Justin Bethel may have attended a small school, but that doesn't mean he has small talent.
The 6'0", 200-pound defensive back excelled at Presbyterian College, a Division-I FCS school of only 1,300 students. He's a true football player who can play corner, safety and special teams. His ability to blend into any defense will bode well for him in the NFL.
Bethel posted excellent numbers during his senior season with the Blue Hose: 87 total tackles, a sack, four interceptions and one defensive touchdown. His high motor led to some tremendous punt and field-goal blocks as well.
"Although it might take him some time to get used to the level of competition in the NFL, he's a special-teams ace who blocked 13 kicks in his college career and can contribute in that area while he develops at safety," said ESPN's Todd McShay in late February.
At Indianapolis' NFL Scouting Combine, Bethel impressed with his tremendous athleticism. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds, benched 19 225-pound reps and leaped 39-and-a-half inches in the vertical jump.
It doesn't hurt that Bethel is also on video jumping a whopping 60 inches.
The four-year starter is a physical man in the secondary and not afraid to get in the receiver's face. Bethel's proficiency in defending both the pass and the run is something that will translate to the NFL game.
At times, Bethel struggles with footwork and backpedaling. If he works on his technique, he will be a factor in the NFL no matter if it's at cornerback, safety or gunner on special teams.
Despite not always facing top-tier talent in college, Bethel did perform well against the likes of Clemson, California and Wake Forest.
Bethel will find his niche in the pros. He's got a great football I.Q. and knows how to make the crucial plays. Look for Bethel to have his impact felt early on special teams.
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