5-11/207 Oregon State
Pros: Likes to hit and willing to throw his body around. Likes to thump receivers coming off the middle and on the sidelines. Is a capable tackler that does a nice job wrapping up ballcarriers. Will ﬂash ball skills in coverage.
Cons: Doesn't give you much in coverage. Has poor hips and doesn't match up well in man coverage. Lacks the awareness to really be an effective center fielder in zone. Despite hitting and tackling ability, gets run over too often by bigger backs. Too often looks for the big hit, and will miss tackles because of it. Needs to take better angles to the ball.
Overview: Afalava is a hitter that I'm sure has a nice highlight reel somewhere on YouTube, but besides that there isn't much that he brings to the table. A natural fit at strong safety that was a three-year starter at Oregon State.
NFL Forecast: Afalava is going to have trouble impacting on regular defense because he's so one-dimensional. He's a hitter, but that's about it. He'd be eaten alive in coverage at the next level. That's why at best he's probably a special teams guy. If he can impact there early on, then he can stick for a couple of years. Coaches might like his fearlessness which could earn him extra roster points, but if he ever has to take a significant role on defense, that spells trouble for that secondary. I could see him playing three or four years as a special teams player, but it's hard to see him having a long, fruitful NFL career without starting potential.
ATL Forecast: Afalava could come in here and compete for depth on this Falcon team, but he'd be hard-pressed to beat out any of the current roster because of his limitations in coverage. He wouldn't see the field off the bench because of it, and unless he was a stalwart special teams player that means his chances of sticking are small. He'd essentially probably be a camp body that at best could make the practice squad if he laid out a couple of guys in preseason or training camp.
Value: Don't draft him because he lacks any real potential to play regular defense. But certainly is worth an invite to camp. His real value is probably to push an underachieving guy on some team's roster to work a bit harder.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.