Though he was a top receiver prospect coming out of high school, receiving scholarship offers from all over the country, Tate decided to stay in Maryland. He moved him to safety as a freshman, playing in all 13 games as a reserve and on special teams. Tate continued as a backup much of his next season, earning four starts and increasing his tackles from 15 to 47 (including 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and an interception). He started all 13 games at free safety in 2010, pacing the Terrapins with 100 tackles (8.5 for loss, 3.5 sacks) while forcing four fumbles, intercepting three passes.
The 2011 season was supposed to be Tate’s swan song, a senior season at the “Star” hybrid linebacker/safety position where he could use his toughness and length to rack up tackles and make plays in coverage. He did just that in the first four games of the year (35 stops, 1.5 two interceptions) but problems with his right knee forced him to redshirt. Tate played in nine games as a senior, where he totaled 42 tackles (6.5 for loss), four sacks, and four passes defended. He was an honorable mention for the All-ACC team.
Recognizes plays quickly, has knowledge of angles to pursue the play. A big hitter, puts a shoulder into the ballcarrier to make him pay –- and sometimes separate the ball. Flashes the hands and willingness to shed blockers at the point of attack. His length and strong hands help him control tight ends at the line of scrimmage, allow him to bring in easy interceptions, and also adjust to high and wide passes adeptly. Wins jump balls due to his height and leaping ability. Should be an effective blitzer off the edge, as he can win one-on-one battles with quick feet and hands.
Susceptible to good play-action due to his aggression against the run, often leaving lanes of which backs can take advantage. Choppy backpedal and slow turn to run with receivers were major factors in his move to linebacker. Stiff in the hips. Tackling consistency is an issue. Ball carriers ran through his arm attempts despite his length. Needs to add size and strength.
As a senior, Tate played strong-side ‘backer as a senior, where he used his length and instincts to make plays in the run and pass game. To stick in the profession ranks, Tate will need to continue to add strength while maintaining his agility.
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.