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Three CBs, three safeties who stood out

Fri, Mar 02, 2018

Executive Director Phil Savage spent 20 years in the National Football League as a coach, scout, executive and general manager. Prior to the Combine, he will evaluate the Reese’s Senior Bowl practice sessions and game, position-by-position, for both the North and South squads.

With an average of 50 defensive backs drafted over the past five years, the RSB provides an excellent opportunity for NFL evaluators to make comparisons amongst this group of elite athletes. For our mythical Reese’s All-Senior Bowl team, here are the six standouts for the secondary.

Never Enough Corners

#26 M.J. Stewart/North Carolina (S)      5105/198   H-9 3/8          A-31 4/8        WS-75 1/8
The Alabama Power Practice Award winner for defensive backs, M.J. had a very consistent week of coverage as both an outside and slot corner. His eyes work and he stays in sound position against most every route. Plus, he has dependable hands and can return punts.

1-on-1 Pass Coverage-          Wins: 13         Losses: 5

Reese’s Pieces: This three-year starter for the Tar Heels closed out his career with 199 total tackles, 47 passes defended and 6 interceptions, while he returned 15 punts his senior season for an 11.3-yard average.

#1 Christian Campbell/Penn State (N)    6005/192 H-8 5/8          A-32 4/8        WS-80
This one-plus year starter for the Nittany Lions is a tall, long-limbed cover man who impressed during the practices before pulling out of the game with a low back strain. He has a big upside because of his length and overall athleticism, so look for Christian to gain more buzz over the next few months.

1-on-1 Pass Coverage-          Wins: 13         Losses: 2

Reese’s Pieces: Christian played at Phenix City High School (AL) for Woodrow Lowe, the former Alabama and San Diego Chargers great who is in the Reese’s Senior Bowl Hall of Fame. As a senior in 2017 for PSU, he tallied 45 total tackles, broke up 9 passes and had 1 interception.

#24 Duke Dawson/Florida (N)       6006/195      H-8 4/8          A-30 7/8        WS-74 5/8
Duke missed the first day of practice with strep throat, but responded on Wednesday and Thursday with his energetic style of play. He appears to be confident and comfortable in the slot and did consistent work on the perimeter, too.

1-on-1 Pass Coverage-          Wins: 8           Losses: 3

Reese’s Pieces: As a two-year starter for the Gators, Duke finished his career with 81 total tackles, 17 pass breakups and 6 interceptions, while earning All-SEC honors after his senior campaign.

Multi-Purpose Safeties 

#28 Kyzir White/West Virginia (N)      6021/216     H-9 7/8          A-32               WS-76 7/8
This two-year starter for the Mountaineers aligned as both a strong and free safety during the RSB week and did not look out of place in the deep part of the field. With a physical attitude directed towards the run game and his ability to drop down in coverage on tight ends, he is a prospect that should be able to make a contribution as a rookie in 2018. 

1-on-1 Pass Coverage-          Wins: 6           Losses: 4

Reese’s Pieces: Like his older brother Kevin, the former WVU standout and first round pick of the Chicago Bears, Kyzir transferred from Lackawanna College and then recorded 152 total tackles, 9 pass breakups and 3 interceptions in two seasons at WVU.

#39 Trayvon Henderson/Hawaii (N).    6001/204  H-9 (left)        A-31 2/8        WS-75 6/8
This All-Mountain West selection showed up around the football all week against the run and pass. More than held his own in coverage and showed more range than expected from the middle of the field. A surprising non-Combine invitee, the expectation here is that regardless of draft status, he will ultimately become a player in the league.

1-on-1 Pass Coverage-          Wins: 5           Losses: 5

Reese’s Pieces: Trayvon took a medical redshirt in 2015 due to a knee injury, but in three years as a starter for UH, he compiled 237 tackles, 13 pass breakups and 9 interceptions.

#14 Jeremy Reaves/S Alabama (S)        5105/204      H-7 6/8          A-30 3/8        WS-71 4/8
This Pensacola Catholic High School and South Alabama product made a triumphant return to Ladd-Peebles Stadium when he totaled 8 tackles and recorded an interception on game day. He is ideally suited to play as a Nickel/Dime safety, meaning down in the box, where he can mix it up against the run and defend the pass in a short area.

1-on-1 Pass Coverage-          Wins: 2           Losses: 5

Reese’s Pieces: Another non-Combine invite, this Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year will likely earn a roster spot in 2018 on special teams and as a situational defensive back. During his career at USA, Jeremy accumulated 301 total tackles, 20.5 tackles-for-loss, 8 forced fumbles, 46 pass breakups and 8 interceptions.