Defensive back Tyler Sash (9) of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes tackles wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher (12) of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the first half of play at Kinnick Stadium on November 20 2010 in Iowa City Iowa. Ohio State won 20-17 over Iowa. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images).
From the rehabbing Kenny Phillips to the loquacious Antrel Rolle and the veteran Deon Grant, the safety position was a frequent newsmaker for the New York Giants in 2010-11. Tyler Sash, a former Iowa Hawkeye, is one of the top safeties in the upcoming draft and figures to present an intriguing option for the Giants in the middle rounds.
In the Hawkeyes' pro-style defense, Sash recorded 79 tackles (three and a half for loss) and two interceptions during his final (junior) year at Iowa. He was voted first-team All Big-Ten by coaches and media, and he was also one of 10 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to the nation's top defensive back.
Sash played strong safety at Iowa, and is currently listed at 6-foot, 211 pounds. He is the subject of today's 2011 NFL Draft prospect profile.
Scouting reports after the jump.
6-foot, 211 pounds
Projection: Round 3
From CBS Sports:
Read & React: Reads his keys to sniff out running plays and quick screens. Instinctive, flies through traffic to get to stretch plays or plug holes inside. Good range, but at times can be a step slow to find a receiver coming into his zone. Overaggressive and will overrun plays.
Man Coverage: Good athleticism for his size, can trail most tight ends into the flat or on crossing routes. Gets his hands on tight ends in coverage, but could draw contact flags in the NFL. Fair backpedal for a safety, can handle slot responsibility for short periods of time against four-receiver sets.
Zone Coverage: Played in a lot of two-deep coverage. Quick enough to reach the sideline on long throws. Good hands to take advantage of overthrows over the middle. Gets pulled out of his area at times, leaving space for the trailing receiver. Bites hard on good play-action.
Closing/Recovery: Underrated speed and good angles allow him to track down backs from behind. Will be an effective blitzer playing around the line. Adequate recovery speed for a safety if beaten by receivers, but will not catch many NFL receivers from behind.
Run Support: Always looking for run keys from two-deep position. Closes to the ball quickly, bringing bad intentions in flying to the ball on stretch plays. Fails to break down at times, overrunning the play and opening cutback lanes in the process. Fails to shed blocks to make plays, but has good strength to get off receiver blocks.
Tackling: Well-built upper body gives him excellent strength for the position. Goes for the big shoulder or forearm slam over the middle but still makes a grab for jersey to minimize yards after catch. Extends arms or lays strong shoulder hit to back heading out of bounds instead of merely escorting them. Can rip the ball out while wrapping. Effective cutting ballcarriers and making ankle tackles in the open field, though he should leave his feet less and keep his head up more often against NFL ballcarriers.
Intangibles: Vocal leader in the locker room. Puts in the time to prepare for next week's opponent. Demonstrative and talkative on the field. No known character concerns.
From National Football Post:
Possesses a solid, good-looking frame and is well filled out both through the upper and lower half. Has been a productive three-year starter for the Hawkeyes who possesses a nose for the football and good ball skills when asked to come down with the catch. Isn't a real gifted athlete, possesses very average range for the safety position in the deep half and isn't guy who has the type of closing speed to quickly range in the center field type role.
Also is a bit stiff in his drop, struggles to really sit into his stance and it takes him a bit to redirect and get back up to speed quickly. However, he displays coordinated footwork, keeps his feet under him in all areas of the game and has the ability to go get the ball.
Despite being a junior is an older prospect at 23 years old.
Impression: He isn't the most athletically gifted safety and needs to mature as a tackler, but he has good instincts, finds the football and knows how to make plays on the ball. Looks more like a special teams guy/reserve early in his career, but with some time could eventually fight for a starting role. Worst case a solid reserve.
From Mocking The Draft:
Sash plays in a pro-style zone defense and should be able to immediately step onto the field for whatever team drafts him. He has good speed and is a sound tackler. He's also shown that he can lead a defense.
He could go as early as the late second round to a team needing safety help.