The SEC starts play this week and the announce of the Big 10 and other conferences starting I figure this list is coming out at the appropriate time. Only 1 of my top 5 defensive backs has played yet with 2 playing this weekend and another one coming in late October and early November. I added a bonus 7 impact freshman to bring my total to 56 Prospects…..of course
The defensive backfield has become a high paid position in the NFL during these times. Like other position the defensive back has become more versatile as offensive schemes have evolved. The corners are usually the ones that get most of the attention however with the depth at receiver in recent drafts you can never have enough talent on the third level. Safety is the most underrated position on the defensive side of the ball. The position has to be able to cover man and zone, tackle, blitz, and play both deep in pass coverage and in the box for run support. Last year’s draft saw no safeties go in the first round. This year we could see 2 and possibly 3 with this talented crop.
Patrick Surtain Jr. – 6’2” 203 – Alabama – Junior – Rating (3.92)
2019 Stats: 42 Tackles / 8 Passes broken up / 2 Interceptions / 3 forced fumbles
Strength: Excellent coverage skills in both zone and man
Weakness: Sloppy tackling technique at times
Player Comparison: Patrick Peterson Cornerback Arizona Cardinals
Overall: Surtain is the son of former ALL-Pro Corner Patrick Surtain Senior. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree and it got bigger. Surtain is a big Physical corner for the Crimson Tide. He has excellent cover and ball skills. His long arms allow him to get his hands on most passes thrown his way. In Coach Saban’s defensive backfield Surtain can travel with the opposing team’s best receiver and cut the field in half. The All-American will most likely be the first defensive back coming off the board in 2021.
Javon Holland – 6’1” 200 – Oregon – Junior – Rating (3.92)
2019 Stats: 66 Tackles / 4.5 Tackles for a loss / 4 Pass break ups / 4 Interceptions / 1 Touchdowns
Strengths: Play maker and excellent tackler
Weakness: What is his true position?
Player Comparison: Tyrann Mathieu Safety Kansas City Chiefs
Overall: Holland will get a chance to play in November as the PAC 12 starts its season. Holland is a versatile player who can be a safety, nickel corner, play in the box, and used in blitz packages. He will be another one of these safeties who will have to find a creative defensive mind to properly utilize his talents. If you sit there and just play Tampa 2 with him you are doing him a disservice. Holland also returns punts at a 15 yards per attempt average and has 9 career interceptions in 2 seasons.
Paris Ford – 6’0” 190 –Pittsburgh – Junior – Rating (3.85)
2019 Stats: 90 Tackles / 2.5 Tackles for a loss / 3 Interceptions / 1 Touchdowns / 3 Forced Fumbles
Strengths: Great closing speed and an impact hitter
Weakness: Light for a big hitting safety will need to put on weight for the pros
Player Comparison: DJ Swearinger Safety Washington, Arizona, Saints
Overall: Paris Ford is an interesting prospect in this year’s draft. He is built like a long rangy corner but plays like a lights out safety. His closing speed to ball carriers and pass catchers is impressive. The Pittsburgh high school product is always around the ball and looking to take it away. He runs his feet on contact and wraps well as a tackler. In a creative defensive scheme he could be put in a lot of different positions to make an impact in year one.
Shaun Wade – 6’1” 195 – Ohio State – Junior – Rating (3.64)
2019 Stats: 26 Tackles / 4 Tackles for a loss / 7 Passes broken up / 1 Interception / 2 Forced fumbles
Strengths: Versatility. He can play both outside and nickel corner
Weakness: Doesn’t get a high number of takeaways
Player Comparison: Marlon Humphrey cornerback Baltimore Ravens
Overall: Wade has a ton of potential at the next level as a nickel corner. He is a very aggressive corner who breaks quickly on the football. Only had one interception despite playing opposite of 1st round pick (3rd Overall) Jeff Okudah. He was utilized as in blitz packages last season for the Buckeyes. I see Wade being used in a similar fashion when he gets to the pros. He initial opted out of the season but now that the Big 10 will start in late October he has decided to opt back in.
Richard LeCounte – 5’11” 190 – Georgia – Senior – Rating (3.64)
2019 Stats: 61 Tackles / 4.5 Tackles for a loss / 4 interceptions / 3 Passes breakups / 3 Fumble recoveries / 2 Forced Fumbles
Strengths: Great Instincts as a play maker
Weakness: Looks for the big hit a lot and doesn’t bring his arms on tackles
Player Comparison: Budda Baker Safety Arizona Cardinals
Overall: Georgia puts out great athletic defenders every year and LeCounte is no exception. LeCounte can turn an interception into a dynamic punt return and a normal tackle into a forced fumble. He seems to always be around the football for the Bulldogs. LeCounte is at his best playing zone coverage either rolling down in the box or playing center field. Another product year in SEC play could see him sneak into the first round.
Shaun Jolly – 5’9” 180 – Appalachian State – Junior – Rating (3.50)
2019 Stats: 45 Tackles / 8 Pass break ups / 5 Interceptions / 2 Touchdowns
Strengths: Great ball skills and instincts
Weakness: Need to see more film vs. better competition
Player Comparison: Mike Hilton corner back Pittsburgh Steelers
Overall: Jolly has very good man cover skills. What he lacks in height he makes up for in athleticism. He gives good effort as a tackler and tries to strip the ball when he is the second or third defender to the play. The chance to play in some sort of bowl game this season and a good combine will help his draft stock.
TC 56 TOP 7 2020 TRUE FRESHMAN:
QB: Jeff Sims – 6’3” 215 – Georgia Tech
- Opened the season as the Yellow Jackets starter.
RB: Ulysses Bentley IV – 5’10” 184 – SMU
- Had 227 yards in week 2 as the feature back for the Mustangs
WR: Julian Fleming – 6’2” 200 – Ohio State
- #1 Wide out recruit in the country.
TE: Michael Mayer – 6’5” 235 – Notre Dame
- Continues the long line of talented tight ends for the Fighting Irish
DL: Myles Murphy – 6’5” 265 – Clemson
- Already has 5 Tackles for a loss and along with #1 DL recruit Byran Bresee the Tigers once again are loaded.
LB: Justin Flowe – 6’2” 225 – Oregon
- My favorite of this group won’t see him till November but it will be worth the wait.
DB: Key Lawrence – 6’2” 202 – Tennessee
- The Nashville product will make his debut Saturday vs. South Carolina