Even though Kovacs grew up on the Ohio side of the Ohio State-Michigan border battle, it was perfectly natural for him to move to Ann Arbor as his father, Lou, played defensive back for the Wolverines in the 1980s. So instead of pursuing a preferred walk-on at Toledo, he chose to walk on at U-M. The Wolverines are sure glad he did, and now NFL scouts are taking a look at Kovacs as the sort of reserve or spot starter at safety and special teams ace every roster needs.
Kovacs didnt play football his first year on campus because he required surgery on a previously-repaired meniscus, but came on strong as a freshman, starting eight games and finishing second on the team with 75 tackles (4.5 for loss, two forced fumbles). He earned honorable mention notice from league media in each of the next two seasons, finishing second in the Big Ten with 116 tackles (8.5 for loss, two interceptions) in 2010 and then starting again at strong safety as a junior (75 stops, eight for loss, four sacks, two forced fumbles) despite missing one game with an injured left knee. In 2012, Kovacs started 13 games at safety, and concluded the season ranked No. 12 on Michigan's all-time tackles list.
High-effort strong safety who brings toughness and leadership to the defense. Often used in a linebacker position to get his strength in the box. Solid last line of defense, able to break down and wrap legs of elusive ballcarriers breaking into the open. Used around the line of scrimmage to take on fullback and tight end blocks, good on containment to grab running backs attempting to run away from him on the edge. Flies downhill when seeing a screen in progress, avoids blockers to arrive at the ball. Capable of playing two-deep, reads routes well and arrives with bad intentions to cause fumbles or break-ups, also flashes hands to jump in front of routes or win the tip drill to create the turnover.
Must prove his athleticism in workouts to avoid the safety/linebacker tweener label. Only average in his backpedal and hip turn in coverage, can struggle to reach vertical routes downfield. Out-quicked in coverage, better receivers separate easily with a strong cut, and he lacks recovery speed to catch up in trail. Lacks pure power to get off stronger blockers, failing to grab ballcarriers coming into his area.
Following in his fathers footsteps to walk onto the Wolverines football team as a defensive back, Kovacs quickly earned a starting role because of his secure tackling (266 career stops, 21 for loss) and instincts. Though his athleticism might not be elite and his knee issues might check a red flag, dont count him out as a Saturday draft pick who will contribute on defense and special teams early on.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.