The Early Bird List: Safety

This final list will focus on defensive backs. This years class looks strong at cornerback. With the safety class it could be pretty good if everyone shows improvements. There are a lot of young/inexperienced guys in this class that could take it to the next level.

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Jordan Battle (S) – Alabama

Two-year starter entering his third. Battle has solid size at 6’1 210 and is filled out. He is strong in coverage and against the run. Deconstructs blocks. Smooth hips and he has the speed to keep up with receivers down the field. Shows great leadership skills and an excellent communicator. Shows an ability to read the quarterback. His biggest strength is his versatility. He can line up anywhere. His tackling angles and form could use some work. Battle has good ball skills but could turn in more interceptions if he timed it a little better. He could also stand to show more aggression on the field.

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Bubba Bolden (S) – Miami

Bolden is very talented. His change of direction skills are impressive. Although his straight line speed is just average. He has size at 6’2 205 and long arms. His long arms really help him in his tackling. Has experience lining up at free safety, in the slot, and on special teams. Bolden is a heavy hitter. His film is inconsistent. He has yet to have much ball production, but he has flashed production in coverage. Comes in out of control when trying to take down a ball carrier causing missed tackles.

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Andrew Booth Jr (CB) – Clemson

Great cornerback size at 6’1 195. Booth is raw with only 4 games started in 2020, but He did play a lot before that. His athleticism is off the charts. His straight line speed may not be elite, but it is still better than average. Booth shows natural cover skills, although His route recognition skills still need work. Plays a physical game and is a willing tackler. Booth is not yet talk about much in the national media. With a big junior year he could really jump in the rankings. It might take him a couple years in the NFL to reach his potential. He could end up the #1 corner in the class.

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Lewis Cine (S) – Georgia

Cine has solid size at 6’1 200 with good all around athleticism. His speed is close to elite for a safety. Cine played has played mostly free safety. Super physical player and that shows in his hitting. Also an elite tackler. He needs work on his coverage skills. If that can be improved he will move up boards. He has a lot of potential to be an elite all around safety. Cine could easily play the dime safety/nickel linebacker role in the NFL. So far his ball skills have been lacking. Needs to try and play the ball more.

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Kaiir Elam (CB) – Florida

Big size (6’2 195) with a lot of potential. His overall athleticism is very good. Explosive with quick hips. Has great football IQ. He does a good job at reading the quarterback and anticipating the receivers route. Elam’s ball skills while not elite are solid. The current gator plays an all around physical game, and he likes to play bump and run. His long speed is just average. Elam also needs to improve his tackling technique. His footwork could also use some work. He could challenge for the #1 corner spot in the draft. Definite 1st rounder.

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Ahmad Gardner (CB) – Cincinnati

Gardner has great height at 6’2, but only weights 188. His frame though looks like it could hold another 10 pounds though. Gardner has vines for arms, which allows him to affect the receiver and gets his hands on more balls. He has been a starter since his freshman season. Athletically he is solid overall, but not the elite level that some of the other guys in the class are. He is more fluid than freak athlete. Gardner also shows excellent burst on the field. Aggressive and solid tackler. With that being said sometimes his aggressiveness can get the better of him. He also has trouble getting off blocks. That maybe be due to a lack of bulk. Due to his average athleticism he will have to improve and stay on top of his technique.

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Kyle Hamilton (S) – Notre Dame

Hamilton is the top safety in the class and its doubtful that still wont be the fact when the 2022 draft comes around. Elite size at 6’4 220 but with the athleticism of someone three inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter. His range and athleticism is off the charts. Fluid and explosive. Elite ball skills with the length to impact the passing game even if he doesn’t come down with the ball. He can come down and cover receivers or tight ends in the slot. Even with his long lanky frame he is an excellent tackler. Hamilton is a little high hipped which can cause some issues with his transitions. He has also had a couple injuries that should be checked into.

