consistent ability to shed them. He also needs to work on his tackling technique. I like Thompson a lot. The ability to be a game changer in the passing game should push him up the draft boards.




7. Budda Baker*
Experience: Junior | School: Washington
Height: 5-10 | Weight: 192 lbs.
Hand Size: 9" | Arm Length: 30 3/4" | Grade: Round 3


40 Time: 4.45 | Bench: 15 | Vertical: 32.5" | Broad: 115"
3 Cone: 6.76 | 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.08 | 60-Yard Shuttle: N/A


Analysis: Baker is a baller. He isn't afraid to mix it up and be physical. Despite his lack of size, he is a proven player in coverage. Has experience playing in the slot, and is a willing tackler, though not the most consistent. Struggles to make tackles in space. I don't seem him as a player who will be very effective defending the jump ball, which is very important for a safety. However, he does have above average range and instincts. Solid player.




8. Marcus Maye
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Florida
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 207 lbs.
Hand Size: 9 1/8" | Arm Length: 32 1/2" | Grade: Round 3


40 Time: 4.50 | Bench: N/A | Vertical: 33.5" | Broad: 118"
3 Cone: 7.10 | 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.25 | 60-Yard Shuttle: N/A


Analysis: One of the best run stopping safeties in the draft. Can take on and shed blocks. Takes smart angles, and does not miss a lot of tackles. Not afraid to be physical and lay a big hit on the ball carrier. Always around the football. May not be as polished in coverage as some of the other safeties in the draft, but he has the play making ability to play either safety position.




9. Delano Hill
Experience: Senior | School: Michigan
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 223 lbs.
Hand Size: 9 3/8" | Arm Length: 32 1/8" | Grade: Round 3


40 Time: 4.47 | Bench: 17 | Vertical: 33.5" | Broad: 115"
3 Cone: 6.96 | 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.27 | 60-Yard Shuttle: N/A


Analysis: Underrated safety prospect. Checks off plenty of boxes for a top safety prospect. Size, speed, and agility are all above average. Quick to diagnose running plays and snuffs out screens. Looks like a missile on the field with excellent closing speed. Not really a big hitter, but a solid tackler in space. Can break down and square up, but will wait for the opponent to make first contact occasionally. Has shown impressive ability in coverage. Can cover tight ends and wide outs. Could possibly play corner? Has the footwork and length teams look for in a boundary corner. One of the better safeties against the run. Can play in the box. Wasn't really a play maker. Does he have the range and ball skills to be a consistent difference maker in the back end?




10. Marcus Sanders-Williams*
Experience: Junior | School: Utah
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 202 lbs.
Hand Size: 9 1/2" | Arm Length: 32 1/2" | Grade: Round 3


40 Time: 4.56 | Bench: 14 | Vertical: 43.5" | Broad: 129"
3 Cone: 6.85 | 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.20 | 60-Yard Shuttle: 11.26


Analysis: Projects well as a single high safety. Size and athleticism are both ideal. Rangy player with excellent ball skills and play making ability in the back end. Didn't see many plays of him covering man-to-man. Not a bad tackler, but lacks ideal aggression in the running game. More of a "catch tackler". Angles to the ball specifically against the run need to improve. Not flashy, but productive and effective.




11. Justin Evans
Experience: Senior | School: Texas A&M
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 195 lbs.
Hand Size: 9 3/4" | Arm Length: 32" | Grade: Round 3


40 Time: 4.57 | Bench: 14 | Vertical: 41.5" | Broad: 129"
3 Cone: N/A | 20-Yard Shuttle: N/A | 60-Yard Shuttle: N/A


Analysis: Speed, athleticism, range, ball skills, and instincts are all there for Evans as a free safety. He can jump routes and break up passes as well as anyone. Has even flashed the ability to potentially do well in man coverage. However, he is such a poor player in space. Can't trust him as the last line of defense. Flashes physicality. Able to lay some big hits on opposing receivers, but too hesitant and slow to react in the running game. Needs to improve the angles he takes as well. Would need to add strength to play in the box. Technique in coverage could use some work as he relies on his athleticism too often.




Tier Four: Developmental Starter Prospects


12. Xavier Woods
Experience: Senior | School: Louisiana Tech
Height: 5-11 | Weight: 208 lbs.
Hand Size: 9 3/8" | Arm Length: 30 3/8" | Grade: Round 4


40 Time: 4.50 | Bench: 19 | Vertical: 33.5" | Broad: 122"
3 Cone: 6.72 | 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.13 | 60-Yard Shuttle: 11.56


Analysis: Versatile DB who can play in the slot as well as either safety position. Lacks size and elite athleticism, but shows a willingness to come up in run support and make tackles in space. Had some struggles with Taywan Taylor in coverage. Gambles in coverage, which leads to him giving up big plays. Very impressive ball skills and instincts in coverage. Big hitter despite being a smaller safety. Versatility could push him up draft boards.




