First up, we have a couple of scouting reports from NFL blogs on Xavier McKinney and Trevon Diggs, and how they might fit with the Patriots and Giants, respectively.
The first thing that jumps off the page when looking at McKinney’s tape and usage is his versatility. Whether it is free safety, box safety or slot cornerback, Alabama moved him all over the formation to create favorable matchups. And despite having a lot of information to digest from all the different spots, the young defender hit the challenges in stride and proved himself one of the best players in all of college football the last two years.
What helps him is his high football IQ and impressive athleticism: McKinney has outstanding progressing skills, reads plays and route combinations very well, and can react accordingly due to his quick-area burst and impressive fluidity. He also displays considerable patience when used in the deep center field, but is aggressive attacking the football when in the air. He also knows how to follow pass catchers in man-to-man situations, and mirrors them well no matter his initial alignment.
Furthermore, McKinney is a functionally sound tackler and good player against the run: he diagnoses play-action well, and is physical at the point of attack when playing near the box. He also has the necessary size to serve as a so-called money linebacker at the next level, meaning that he can switch between strong safety and linebacker alignments without much of a problem.
Trevon Diggs projects best as a starting cornerback in a Cover-3 scheme. While he has the size teams typically look for in man or press-man corners, Diggs doesn’t have the elite athleticism or lower-body fluidity needed to thrive in that role.
However, he is very well suited to play in a “Seattle style” Cover 3 scheme. He has enough athleticism to turn and run with receivers with a slight cushion, along with a good closing burst and the length to challenge or disrupt at the catch point. Diggs also has the football IQ and communication skills to thrive in a communication-heavy coverage scheme.
Diggs has enough ability in man coverage to allow his defensive coordinator to call a variety of shells, as well as disguise the defense’s intentions with a press-bail look.
He will, however, need to invest time and energy in improving his tackling. Diggs is a willing defender, but has a tendency to tackle high and try to drag ball carriers down or go for a shoulder check. He would be a much more effective player if he were a consistent form tackler.
How do you think these guys did in their evaluations? I think McKinney would be a perfect safety for New England.
As for Diggs, I think they hit his abilities and limitations pretty spot on. I do think they missed mentioning how precise he is with his footwork right at the snap.
Alabama’s new Director of Performance took over the football team’s Twitter account on Tuesday to share a workout tip for everyone currently at home practicing social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak across the United States.
Ballou posted a video suggesting Alabama fans use a deck of cards to go through a pushup workout, performing the number of reps according to the value of each card drawn. At the end of the video Ballou asks Crimson Tide fans to share their in-home workouts with the hashtag #BamaToTheHouse
How about this? Ballou is already picking up the slack of being a marketable presence that Scott Cochrane left.
LSU and Alabama have undergone philosophical shifts, moving away from the methodical ground-and-pound to more wide-open offenses.
Now, it’s Georgia’s turn under Kirby Smart. The Bulldogs lost Jake Fromm to the NFL and replaced him with Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newton. Todd Monken is the new offensive coordinator. Georgia has talented skill position players such as Zamir White, George Pickens and Dominick Blaylock with which to work, but also lost several key cogs along the offensive front. Moreover, offensive shifts like that take time.
Georgia opens with Virginia on Sept. 7 and travels to Alabama 12 days later.
The Dawgs may be in for a tough start to the season in 2020. They’ve got all the talent in the world recruited, but I imagine there will be some soul-searching to find their identity early on.
After eight seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick needs a new NFL team. The former Alabama All-American has been released after the Bengals signed two Minnesota Vikings cornerbacks in free agency.
Kirkpatrick posted a goodbye note on his Instagram account at about 8:10 a.m. CDT Tuesday: “Bengals fans, it’s been real. I want to thank the city and my teammates. Until we meet again.”
The Bengals announced Kirkpatrick’s release about 50 minutes later.
“Dre was a part of the Bengals’ organization for many years and displayed passion, energy and competitiveness both on and off the field,” Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor said in a statement released by the team. “We appreciate his many contributions to our team and community over the years and wish him the best moving forward.”
Kirkpatrick has had a really weird NFL career so far. A former first round pick that’s been an on-and-off starter for the same team for 8 years— he’s had some good seasons, some bad seasons, and many derailed by injuries. It’s rare any NFL team keeps a player for 8 straight years, let alone a guy that doesn’t always even start.
Who knows, once he gets out of the sinkhole that is Cincinnati sports, he just might have a career breakout.
Anyway, there was enough out there for me to link to this week, so I’m skipping the science talk. Feel free to ask Josh for your #refund.
And hey, maybe someone could share a cool “how things work” they have learned in their jobs in the comments this week. Community participation. Yay!