Cromartie, a 5-10 180 S/DB from St. Louis DeSmet, has all the makings of a perfect Nickel defensive back. The nickel is a position that has come to be an important one for the Cardinals, especially when lining up against the pass happy, spread offenses in the Mid-American Conference..
So what makes Cromartie perfect for the part? First he has good enough size to play close to the line of scrimmage, but is not too big to be able to cover a slot receiver. Speaking of coverage, he spent enough snaps as a DB to be able to handle the responsibilities of coverage. He loves to be physical and hit people, so tackling a 200+ pound RB is also something he will not shy away from.
Strengths:Cromartie comes in with the ability to not only make plays in the passing game (8 interceptions in the past two years as a prep) but also handle the load against the run. Cromartie is able to blitz (5 sacks) and get in the backfield with regularity. He has all the skills you look for when filling a need position.
What to Work On: The nickel spot is a position that you rarely see in the high school game, so Cromartie will have to work hard on learning the responsibilities and details of how to handle the position. Aside from that, he just needs to get stronger to handle the rigors of playing at a position where he will take a pounding from pulling Olinemen and running backs.
What to Expect This Coming Season: Given Dedrick's skill set and how perfectly he fits into a specific position in the Ball State defense, I feel that he will be on the field with regularity early on. He is also very capable of contributing on special teams. It will all just depend on how hard he works when he arrives in the summer.
Tomorrow's player: Roy Denson.