This year's crop of safeties is headlined by surefire first-rounder Kenny Vaccaro and small-school stud Jonathan Cyprien.
But the draft is a lot deeper than just two players, and California University of Pennsylvania'sRontez Miles is a late-round pick looking to make it big in the NFL.
Miles only knows one speed—fast. He gets to the ball quickly and isn't shy about throwing his body around. Miles punishes wide receivers who are hung out to dry. When the ball is in the air, Miles looks to deliver the big blow to jar the ball loose.
He's certainly an impressive athlete, capable of being a difference maker against the run and the pass.
Sometimes playing with the pedal to the metal can get a player into trouble. Miles tends tooverpursue when he's sizing someone up for a big hit.
While he may be one of the most powerful defensive backs in this year's draft, he could be flirting with disaster if he continues to be a head hunter at the NFL level.
Also, tracking the ball in the passing game is not one of Miles' best attributes.
At nearly six feet, 203 pounds, Miles boasts an impressive build for the free safety position. Combine his size with his physical nature, and Miles should find the field early on special teams at the professional level.
Miles was recruited by some SEC schools but originally committed to Kent State, as he wanted to play with his stepbrother. But poor academic performance interrupted his football career, so he transferred to California (Pa.) after spending one year at a community college.
Since joining the Vulcans, Miles has no serious red flags regarding his character.
In college, Miles was used all over Cal's 4-2-5 formation. He lined up primarily at safety but blitzed off the edge as a rush linebacker.
Playing the Ball
Judging the ball while in the air is not a strong suit for Miles. Although he does a nice job of catching the ball with his hands at its highest point, he often takes poor angles when tracking the deep ball.
It takes Miles a while to read and diagnose different route combinations. He trusts his eyes but is slow to make a play on the ball.
Against the Run
Miles is instinctive as a run defender, closing quickly to the ball carrier. Not only does he make plays at the line of scrimmage, he also lays the wood and packs a punch as a tackler.
Miles was rarely asked to play man coverage, especially against wide receivers. He's capable of matching up against tight ends and running backs, but he shouldn't be relied upon to shut down a receiver in man coverage.
He was often asked to play near the line of scrimmage, but he primarily lined up on the back end at safety. Miles in some two-high looks. He covers a lot of ground in the deep middle, which allowed Cal to leave Miles as the lone deep cover man on occasion.
As mentioned before, Miles is an aggressive tackler. He likes to lay the big hit, but he's a solid form tackler and doesn't miss many opportunities to get a ball carrier on the round.
Future Role/Scheme Versatility
Early in his NFL career, Miles will likely be used primarily on special teams. On defense, his skill set is best suited as a situational in-the-box safety, given his struggles on the back end.
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