(Editor’s Note: With the draft still about three months away, Bryan Broaddus has already begun his draft research although we’re still early in the game. Each day of the next two weeks, we’ll focus on a position, with Broaddus profiling a handful of top players, going off mainly their college film. Today, we’ll focus on the safeties.)Here are a few safeties to keep an eye on as we get ready for the 2013 NFL Draft:
- Kenny Vaccaro, 6-1, 218, Texas
There are plenty of times where you study Vaccaro and he isn’t lined up as a safety in certain schemes…will line up at linebacker or in the slot covering a receiver when they go to a three receiver package…the most impressive trait he has is his ability to cover out of the slot….plays with a nice feel in coverage…has some corner skills to his game…reacts quickly and smoothly…good position in routes…plays with quick feet…didn’t see any separation to his game when he was put in that position….is a physical player…used as a blitzer out of the slot and off the edge in the goal line defense…will take on at the point of attack…is more than willing to fill on the run…wrap up tackler…did see a miss in the hole against Oklahoma that resulted in a long touchdown run…not a one trick pony when it comes to his play…you see him in the middle of the action.
- Jonathan Cyprien, 6-0, 209, Florida International
Like Vaccaro of Texas in that he will play all over the defense deep or in the box….what I really like about him is his ability to cover ground…when the ball goes in the air, you see him on his horse to get there….had a pretty interception against Louisville playing out of center field…can pedal, turn and run…can really drive on the ball when it is in front of him…has the size to carry tight ends up the field and will fight them for the ball…did get beat out of the slot by a receiver on a back shoulder throw…not afraid to come up and take on linemen that pull…is a blow’em up type of tackler…will bring some violence and not afraid to take a shot at receivers when they cross the middle…if he has a weakness it is that he doesn’t always wrap up…had this happen to him a couple of times against Duke which one of these misses resulted in a touchdown but did make an open field tackle against Arkansas State that did save a touchdown…you don’t have to worry about him standing around piles.
- Matt Elam, 5-10, 202, Florida
See him more as a strong safety type than that of a free...doesn’t cover ground like Vaccaro of Texas or Cyprien of Florida International…just not a quick footed player…can be a step slow arriving in coverage…doesn’t have that ability to pedal, turn and burst…plays much more in zone coverage than he does in man…can get a good jam when he gets his hands on the receiver…thought he showed good awareness finding the ball against Louisville…like Cyprien in that you will see him go for the big hit and not wrap up as a tackler and that will get him in trouble at times…missed a tackle in the hole that should have been a two yard gain but instead it went for more yards and a first down…had a shot at a sack against Texas A&M blitzing out of the slot and over ran Johnny Maziel …one of his best traits is his ability to create turnovers….is one of those players that is always ripping at the ball…like the fact that he plays with a chip on his shoulder.
- D. J. Swearinger, 5-11, 210, South Carolina
Feisty player that is always trying to mix things up….can cover in the slot….quick footed player….nice reaction to slant on the goal line against Georgia…handled the bunch
formations well…picked up his man right off the snap…showed good awareness…quick transition from center field…also showed the ability to play from one hash to come all the way across the field and get in on coverage against Clemson…against LSU did an outstanding job of helping on the fade when there was a busted coverage by the corner and he was able to rally in coverage…ball skills, tipped a ball against Georgia that should have been intercepted…can play with his hands when around the line…is not the tackler of Vaccaro of Texas or Cyprien of Florida International….really runs hot and cold in that regard…you will see him tackle high and bulldog his guy to the ground or nicely wrap up in the hole…then you will see him be selective not getting in the mix…not afraid to go for a cheap shot.
- Eric Reid, 6-2, 212, LSU
There are plenty of people that have falling in love with Reid because of his physical make up but I tend to study the tape and see what that brings…there are parts of his game that I really struggle with….I don’t see a fluid moving player that plays with quick reactions…there were too many times where he let other teammates around him make plays…see him play a lot of coverage where he is allowed to use the boundary to help him…when he is asked to play man coverage you see him grab more than use technique to play against the receiver….did not see much quickness in his pedal or the reactions that you would like in your free safety…I am worried about his range…saw some plays against Florida where he was just jogging to the ball…took a terrible angle against Texas A&M playing the screen where he took himself out of the play which resulted in a touchdown…have a chance to be really wrong about this guy but the tape is telling me different.