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    2007 DRAFT PROSPECT PROFILES: SAFETIES

(Ed note: Players not necessarily listed in order of grade)

    Leon Hall, Micigan… 5-11, 193, 4.39, SR… Productive cover corner who had 12 career interceptions with the Wolverines including 3 in 2006 when he also broke up 12 other passes; physical player who does an outstanding job in run support; very reliable wrap up tackler who will deliver a pop; Hall is an athletic corner with fluid hips and athletic feet; very smooth on the back peddle and breaks hard on the ball; has soft hands and very good ball skills; generally tracks and locates the ball well, timing his jumps with good body control; answered questions about his pure foot speed when he ran a 4.39 40 at the combine; also led all CBs (by a wide margin) with times of 6.50 in the 3-cone drill and 4.07 in the short shuttle; smart player with excellent football instincts; also a hard worker with solid intangibles. Benefits from playing week-in-and week out against quality Big Ten competition, although Hall struggled at times against some top opponents such as Southern Cal’s Dwayne Jarrett in the Rose Bowl. Concern is that Hall gives too much cushion and lacks the burst and struggles to recover from mistakes; indeed, may still be more fast than quick; also tends overreact to receiver’s first move and struggles with double cuts; also needs to improve route-defending and work to establish better position as plays progress. Can cover one-on-one but may be better suited to zone or cover two coverage. Summary: Easily the top senior CB in the 2007 draft class with the size and speed teams are looking for in a shut down CB; likely top 15-20 pick who could also project to safety as some point.

    Chris Houston, Arkansas… 5-10, 185, 4.32, JR… Arguably, the fastest rising player in the 2007 draft class; also likely the best press cover corner in this year’s draft; numbers aren’t eye-popping, but pretty much shut down star receivers Dwayne Jarrett of USC, Tennessee’s Robert Meachem and LSU’s Dwayne Bowe who were held to a combined 14 catches for 168 yards and 1 touchdown in their games with the Hogs. Not overly big at barely 5-10 and 185 pounds, but matches up physically with most receivers; while not tall has long arms; very quick with 4.32 40 time; has fluid hips and can turn and run at speed; has seond-gear recovery speed; good leaper who is very aggressive when the ball is in the air, but has only average ball skills; very confident cover corner, but can also be over-aggressive at times and will get burned; while physical in coverage is only an average tackler who isn’t all that strong supporting the run… Summary: Athletic, confident cover corner who has the physical tools to be the first CB off the board in a somewhat weak year at the position.

    Darrelle Revis, Pittsburgh… 5-11.5, 204, 4.54, JR… One of the wild cards in the secondary in the 2007 draft class; big, physical corner who plays with an attitude; indeed, has both the body and mentality of a safety; not tall at under 6-0, but has long arms; natural athlete with fluid hips, along with good balance and agility; technically sound corner who reads play well; can turn and run and is smooth coming out of his backpeddle; uses hands well to jam receivers; also has good ball skills with 8 career interceptions; good punt returner who averaged 8.6 yards per return in 2006; good wrap-up tackler who is strong in run support. The big question regarding Revis is pure foot speed; he’s quick enough but lacks that extra gear; also will lose concentration at times and will take too many penalties… Summary: Would be a top 15-20 prospect if he ran in the 4.3s but lack of real speed means he’s probably not going to be a true shutdown corner at the next level; still should be one of the first 3-4 players selected at the position.

    Aaron Ross, Texas… 6-0, 193, 4.44, SR… Productive cover corner named college football’s top DB this fall in just his first year as a starter; in fact, Ross picked off 6 passes in 2006 and broke up three others; also a very good punt returner who averaged 11.8 yards per return during his career and had 3 return TDs; decent all-around athlete who helped his stock when he ran a 4.44 40 at the combine; also showed good quickness at the combine posting very good times in the short shuttle (4.15) and 3-cone drill (6.72). Not overly big or physical, but is a solid run defender with over 200 career tackles including 80 last fall; improving coverage corner although he will gamble at times; Ross has fluid hips, although he isn’t all that smooth coming out of his backpeddle; breaks well on the ball but also tends to give up plenty of cushion; also not all instinctive; average leaper but has very good hands and ball skills. The concern among scouts is that Ross doesn’t play quite as fast as he timed at the combine; in particular, he struggled to stay with faster receivers at times this past season… Summary: Emerging cover corner with decent raw tools, but may lack the pure foot speed to consistently hold up on the island in press coverage; still a good cover two prospect who should be one of the top 4-5 CBs off the board this coming April.

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