Playmaking safety could be deployed in a variety of ways
In football there’s a whole host of terms coaches and scouts use to describe players: a “game changer;” a “franchise quarterback;” or a “ball hawk.” But it seems the highest compliment someone can be called is “a football player.”
Jacoby Stevens is a football player.
Height: 6’1” 1/8
Arm Length: 32 1/4
Hand Size: 9 1/8
Broad Jump: 9’9”
Vertical Jump: 34
40-yard Dash: 4.38
2020 Stats: 63 tackles, 6 TFLs, 3 sacks, 4 PBUs, 3 FFs, 1 FR
Stevens, like Tyler Shelvin, came into the 2020 college football season with potential first round draft pick buzz. But the atrocious LSU defense wound up costing Bo Pelini his job and knocked Stevens down draft boards. These days the ceiling for Stevens appears to be the third round and there’s a good chance he may not hear his name called until the third day of the draft (rounds four through seven).
Stevens isn’t the typical coverage safety. The play that always comes to my mind is the 51-yard reception he gave up to CeeDee Lamb in the 2019 Peach Bowl. Derek Stingley or Kristian Fulton can consistently cover a guy like Lamb. Stevens not so much.
Instead he excels playing in the box like a Jamal Adams or Malcolm Jenkins. Last season Stevens was used almost as a linebacker and even took a few snaps against Mississippi State as a lineman.
Interestingly enough Stevens and his LSU teammate/fellow draft hopeful Jabril Cox are probably best playing each other’s position. Stevens is a linebacker playing safety, whereas Cox is a safety playing linebacker. Stevens could cover running backs or pick up most tight ends, but I wouldn’t want him trying to match up with an opposing offense’s top wide receiver.
Stevens is better suited playing at or near the line of scrimmage where he can use his freaky blend of speed and jumping ability to make plays like this.
If you do want him back in coverage, Stevens is more than capable of laying out receivers as Amari Rodgers can attest to.
But it’s not Stevens’s 40-time or broad jump that teams will fall in love with, it’s his character.
Stevens is the kind of guy that will improve any locker room just by simply being there. Stevens was on the watch list for this past season’s Wuerffel Award, which is essentially the Heisman trophy of involvement in the community. He was also LSU’s selection for the 2020 SEC Community Service Team.
Between his brain and brawn I don’t think there’s ever been a player I’ve been more confident in at the next level than JaCoby Stevens. He’s a playmaker, a team leader, and a role model.
Simply put he’s a football player.