NFL DRAFT: UT DBs Project as Picks

With the NFL Draft coming up next month Tennessee fans are beginning to track where some of their former Vols may be taken and by whom.

Here's an evaluation of three UT DBs published in Sporting News NFL Draft Report for corner Jabari Greer, and safeties Rashad Baker and Gibril Wilson. It's interesting to note that NFL scouts had some of the same concerns about tackling that fans expressed during their stay at Tennessee. All three are given a good chance to make an NFL roster and Wilson's stock is taking an upward turn. He is rated as the sleeper among safeties in the 2004 draft, while Baker is rated as the safety with the no most unrealized potential. Baker is knocked for his work ethic and durability which has prevented him from being as high a pick as his talents dictate. JABARI GREER, Tennessee, No. 18 corner 5-10, 175, 4.45 NFL COMPARISON: Ray Mickens, Jets. STRENGTHS: Is quick, fluid and fast. Shows improved instincts and coverage skills. Shows a quick backpedal and great burst out if it. Is at his best on short routes, keeping everything in front of him and breaking forward. Shows excellent closing burst. Has the quickness and speed to mirror receivers' double moves. Is a perfect fit to cover slot receivers. WEAKNESSES: Lacks height and bulk. Is not tall enough to cover outside receivers. Is not physical enough to play man-to-man outside. Shows inconsistent route recognition skills. Does not support the run well and is a below average tackler. BOTTOM LINE: Greer also ran track, qualifying for ‘02 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 110-meter high hurdles (12.78 was his career best). He was a three-year starter at Tennessee but got benched a couple of times because of inconsistent play. His lack of size limits his potential, but he is a fantastic athlete with elite speed. He was a track star playing football early in his college career, but he has developed his football instincts significantly. Greer could develop into a solid slot back. FINAL GRADE: 4.1. Projected fifth round. RASHAD BAKER, Tennessee, No. 14 safety 5-101/2, 190, 4.48 NFL COMPARISON: Izelle Reese, Bills. STRENGTHS: Has good speed and range, a smooth backpedal, fluid hips and good change-of-direction skills. Has impressive hands and ball skills, is smooth in man-to-man coverage and can match up against most slot receivers. Is willing and tough against the run, has good body control, takes solid angles and is a drag-down tackler. Has excellent hands and flashes explosiveness as a punt return specialist. WEAKNESSES: Durability is a concern. Is undersized, does not have great strength and occasionally gets run over in run support. Will miss some tackles in the open field against big, powerful runners and has trouble taking on and shedding blockers. Lacks pop and power as a tackler, is inconsistent in deep zone coverage, will make recognition mistakes and get caught guessing. BOTTOM LINE: Baker has the physical tools of a second- or third-round prospect, but poor recognition skills and inconsistent will cost him on draft day. FINAL GRADE: 4.8. Projected fifth round. UNREALIZED POTENTIAL: Rashad Baker (Showed flashes of becoming a shutdown slot cover corner and could return punts. Poor work ethic led to inconsistency and eventually stunted his growth. GIBRIL WILSON, Tennessee, No. 20 safety 6-1, 190, 4.50 NFL COMPARISON: Arturo Freeman, Dolphins STRENGTHS: Is strong and has room to add bulk. Has good speed, is an aggressive run supporter, fills hard and has power at the point of attack. Will sacrifice has body; shows good pop when he leads with his shoulder and has good range in zone coverage. Has good closing burst, above-average leaping ability and good ball skills. WEAKNESSES: Occasionally plays out of control and gets caught peeking in the backfield and will take too many false steps. Takes some poor angles, misses too many open-field tackles, and has poor footwork in man coverage. BOTTOM LINE: Wilson will be a good Day 2 value if he continues to improve, but he needs a lot of coaching and must take it upon himself to maximize potential. FINAL GRADE: 3.4. Projected sixth round. SLEEPER: Gibril Wilson (A big-school diamond in the rough who was a late bloomer as a junior college transfer. Opened eyes with 97.5 tackles and three interceptions in ‘03. Editor's Note: This is the first of several reports we'll bring our readers in advance the April NFL Draft.

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