Photo of Dezmen Southward
Drafted By: Falcons
  • Round 3
  • Pick 4
  • Overall 68
Grade
5.37 ?

Draft Analysis:

"He can play corner and safety. Southward took the top off his pro day in the 40 (running in 4.38 seconds). With what Atlanta has in the secondary, it will be interesting to see where he plays." -- Mike Mayock

  • 6'0" Height
  • 30 5/8" Arm Length
  • 211LBS. Weight
  • 10" Hands

Overview

His stepfather, Eli Rasheed, played football at Indiana and is currently the defensive line coach at Toledo. Didn't start playing football until his senior year, when he started at defensive back for national champion St. Thomas Aquinas in Florida. Also lettered in basketball and track. Redshirted in 2009 before playing in all 13 games as a reserve in 2010, making eight tackles, no pass breakups and no interceptions. Saw action in 13 games (three starts at strong safety) in 2011 and logged 35 tackles, two pass breakups and no interceptions with two forced fumbles. Did not play against Illinois (coach's decision). Moved into the starting lineup at free safety in 2012 and produced 69 tackles, four pass breakups and one interception with eight tackles for loss and one forced fumble in 14 games. Had a career-high 12 tackles in the Big Ten Championship game vs. Nebraska. Filled in on the track team in the spring of 2013 after some sprinters were injured, running the 100 meters and the 4x100 relay. Moved to strong safety for the 2013 campaign and recorded 40 tackles, five pass breakups and one interception with 3.5 tackles for loss and one forced fumble in 13 starts. Was medically excluded at the combine because wrist and spine injuries.

Analysis

Strengths

Excellent size. Good straight-line speed. Bends his knees and pedals softly. Reacts well to plays in front of him. Played a hybrid safety role at UW, including defending slot receivers (even played CB in a pinch against BYU). Special-teams experience. Recorded a 4.38-second 40 time, a 42-inch vertical jump and 6.50-second three-cone time at his pro day workout.

Weaknesses

Short arms. Average hip flexibility and range. Still developing positional instincts and diagnostic skills. Man-coverage limitations. Dull transitional quickness and closing burst. Liability in man-off coverage. Ordinary production on the ball -- not a playmaker. Marginal feel and awareness. Does not punish or intimidate. Reliability should be looked into.

Draft Projection

Rounds 4-5

Bottom Line

Southward, who played only one year of high school football, is a size-speed prospect still learning positional nuances. Could get his foot in the door on special teams and buy some time to develop as a reserve. Strong pro day performance could elevate his draft standing and invite a team to gamble on his upside as a press cover man and special teams performer.
-Nolan Nawrocki
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.

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