Triple socket 2022: S, socket two
Riser: Nick Cross, Maryland (6-0, 212 lbs) – Cross was one of the stars of the NFL Scouting Combine, executing a 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds and posting a 37-inch vertical jump at 6 feet and 212 pounds. Cross is a sure hitter and tackler who has exceptional closing speed in the same vein as former Maryland star Darnell Savage. He also filled the stat sheet last season for the Terrapins, recording 66 tackles, three interceptions, three sacks and two forced fumbles. He wasn’t getting much attention before the Combine, but he’s definitely on everyone’s radar now. Should we mention that his roommate in Maryland was Dino Tomlin?
Faller: Juanyeh Thomas, Georgia Tech (6-1, 212 lbs.) – Thomas is doing everything right. But there’s not much he does that stands out. At 6-foot-1 and 212 pounds, he’s got good size and decent speed, but he could be a safe in a league where safes aren’t as sought after as they used to be. There are certain traits of Thomas that are really good. But it takes him a while to level up, and his three-cone drill on his professional day of 7.33 seconds was only in the sixth percentile for the position, showing that his problems were changing direction.
Sleeper: JT Woods, Baylor (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) – Can you be a sleeper coming out of an outstanding defense like the one Baylor fielded in 2021? Sure why not? Woods is a former track star with a height (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) that can add bulk and likely still be fast enough to play at a high level in the NFL. He ran a 4.36-second 40-yard sprint at the NFL Scouting Combine while recording a 39.5-inch vertical jump. Woods also had 57 tackles and five interceptions in 2021, recording nine interceptions over the past two seasons. I don’t understand why more people aren’t talking about Woods as a better draft pick, even though his tackle could be better.
Dale’s first take on the S position…
#5 – Bryan Cook, Cincinnati (6-1, 206 lbs) – A true strong security, Cook plays with the mentality of an enforcer. But he’s also a former cornerback with coverage skills. Bloomed in 2021, posting 96 tackles, including five for a loss, one sack and two interceptions to go along with nine pass breakups. It is excellent in running support and also has the size to match most tight ends.
#4 – Lewis Cine, Georgia (6-2, 199 lbs) – Yet another highly rated Georgia defenseman in this draft class, Cline has good size and also ran a 4.37-second dash for 40 yards at the NFL Scouting Combine. Born in Haiti, he moved to the United States when he was 4 years old. He had 73 tackles, one interception and nine pass breakups in 2021 for Georgia. He’s probably more of a solid safety than a free at the NFL level.
#3 – Jaquan Brisker, Penn State (6-1, 199 lbs) – A former star of Gateway High School in Monroeville, Brisker began his career at Lackawanna College before transferring to Penn State. He had five interceptions and 14 pass breakups in three seasons at Penn State. Brisker suffered a shoulder injury in 2020 and 2021 so will need to be medically checked, but tape is good. It can cover tight ends and is good in running support.
#2 – Dax Hill, Michigan (6-0, 191 lbs) – Built as a cornerback, Hill also has the speed to play as one, posting a 4.38-second dash for 40 yards at the NFL Scouting Combine. He can drop down and play the slot, or slide back and play it safe. He had 69 tackles, eight pass defenses and two interceptions last season at Michigan. Hill is the younger brother of Justice Hill, a running back selected in the fourth round by the Ravens in 2019. Given his size, speed and covering ability, it wouldn’t be a shock if a team picked him up. tried at cornerback, even if it was only the nickel, at the start of his career.
#1 – Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame (6-4, 220 lbs) – The latest oddball safety to enter the NFL, Hamilton can be used as a linebacker, deep safety or in the box covering tight ends. He just turned 21 in March, so there’s a lot of athletic upside here. He had eight interceptions and 16 pass breakups in 31 career games. He missed time with a knee injury in 2021, so medicals will have to be checked, but he’s likely a top-10 pick. Hamilton was born in Greece, where his father, Derrick, played professional basketball for Irakleio BC in Crete. Maybe his nickname should be the minotaur.