Eye In The sky – Closer Look At DeAndre McDaniels

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What was common between the Free Safety and Strong Safety evaluation was a prospect that I have kept a close eye on, his name DeAndre McDaniel.

DeAndre McDaniels was a freshman starter for Clemons, at the Safety position.  During his first offseason he became a gym rat and coaches asked him to make the move to Linebacker.  McDaniels made a smooth transition accumulating 77 tackles and one Interception.  The next offseason he learned how to use his best skills and translate that back into the safety position where he finally started catching the attention of media spotlight.  He became a ball hawk in the secondary grabbing 8 interceptions returning one of them for TD, and leading his team to a bowl victory over Kentucky.

 It seems that when McDaniels started to blossom into an elite player that is when things went wrong.  This prospect let the spotlight get the better of him.  Being charged with assault, to his girlfriend and then the drinking violations started to come into the fold.  However, the same has happened with many elite prospects and veterans in the NFL. 

 But, enough of the overview, it’s what McDaniel does on the field that I want everyone to start noticing.

Let’s back up for a second, Nolan implements the “robber” technique for our Free Safety, which is where I would love to see McDaniel take over.  However McDaniels also provide insurance for the “Hawk” position (currently held down by Bell).  Being a former Linebacker allows McDaniels to be a player for both Safety positions.  Doesn’t our Front office love to have roster flexibility?

Reviewing Clemson game tape you can’t help but to see McDaniels stick out, he is the definition of a Robber.  I can see him making a smooth transition to the FS position in which Nolan implements, here why:

 Technique:

-       Smooth transition and shadowing to the center of the ball.

-       Fluid hip movements and lateral placement

-       Back peddling is smooth and can easily change position

Evidence:

-       Pro day workout results:

  • 4.39 short shuttle
  • 9.10 Board jump
  • 7.07 three cone shuffle

 Awareness:

-       8 INTs in breakout year

-       1 returned for a TD

-       58 solo tackles, 40 assisted tackles, combined 98 total tackles

-       Never avoids contact

-       Soft and hard zone coverage is his strong point. Plays a perfect HIT technique and understand grasp of responsibilities                                                 

-       Man coverage is good to average.  A little slow for a SS, 4.6 40 time, but can provide the over top help needed for a Safety.

-       Clemons has been in the top ten in terms of scoring defense, which is an area of improvement for our team.
Development:

-       From his first year to the second year McDaniels dedicated himself to the weight room where coaches asked him to move to LB

-       Third year development allowed McDaniels to understand how to fully utilize his strengths back to his desired position

-       Thus leading to the categorization of a ‘coachable’ player.

 In my opinion I can see McDaniels being off the board by the 2nd to 4th round, this is due to the red flags derived by his criminal activities.  However, he would be a steal for our team in the 3rd round and I hope to see McDaniels dawn the 2 jersey come Sept.

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