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Daxton Hill (S) – Michigan

Hill is a little small at 6’0 190-ish. He could stand to pack on around 10 pounds of muscle just so he can handle the riggors of the NFL. Hill is an elite athlete. He ran a 4.3 and had a 43 inch vertical coming out of high school. Hill has the upside to be an elite free safety, but he is still raw. He shows good tackling form on film. Also shows great range and ball skills. He played a lot of special teams early in his career. Despite his size he has shown good skills in deconstructing blocks. He has solid man to man skills and can be lined up in the slot. The current Wolverine has good length for having average height. He has only started 9 games in his career and that shows in some of his under-developed skills. Hill has flashed but needs to turn those flashes into consistency. He could really move up if he does that.

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Josh Jobe (CB) – Alabama

Jobe has solid size at 6’0 195. He does have good length and wingspan though. Three year starter who has been a good starter that has gone under the radar. Jobe plays a physical game. He likes to play up at the line of scrimmage. Smooth hips in coverage. He could stay lower in his back pedal. Uses the sideline in coverage well. Solid hitter and tackler. Willing against the run game. Only has played on the perimeter. He does not have experience in the slot. Jobe is a little bit of an older prospect ( will be 24 as a rookie). He has a habit of getting grabby with receivers. His feet also can be a bit choppy, and some teams may see him more as a safety. He has experience on special teams which helps a lot. Jobe probably needs a year before he’s ready to start.

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Brandon Joseph (S) – Northwestern

Solid size at 6’1 192. Great length for his size. Joseph has wide receiver like ball skills, with 6 interceptions in 9 games as a first year starter. He should still add some muscle to his frame and get around 200+. Joseph will only be a redshirt sophomore so he could end up returning. He is also raw only having one season as a starter. He is a willing tackler and is not afraid to stick his nose in the run game. Does come down out of control sometimes, he needs to work on his form and keeping in control of his body. Joseph also has had some work in the slot. Seems like he has the instincts of a three year starter. He already shows good skills in both man and zone coverage.

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Derion Kendrick (CB) – Georgia

Major backround/off the field issues that need to be looked into. Transferred from Clemson after being dismissed for off the field issues. He was also arrested in 2021. Kendrick does have good size at 6’0 190. His frame looks like it could handle a few more pounds as well and he could use more strength. Kendrick is still raw as a prospected due to limited experience at corner. Great ball skills for a former wide receiver. His tackling could use some work; the effort is there its mostly technique. Has the size, length, hips, and feet to be an excellent corner. His straight line speed is average. Kendrick feels more comfortable in zone versus man. He could be a boom or bust prospect depending on his off the field issues.

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Trent McDuffie (CB) – Washington

He is a well put together 5’11 195. McDuffie is quick, fluid, and explosive. He is also a strong physical tackler. Shows natural football instincts. Shows an ability to force turnovers on film. Very good in press coverage. While his size is decent his length is some what lacking, causing him issues in deconstructing blocks. McDuffie’s ball production is very minimal which speaks to his lack of length. He may never have much ball production. He still needs work in zone. Could be a real solid slot corner.

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Nehemiah Pritchett (CB) – Auburn

2020 was his first season as a starter. Pritchett has good height and length at 6’1 but a bit on the small side at 180. Good overall athlete with loose hips. On film he has shown good man coverage skills. Willing and good tackler for his size. He has played well against the run as well. Still a bit raw with his first year as a starter coming last season. Can get a little grabby down the field. So far he has been best in press coverage. Zone is a bit of a weakness for him. Pritchett has a lot of upside and could move up the boards if he has a big season.

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Derek Stingley Jr (CB) – LSU

Stingley came in as a freshman and looked like a three year starter. He has great size at 6’1 195. Great length and elite athleticism. Another explosive corner in this class. Elite at mirroring receivers. Stingley puts his experience at wide receiver to use with his ball skills. He can play both zone and man. Also he can play press and off. Like a lot of college corners he can get handsy at times. He has great footwork for someone so inexperienced at corner. Good tackling skills, could show a little more aggression. He could also stand to play a little more aggressive. Going into the 2021 season he is being looked at as the #1 corner in the class. He will probably maintain it.

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