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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Scouting Report: Eric Reid, Safety, LSU


Scouting Reports On: Phillip Thomas -- Matt Elam -- Damontre Moore -- Bjoern Werner

          The Detroit Lions head into the 2013 off-season with many holes along their defensive. Safety is one of the key spots they must address. Strong Safety Louis Delmas is a dynamic player when on the field, but the inability to stay healthy is a concern moving forward. Same goes with Free Safety Amari Spievy, who was lost for the season with a concussion, but unlike Delmas, Spievey has yet to show much potential since switching to safety during his rookie season. Likewise, veteran Erik Coleman was ineffective in spot duty and Ricardo Silva is still growing in the system as a youngster.

          Jim Schwartz previously talked about having players with divers skill sets, allowing them to play in various spots on the field. Thimas Dimitroff, Atlanta Falcons general manager mentioned this as well when he spoke with Steve Wyche of NFL.com.

        "Ideally, we'd like to get to a situation where you have interchangeable safeties," said Dimitroff, whose expertise as a college scout was evaluating defensive backs. "Maybe one guy is the strong safety, but you can flip it. Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed, those guys are great football players who set the benchmark. It's not easy to find those guys year in and year out, but those are the type of guys that we are ultimately looking for at the safety position."

        It is certain that safety is a position Detroit will bring fresh blood into, one way or another. I have looked at film and evaluated each of the safety's the Lions will have a chance at come draft day. I discounted Baccari Rambo due to my hunch that Martin Mayhew will shy away from multiple drug related altercations, which ultimately landed Rambo a four game suspension before the season.

Eric Reid

Strengths: Reid is big, standing 6'2 and weighing 212 pounds, and uses that size to his advantage. He is a hard hitter and uses his long arms to bat down balls. He is best in zone coverage manning the middle of the field. Reid is as durable as they come, missing only one game due to injury in his three seasons at LSU. Matches up well with tight ends using his size and jumping ability in the red zone.

Weaknesses: Reid struggles in man coverage. He doesn't have the straight-line speed to handle shift backs or slot receivers. He takes poor angles far too often and struggles occasionally with open field tackling. Reid seems stiff at times and his hips aren't as fluid as you'd like. Takes a lot of false steps off the line which allows receivers to beat him vertically at will. 

Overview: Reid came into this season riding off the hype he had last season apart of an all-star secondary, that featured 6th overall pick Morris Claiborne and fellow draftee Brandon Taylor along with Tyrone Mathieu. Widely considered a top 15 draft pick, Reid has seen his stock plummet the past month. He has become the definition of a tweener safety, decent in run support and  solid in zone defense but isn't great at either. With more and more defenses looking for safety's to cover backs and receivers, I would shy away from Reid if I were the Lions.

Scouting Report: Phillip Thomas, Safety, Fresno State University


Scouting Reports On: Matt Elam -- Bjoern Werner -- Damontre Moore -- Eric Reid

         The Detroit Lions head into the 2013 off-season with many holes along their defensive. Safety is one of the key spots they must address. Strong Safety Louis Delmas is a dynamic player when on the field, but the inability to stay healthy is a concern moving forward. Same goes with Free Safety Amari Spievy, who was lost for the season with a concussion, but unlike Delmas, Spievey has yet to show much potential since switching to safety during his rookie season. Likewise, veteran Erik Coleman was ineffective in spot duty and Ricardo Silva is still growing in the system as a youngster.

          Jim Schwartz previously talked about having players with divers skill sets, allowing them to play in various spots on the field. Thimas Dimitroff, Atlanta Falcons general manager mentioned this as well when he spoke with Steve Wyche of NFL.com.

        "Ideally, we'd like to get to a situation where you have interchangeable safeties," said Dimitroff, whose expertise as a college scout was evaluating defensive backs. "Maybe one guy is the strong safety, but you can flip it. Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed, those guys are great football players who set the benchmark. It's not easy to find those guys year in and year out, but those are the type of guys that we are ultimately looking for at the safety position."

        It is certain safety is a position Detroit will bring fresh blood into, one way or another. I have looked at film and evaluated each of the safety's the Lions will have a chance at come draft day.I discounted Baccari Rambo due to my hunch that Martin Mayhew will shy away from multiple drug related altercations, which ultimately landed Rambo a four game suspension before the season.

