The NFL Scouting Combine is long over with and so is part one of day four--the cornerbacks. Now it is time for the final Combine notebook. In this article I will go over the safeties.
The widely regarded top safety for this draft class is Landon Collins from Alabama. Collins is a big box safety in the mold of Kam Chancellor, who weighs about 230 pounds. Collins weighed in at 228 at the Combine.
Collins answered a lot of questions in the drills. His 4.53 40-yard dash was a faster time than many expected to see, and his speed was a big concern leading in to the Combine. He also answered concerns about his movement during the position drills.
The next safety is likely not on many teams' boards, due to off-the-field issues. Justin Cox from Mississippi State was arrested in November on burglary and domestic violence charges. He ended up pleading guilty to trespassing, while the domestic violence chargers were dropped, per the victim’s request.
However, this article is about each player's Combine performance and Cox had a great one. He tested out as my top safety in the athletic drills and showed great technique in the position drills.
Cox is capable of playing corner or free safety, but won’t be a high pick because of the arrest. It's hard to see the Broncos drafting him at any point, or even signing him if he hits the undrafted free agency market, based strictly on character concerns.
Cody Prewitt out of Mississippi is a dual safety and he showed up at the Combine at 208 pounds. That is somewhat of a concern, as he played the season at around the 218-pound mark. Athletically, Prewitt is underwhelming and that was confirmed by his Combine performance.
However, in the position drills he did a great job. In the interview room he has to answer why he showed up 10 pounds under his playing weight. In the second or third round the Broncos could look at taking Prewitt to add depth to their safety corps. He has dual safety traits, but one does not stand out. It would be on the coaching staff to determine just where he would fit best.
A cornerback out of Utah, Eric Rowe, is considered by many to be a safety (myself included), which is why I have him with the safeties. Rowe actually tested out as a top-three safety from the Combine for me, but if I throw him into my cornerback rankings, he isn’t in the top ten.
His technique was great for a safety, but mediocre for a corner. His draft stock varies, depending on who you ask. Some have him as a top-20 player, while others have him in the third or fourth round. I have him as a borderline first round prospect, so if the Broncos are high on him, they could look his way at No. 28.
They also could look to trade down and take him. However, this is based on my rankings and the Broncos board is likely very different from my own. If he is available where they have him valued, they could jump on him to add depth to corner and safety.
Coming out of Syracuse, Durell Eskridge has a well-built frame on his long body. He measured in at 6-foot-3, 208 pounds, with 32-3/8 inch arms and 9-5/8 inch hands. Eskridge really had a good Combine. He tested out as expected in the athletic drills. In the position drills, he answered many concerns with his technique and movement speed, which helped him a lot.
There are still concerns about his tape, as there are with just about every player. Eskridge's draft stock varies depending on who you ask, but most have a mid-round grade on him. If the Broncos want to add depth to their safety corps, especially in the mid-rounds, Eskridge could be their guy. He has a high ceiling and his floor isn’t that low. At worst, Eskridge should be a solid depth/special teams player.
Adrian Amos out of Penn State is a bigger free safety. He has good instincts, high football IQ, and is a willing player. He had a solid Combine, but not a great one. He answered some questions in the athletic drills and position drills, but there were some questions raised, as his drill performances didn’t match up with his tape.
Amos is another mid-round safety who could be a great pickup for the Broncos. He has a similar size to Darian Stewart, whom the Broncos signed to play free safety. Amos can also play as a strong safety, as long as he isn’t kept in the box full-time. He is a coverage safety, who looks out of place, despite what his 6-foot-0, 218-pound size may suggest, in the box.
Coming out of TCU, Chris Hackett has been falling down draft boards, due to bad tape. His Combine performance did not help. Hackett is a smaller free safety, but doesn’t have the speed to make up for it, which was backed up by his 4.81 40-time at the Combine.
He also looked raw in position drills and, when tracking the ball, looked really bad. He was a third round safety for me, until I got more tape on him. Now he carries a late-round grade. If the Broncos want a smaller, slow safety, who struggles to tackle, Hackett is their guy.
James Sample out of Louisville has only one true year of experience, but it was a strong year. Sample had a really strong Combine too, where he showed he had better technique than you would expect. He also tested out well in the athletic drills.
He is a dual safety, who primarily played strong safety at Louisville. While he is strong in the box for his 6-foot-2, 209-pound size, he exhibits the traits to be a very successful free safety, as long as he isn’t given centerfield duties.
If the Broncos want to take a high-risk, high-reward type player to add depth to their safety corps, Sample is their guy. He has a high ceiling, but a really low floor. Sample’s ceiling may cause him to go higher in the draft than expected, though.
In the video below, Landon Collins talks about who he models his game after at the NFL Scouting Combine.
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