Possesses good ball skills and does have some natural fluidity when asked to turn and run. However, isn’t the most instinctive of defenders reading his keys from the deep half. Gets caught too often taking a false step, getting overextended with his footwork and struggling to get back out of his breaks. Exhibits some man-to-man cover skills when asked to come down over the slot. Does a nice job being physical in coverage, recognizing routes and cleanly opening up his hips and staying with his man. Possesses good, but not great, speed when asked to close. Exhibits a good initial burst, but lacks the type of second gear to consistently make up for a false step in the deep half.
Is a patient tackler who does a nice job breaking down in space and really generating a burst for himself through contact. Can explode into tackles when asked to strike, picks up speed quickly, lowers his pad level and brings his legs. Again, lacks ideal instincts when asked to read his run keys and find the football, but can certainly tackle once he locates the football
Impression: An undersized safety prospect who plays bigger than his frame would suggest. Needs to calm down his footwork and hands in his drop, but has some natural cover skills. Looks like a guy who can make an NFL roster, but because of his size and lack of ideal footwork, looks more like a nickel guy to me."
Man Coverage: Rare coverage skills for the position due to his quick feet, balance, agility and straight-line speed. Is an obvious matchup concern due to his lack of height. Makes up for his lack of preferred size against bigger athletes with his competitive fire and coverage skills, but is overmatched against most tight ends.
Zone Coverage: Has a smooth, low backpedal and typically maintains cushion before he is forced to change direction. Demonstrates the fluid hips and quick feet to turn and run efficiently without losing ground. Alert zone defender with good route recognition. Reads the eyes of the quarterback and gets good breaks on the ball.
Closing/Recovery: Plays with good straight-line speed and agility and shows the late burst to close, especially downhill. Can be too aggressive attacking the ball. With his lack of preferred height, he focuses so much attention on leaping to make the interception that he leaves the receiver available to break free. Good timing and leaping ability. Good hand-eye coordination to slap away or intercept passes. Often is able to make up for his lack of height with his ability to high-point the ball.
Run Support: While not as big as scouts would like, shows good physicality and toughness in taking on and discarding blocks from receivers. Good agility to elude and balance to avoid cut blocks. Willing to crash down in the box and makes plays near the line of scrimmage. Squirts through gaps and is a generally a reliable open-field tackler.
Tackling: Provides surprising pop for his size. Very good agility to break down in space and make the secure stop. Doesn't shy away from contact with big ballcarriers. Can resort to duck-and-swipe tackles against bigger men, but wraps his arms securely around their legs to knock them over efficiently.
Intangibles: Considered leaving Florida after his junior season, but elected to return in part because of the SEC Championship loss to Alabama that he characterized as "embarrassing." Considered quitting football during his freshman season but credits position coach and co-coordinator Chuck Heater for convincing him to stay with the team. Elected a team captain in 2010."
Black is one of the most physical safeties in the draft.
Black started off as a corner with the Gators, and moved to strong safety only to start every game there since 2007, which was his true sophomore season. He’s a ball hawk who’s made big plays all over the field, both against opposing teams in the pass and on the ground. Black set a record for any member of the secondary in Florida, once recording 16 tackles in a game against South Carolina in 2010.
Many people look at Black and see an athletic safety who may struggle to make plays against the run at the next level. But Black is one of the most physical safeties in the entire 2011 NFL Draft. He has played corner in press coverage, but excels in a zone system, often playing a middle zone to come up and make a play on the short/intermediate passes. He’s a big hitter who can jar the ball loose on even the biggest running backs, and isn’t afraid to make a tackle. He’s very versatile and uses his athleticism to his advantage against the pass. He’s a cerebral player, often reading the play quickly and reacting. He’s been the leader of the Gators defense for the last two seasons, and has excellent upside.
Despite playing bigger than his size, overall his small frame is worrisome, especially in terms of injuries. Despite rarely being injured, we’ve seen Bob Sanders struggle with injuries as a 5’8 strong safety with the Colts, and Sanders has a good 20 pounds on Black. While he is physical, he struggles to get off of wide receivers blocking him, and struggling to make a tackle. He’s not a deep zone safety as he’ll be outsized in jump ball situations, and doesn’t have elite ball skills.
There’s no reason to believe that Black won’t perform well at the 2011 NFL Combine, and his numbers should push him into the top of the second round. Look for teams like Denver, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Jacksonville and San Diego to take a flier on the talented safety. He can really help out in run support, and is excellent as a short/intermediate coverage safety. If he slides to the end of the second round, I believe the Jets or Bears would be hard pressed to pass on him.
NFL Comparison: Bob Sanders"
Positive: Undersized yet feisty defensive back who has been consistent on the college level. Instinctive, plays heads-up football, and does a nice job diagnosing the action. Displays the ability to get outside the numbers to help cornerbacks, breaks well on passes, and flashes cover skills between the numbers. Quick up the field to defend the run and screens. Explodes to the play, has a burst out of his plant, and wraps up tackling.
Negative: Usually a half step late arriving on the scene in coverage. Undersized and easily blocked from the action. More of a drag down tackler.
Analysis: Black has been productive on the college field while at the same time showing improvement the past two years. He lacks classic safety size and times poorly in the forty yet plays big and would be very effective in a zone system facing the action."
He is doing all of this despite relatively diminutive size, as he stands at just 5'9'' and 190 pounds. However, he has been clocked as fast as 4.43 in the 40-yard dash and he is a huge hitter, which is why he can get the job done at safety for Florida. At the next level, though, Black's size will likely force a move to cornerback. Of course, there is no reason to think that he can't excel there just as he has done at safety and he has the experience (as a three-year starter) to make a quick transition to the NFL. Look for Black to go off the board during the third round."
Ahmad Black is Short, Small, + Slow!!
Other'n that, he is one HELL of a good FootBall player!!
No, seriously: He is.
Instincts and hard work go a long way in this Great Game, and Ahmad Black possesses them in spades.
He's not much more than a Scrapper who should never be asked to do more than cover the Slot as a Nickel Safety, but that he will do well, and, what's more, he will make FAR more than his share of Big Plays.
Before his ugly "40" time, he was projected for the Mid Rounds, but is probably a Late Rounder, now, and, if so, will offer pretty damned good Value.
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