Phillip Thomas

Strengths: Thomas has the instincts to become a ball-hawking safety at the next level. Led the nation with 8 interceptions, 3 of those were returned for touchdowns. Solid hips in coverage, able to break on the ball with his quickness. Thomas is very good coming off the edge as a blitzer using his instincts to find the quarterback. In the Senior Bowl, he got beat a few times but had the closing speed to knock the ball down. In goal-line situations he isn't afraid to get his nose dirty.

Weakness: Thomas demonstrates poor angles far too often. He missed a lot of open field tackles. Drops his head and lunges at the ballcarrier in an attempt to bring him down. His injury history is also a concern going forward (see next portion).

Overview: Thomas played primarily strong safety in college, at the next level the team that picks him up would be wise to switch him to the free safety spot. He isn't a big-hitting run support safety, despite his size (6'1, 210 pounds), but shows the fluid hips and natural instincts when the ball is in the air. Needs to be coached up in-order to become a form tackler at the next level. He missed all of 2011 after breaking his leg and dislocating his ankle three days before the season. This should raise a few red flags but if the Lions are able to grab him early in the third round, he would become a perfect compliment to Delmas at the safety position.


Scouting Report: Matt Elam, Safety, University of Florida



Scouting Reports On: Damontre Moore -- Bjoern Werner -- Phillip Thomas -- Eric Reid


      The Detroit Lions head into the 2013 off-season with many holes along their defensive. Safety is one of the key spots they must address. Strong Safety Louis Delmas is a dynamic player when on the field, but the inability to stay healthy is a concern moving forward. Same goes with Free Safety Amari Spievy, who was lost for the season with a concussion, but unlike Delmas, Spievey has yet to show much potential since switching to safety during his rookie season. Likewise, veteran Erik Coleman was ineffective in spot duty and Ricardo Silva is still growing in the system as a youngster.
     
      Jim Schwartz has talked about having players with diverse skill sets allowing them to play in various spots on the field. Thomas Dimitroff, Atlanta Falcons general manager mentioned this as well when he spoke with Steve Wyche of NFL.com.

      "Ideally, we'd like to get to a situation where you have interchangeable safeties," said Dimitroff, whose expertise as a college scout was evaluating defensive backs. "Maybe one guy is the strong safety, but you can flip it. Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed, those guys are great football players who set the benchmark. It's not easy to find those guys year in and year out, but those are the type of guys that we are ultimately looking for at the safety position."

      It is certain safety is a position Detroit will bring fresh blood into, one way or another. I have looked at film and evaluated each of the safety's the Lions will have a chance at come draft day I discounted Baccari Rambo due to my hunch that Martin Mayhew will shy away from multiple drug related altercations, which ultimately landed Rambo a four game suspension before the season.


Matt Elam

Strengths: Elam is athletic, instinctive and may be the most physical skill position player in this draft. He demonstrated the ability to walk up into the box and be a force near the line of scrimmage while also dropping back into coverage as a single-high safety when called upon. Elam is seems to fit the new hybrid safety mold in the NFL, being able to cover tight ends and backs. Absolutely lays the wood when coming up in run support.

Weaknesses: Elam is a bit smaller than scouts would prefer, at 5-10, 202 pounds. He is a very aggressive and physical hitter, as mentioned above, in coverage trying to knockout a receiver out with every hit. However, this can get him into trouble. Elam looks for the knockout blow too often, as seen against the LSU Tigers. He routinely jumps routes and gets beat over the top. Elam's technique is far from where it needs to be. In the NFL, technique is more important than any physical skill-set an athlete has. Elam will need immense coaching to set his technique to where it needs to be. Character concerns have been raised as well. In his freshman season he was arrested for possession of alcohol. This past season he was the instigator of a pregame brawl outside the locker rooms between rival Georgia that Elam was reportedly the leader of.

Overview: Elam is an immense talent. He was one of my favorite to watch film on due to his passion for the game. He possesses the hitting prowess no other safety in this draft has. For the Lions, however, I don't see them taking Elam. Delmas possesses this same skill set, hard hitting, great in run support, very physical. Barring the Lions allowing him to walk, they will be looking to add a ball-hawking safety in this years draft.