One player who has been getting around in the pre-draft process is Jayron Kearse out of Clemson, intriguing the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Detroit Lions, Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars with his talent.
After three years with the Tigers, including making it to the national championship game last season, Kearse is heading to the NFL, and right now is looking like a late-round prospect. He’s incredibly tall and long for the safety position and had some nice highlight clips to put together from his time in Clemson, but teams are worried about some other aspects in his game, which might be more important than his physical traits.
If there’s one thing worrisome about Kearse’s game it’s his lethargic approach to plays at times. The safety position is the last line of defense, which usually means a bit more drive and passion from the players occupying the spot. Kearse isn’t a great tackler, and is often slow to turn around making it difficult for him to cover players in one on one situations. He’s at his best in single high coverage where his ability to read a quarterback is at its finest.
When he’s positioned initially a lot more closer to the box his weaknesses come to life, and it’s almost like a completely different player. He’s very good when it comes to closing the gap when necessary, but the way he plays and contributes depends on where he starts out the play. Some scouts think that only 7 interceptions and three sacks during his college years (also 11.5 tackles for a loss) isn’t enough for a guy with his talent and size.
The question with Kearse is how much do teams believe they can put some fire in him. In terms of his appearance and workouts, he shouldn’t have a problem. But if NFL teams are also convinced that he has some sort of motivational problem on the field, it’ll be difficult for him to shake off that perception.