Dwayne Gratz   CB/S   Connecticut

TALENT BOARD ROUND  3

 

STRENGTHS

Dwayne is a cornerback who does not shy away from supporting the run and he is excellent at doing just that.  He is a head up, wrap up, squeeze and drive tackler with good overall size and speed to play his position. Dwayne has the ability to change direction and flip his hips to stay with most receivers in coverage.  He can play more than one position for you in your defensive backfield and shows leadership skills through his play on the field.  Dwayne has the cover skills and size to deal with the bigger receivers in the NFL.  He has an excellent burst to the ball and can be used in bump coverage because of his upper and lower body strength.  He is the physical defensive back that every team needs in the NFL.

   

CONCERNS

Dwayne doesnít have the make-up speed to recover when he gets beat deep and needs help over the top in coverage from a safety.  He has unusually bad technique.  He looks into the backfield when a receiver breaks down his cushion, which allows receivers behind him to separate and catch the deep ball.  He needs the play in front of him and right now, is a better zone cover corner than a single cover corner.  The perplexing thing about Dwayne is that he will get beat like a drum by the same route more than once in a game.  He doesnít seem to understand that looking into the backfield slows him down and allows the receiver to separate.  Iím not sure if this is because he doesnít have help over the top when he thinks he does, or if heís just brain dead!  The question is: does Dwayne have a problem with communication, techniques, or is he just a very bad safety?  Itís hard to tell for sure. 

 

BOTTOM LINE

I feel Dwayne is a strong safety and has either been forced to play corner for his team or thinks he is a corner.  I would draft him after he takes the Wonderlic and move him to strong safety because he has excellent instincts when it comes to defending against the run.  The conflict in Dwayneís play on film is that he has such good instincts and football intelligence against the run and yet still gets beat in coverage by the same route over and over again in a game.  Honestly, it doesnít make any sense.  Thatís why I think there might be more of a communication problem than an intelligence problem. His coverage techniques are poor, but he has the talent to improve dramatically.  Dwayne has excellent potential to be an impact strong safety for the team that drafts him, but it might take some time for him to break some very bad coverage habits.  Until he learns, he should be excellent on special teams and nickel-dime packages.  The fact that Dwayne has the bulk, size and athletic talent to handle the bigger receivers and pass catching tight ends in coverage is a plus for Dwayne.  Add to the coverage size, his excellent instincts and tackling skills and you can bet those are the reasons teams will be looking to select him early in this draft.  

  

Drew "The B.S. Detector" Boylhart

Apr/2013