Many of you that follow this page know the work of our buddy Jake Steinberg (@Steiny31), he of the Jets Blog fame. Jake is one of the most adept people I know at finding out the lesser known players that the Jets are interested in.
He puts out a player interest list, and his publication on the Jets’ interests in defensive back is available here. We are looking at one of Jake’s mid-late round players this afternoon. The Jets flew to Wisconsin to look at his Pro Day. That player is free safety Dezmen Southward.
Southward measures in at 6’0″, and weighs 211 pounds. At Pro Day, he ran the 40 yard dash in 4.4 seconds. Southward also posted an explosive vertical jump of 42 inches.
Here are his stats from his days at Wisconsin:
Defense & Fumbles
Here is what the Jets had to say about him in their scouting report, following his Pro Day:
Full-time starter the past two seasons totaling 69 tackles as a junior, then defending six passes last season. Underrated safety with excellent size. Aggressively goes after runners and displays an explosive closing burst. Plays heads-up football, keeps the action in front of him, and effectively picks up coverage assignments. Contorts to knock away passes. Better than average range, showing the ability to get outside the numbers in pass coverage or run defense. Southward was a forceful defender at Wisconsin and has shown terrific development the past three seasons. He offers potential as a zone safety though some scouts feel Southward can also line-up at cornerback.”
Take a look at some video from a game in 2013 on Southward, see what you think…
PROS: The potential as a corner as well as a safety is definitely there. How? They use him in different types of coverages. He can play up on the line in press coverage, and he back off as well. Southward has a nose for the football. The way a good free safety should be, he is always around the ball. He is also an excellent hitter. You look for the free safety as the last line of defense, to be that guy that won’t miss. Southward has that potential.
CONS: Some cons from his NFL profile:
Average flexibility and range. Still developing positional instincts and diagnostic skills. Man-coverage limitations — dull transitional quickness and closing burst. Ordinary production on the ball — not a playmaker. Does not punish or intimidate. Reliability should be looked into.
I agree he is a little bit late on the coverage closing, which wouldn’t bode well in Rex’s defense. He played only one year in high school, so Southward is learning the position. He could serve to improve his hands as well to make plays on the ball.
Southward could be an interesting late flyer. He definitely has potential.