Eric has remarkable athletic talent. His workouts will be excellent and will make most scouts, coaches and GM's drool in anticipation of what he will do on the field. He shows on film to have excellent speed, burst and tackling ability . He has the skill, size and strength to used at either one of the safety positions. Eric has the sideline-to-sideline speed to be used in single safety coverage. He has good enough hands to make the interception and run ability to take it back all the way. Most quarterbacks at the college level will not throw to Eric's side of the field. Teams hesitate to throw short and in front of Eric because of his tackling abilities and don't throw deep against him because of his speed and ability to keep the play in front of him. He is quick to come up and support the run and prefers to make tackles instead of just turning players inside for others to make tackles. He is a physically tough player who likes contact and loves to make the sure, big hit. He doesn't miss many tackles in the open field, which makes Eric a very dangerous safety and the type of safety that will create a lot of turnovers.
You can't use Eric up on the line of scrimmage because he is tight in the hips and lacks the quick change of direction skills to cover anyone one-on-one. He must keep the play in front of him to be effective. He has excellent speed and will run down plays from behind; however, in the red zone, Eric is a liability because he will struggle to stay with anyone. Eric also has the athletic talent to take false steps against play action and recover at the college level; in the NFL, receivers and backs will take advantage of this. Right now, he lacks the instincts and football intelligence to be consistent at the next level play after play. In passing situations, he must play deep which allows for a lot of first downs being caught right in front of him.
The truth is, in spite of Eric's remarkable athletic talents, he limits a coach's ability to play him close to the line which will also limit his ability to impact. If Eric can't cover well in the red zone, most NFL teams will take advantage and throw against him instead of running the ball. If Eric can improve his instincts and football intelligence, he can overcome his lack of coverage the same way Troy Polamalu has for years with the Steelers. The simple truth is that not many players on the football field can out-think Troy. That being said, you can see the dilemma in drafting a player with this type of straight line athletic ability. Watching his workouts, most teams will find it very hard to pass on him in the first round. They will take a chance and hope Eric will develop like Troy did. The problem is, Troy understood at a very young age how limited he was in coverage, but how smart he was on defense -- and so did his coaches. His coaches were smart enough to find a way for Troy to impact by using him all over the defense and, because of his intelligence and instincts, it worked big time. Eric will have to develop the same kind of instincts and football intelligence that Troy has to impact and right now, those traits are not obvious at the college level. However, he is young and still developing. For me personally unless I'm a two deep zone defense I would struggle to select Eric in the first round, but I can see after his workouts how others may think differently.
Drew "The B.S. Detector" Boylhart