Active vs. the run and will come up and deliver a hit to the ballcarrier. Has good burst to the ball and willing to throw his weight around to thump a receiver over the middle. Comfortable playing near the box and is able to come off the corner as a blitzer. Can matchup in the slot against the receiver and shows ability to cover tight ends and backs in the flat. Does a nice job keeping things in front of him in coverage and shows awareness to jump routes and break up screens. Seems to have a knack for making a big play and turnover in big games.
Undersized and it shows in run support when he takes on bigger backs. Takes some bad angles to the ball when working on the edge. Needs to do a better job wrapping up in the open field. Will tackle too high at times and try to lower the shoulder. Doesn't always do a great job breaking down and will miss stops in the float. Doesn't have great burst to close in coverage. Gets caught looking in the backfield at times in man coverage.
Black is one of those players that when you watch him, you definitely see his limitations. But he's a guy that makes plays and projects well as a glue guy at the next level. He is undersized and it often shows in run support, and while he's effective coverage, he's not quick enough to stick with receivers in man coverage and too small to cover tight ends. But he has good awareness and ball skills, but not great ball skills. A three-year starter at strong safety that combined for 337 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 13 interceptions, 15 pass breakups, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 recoveries. Had a strong senior campaign with 108 tackles, 11 for loss, 5 picks, and 5 breakups. Tied for the lead in the nation with 7 picks as a sophomore, his first as a starter.
Black is going to have some hurdles to overcome in the pros. His lack of size is going to hurt him in run support. He's a guy that needs to get bigger and stronger and get up to at least 195+ before he can be decent. But he'll never be a guy that you want to try and tackle good NFL running backs. His lack of size will hurt him in coverage because you don't want him covering a 6-5 tight end either. And he doesn't have the speed that you really want him covering a quality slot receiver. But he's a guy that is going to find a way to find a role in the league. He does have starting potential, but as a starter he's probably a low level guy that you don't fully trust in that role because of his physical limitations. But he can find a role on special teams, working in the nickel or in dime packages, and he can be a very good role player in the pros. I don't think he's as good as Jim Leonhard, but I think he can have that sort of career path where he rides the pine for a few years, goes to a new team and finds a role as a capable complementary starter. He'll probably best working in a scheme that he'll have talent around him. And I think he can be a solid free safety because he's smart. He might work best in a 3-4 scheme, or one where he'll play a lot of Cover-2. Basically, put him in zone coverage more often than not where his smarts can be used better rather than having him in situations where his physical shortcomings are apparent. He's more of a complementary and role player. If he goes to a good team like Baltimore or the Jets, I think he can be a good capable starter. If he goes to a bad team, I think he'll be much closer to being just a guy. I would compare him to an undersized Dashon Goldson, where a team will be content with him as the starter, but they know he's not a long-term building block.
Black could come to Atlanta and be a solid reserve, because he may not have the ideal tools, but he can find a role in nickel or dime situations. He'd be the backup to DeCoud at free safety, and I think he can have a long career as a No. 3 because you use him in a variety of ways. But his primary contribution early in Atlanta is special teams. And if an injury happens to either starter down the road, you can be content with Black serving as the stopgap guy.
Black plays like a nice third or fourth round option, but because of his size limitations, you're probably getting better value if you wait until the fifth round to nab him. He'll earn a role on a team, but you're better off waiting to draft him at a point where you're not expecting him to be a starter.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Ball Skills: 3.5
Scouting reports of the safeties in the 2011 Draft.
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