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2016 NFL Draft: DB Scouting Reports

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Now that the initial free agency frenzy has past, let's pick up where we left off with our scouting reports. Say hello to this year's top defensive backs...

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

This years defensive back class is loaded. It's like the receiver classes from years past has switched roles with this group. We could be looking at the deepest secondary class in the last 10-15 years. If ever there was a time to snag a guy to build around in your secondary, this would be it. This group was by far my favorite to scout this year...

I am often asked how I grade players and how I go about ranking them. Well this year I have decided to add to the scouting reports my ten most watched attributes and the grading system I use to determine where that player falls among his peers. Everything is graded on a scale of 1-10 with ten being elite, and one being terrible. I also give a grade for potential. I make potential separate because more times than not, a player never reaches his full potential, so potential should not be a heavy factor in grading a player, but has to be included still. Therefore it is it's own separate entity. The highest grade for potential is an A+, which would mean you could be a Tom Brady or Adrian Peterson caliber player. The lowest grade for potential is a C which just means you ceiling is average.

Skills Grading System

1

Terrible

2

Bad

3

Poor

4

Needs Attention

5

Below Average

6

Average

7

Above Average

8

Very Good

9

Game Changer

10

Elite

Skills Grading Total system

50-60

Career Backup/ST

61-70

Needs to develop 1-3 yrs

71-80

Instant Starter

81-90

Rookie of the Year

91-100

Rookie All-Pro Potential

Potential Grading System

A+

Hall of Fame

A

Perennial All- Pro

A-

Perennial Pro Bowler

B+

10 Year Vet

B

Pro Bowl

B-

Fan Favorite

C+

Solid Contributor

C

Average Pro at Best

***ALL PLAYER COMPARISONS ARE BASED OFF OF SKILL SET AND BODY TYPES, NOT A PREDICTION OF CAREERS***

Vernon Hargreaves

5'10" 204 LBS Florida

Ball Skills

10

Tackling

7

Recovery Speed

8

COD Skills

8

Athleticism

8

Hip Fluidity

9

Physicality

8

Zone

9

Man

7

Play-Making

9

OVERALL

83

POTENTIAL: A-

OVERVIEW:

Simply put Hargreaves has the best feet in the draft. He's eerily similar to Janoris Jenkins in that regard, as well as a few others. His change of direction skills are superb. He also has the ball skills of a wide receiver. He attacks the ball at its highest point, and more times than not comes down with it. Hargreaves is a splash player. He makes plays happen with ease. He also gives some up. He likes to jump routes and can often be caught looking in the backfield at the quarterback too much. He has all the man to man skills in the world, but because of his lack of eye discipline at times he could be best suited as a zone corner, also similar to Jenkins.

Hargreaves has a thicker build and actually looks more like a running back, but he doesn't use his size and strength all the time. His physicality comes and goes. He's not always the most imposing. While he's under six feet tall, his size and strength should never come into question. But it would be nice to see him use it to his advantage more often.

Player Comparison: Janoris Jenkins

Mackensie Alexander

5'10" 195 LBS Clemson

Ball Skills

8

Tackling

10

Recovery Speed

8

COD Skills

8

Athleticism

8

Hip Fluidity

9

Physicality

9

Zone

9

Man

10

Play-Making

6

OVERALL

85

POTENTIAL: A

OVERVIEW:

Alexander is special to me. He has rare man to man cover skills. He can literally eliminate one side of the field. He's very physical at the line of scrimmage. He's an in your face kind of corner. He also has a thicker build, and looks like a running back. Alexander is a deflection king. He doesn't pick off a lot of passes, but he also doesn't try to. This is something coaches will likely tell him to change. If the opportunity is there to catch it, rather than knocking the ball down, go get it. However, the most important thing here is that he's always in position to either knock the ball down, or intercept it. He's often in great positioning.

Alexander has quick feet, and even quicker reaction skills. He flips his hips and runs extremely well. He also has one of the best back pedals in the draft. He's a smooth operator. It's pretty obvious he has watched a lot of tape on Darrelle Revis. He's modeled his game after Revis'. It helps that they have almost identical size measurements. Alexander is one of those guys that gives receivers, quarterbacks, and coordinators, fits week in and week out. His biggest area for improvement oddly enough also has to do with his greatest strength. He's so physical at the LOS that if a receiver has a good get off and slips him, more times than not he's beat. He has to practice being more patient with his hands. His hands and feet need to be in sync more often.

Player Comparison: Darrelle Revis

William Jackson

6' 189 LBS Houston

Ball Skills

10

Tackling

7

Recovery Speed

8

COD Skills

8

Athleticism

8

Hip Fluidity

8

Physicality

7

Zone

7

Man

8

Play-Making

8

OVERALL

79

POTENTIAL: B+

OVERVIEW:

Jackson has been an under the radar player for much of the season, and his career. I didn't know much about him myself, until a friend that went to Houston and still follows the team told me about him after the season. In watching him I saw a play-maker. He's really fast, and has recovery speed for days. It's not that he is an exceptional cover man, he just translates track speed into football speed as well as anyone, and gets back into posting quickly. He has happy feet, which is the primary  cause for him to jump double moves, stop his feet, take double steps all too often. The times that he does get beat, these are often the reasons. All are easily correctable. However, he has some of the loosest hips in the draft. He can turn from any angle with balance and get back in position.

