Scouting: Mid-Round Safety Prospects
The Ravens have taken safeties in the last two drafts, with Terrance Brooks in the third round of 2014, and Matt Elam in the first round of 2013. They have added Will Hill last year, and Kendrick Lewis this offseason. Depending on how the Ravens feel about the underachieving Elam, or Brooks who didn’t really turn heads as a rookie, will depend on how important they feel an upgrade to the position is. Or, are Hill and Lewis our new starting safeties in Baltimore, and addition to the position will be for depth, and special teams, like a Brynden Trawick type.
Here are some of the safety prospects the Ravens can target in the middle rounds of the upcoming draft, where the Ravens currently have six picks in the fourth and fifth rounds. (Round projections courtesy of CBS Sports).
Discuss your thoughts on these potential Ravens draft targets on our message board.
James Sample, Louisville
6’2”, 209 lbs. Third or fourth round. Sample was a four star recruit who played at Washington, but three games into his sophomore season, left the program for JUCO American River College. He transferred to Louisville for 2014, replacing draft picks Calvin Pryor, and Hakeem Smith. It was surprising to see him leave for the draft with one year of eligibility left, which may have hurt his draft stock, just having one full year at a FBS program. Sample has the NFL size teams desire, and is a very solid tackler. Something you want in the last line of defense, in other words, the opposite of Matt Elam thus far. Sample notched 90 tackles, 76 of the solo variety, while defending 12 passes and picking off four. He looks like he can play and is ready for Sunday’s, but given his past, questions about commitment, passion, competitiveness arise. NFL.com compares his skill set to Bernard Pollard.
Ibraheim Campbell, Northwestern
5’11”, 208 lbs. Fourth round. Campbell missed four games in his senior season from nagging injuries, notably a hamstring. He’s a four-time All-Academic Big Ten player, majoring in economics, and receives high praise for his character on and off the field as the Wildcats team captain. He has a wealth of experience with 45 career starts, and finishes second in Wildcat history with 11 INTs. I like guys that step up in big games, and for Northwestern, facing Notre Dame is one of their biggest. He forced two fumbles, one of which set up a game tying FG to send it overtime. He is a bit stiff in his movements, but plays aggressive. He’s got some recovery speed when beat, but is susceptible to giving up the big play.
Clayton Geathers, Central Florida
6’2”, 218 lbs. Fourth or fifth round. Geathers was a standout running back coming out of high school, and chose UCF after his cousin played there. Like Campbell above, Geather has a wealth of experience playing in 53 games, and ranks third all time for the Knights in tackles with 383. He was an All-AAC first team member in 2014. He is a heavy hitter that will often go for the knockout blow. But we know that when you miss, it can lead to bad things. Geathers has a nice combination of size and speed. He’s a physical safety, but it gets him in trouble, missing tackles, or taking bad angles on plays. Seems to be much more of a force down low in the box than over the top in deep coverage.
Anthony Jefferson, UCLA
6’1”, 198 lbs. Fifth round. Jefferson chose to play for UCLA, despite committing to Oregon, in order to stay close to his ill grandfather. His father played DB in the CFL, so there is football in his DNA. He’s an important locker room presence that motivates his teammates, and leads by example as well. Jefferson also played some cornerback, which gives him versatility. He does however lack some quickness with a 4.72 40-time. He looks fundamental in his coverage, and takes good angles which makes his slow 40-time unnoticeable in game speed. They would like him to react quicker to run plays. Previous injuries include a broken foot in 2010, and a herniated disk in 2011.
Derron Smith. Fresno State
5’10”, 200 lbs. Third or Fourth round. Smith lacks the size NFL teams want at the safety position at 5’10”. Despite the size, he played well enough to earn All-Mountain West first team honors, each of the last three years. Also has experience returning kicks and punts. He played QB, and safety in high school. Playing QB increases his football IQ on the defensive side of the ball. Playmaker potential notching 13 INTs between his sophomore and junior years. Missed tackles maybe his downfall, but he takes good angles, and is excellent in coverage, even playing nickel corner at times. Size is going to be tough to look past though as he will lose most jump ball scenarios, and is too small to be a factor covering tight ends.
Adrian Amos, Penn State (Calvert Hall HS)
6’0”, 218 lbs. Third or fourth round. Amos is a Baltimore native, growing up in Rosedale in a strict household, the son of a Baltimore City police officer. Amos attended Calvert Hall and led them to a state title in his senior year, and earned Baltimore City Defensive Player of the Year. He idolized Ed Reed, and emulated his style in jumping routes when he noticed tendencies on tape, like Reed did. He was committed to UCONN, recruited by Randy Edsall. But when Edsall left, Amos then chose Penn State over Maryland. Amos expresses high character, and reacts after plays as if he has done this before. You won’t see a guy who jumps around and points to himself after making a simple tackle, nor after a pick six. He’s all business. He ran a 4.56 40-time at the combine. But at Senior Bowl workouts he was clocked at 4.38. He can play safety, or corner with his speed to keep up, and solid coverage skills. Tackling is an issue at times, and likely won’t play up in the box often.
Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss
6’2”, 208 lbs. Fourth round. Prewitt was a first team All-SEC member each of the last two seasons. He’s your typical center field type of safety. Very comfortable in the single high safety position, but lacks a little near the line of scrimmage in the run game. He played strong safety as a freshman, making four starts, before moving to free safety as a sophomore. He’s always fired up, usually the team leader that will get in a teammates face. Prewitt plays physical and aggressive, with a knack for delivering bone crushing hits as he forced five fumbles in his career. As well as being a hard hitter, he is a reliable tackler. He has that switch that some guys don’t have.
Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State
6’1”, 208 lbs. Fourth or fifth round. Drummond was the Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year Award winner in 2014. High praise given that Tray Waynes, his teammate, is the consensus best corner in the draft, given his likeliness to be the first one off the board. Drummond lacks physicality as a big hitter, and tackling is a problem. Probably the lone reason his draft stock is down for a talented DB are his missed tackles. He has great size and speed, both closing and recovering speed, and impressive ball skills. If tackling can be taught, he maybe a steal. If it’s too late in the game to ask a tiger to change his stripes…maybe not.
Mike was born on the Eastern Shore, raised in Finksburg, and currently resides in Parkville. In 2009, Mike graduated from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland. Mike became a Baltimore City Fire Fighter in late 2010. Mike has appeared as a guest on Q1370, and FOX45. Now a Sr. Ravens Analyst for BSL, he can be reached at [email protected]