A New Candidate to Consider
By Terry OBrien
One day someone asked cosmetic executive Estee Lauder what she sells. She replied “Hope, I sell hope”. That answer feels like what the pre-draft season is as we look at college players. We have looked at top talent and small school talent all in the belief they will come and help propel us to the Championship. Well, I have a new candidate to consider. Think about this…
He played both Safety and Corner back in college. Posted a 4.54 40 speed in the combine (Joe Haden posted a 4.52, Earl Thomas posted a 4.43). He bench pressed 18 times (Eric Berry did 19). A scouting report from concensus draft services attribute his strengths to be…
"Solid instincts, good if not great speed has above average ball skills and is a physically tough tackler not afraid to come up in run support."
In his senior year, he had 5 interceptions, 8 passes defended and 35 solo tackles. In total, his college career, starting 33 games, he had 173 tackles, 34 pass deflections, and two blocked extra points.
We know how Gene Smith believes in intelligent football players. This candidate received a scholarship to Yale, but turned it down. He was academically pursued as much as he was athletically pursued.
"“Coming out of high school I really wasn’t highly recruited as far as football. I had a lot of academic scholarships."
Checkmark on intelligence.
Attitude, what about attitude? A player has got to have his head on straight. Here is his own words..
"“I started off at free safety and moved to corner towards the end of my career. Senior year I played both corner and safety. I’ve been on every special teams, kickoff, punt, punt return, PAT block. I do whatever the coach asks and I’ll be the first one to volunteer for anything.”"
What about getting ready for the game and preparing? Here is his own words…
"“That all comes from watching film and getting a good feel for who you’re playing against. The more film you watch on both yourself and the team you’re playing against, the better you are and the more comfortable you feel. It makes it easier to be in the right place at the right time.”"
What about transitioning to the NFL? How does he plan to do that?
"“The biggest thing that I’m going to have to work on is getting acclimated to the speed of the game. I know it’s going to be a lot faster. The faster I can get the speed down and the playbook down, the better I will be.”"
So we have a candidate that is 5′ 11″ and 195 lbs. Plays both corner and safety with enough strength to be a physical tackler that can stop the run. He has good ball instincts with a good record or defending and intercepting passes. He is smart and a solid character guy who believes in watching a lot of film. He doesn’t have over the top good athletic numbers, but close enough to the top guys that it shouldn’t be a problem.
Since the Jaguars have a problem at safety, and possibly need some help at corner now and then, I think we should consider him.
Gene Smith already did when he claimed him off of the waiver wire from Cleveland. He is Don Carey drafted in the sixth round by the Browns and one player I intend to watch in spring training. Don Carey could be a pleasant surprise.
– Terry O’Brien