One half of the tall Clemson safety duo from last season, T.J. Green, is seeing his draft stock rising, visiting the Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals, all very impressed with his physical traits.
Like Jayron Kearse, Green has more in his height and length to show for than other things. He was a full time starter for Clemson just one season, in 2015. He didn’t have any interceptions last season, but did add 95 tackles, 5.5 for loss, broke up three passes and forced two fumbles. Not bad numbers, but it’s not why his name has suddenly been mentioned up to second round picks, although the third round sounds like the more reasonable one for him.
Like Kearse, he’s a wide receiver who converted to safety. He is fast and can cover a lot of area quickly, with some surprising spice to his tackles and excellent ball skills due to his past as a receiver. Mostly he works in deep coverage, and has rarely been asked to join the line of scrimmage, although he has been used quite effectively in blitz packages due to his speed coming off the line.
That’s the good stuff. But Green is hard to assess because of how little action he’s been involved in over the last season with Clemson using him far away from the happenings a lot of the time. He tries too often to tackle with his shoulder instead of wrapping up a player, causing 17 missed or broken tackles in 2015. Reading how a play develops is also something that he’s not strong at, often hesitating to join the action after a catch or a run breaks through.
His speed alone is going to get him in the fourth round, and his size will put him in the third round. But beyond that will be quite surprising, and teams will have some work to do in order to fix some of his issues in order to become a reliable starting safety in the NFL.