Showcases some savvy when asked to play up closer to the line, as he identifies routes a lot better and has the length to disrupt the timing of receivers when working from a trail technique. Loves to go after the football after a completion and knows how to strip the ball and create turnovers. However, he struggles to consistently get a good punch on receivers off the line in press coverage when playing in man. Gets caught flat-footed too often, lunging into his target and struggles to get his head around and track the football.
Charged with rape in 2008, but charges were later dropped before being reinstated by the team. Has experience as both corner and safety, but was said to have to compete for his spot this spring by the coaching staff.
Impression: I like his size and length, but he lacks the footwork and overall balance to keep up with NFL receivers in man coverage at this stage. Also, lacks the ball skills needed to be effective in a cover-two scheme."
Tarrant started 10 times and played 14 games at cornerback in 2009. He was credited with 58 tackles, 1.5 for loss, two interceptions and six pass breakups; he also returned 21 punts for 281 yards and two scores. Tarrant moved to free safety as a junior, making 55 tackles, 2.5 for loss, forcing three fumbles, intercepting three passes, and breaking up two others. He only managed 131 yards on 20 punt returns in 2010.
NFL teams like versatile defensive backs, and Tarrant has experience as a starter both outside and in deep coverage. He'll need to soothe scouts' character concerns, but if he does, it is expected teams will take a chance on his athleticism in the top half of the draft.
Positives: Good size and length for free safety. Also has excellent straight-line speed to attack in run support and blitz the passer. Stays with receivers and tight ends in man coverage, often taking away primary reads. Played a lot of two-deep coverage at Georgia Tech. Takes on receiver blocks, patiently waits to shed until he knows the direction of the play. Adds himself to piles to prevent forward push. Nice recovery speed to the sideline when caught inside. Jumps routes, capable of making the interception and take it to the end zone. Goes for the strip if teammates have ballcarrier tied up. Solid hands as a punt returner; effective when running straight ahead after the catch.
Negatives: Will be considered a corner/safety 'tweener by some teams because he is not the strongest safety or most fluid corner. Must shed with violent hands to grab ballcarriers running into his area. Lacks strength to arm tackle ballcarriers and leaves his feet too often on open-field tackles. Learning the safety position, gets caught looking at underneath routes instead of staying deeper than the deepest. Dances and takes small steps at times as a punt returner. Scouts will ask about the June 2008 rape allegation."
Positive: Adequately sized defensive back who has shown solid skill the last two years. Diagnoses the action, takes good angles, and shows the ability to get out to the sidelines. Smooth turning his hips, shows a burst of closing speed, and easily brings opponents down on initial contact. Strong and holds his ground against blocks.
Negative: Gets caught out of position too often. Struggled with a variety of issues that have sporadically kept him off the field two of the past three seasons.
Analysis: Tarrant is a good-looking safety who makes plays when he's on the field. He offers some upside but is very raw in many aspects of his game and will need time before he's NFL ready."
Negatives: Was suspended indefinitely in 2008 after being charged with rape, but was later cleared of charges, some character concerns may still linger... Looks a little stiff in the hips, looks as if his feet are much quicker than his hips... Not a great man coverage defender, lacks fluidity to hang with quicker receivers at the break... Will bite on play action and double moves, discipline looks well below-average, needs to get better at studying offenses and tendencies... Needs to work on block shedding, takes poor angles to the ball and can get knocked out of position by bigger blocker."
Jerrard redshirted at Tech in '07, before being suspended for the entire 2008 season due to a legal issue.
In 2009, he burst onto the scene, notching playing time in 14 games with 10 starts at CB. He finished with 58 tackles and 1.5 TFLs and 2 picks, and also was responsible for all four of Tech's non-offensive touchdowns--two by punt returns, one by interception return, and one on a fumble return. Tarrant ranked third in the ACC and 12th nationally in punt return average, and had two punt return touchdowns.
In 2010, he played in 12 with 8 starts at free safety and tallied 55 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, 3 forced fumbles, 3 recoveries, 3 interceptions and 2 other PBUs.
Tarrant is a hardship early entry to the 2011 NFL Draft class.
Strengths: Good size, and very nice flexibility for a free safety. Good anticipation in pass defense with enough range to be effective in any scheme. Very good coverage skills for a safety and will pick off his share of balls. Can return kicks and punts which enhances his value. Young with a load of upside left.
Weaknesses: Not a particularly strong tackler or run defender. Will have to drag tackle TEs and big backs. Has a checkered history and some injury issues, and will have to check out well in the interview room.
Projection: Athletic enough to be a second rounder, but lots of unknown qualities to be checked out that will keep his grade down to the early-4th round area for the time being..."
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