PROS: Is a solid, reliable tackler that has good closing burst on the ball and nice pop. Will deck a receiver over the middle if he can get the chance. Shows some potential to work in zone and does best work when he can keep things in front of him. Shows ability to read the QB and break up the pass.
CONS: Needs to improve his awareness in zone. Will take some poor angles to the ball in run support and overpursues, causing him to completely whiff on some tackles.
OVERVIEW: A bit of an anomaly because he's a former wide receiver that has turned into a good run-stopping safety. Starter the past three years at free safety, combining for 179 tackles, 6 for loss, 5 picks, and 4 forced fumbles in those years. Tore his ACL after 8 games as a junior. Caught 32 passes for 326 yards (10.2 avg) and 1 score as a freshman receiver in 9 starts.
NFL FORECAST: He's got upside, and it wouldn't surprise me at all in a few years down the road he's a capable NFL starter. He's a physical player that is big and tough against the run. He still has some improvement to make in terms of his awareness on defense, but he flashes the ball skills to be able to work in coverage, and you'd think his experience on offense would help him a lot there. He's a physical run defender that has big play potential. I think he's probably a guy that will need to work on the bench for the better part of two years before you can expect him to live up to his potential. But at the least, he's got the potential to play either safety spot as a reserve and I think should be able to impact on special teams. I expect he'll have a fairly long NFL career if for no other reason teams like his athletic potential and keep him around just in case he does develop as a starter.
ATL FORECAST: Polk would be a good pickup in Atlanta because he can potentially play either safety spot. He probably woudl bea better fit as a reserve strong safety off the bat because of he's a bit more polished run defender than in coverage at this point. But in Atlanta, he should have the time to develop behind DeCoud and Moore for two or so years before he can be asked to push for a starting job. And I do think he could push DeCoud for the starting spot and win it, if based off nothing more than his superior physical tools. In the meantime, he can perform on special teams. I'm not confident he would develop as a starter in Atlanta, but I do think it's a good environment for that to be a possibility. His upside means that I think he would win the battle for the fourth safety right off the bat.
VALUE: For a team looking for a developmental safety, I think he's talented enoguh to go at the end of the third. But because of him having a bit of a longer length to impact than other third round caliber safeties, I'd prefer to target him in the fourth.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
BALL SKILLS: 3.0
Scouting reports of safeties in the 2010 draft.
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