Most players would consider a season where they led the team in tackles, interceptions and pass deflections as a successful campaign, but for Kurtis Drummond, he saw his draft stock slip a bit in 2014, as he was often targeted by the opposition, yielding four touchdowns as he seemed to be concentrating on attacking the ball, rather than the man.
Yes, he did post 72 stops, including three for losses, but several of his 11 pass break-ups could have been interceptions. Ball concentration issues led to those tosses hitting the turf. He did pull in four thefts, though. The MSU cornerbacks (Darqueze Dennard and Trae Waynes) were able to freelance so much in 2013 because of the Spartans free safety’s ability to cover the areas they had evacuated. 55 of Drummond’s 98 tackles in 2013 came out of his assigned area, as the opportunist also picked off five passes and deflected six others.
The senior has good shoulder thickness with the arm length and soft, natural hands to make the interception. He is not overly-muscled, but has a firm midsection and hips, along with minimal body fat. He reads and reacts quickly in run support excels at picking up schemes and reading the audible well to get the secondary in position. He plays with good field vision and has a knack for locating the ball working through trash.
His ball recognition skills let him use the sidelines effectively to push the ground game back inside. He has the vision to see traps and pulls and is rarely ever caught out of position. He appears smooth and athletic running in reverse and does a really nice job of turning his hips for a safety. Even when the speedy receivers get a step on him, he shows good urgency in attempts to recover.
Drummond has the athletic ability to get off the hashes and cover grass in a hurry vs. plays in front of him. He shows above average route recognition and while he might not have that explosive second gear, he has good transition quickness. He is best when maintaining position on the receiver in his area, as he will stick to his man like glue. He reacts very well to the ball in flight and gets good depth in his pass drops.
The Spartan is quick to handle the switch and has the ability to close when he keeps the play in front of him. He will bait the quarterback to throw to his area, then, quickly get back into position to deliver the tackle or break up the pass. He is very good at sorting and reading routes, staying low in his pads to generate enough range to close on the ball.
Even though he lacks blazing speed, Drummond shows a good burst when closing and a smooth flow to the sidelines. He is an effective perimeter tackler when he takes sharp angles to the ball, but will sometimes round his cuts. He might get beat on deep routes when shadowing and trailing, but when working the zone, he gets good enough depth to locate the ball.
Drummond is more of a disruptive force who knows how to extend, reach around and deflect the pass away from the receiver or simply use his hands to reroute his man (has rerouted/jammed receivers on 29 incomplete tosses the last 14 games). Timing is critical in his jumps and he will generally show the elevation needed to make the play on the ball.
The senior knows how to use his range to shorten the field and make plays in run force. He comes up with good aggression to fill the rush alleys and shows good urgency in back side pursuit. His sideline awareness lets him force the outside run back in. He does a very good job of shedding blocks with his hand usage.
Drummond has the functional quickness to mirror receivers in the short-to-intermediate area, but he might not have that second gear to run stride for stride with speedy receivers on deep patterns. He plays the receiver tight working underneath and has no problems handling slot receivers, making him an instant candidate to earn playing time in the nickel package at the next level.
Even when the speedy receivers get a step on him, he shows good urgency in attempts to recover. He has the hip snap to plant and drive out of his breaks, but sometimes needs to stay in his pedal longer. When he gets too high in his stance, his turns appear to be rigid, especially in his shuffle.
Kurtis Drummond Scouting Combine measurables
6-1/208 (4.65 forty)
32 1/4-inch arm length
10 3/8-inch hands
39.5-inch vertical jump
119-inch broad jump
7.09 3 cone drill
4.33 20 yard shuttle
12.03 60 yard shuttle
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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