Football players aren't always the brightest athletes, especially on defense since the goal is simply to find the guy with the ball and destroy him, but the free safety position demands intelligence on each and every play.
There won't be a smarter prospect in the 2010 NFL Draft this April than Florida State safety Myron Rolle, who left the Seminoles one of the most decorated college football players to ever put on a uniform – academically, that is. The Rhodes Scholarships, the oldest international fellowships, were initiated after the death of Cecil Rhodes in 1902 and bring outstanding students from many countries around the world to the University of Oxford. Rolle was one of the 32 Rhodes Scholars in 2008, his final year at FSU, and spent the 2009 campaign studying medical anthropology, but now he's back and hoping to realize his NFL dreams before moving on to bigger and better things later on in life.
Participating in the Senior Bowl this past Saturday and appearing to be in incredible shape during the week of practice leading up to the game, is there any way Rolle can solve Chicago's seemingly never-ending problem at free safety?
For an insider's perspective on the 6-2, 217-pound Rolle and what he brings to the table as a pro prospect, BearReport.com consulted with Chris Steuber, the NFL Draft analyst for Scout.com. ...
Strengths: Rolle is an aggressive safety who's best in the box defending against the run. He's intelligent on and off the field and plays hard until the whistle is blown. He shows discipline, understands his assignments and keeps the action in front of him. He plays with suddenness, flashes on the scene and delivers vicious hits. He will contribute right away on special teams. He possesses high character and is a terrific role model for any individual.
Weaknesses: He has marginal ball skills and isn't considered a playmaker. He lacks sideline-to-sideline range and fluidity in his hips. He has to improve his cover skills and is occasionally half a step to late getting to a spot.
Steuber Says: When a draft-eligible football player hears the number 32, he usually associates it with the number of NFL teams that have an opportunity to draft him. But for Rolle, the number 32 is much more prestigious. It represents the number of American students to be named a Rhodes Scholar. Rolle was one of them. He studied at Oxford in England this past year and missed the 2009 football season, but he showed up at the Senior Bowl in the best shape of any prospect. Rolle is an intelligent player who has some upside but lacks agility and doesn't transition well in coverage. His lack of agility and cover skills make him a liability at the next level and will probably keep him from being a starter.
JC's Take: The No. 1 prep player in the country when he arrived in Tallahassee, big things were expected from Rolle both on the field and in the classroom.
But while Rolle proved to be even better than advertised as a student, becoming the first college football player to also earn a Rhodes Scholarship since USC quarterback Pat Haden in 1975, he never fully realized his potential as a part of the Florida State defense. While Rolle was certainly a steady and solid player that didn't make many mistakes between the lines, his highlight reel was relatively short and didn't feature a lot of bone-jarring hits, forced turnovers or game-changing plays. Credit the young man for getting in the best shape of his life despite a year away from the game and having a better week of practice in Mobile than most scouts expected, but it's still fair to question just how motivated he's going to be on Sunday since he'll eventually be known as Dr. Rolle the brain surgeon – literally.
From a Bears perspective, Rolle would be a welcome addition because he's one of the most impressive young men you'll ever meet, but unless he can play free safety and play it well, he won't fill one of this defense's gaping holes.
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Mobile Analysis: S Myron Rolle
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