After the Dallas Cowboys wrapped up the 2016 NFL Draft, I realized something. I saw five of the Cowboys' draft picks in person, thanks to my freelance work as Editor-in-Chief of College Football America. So I figured, why not put that first-hand knowledge to use? With the help of scouting film at the top of this page and my notes from that night I put together this report on Kavon Frazier, the Cowboys' sixth-round pick last weekend.
Kavon Frazier, S, Central Michigan
Vs. Oklahoma State, Sept. 3
His totals: A career-high 13 tackles.
What I saw: I think most people expected this to be a blowout but CMU stayed in this one until the fourth quarter. OSU quarterback Mason Rudolph struggled somewhat in this contest. Some of it was due to several drops by OSU receivers, but some of it was due to an underrated CMU secondary, led by Frazier. Standing on the sidelines it was clear he set the pace for the group. The first play on this scouting film shows one of his best traits, heading downhill to stop the run. OSU was in a pistol formation and Rudolph quickly handed off to his running back, Chris Carson. Frazier starts lined up outside the near hash, about seven yards off the line of scrimmage (see the red arrow). He doesn't bite on the Cowboy in motion and stays focused on Carson as he comes through the right gap, created when the right guard pulls to his left. By then Frazier is inside the box and has already diagnosed the play. At this point he's on the CMU 5. Carson hits the seam and the lead blocker at the 10 misses Frazier completely, giving Frazier a one-on-one shot at Carson. Frazier doesn't arrive in time to break down completely, but he makes the correct play, going low to wrap up Carson's ankles and bringing him to the ground. Without Frazier on patrol Carson probably scores on this play.
Two plays later on this tape you can see Frazier's closing speed on a simple quick pass into the flat. Rudolph's target is going to be on his right, with a receiver out wide, a receiver in the slot and a running back to the right to serve as potential blockers or pass catchers. Frazier is lined up at the 40, a full 10 yards off the line of scrimmage (see the red arrow). It's a one-step drop with a tepid play fake by Rudolph and a quick toss to the receiver in the slot. The back in play action (if you want to call it that) heads left and the wide receiver on the edge blocks the corner, leaving the slot receiver in a one-on-one situation with Frazier. Before Rudolph even releases the ball Frazier has moved two yards toward the line of scrimmage and has the play diagnosed. He reacts quickly, taking a straight line to the receiver. By the time the receiver has caught the ball and reaches the line of scrimmage Frazier is at the 33 and is already breaking down to make the tackle. The receiver gets to the edge as quickly as possible, but Frazier is able to use the sideline effectively to cut him off, which backs up one of his key traits on scouting reports — using the sideline as a friend.
Go to the two-minute mark on the tape and you'll get to his most memorable play of the night and the play that I remember thinking, "Somebody will want this guy for special teams." It's a punt play and Frazier is set up as the next to last blocker on the far side (noted by the right arrow). Most teams have gone to this alignment on punts, where a chunk of three blockers set in front of the punter 15 yards back. This alignment enables players like Frazier to get off their block and release quicker and Frazier took full advantage here. You'll see on this play that his OSU counterpart barely got a hand on Frazier coming off the line and Frazier's speed quickly gives him space to operate. By the time Frazier gets to the OSU 30 he's the lead gunner on the play and an OSU blocker is attempting to come all the way over from the near side of the field to try and cut Frazier off. By the time they meet at the 20 Frazier has a full head of steam and the blocker is off-balance and out of position. Frazier burns past him and heads for the punt returner. He times the hit perfectly. The ball arrives at the 15 and the returner doesn't even have an opportunity to move forward before Frazier delivers the hit. And note the hit. It's a good form tackle. Frazier doesn't lead with the head. He squares up, uses his upper body properly and wraps up. He ended up with another special teams later in the game on a similar type of play.
My experience watching Frazier that night backs up the scouting reports on Frazier entering the draft. He's an undeniably good run stopper. He knows how to pursue, how to follow ball carriers in traffic and wrap up properly. He also doesn't overpursue ball carriers, which is important in young players. The special teams work that night proved he could make an impact there immediately. He has great downfield speed and knows how to keep returners in front of him. I think the fact that his highlights from that night don't include much in the way of pass coverage is telling of the fact that he'll need improvement in that area. Frazier finished his career with five interceptions and 13 passes defended, but it's the area he'll have to improve on the most — diagnosing pass plays and making plays over the middle of the field. He proved to me that night he has the speed to keep up with receivers.
In all, Frazier fits the Cowboys' profile for a young safety — quick, physical and able to help on special teams immediately. He probably won't start this year at safety, but he certainly has the raw materials to become a starter down the line. Special teams coach Rich Bisaccia is going to love this guy. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he makes the team because of that alone and, if he plays a full season, ends up with eight to 10 special teams tackles.
Want to talk more about Frazier? Check out the CowboysHQ.com message boards or hit up Postins @PostinsPostcards or Mike Fisher @FishSports.