Bernard Pollard   S/LB   Purdue

Strengths

Bernard is a good safety that has excellent size and speed.  He is a very good tackler and does well in coverage.  He shows very strong quickness and burst to the ball; he loves to hit.  Bernard has very good leaping ability and this, along with his size, makes him (potentially) an excellent defender in the passing game in the red zone.

 

Needs to Improve

I donít understand why he's coming out!  If itís because his coach is an SOB, then that's not enough of a reason.  If he is coming out early because his friends are coming out early, then he needs to grow up.  As far as his on-field talent is concerned, he needs work on his coverage techniques; however, with his talent this shouldn't be a problem. 

 

TALENT BOARD ROUND   3

If Bernard stayed in college for his senior year and played like he has in the past, showing improvement in each game -- he would be a top fifteen pick in the 2007 draft.  This year, he will be taken some time on the first day.  That is a big difference in money and if his reason is because his coach at Purdue is a mean, old man....well, then he's in for a big shock.  Itís all business at the next level and he better be ready to handle it.  He sure as heck isn't going to be able to run away from another mean, old man.  I hope this kid's reasons for coming out early are good because this is a big mistake if they are not.  This is a kid with excellent talent to play SS or OLB and I just hope he is mature enough to handle the next level.  Maybe Iím being a worry wart here, but I would hate to see a talent like this ruined because he came out too early and couldn't handle all of the new responsibilities that will be thrown at him.  Bernard has the potential to be an impact player at the next level that could take a team all the way.  He is a big kid and is still growing, so it's very possible that he could end up as an OLB before it is all said and done.  I know the Purdue coach is tough and a bit of a disciplinarian, but so are most coaches at the next level.  As Iím doing this profile, I just canít help but think that Bernard is coming out early for all the wrong reasons and the pit of my stomach is churning because this is one talented kid.  I have seen this happen before.  A talented kid comes out early, but canít handle the pressures of the next level and never reaches his potential.  It happens more times than we realize.  Will Bernard be an impact player like his talent suggests or just a solid player making good money who just didnít quite make it?  I guess we'll all find out in a couple of years.
by Drew Boylhart

THR

March 2006