Joe Lefeged, SS, Rutgers

Scouting reports of the safeties in the 2011 Draft.
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Joe Lefeged, SS, Rutgers

Postby Pudge » Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:28 pm

Rutgers Senior
40: 4.50 (estimated)


Does a pretty good job not giving up the deep pass. Will come up and challenge the ball on the short passes over the middle. Shows willingness to come up and defend the run. Flashes some ability as a blitzer. Capable on special teams as a kickoff returner as well as gunner on punt coverage.


Not a major factor in run support. Doesn't do a great job breaking down at the point of attack and whiffs on tackles. Will lose outside contain because he takes some poor angles to the ball. Doesn't have great hips when it comes to matching up with receivers over the middle in man coverage.


I wasn't overly impressed with Lefeged in the few Rutgers games I saw this past year. He has enough skill to stick in the pros, but the only area he really seemed to shine was on special teams, making me see him more as a backup than a future starting candidate. His stat lines and production suggest otherwise, so maybe I just happened to catch two mediocre performances from him. A three-year starter at strong safety that had his best year as a senior leader with 84 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 pick, 6 breakups, 4 forced fumbles. He also returned 38 kickoffs for an average of 24.9 yards. As a junior, he had 11 kickoff returns for 32.4 yard average, including a score. He also blocked 4 kicks during his career.


I think Lefeged is going to come into the league and make an immediate impact on special teams. He is a capable kickoff returner that is no Devin Hester, but certainly a guy that can get the job done in that realm for a team. He adds value as a reserve safety, and could potentially develop into a decent starter down the line. But he just doesn't really do anything that really stands out on defense. He is better vs. the pass than against the run, where he is pretty average if not poor at times. And being a factor in coverage certainly helps you stick in the league longer, but I'm not sure he's the caliber of athlete or playmaker to be anything more than a stopgap performer. With some experience under his belt, I think he probably offers enough to get by as a starter. But he doesn't seem to be a guy that if he does win a starting job three or four years down the road, he's going to keep it forever because better safeties will come along, guys that are just as good if not better in coverage as well as run support. But I do think he could be a stud performer on special teams due to his ability to work in coverage as a gunner and be a factor there and that should allow him to stick somewhere long term because good to great special teams players are hard to come by. Just look at Larry Izzo or Steve Tasker or Elbert Shelley. All three played a decade or longer in the league just because of their special teams value. Is Lefeged going to be that good (Pro Bowl caliber)? I don't know, but the potential is certainly there.


Lefeged can stick in Atlanta immediately because of his special teams ability. Wouldn't surprise me if in a short time, he becomes the team captain as far as that goes. And his addition along with players like Weems and Wire should give the Falcons one of the premier special teams units in the league, if they don't already have it. But as far as potential impact on defense, I don't see him being anything more than a career backup here in Atlanta. I think he's a similar palyer to Schillinger in that he can add some depth and be an OK emergency fill-in in case of injury, but his primary value will be on special teams.


Purely as a defensive safety prospect, I probably wouldn't say Lefeged is worth more than a seventh round pick. But in terms of his ability to contribute on special teams, that bumps up his stock to a fifth or sixth round pick.

1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

Speed: 3.0
Tackling: 2.0
Coverage: 2.5
Ball Skills: 2.5
Range: 2.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.

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