Jackson plays the ball well, and he's not afraid to lay a lick or two. He's often around the ball, as you just don't see him take too many plays off. He's a guy that's extremely talented, but also has high effort. He plays with the motor you dream of as a coach. You can see him follow the receiver 60 yards down field on back to back plays, then on the next play run 50 yards across field -- sideline to sideline -- and make the play on someone else's man. He's that kind of player every week on film. It's highly impressive. Jackson brings speed, ball skills, and effort in a way that's similar to Adam Jones, formerly known as Pacman.

Player Comparison: Adam "Pacman" Jones

Jalen Ramsey

6'1" 209 LBS Florida St.

Ball Skills

8

Tackling

7

Recovery Speed

10

COD Skills

9

Athleticism

10

Hip Fluidity

8

Physicality

8

Zone

7

Man

7

Play-Making

7

OVERALL

81

POTENTIAL: A

OVERVIEW:

Ramsey is this years draft hype man. He receives a lot of praise and attention. He's being dubbed the next impact player. Every draft has one. I on the other hand am not quite on board. Is he athletic? Yes. But as we all know that just doesn't always translate to on field success. I see some positives in his game, and he's without question a first round pick, but I am not sold he's the next Charles Woodson or Patrick Peterson as some have said that he could be. Ramsey plays the game solely off of his athletic ability far too often. I also question his physicality off the snap. While he flashes this trait sometimes, far too often it's not there. His size would indicate a much more physically imposing game than the one he puts on tape.

Ramsey is a finesse player with above really good COD skills. He can flip his hips extremely well, and he's very explosive, allowing him to run with virtually any receiver. He breaks on the ball as good as anyone in the draft. However, this has not translated into many turnovers. Ramsey does have the ability to play both corner and safety, but I think his future lies at corner. You just can't let hips and length like that go to waste. Ramsey is also a good tackler. He just doesn't lose a lot of one on one situations in the open field. Ramsey's potential is through the roof, and he reminds me a lot of a much faster version Trumaine Johnson. Coming out Johnson was a tall long corner with the ability to break on passes as good as anyone in the 2012 draft class. Johnson doesn't have the raw speed that Ramsey has, and he translated those jumps on the ball into interceptions far more often in college, but coming out these two are really similar in their style of play. Of course Johnson has grown to become one of the more physical corners in the league, and Ramsey has the size and explosiveness to do the same if he so chooses.

Player Comparison: Trumaine Johnson

Karl Joseph

5'10" 205 LBS West Virginia

Ball Skills

8

Tackling

10

Recovery Speed

8

COD Skills

8

Athleticism

8

Hip Fluidity

7

Physicality

10

Zone

10

Man

7

Play-Making

9

OVERALL

85

POTENTIAL: A

OVERVIEW:

Joseph has slowly but surely become one of my favorite players to watch on tape. I remember his freshman year he was receiving so much hype, and then I finally watched one of the Mountaineers games, and he jumped off the screen. Then the following year was a little less impressive, and his junior season was only slightly above average. Then came his senior year. Before getting hurt, Joseph was the best defensive back in the nation, bar none. Joseph displayed the ability to do any and everything.

Joseph is 100 miles per/hr every game all game. He throws caution out the window. He delivers bone jarring hit one after another. But what separates him from other big hitters is his coverage ability. Most big hitters tend to struggle in this area, and vice versa. Joseph is the best of both worlds. He plays center field as well as anyone. He makes it extremely difficult to throw over the intermediate to deep middle. Time and time again he has shown either you will throw an interception or get your receiver killed. You can find Joseph anywhere on the find making plays. He finished his college career with as many tackles for loss as some linebackers. He's in the backfield, he's on the deep end, he's on the slot, out wide, he's everywhere. But he's a true difference maker at the safety position. There's a lot of similarities between he and Troy Polamalu.

Player Comparison: Troy Polamalu

Below are my rankings of the top ten defensive backs of the 2016 NFL draft. Included are both the round I think they are deserving of being drafted in, as well as the round I think they will ultimately be drafted in...

Rank

Player

School

Ht/Wt

Projected Rd

1

Karl Joseph

W. Virginia

5'10" 205

Top 5/Mid 2

2

Mackensie Alexander

Clemson

5'10" 195

Top 5/Mid 1

3

Vernon Hargreaves

Florida

5'10" 204

Top 10/Top 15

4

Jalen Ramsey

Florida St.

6'1" 209

Top 25/Top 10

5

William Jackson

Houston

6' 189

Top 25/Late 1-2

6

Vonn Bell

Ohio St.

5'11" 200

Top 25/1-2

7

Xavien Howard

Baylor

6' 201

Early 2/2-3

8

Kendall Fuller

Virginia Tech

6' 187

Early 2/Mid 2

9

Deandre Houston Carson

William & Mary

6'1" 201

Mid 2/2-3

10

Cyrus Jones

Alabama

5'10" 197

Mid 2/Early 3