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Draft Prospect: Saquon Hampton, CB, Rutgers

| April 11th, 2019

For those of you who are new here, here’s how I handle the NFL Draft. I watch a bunch of college football and when players stand out to me, I put their name in the Notes app on my phone. I don’t do any research on them. Just put their names in there. Then, around now, I see if they’re actually in the draft and find out what professional scout-types think.


Video


Analysis

Safety prospect with good size whose college versatility could get whittled down to a more specific role. Hampton might not have the agility and coverage twitch to handle man coverage in the slot, and his run support is too passive when he’s backed way off the line. His run support is more instinctive and effective as a down safety and he should be able to handle man coverage on big tight ends. He will need to crank up the aggression level and consistently play to his size to make it as a backup in the league.
Strengths
  • Team captain, team leader
  • Possesses NFL size with a frame to add more
  • Offers big nickel and dime linebacker options
  • Above-average ball-tracker
  • Decent trigger to plant and drive from off-man or a pedal
  • Looks to attack ball side of the target and impact catch or take it away
  • Physical enough to jar the catch loose at impact
  • Operates with good feel for pursuit angles from box safety
  • Searches for ball-stripping opportunities
  • Consistent career roles in kick- and punt-cover teams

Weaknesses
  • Missed multiple games due to injuries in 2016 and 2017
  • Takes very passive pursuit angles from high safety spot
  • Rarely races downhill after run diagnosis and allows runner to climb up
  • Drag-down tackler allows additional yards after contact
  • Lacks instincts and needs to see it to play it
  • Average burst to mirror breaks and squeeze the route
  • Lacks route anticipation for man coverage
  • Allows too many easy catches from off-man in slot
  • Play speed and range are both below average

My Two Cents

Cent #1: Bears are not in the market for high-profile draft talent because they don’t have high-profile draft picks. But Hampton would have been higher on NFL radars if he’d stayed healthy his final two years of college in New Jersey. This is the kind of player the Bears should pounce on should he find himself in the undrafted free agent pool.

Cent #2: Hampton profiles as a special teams ace. He’s not a particularly great coverage man but his closing speed and tackling are both terrific. He’s a bigger, stronger Sherrick McManis (and he runs the same speed).

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