Despite all the media attention accorded his secondary mate, cornerback Senquez Golson (10 interceptions in 2014), it is the free safety that scouts regard as one of the best in the South. Cody Prewitt had a blue collar-like campaign, collecting 64 tackles with 4.5 stops-for-loss, two pass break-ups and 98 yards gained on two interceptions, but it was his ability to keep the action in front of him that saw the second-team All-American in 2014 compile 247 tackles with 14.0 stops-for-loss, five forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries during his career. Ranking seventh in school history with twelve interceptions, he also broke up 14 other tosses.
Watch any film on Prewitt and instantly you will see that there is no harder hitter in the SEC than the Ole Miss safety. The staff found a home for him in the secondary after he had excelled as a tailback and receiver during his prep days. He is thankful that 2014 turned out to be a much better season than how the 2013 campaign ended – with a broken nose and a partial Music City Bowl suspension after running afoul of coach Hugh Freeze with his academics.
Prewitt has a strong frame that allows him to absorb punishment. He has good closing speed and above average range. His quickness allows him to close on the ball with a sudden burst and has the agility and stride to mirror receivers in their routes. He is fluid when changing direction and has good balance and pad level delivering tackles.
His acceleration allows him to give cushion, yet keep the plays in front of him. He makes quicker breaks on the ball in the zone than when playing the man, as he breaks on the ball in an instant when he reads the play. Prewitt gets on top of the receiver quickly in deep routes and has improved his ability to initiate more contact when covering on sideline throws and those into the flats.
In a Cover 2 system, his speed allows him to stay on his man much tighter, especially in scheme coverage. He makes quicker breaks on the ball in the zone than when playing the man, as he can turn suddenly and close in an instant when he reads the play. As a senior, he was also doing a much better job of taking angles in attempts to close.
Prewitt demonstrates above average football IQ, as he is quick to picked up the blocking schemes when stepping in the box in run force. He does a good job in anticipating the routes and his success as a ball thief comes from his ability to jump routes. He gets his head turned around in time to locate the ball when forced to turn and run and has the reach and timing to get to the sphere at its high point.
While Prewitt’s size might give you an indication that he is more of a strong safety/in the box type, he lacks good strength and can be stalled by the bigger, more physical blockers when working in tight areas. He compensates by taking sound angles to the ball and has the fluid hips to recover when the ball carrier cuts back.
Also compensating for his inability to “thud ‘em up” as a physical tackler, Prewitt is relentless in pursuit, showing above-average range, as he always seems to be around the ball at the end of the play. He is not afraid to launch body at or lower shoulder into ball carriers, but there are times when he leaves his feet too early and the niftier runners can escape with a quick side-step.,p.
When Prewitt attacks the legs of ball carriers rather than going for the head, he has better consistency in attempts to wrap-up in space, but when he hits the opponent too high, he loses position and the runner can then break free for the big gain. Even though he is big enough, his obvious lack of power makes scouts not consider him to be an in-the-box safety and can be bounced off his hits when he fails to wrap up.
Prewitt does demonstrate flips hips and can easily turn and run with receivers when asked to line up in press coverage. With his quick feet, he accelerates out of his cuts and can match up with slot receivers in man coverage. He also has a good closing burst, as he will explode out of backpedal and eat up the cushion in a flash.
With his range, Prewitt can cover a lot of distance in a short period of time and he’s shown that he is capable of excelling in a centerfielder-type role. He also stays low in his pads and is slippery moving through gaps in order to get to the quarterback when asked to blitz and be disruptive vs. running plays in the backfield.
As a pass thief, there are times where Prewitt will let the ball get into his frame, but he generally extends his arms above his head well, doing a nice job of snatching the ball out of the air. He times his jumps fairly well and can high-point the ball with the best of them (recorded a 35-inch vertical jump and a 10’-05” broad jump at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine).
On one his best interception displays, Prewitt got his hands under a pass thrown at his shoelaces and returned the theft 75 yards for a touchdown vs. Texas A&M in 2014. He shows that he can track the ball well, as he stays focused and can come down with tipped balls. He’s also a dangerous open-field runner who picks up yards after contact, can make defenders miss and shows valid speed when he gets a seam.
Cody Prewitt Scouting Combine measurables
6-2/208 (4.6 forty)
32 5/8-inch arm length
9 1/8-inch hands
35-inch vertical jump
125-inch broad jump
7.12 3 cone drill
4.23 20 yard shuttle
11.44 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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