One day away from the 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft, we look at a second defensive back prospect the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have certainly looked at themselves.
NAME: SAM BEAL
SCHOOL: WESTERN MICHIGAN
POSITION: DEFENSIVE BACK
YEARS IN COLLEGE: 3 (2015-2018)
WEIGHT: 195 LBS
WM @ BUFFALO (2017): 2 TACKLES (2 SOLO), 1 FORCED FUMBLE
WM @ EASTERN MICHIGAN (2017): 5 TACKLES (4 SOLO), 1 INTERCEPTION, 1 PASS DEFENDED
WM VS CENTRAL MICHIGAN (2017): 3 PASSES DEFENDED
All stats gathered from sports-reference.com
- Good strength when playing in press
- Able to mirror opposing receivers with little trouble
- Solid play speed
- Tackling mechanics lack refinement
- Not the most willing run support cornerback
- Can get knocked off balance by strong receivers countering his own physicality
- Possible durability concerns
Sam Beal has about as much hype a supplementary draft player can have. There are rumors of teams like the Kansas City Chiefs possibly flying one of their two 2019 second-round picks to get him.
Most reports seem to think he’ll be a third-round selection this Wednesday. What do I think? Well, first let’s talk about what I saw.
He’s got the height and length and played bigger than he weighed at his pro day. Assuming he packs on some more muscle and comes up a bit in his playing weight, I think his build is just fine to play in the NFL.
Playing in 32 games in three seasons at Western Michigan, Beal escaped serious injury but did have a series of smaller injuries which might concern some.
He’s got the strength to play in the press and actually has a fairly decent left jab to help knock releasing receivers off their timing. Against pro receivers I don’t see it being as successful, and he’ll have to learn a new trick or two, but the ability seems to be there.
When playing off, Beal mirrors well and has good movement in his hips even though his feet seem to get a little flat when playing against receivers he doesn’t necessarily respect the speed of.
Speed is another topic of conversation. He’s not a burner, but he doesn’t need to be. He just needs to be fast enough to stay with his receiver. When playing against faster guys he may not be able to press as much but given the head-start corners get against speed guys, he should be just fine.
One issue I saw watching him was his willingness to go off-script from time-to-time. Twice he was beaten badly against Buffalo. Once he was able to catch-up and force a turnover...
…but the second time, he wasn’t so fortunate, and it turned into a big score for the Buffalo Bulls.
There were other instances of Beal biting too easily or uncovering his own man to make a play elsewhere which would have NFL quarterbacks salivating at the double moves and arm pumps they could use to manipulate the young defender.
Tackling has been something he’s been knocked for, and for good reason. His technique is lacking and his effort as a run-stopper is questionable at best. When forced into action he has flashed the ability to tackle rather well, but it’s not something he does willingly.
Overall, he’s a better prospect than the other top corner in this year’s supplementary class, Adonis Alexander.
It helps that Beal is a former receiver who shows his ball-tracking skills gained from his time at the position.
While I wouldn’t endorse the Tampa Bay Buccaneers spending a second-round pick on him, I wouldn’t be angry if they spent a third.
It’s likely they’ll have to go at least that high if they want him. Honestly, I’d feel more comfortable with a fourth-round pick just because of his string of minor dings and occasional lack of discipline opening the door for the opposition.