ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 31: Alabama Crimson Tide cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry (#1) high fives Alabama Crimson Tide safety Jordan Battle (#9) during the Goodyear Cotton Bowl CFP Semifinal college football game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Cincinnati Bearcats on December 31, 2021 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 31: Alabama Crimson Tide cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry (#1) high fives Alabama Crimson Tide safety Jordan Battle (#9) during the Goodyear Cotton Bowl CFP Semifinal college football game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Cincinnati Bearcats on December 31, 2021 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Nothing Excites Former NFL Scout About Safety Jordan Battle

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Last April, eight players got drafted from the University of Alabama, and this year Jordan Battle is said to be one of their most highly rated prospects.

However, as someone who was on staff in pro scouting when Bill Belichick was the Jets’ Defensive Coordinator, nothing excited me about Battle.

He looks the part, but he is way too reluctant for my taste.

Battle was reluctant in both run and pass support – – and it turned me off how he hesitated or took bad angles just so he could keep his jersey clean.

A number of NFL Draft platforms love Battle

Pro Football Network, The Sporting News, SBNation, CBS, NBC Sports Chicago, Sports Illustrated, Draftwire, 247Sports, Bleacher Report and The 33rd Team have all put first-round grades on Battle, but I am not seeing it based on what he put on game film.

Evaluating is not all that difficult – – I just write down what the prospect does on game film. I look for patterns and tendencies, and the big picture takes form.

If I was a general manager, I would not select Battle in the first four rounds after watching what I just watched.

I don’t get into safeties who go out of their way not to be involved.

Battle makes a better cheerleader than a safety

Battle loves to come up by the pile and clap when his teammates make tackles.

He gets all fired up when a pass goes incomplete.

It’s great to have a player who encourages their teammates, just not in lieu of making tackles.

Wanted next to nothing to do with run support

He would often run in and make sure he was in position “just in case,” or he would sometimes pile it on to look good.

However, he consistently showed he was not into the run game.

There were examples against Auburn and LSU when he ran with the running backs instead of actually making the stop until further downfield.

He noticeably backed off even trying to tackle the LSU quarterback, who took off on a run.

Battle would get aggressively pushed out of the way by tight ends.

None of it was a good look.

Battle is best locked up in man coverage

Battle did look good when matched up carrying man coverage against the slot receiver on shallow crossing routes and deep.

He has the necessary athleticism and speed to stay tight in these situations.

It was by far and away his best attribute, and he did his best work when he was matched up one-on-one in man.

Battle looked more like a skilled nickel back than a safety.

Couldn’t provide help over the top in time

There were a couple of examples in these three games when Battle could not get provide help over the top in time to make a difference on deeper pass attempts.

He arrived after the fact.

This is one of the primary things a safety in the NFL needs to be able to do, and Battle did not show he could do it.

#9 Jordan Battle 6-foot-1, 206 pounds

Daniel Kelly’s Grade: Fifth-Round – Early Fall 2022 Report

First Round Mock Big Board: TBD

Projected by 35.7% of the NFL Draft Community to be a first-round pick as of October 22, 2022 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com)

2021 game film reviewed: Auburn, Georgia and LSU (click to watch games viewed to form this evaluation)

Level of competition: High

2021 stats: 85 tackles (50 solo, 35 assists), 3 passes defended, 3 INT, 0 sacks

NFL comparable: Will Harris

2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report:

Smart-looking athletic defender who excels in man coverage and stalking backs on screens, but is reluctant in support. Not a sure or strong tackler who comes in too high or low. Showed a good understanding of assignments. Best when matched up against slot one-on-one covering straight-line routes. Otherwise, tended to either provide support after the catch or not at all. More aggressive underneath against helpless receivers and backs. Not in time to provide help over the top in deep halves. Mostly disinterested versus the run. Ended up more around the action than the one making the stops. Took some bad angles. Left a lot to be desired.

What to watch for during the 2022 college football season:

  1. How does he look as a tackler?
  2. Is he hesitant in support?
  3. Does he take bad angles in support?
  4. Can he provide help over the top in deep halves?

I walked away thinking Battle can’t help an NFL team move the meter.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL Scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated New York Jets and he is the Editor-in-Chief for First Round Mock. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @firstroundmock.

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