A year ago, as a South Florida Bulls season ticket holder, I found myself talking often about Mistral Raymond and hearing nothing but crickets from the rest of the Draft community. Many had him as far down their safety board as Mel Kiper infamously had Michael Mitchell, who ended up drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the 2nd round.
Come April, the Minnesota Vikings not only made Mistral Raymond a draft pick, they took him in the 6th round.
I won't pretend to have been banging the drum for Winston Guy for any great length of time. I only just recently took a hard look at him. But, in a safety class I would describe as painfully weak at the top, Winston is a guy (forgive the pun) that impressed me tremendously.
It would not surprise me if four of the best five safeties from this class end up late round picks and/or corner converts.
Winston takes a lot of heat from the Draft community for having run what the National Scouting people claim is a 4.70 at the NFL Combine in February. I can assure you, no scout had Winston timed that high, and no team uses the "official" 40 times provided by National Scouting. Most scouts had him solidly into the 4.5s, and I suspect that many know that he is capable of breaking into the 4.4s when fully healthy.
Winston played a position in 2011 somewhat akin to Teejay Johnson of the TCU Horned Frogs in 2010. Teejay had a 4th to 5th round grade from NFL scouts before abruptly deciding to retire from the sport.
What I saw in Guy was a player that played at or near the line of scrimmage very often as a rover, and unlike most of the safeties in this class, I found that he consistently found the correct angles, filled the correct containment assignments, and showed fantastic pure physicality and will in run support.
I came away from his tape feeling like I could play him at linebacker in place of North Carolina's Zach Brown, and get better linebacker play. His willingness to take on blocks and physically slam himself into the meatiest parts of the pile was very impressive for the kind of player he is.
You may believe me to be exaggerating, but all I can say is, watch the film.
Watch him line up against LSU in a position that looks similar to a 3-4 outside linebacker, take on a straight ahead drive block from one of the top offensive tackles in the country, Chris Faulk. Watch the 6'1" and 218 lbs Guy easily push Faulk downward, putting him on the ground, then get to the inside and pull down Terrence Magee. Watch him blow up fullback James Stampley in the backfield, forcing Alfred Blue to redirect, then get off the block and pull Blue down for a minimal gain.
Oh, and in coverage? I saw only two passes completed into his coverage responsibility in the LSU and South Carolina games combined. I didn't see many other safeties in this class capable of displaying that kind of versatility.
That kind of physicality on a player that can move and cover in man like a slot corner is going to appeal to coaches because they will have a clear vision of the roles they can have him play immediately in their nickel and dime defenses. With his fluid hips and man coverage ability, speed and range, to go along with the physicality, he should be able to play any number of roles in nickel and dime defenses.