NFL Draft

2018 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Texas FS DeShon Elliott

From now until the 2018 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a several others will be top-ranked players at their positions. If there is a player you would like us to breakdown and profile in the coming weeks and months, let us know in the comments below.

#4 DeShon Elliott/FS Texas – 6’2 210

The Good

– Great size and build, certainly looks the part
– Moves well and a fluid athlete for his size
– Closes quickly on the ball with violence on contact
– Good processor who finds the ball, understands route concepts and is situationally aggressive because of it
– Overall, impressive tackler with strong hands and ability to wrap up even on tough angles
– Opportunistic player in center field who routinely got interceptions off tips and overthrows, puts himself in correct position to capitalize on those types of plays
– Capable in man coverage, speed and fluidity to turn and run with receivers and can track and make plays on the football
– Versatile, lined up at all three levels and routinely asked to blitz in an aggressive, Steelers-like defense, though spent most time in center field as single high safety
– Threat with ball in his hands after interceptions
– Hyper-productive 2017 season, only a junior and will grow at an accelerated rate

The Bad

– Most interceptions didn’t come off pure playmaking
– Tendency to lunge on tackles in space when ball carrier changes direction, has to take extra step to reclose space so he can come to balance
– Needs to be more disciplined on run/pass keys, can get fooled on playaction
– Only one year of serious production and limited starting experience

Bio 

– 13 career starts, 12 coming last season
– 2017: 63 tackles, 15 PDs, 8.5 TFL, 6 INTs (2 returned for TDs), 3 FFs, 1 sack
– Jim Thorpe Award finalist in 2017, given to top DB in nation
– First-team for Big 12 and All-American lists
– Skipped bowl game for early preparation for NFL Draft
– Suffered toe injury early in freshman season during practice, was temporarily in a walking boot
– Four star recruit coming out of HS according to Rivals

Tape Breakdown

We have a lot of safeties to go through during draft season. I’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg on this class. Talked up several of the guys at the Senior Bowl though with some of them, like Kyzir White and Trayvon Henderson, there is concern over if they can be true free safeties (especially Henderson).

Deshon Elliott is a true free safety. And an excellent one at that. Six interceptions in 2017. Granted, all of them essentially came off tips and overthrows but he’s an opportunistic player with good hands. Someone who can make splash plays, an element the Steelers desperately need. Right place, right time. Here’s a look at one.

But he isn’t just someone who sits in centerfield to catch lollipops. He lined up all over the Longhorrns’ front. Buzzed down into the flat, near the line of scrimmage versus heavy personnel and on blitzes, he showed off his versatility. Strong tackler with the ability to process and close. Effort and chase to track the ball from the opposite hash. Safeties prevent good runs from turning into great ones. Could’ve gone for six if not for Elliott.

And he can play man coverage too. Watch him carry the wheel route on the first play of the game against Iowa State. Receiver has no chance (bottom of the GIF).

Didn’t find a lot of faults in his game. Probably needs to be a little more disciplined. You can attribute that to how young he is which brings up the biggest knock on his game. Scouts aren’t going to know a lot about this guy. True junior who spent one year as the full-time starter. Everyone’s playing catch up to figure out who he is and comparatively, tape is awfully limited. That will hurt him.

On the field, my biggest complaint is the occasional sloppiness as a tackle. See it most often in space when the ball carrier changes direction. Can cause him to whiff because he’s lunging into the tackle.

Still, those faults are minimal compared to what he offers in upside. Provided he runs well, and I think he will, he’s going to be a “riser” in the draft process. A strong fit for the Steelers. Athletic, productive, a hitter, and an underclassmen. Could hear his name a lot for pick 28 come April’s draft.

Projection: Late Day 1-Early Day Two

Games Watched: at USC, at Iowa State, at Baylor, at West Virginia

Previous 2018 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Sam Darnold Garret Dooley Calvin Ridley Fred Warner Ronald Jones II
Maurice Hurst Mike McCray
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