13. Eddie Jackson
Experience: Senior | School: Alabama
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 201 lbs.
Hand Size: 9 /4" | Arm Length: 32 1/4" | Grade: Round 4


40 Time: N/A | Bench: 10 | Vertical: N/A | Broad: N/A
3 Cone: N/A | 20-Yard Shuttle: N/A | 60-Yard Shuttle: N/A


Analysis: One of the better coverage safeties when it comes to playing man-to-man. While he has ideal speed and athleticism for a free safety, he doesn't have as much range as some other prospects, and his instincts are not great (though in 2015, this seemed to be a different story). Has displayed really good ball skills and ability to take interceptions to the house. Liability in the running game. Angles and tackling technique both need to improved. Struggles in space? His impact as a return man increases his value. Too inconsistent. 2015 tape > 2016 tape.




14. Josh Jones*
Experience: Junior (RS) | School: North Carolina State
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 222 lbs.
Hand Size: 9 3/8" | Arm Length: 32" | Grade: 5


40 Time: 4.41 | Bench: 20 | Vertical: 37.5" | Broad: 132"
3 Cone: 7.43 | 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.32 | 60-Yard Shuttle: N/A


Analysis: Big, athletic safety with high upside. Has some cover skills, but needs a lot of work. Not really as physical as he should be considering his size. Waits for ball carriers to get to him before he makes a tackle. One of the more consistent tackling safeties I've seen, but timid. Can cover a lot of ground and looks like a rangy player.




Tier Five: Quality Backup Prospects


15. Rayshawn Jenkins
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Miami
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 214 lbs.
Hand Size: 9 5/8" | Arm Length: 32 3/4" | Grade: Round 5


40 Time: 4.51 | Bench: 19 | Vertical: 37" | Broad: 128"
3 Cone: 6.95 | 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.19 | 60-Yard Shuttle: N/A


Analysis: Big, fast, athletic safety who should prove to be well worth a fourth or fifth round pick, though he could be selected earlier. He isn't afraid to come up and hit you. Going for big hits hurts his efficiency as a tackler, however, though he's not a bad tackler. He has very good speed to get downhill and defend the run, but also has good change of direction skills. I question his range and instincts in coverage. What about his ball skills? His paths to the ball aren't always the smoothest. Needs to work on the angles he takes.




Other Notable Prospects


John Johnson
Experience: Senior | School: Boston College
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 205 lbs.
Hand Size: 9 7/8" | Arm Length: 32" | Grade: N/A


40 Time: 4.61 | Bench: 14 | Vertical: 37" | Broad: 120"
3 Cone: 6.72 | 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.18 | 60-Yard Shuttle: N/A




Montae Nicholson*
Experience: Junior | School: Michigan State
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 212 lbs.
Hand Size: 9 1/2" | Arm Length: 33 3/8" | Grade: N/A


40 Time: 4.42 | Bench: N/A | Vertical: 35" | Broad: 125"
3 Cone: N/A | 20-Yard Shuttle: N/A | 60-Yard Shuttle: N/A




Nathan Gerry
Experience: Senior | School: Nebraska
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 223 lbs.
Hand Size: 9 1/4" | Arm Length: 31 1/4" | Grade: N/A


40 Time: 4.58 | Bench: 17 | Vertical: 30.5" | Broad: 122"
3 Cone: 7.14 | 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.37 | 60-Yard Shuttle: N/A




David Jones
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Richmond
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 205 lbs.
Hand Size: 9 1/4" | Arm Length: 32" | Grade: N/A


40 Time: 4.43 | Bench: 12 | Vertical: 34" | Broad: 129"
3 Cone: N/A | 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.30 | 60-Yard Shuttle: N/A




Jadar Johnson
Experience: Senior | School: Clemson
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 201 lbs.
Hand Size: 9 1/4" | Arm Length: 32" | Grade: N/A


40 Time: 4.60 | Bench: 19 | Vertical: 33.5" | Broad: 124"
3 Cone: 6.90 | 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.20 | 60-Yard Shuttle: 11.50




Lorenzo Jerome
Experience: Senior | School: Saint Francis PA
Height: 5-10 | Weight: 201 lbs.
Hand Size: 9 1/4" | Arm Length: 32" | Grade: N/A


40 Time: 4.62 | Bench: 11 | Vertical: N/A | Broad: N/A
3 Cone: 7.63 | 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.68 | 60-Yard Shuttle: N/A