Some DB Talk – Texas, OU & NMSU

by Tommy Lawlor  –

Let’s talk about some DBs.

* Aaron Williams is a very good football player. The question about the Junior from Texas is whether he’s athletic enough for CB or needs to move to Safety. Mike Mayock compared him to Malcolm Jenkins during the Combine. That’s good and bad. Jenkins was a great player at Ohio State, but only ran in the 4.5 range. The Saints drafted him in the mid-1st to be a CB, but he ended up at FS in 2010 and that looks like his home for the future.

Williams is 6’0, 204 (literally the same size as Jenkins). Aaron jumps out right away because he’s a tough, physical player. He plays the run well. His tackling could use some work, but it isn’t due to lack of effort. Williams likes to hit his targets. He needs to do a better job of wrapping up. He definitely is not a finesse DB.

Williams likes to be a press corner. He can play off, but seems most comfortable when he is aggressive with receivers. He has pretty good ball skills. He made a good INT in the Big 12 title game vs Nebraska in 2009. He almost made a sensational pick vs OU this year on a downfield pass to Broyles. Aaron extended for the ball and got his hands on it, but it came loose when he hit the ground. He is a smart player and shows good awareness in zone coverage. He finds the ball quickly and gets to it in a hurry.

I watched Williams go against Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State. Rough day. He played press-bail near the goal line and was beaten for what should have been an easy TD, but Blackmon dropped the ball. Williams simply didn’t have the quickness to play off and then break on the ball inside the 10-yard line. He was later burned for a long TD by Blackmon. The play required a great throw and good catch, but CBs have to deal with those in the NFL on a regular basis.

There is no question that Williams looked stiff and awkward at the Combine. He’s better on game tape, but still doesn’t look like a smooth, fluid cover guy. I think he can play CB in some systems, but it could be that his best bet is to move to FS. I do like Williams a lot no matter where you project him. He is simply a good football player.    * Curtis Brown is another CB for Texas. He is very good on underneath routes. Brown likes to press and has good quickness. He gets an excellent break on the ball. Curtis looked lost on a couple of downfield throws. He didn’t locate the ball well or play it. Curtis had a very good workout at the Combine. He is a smooth, fluid athlete. I need to watch more tape to figure out how much I like him.

* Oklahoma Safety Quinton Carter has had a very good postseason. He looked terrific at the Senior Bowl, especially in coverage. He had a solid showing at the Combine. I was curious to see him on tape. Color me disappointed. I watched a couple of OU games and he was darn near invisible at times. I watched the Missouri game and he was very productive. Carter also isn’t the kind of tackler I like. There were a handful of plays where he aggressively attacked his targets. Other times the runner/receiver would go down near him and Carter would pile on. I need my Safeties to be aggressive, sure tacklers. They must get in good position and then attack the ball. If you’re flat-footed in the NFL against a skill player on the move, forget about it. He’s gone.

Carter is a good cover Safety. He is a good athlete and shows good cover instincts. I didn’t get a feel for him as a potential centerfielder (classic FS), but he was good in man coverage. He picked off a pass vs Texas, but it was just a Hail Mary throw at the end of the half. Carter had 8 INTs in his career. He can be a playmaker, but clearly isn’t a ballhawk.

* I watched 3 game tapes of New Mexico State CB Davon House. He went up against SDSU and their talented wideouts in the season opener. I thought House played very well in that game. He broke up a pass in the endzone. He was in on 8 tackles. He did draw a PI flag in the endzone while trying to cover DeMarco Sampson. The coverage was pretty good, but House was too physical.

House has good size at 6’1, 200. He likes to be physical and press, but is gifted enough to play off. He has very good feet and gets a quick break on the ball. I didn’t get a chance to see him pick off a pass, but he had 11 career picks so that gives you confidence in his ball skills. He broke up 23 passes in his final 2 years. House is a good tackler and run defender. He will mix it up when he’s got to.

I also watched him against New Mexico and SJSU. New Mexico was 12-23-160 passing and not many of those throws came near House. He was solid vs the run, getting in on 8 total tackles. He also had a FF when he reached in and stripped the ball away from a RB. It wasn’t a good tackle attempt, but he did get his hand on the ball and jarred it loose.

At some point in the year House suffered a sprained ankle. I think that must have been bugging him vs SJSU. They threw at him a few times. Their QB threw for 361 and 3 TDs that day. House was burned for a few completions. One pass was a slant. House looked very awkward as he turned to the inside. He got off balance and the receiver was able to catch the ball cleanly.

House skipped the Senior Bowl to let his ankle heal so he’d be ready for the Combine. I really wish he’d played in Mobile. That would have helped me more than the Combine. Anyway, House ran 4.50 in Indy, which is okay for a 200-pound CB. He had a 3-cone time of 6.65, which is excellent for his size. House looked solid in the drills. He’s definitely a CB.

I think House will go in the 2nd or 3rd round. He’s big, quick, agile, and can be physical. He’s experienced and productive. I really wish we’d gotten to see him in Mobile. That would have helped to really figure out his value. His lack of deep speed will bother some teams. I also don’t know how much zone he’s played.

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