We’ve already looked at two other defensive backs in this year’s prospect profiles: Rashad Carmichael out of Virginia Tech, and Marcus Gilchrist out of Clemson. Today’s NY SOS draft prospect profile will cover Jaiquawn Jarrett, a safety out of Temple University.

This past weekend, the National Football Post reported that Jarrett was scheduled to visit Big Blue. Based on the defense that Perry Fewell incorporated last year, it’s easy to get excited about the Giants being interested in this kid.

I’ll try to keep my excitement to a minimum, but I just can’t help myself.

Before we get to the scouting reports, take a look at this clip and listen to the commentary, picture Jarrett in Fewell’s defense and you’ll understand why I’m so high on Jarrett:


Jaiquawn Jarrett
Senior, S
Temple
6-2, 202

First report from National Football Post:
“Possesses a nice-sized frame for the position and looks a little thicker on tape than his measurables would suggest. Has started every game for the Owls over the past three seasons and durability is not an issue with him (Ed. note: also started six games and played in all 12 as a true freshman). Is a smooth, balanced defensive back who does a great job keeping his feet under him in his drop. Looks very natural when asked to sit into his back-pedal, quickly and cleanly gets good depth in coverage and demonstrates the ability to plant his foot in the ground and click and close on the football. Allows his footwork to get a bit overextended when driving on the throw, but has the skill set to quickly clean himself up in that area with some NFL coaching. Is a fluid, flexible athlete who does a nice job when asked to turn and run, getting back up to top-end speed quickly and doesn’t waste much motion at all out of any transition in coverage. Generates a good burst for himself out of his breaks and his initial first step allows him to put himself in position to make a lot of plays on the football. Lacks ideal top-end speed and looks more like a 4.5 guy on tape. However, plays faster than his timed speed would indicate because of his impressive change of directions skills.

Has improved as a tackler this season and seems to be more comfortable attacking the line of scrimmage, dropping his pad level and striking what he sees on contact. But overall he’s a long-armed guy who does have the balance to break down, take good angles toward the football and wrap up consistently in space. Also, has improved his overall feel in zone coverage, feeling routes develop around him, getting earlier jumps on the football and giving himself more opportunities to make plays on the pass. Showcases good but not great ball skills, gets his hands on his fair share of footballs, can contort his body and possesses good coordination when asked to make a play on the football. But isn’t the most impressive of pluckers. Possesses solid but not overwhelming ball skills when asked to come down with the turnover.

Impression: His ability to cleanly open up his hips when getting after the football is as good as any safety in the class. Also has improved his instincts and physicality as a tackler this season and looks like a guy who can make a roster and fight for playing time down the line.”

Second report from CBS Sports:
“Read & React: Intelligent player with the football instincts necessary to start at the next level. Though he likes to attack run plays before the snap, his quickness and football intelligence allows him to get back into the deep third to be a factor in play action. Patient on misdirection, keeps his eyes in the backfield, plants and drives to the ball once it’s clear where the play is going.

Man Coverage: Not asked to play a lot of man coverage, but owns the speed, change-of-direction agility and physicality to handle tight ends and running backs man-up and trail receivers over the middle. Backpedal is good for a safety, stays low and fluid, and will plant and drive to close. Needs more experience in man coverage.

Zone Coverage: Plays the part of a versatile cover-two safety well. Reacts quickly and lays big hits on receivers sitting down in front of him, rarely misses the tackle. Also comes across the field to lay a shoulder into unwitting ballcarrier. Makes quarterbacks pay for poor decisions with interceptions, but will allow some throws with pace to go through his hands. Can dislodge the ball from receivers’ hands during or after the catch with his hands or a big hit.

Closing/Recovery: Has the requisite speed for the position, able to close on the ball quickly as a run defender and while the ball is in the air. Capable blitzer, works hard to get through blocks inside, even though he lacks the bulk or strength to overwhelm them. Recovers from false steps quickly. Occasionally overpursues plays because of his aggressive nature.

Run Support: Willing and able in run support. Flows through traffic to the ball inside. Flies up from the secondary when smelling the run, drops his hips and pops backs in the hole or slams into backs with his shoulder to halt them. When lined up on the hash, gets outside the play to force it back inside to the linebackers. Defeat cut blocks with quickness and hands. Relatively strong but has only adequate size, can be easily washed out of plays by linemen and fullbacks.

Tackling: Solid in the open field, capable of breaking down and getting square and low to form tackle. Bring his hips to wrap and deliver a strong blow when attacking run plays near the line. Has enough speed to get angles on ballcarriers heading to the sideline. Will be the second or third body into a pile to stop its forward progress. Gives great effort but lacks great bulk and strength; bigger backs can through his tackle attempts if they have a head of steam. Also needs stronger hands to get off receiver blocks downfield more consistently. Long-time special teams contributor, can work inside and outside on coverage units and is on the hands team.

Intangibles: Took over as the secondary’s leader during spring 2010 practices. Coaches have nothing but good words to say about him, as he works hard in the class room and puts in time studying the playbook and his opponent. First name pronounced JAY-kwahn. Won the team’s 2009 J. Myron Honigman Award for Spirit, Dedication & Loyalty.”

Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell regularly employs three safeties in his Cover 2 scheme, bringing the third safety up into the box with the linebackers (example here, with some familiar names). The tragic accident that rookie Chad Jones (profiled here) suffered last summer has left his career in serious doubt. With Fewell bringing his Cover 2 scheme to New York, I felt Jones would have been a perfect match; under the circumstances, the Giants used Deon Grant as a pseudo-linebacker. Jones is under an extensive recovery period (yet making unbelievable progress), and while the 32-year old Grant is still valuable, he can’t be relied on as the third safety for much longer.

It seems Jarrett, a 2010 Pro Football Weekly All-American and 2010 first-team All-MAC honoree, is the perfect fit for Fewell’s defense. This year’s safety class is thin and relatively weak, but Jarrett is one of the few that is consistently receiving high praise from draft analysts. He’s a player I love to watch, and a kid that will do everything to improve at the next level. The fact that Jarrett excelled on special teams makes him even more attractive as a prospect.

Expect Jarrett to come off the board between rounds three and five, with the team that drafts him getting tremendous value that late.