Seahawks Scout Small-School Safety

Most top safety prospects in the 2006 draft, at least the ones you've heard of, come from the better-known schools. The Seahawks, however, have zeroed in on one Division 1-AA safety with great skill and intruiging potential.

Seahawks.NET has learned that Howard University standout free safety Antoine Bethea has worked out privately with the Seattle Seahawks.

Although he hails from a Division 1-AA school, Bethea’s stock has been rising nationally ever since the 2006 Scouting Combine. Those in the know, however, have had their trained eyes on the 5’11”, 203-pound player for quite a while.

Bethea began his collegiate career as a reserve free safety in 2002, switching to the strong side the next year. 2003 was the first of three consecutive seasons in which he would lead his team in tackles, finishing with 109 in ’03, 99 in ’04 and 88 in ’05. Bethea returned to the free safety position in 2004 and remained there for his final two seasons at Howard.

Although he caused seven fumbles and recovered two others during his time at Howard, one knock on Bethea is that he will drop potential interceptions, and this is a factor that will need immediate work, should he find himself a part of Seattle’s ball-hawking secondary. He did pick off four passes in his senior year, and three in his junior campaign.

On the positive side, Bethea has good speed (he ran a 4.39-40 at the Combine), elite quickness, and he’s not afraid to play physically, despite his size.

Bethea is only the fourth player to earn American Urban Radio Network Sheridan Broadcasting Network Black College All-American honors three consecutive times, joining Tennessee Titans QB Steve McNair (Alcorn State), former Seahawks LB Tracy White (Howard University) and former Denver/Baltimore TE Shannon Sharpe (Savannah State).

Stay tuned to Seahawks.NET, as we will present an exclusive Scout.com interview with Antoine Bethea very soon!

Scott Eklund’s Scouting Report: Antoine Bethea
FS, Howard University
HT: 5’11” WT: 203

I like the fact the Bethea seems to be a pretty versatile player. Has enough speed and quickness to play corner and be a backup safety. His size might limit his ability to play safety in the NFL but his athleticism should allow him to stick to a roster somewhere. You just can’t teach the speed he possesses and he’s got a nose for the ball.

His ball skills are adequate, but he needs to do a better job of spotting the ball when it’s in the air. He rarely takes a false step and he’s very good in space, able to turn and run with receivers or break on passes in front of him when playing zone.

Against the run, he fills very hard and wraps up well. His ability to diagnose plays and take good angles on ballcarriers makes him an asset when supporting the run, but his lack of size will probably cause some teams to shy away from him early.

Another concern for teams is the fact that he hasn’t played at the highest level of competition in college, so his abilities might have been oversold against lesser competition. – Scott Eklund


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