Not many safeties had a better 2017 season than Texas junior DeShon Elliot. A finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back), Elliot totaled 63 tackles, 8.5 for loss, nine pass breakups and three forced fumbles. His two defensive touchdowns were the result of six interceptions he accumulated. A total that ranked fourth in the nation and helped make him an All-American. Elliot was an excellent communicator in the secondary serving as the vocal leader of the Longhorn’s defense. Many of the Packers defensive lapses were a product of poor communication this past season. Elliot has proven to be a student of the game and would be a great asset for Mike Pettine’s defense. The only uncertainty surrounding Elliot is where he should be taken in the draft.
Elliot’s draft stock will rely heavily on how well he does at the combine. Some coaches see him going as soon as the second round, while others think he could fall to the fourth or fifth. Elliot possesses remarkable football intelligence with great size for an NFL safety (6’2”, 205 pounds).
“I’ve got him as my 6th or 7th safety in the draft right now,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said earlier this week. “He’s a confident, zone player, comes downhill, strikes and hits.”
Elliot is a rare thumper who also has a knack for generating turnovers. His interceptions weren’t flashy, but he constantly puts himself in position to make a play.
The biggest question mark concerning Elliot is his speed and ability to turn his hips with more fluidity. His tight hips make him an easy target in man coverage, however, he does match up well against tight ends and running backs.
How he measures during the three-cone drill and forty-yard dash will say a lot about his athleticism.
Elliot is a sleeper in the 2018 draft and would be worth a look as soon as the third or fourth round. He may not make an immediate impact, but worst case is he would be a great addition to special teams during his rookie season. Scouts love his desire to learn the game and he puts in the work to back that up.
What makes him right for the Packers is his ability to play zone, in the box, and around the line of scrimmage. Versatility bodes well for the Packers defensive philosophy. The nitro package adds an extra safety into the box making Elliot the perfect fit for that role. His ability to defend the run was well showcased at Texas.
DeShon Elliott 😳 pic.twitter.com/i7VVKHbS3k
— Football Central™ (@FootbalICentral) February 22, 2018
You will be able to watch Elliot go through individual workouts Monday, March 5th on NFL Network at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.
The Packers could have a spot to fill at safety if soon to be free agent Morgan Burnett and the Packers do not agree on a new contract. Burnett is old for an NFL safety at 29 years of age, so it may not make sense for the team to commit to a long-term deal.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. Brandon graduated from Longwood University in 2016 with a degree in mass media. He has covered the Packers for over two years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.